Old & New Wineskins – How Jesus Fulfilled Old Testament Law?

8 March 2013 by James Hoh CM-


In Matthew 9:11, we understand that the Pharisees were again testing Jesus by questioning Him why He ate with the publicans and sinners.


Obviously, it is a Jewish taboo to eat with publicans and sinners because of uncleanness. Instead of separating themselves from sin, they separate themselves from sinners to avoid ‘defilement’.

After Jesus answered them, the disciples of John came with another question, asking: Why the Pharisees fast so often but not Jesus’ disciples?

Jesus not only answered them but went further by teaching them a truth using two parables to illustrate the different mindsets between the Pharisees and the disciples.

The parables in Matthew 9:16 and 9:17 illustrated the same teaching, while using different metaphors on both the disciples of John and Jesus. He also rebuked the Pharisees who were present there. 

In Matthew 9:17, the ‘new wine’ in the Kingdom of God represents the teachings of Jesus. ‘Old wineskin’ represents the Pharisees, the scribes and those who hold so firmly to the Law yet miss out God’s original intended purpose of the Law.


Mark 2:22

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.


The revelation of the God’s Word (new wine) cannot be understood by the Pharisees and the scribes (old wineskins) because they were without the Holy Spirit. They would not understand the teaching by Jesus in using the old wineskin as an illustration. The old wineskin would burst when the new wine ferments and begins to expand.

The Pharisees and scribes who held on to their Old Testament law, their oral traditions, attitudes and mindsets cannot receive any new revelations from God. Very often, the church would turn legalistic in almost everything it does. This is old wineskin.

The Pharisees thought their Law and their traditions were their God, they think that the Law was still better than what Jesus was teaching (Luke 5:39). If we are not careful, we too can be bound up by the Law (again) like the Pharisees and scribes!

However, Christ has come to set us free by fulfilling the Law. Therefore, we as new wineskin will be powerful and effective as we walk in the Word and the revelation of the Holy Spirit. The disciples understood these truths embedded in His teachings.


God forbids that when we are so busy with our ministries and programmes in church without taking time first to foster a good relationship with Him. Only a new wineskin could receive the pure and unadulterated Word from the intimate relationship we have with God. 



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