The mark of newness is upon you. A new promise. A new utterance of the Spirit. A new declaration. A new revelation. This is what the Kingdom of God is all about… the New Covenant of forever love. The new promise of eternal life with Jesus Christ. When Jesus stirs a new thing in your life, it will stir up the waters and provoke a shaking and breaking. But this is how the birthing happens when God gives a blessing to you. There is no manifestation of the new without abandoning the former. If you want to step into the new, you must let go of the past.
Jesus came to ensure we would never have to be separated from God nor restricted by the law. Instead, He came to create the New Covenant by His own blood so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life, as John 3:16 says. He came to solidify this invitation and welcome us into His Heavenly house forever. God had this plan from the very beginning that we would walk through the old in order to get to the new. This is how your destiny unfolds. But on the pathway towards what God has for you, He provides for you and He asks you to trust Him in the transition. We want to step into your way, Lord. Mark us with your insight of how you see. Mark us with your love.
The Marks of Jesus we will talk about in today’s study.
Verse 21: Match-Awareness
Verse 22: Newness
Verse 23: Practicality
Verse 24: Conflict
This week, we study Mark 2:21-24, where Jesus makes an analogy about cloth and wineskins in order to allude to the contrast between new and old. He uses this to speak of the New Covenant, which He comes to initiate as the Savior of the world, in order to give everyone the opportunity to dwell with Him in the Kingdom of God. Following this teaching, Jesus and His disciples walk on through a grain field on the Sabbath and encounter conflict for doing so. But Jesus leads them into this environment for a reason because He has provision for his disciples there: grain. This once again reminds us Jesus is not intimidated by anybody and will go to any lengths necessary to take care of His people. As we learn more about Jesus in this passage, we discover the leadership traits of leading through conflict and leading His people into new seasons. May we gain a deeper understanding of Jesus’ heart and Kingdom in this passage.
Verse 21: The Mark of Match-Awareness
“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made.”
A perfect match fits together. It’s cut from the same cloth. It threads the same way. Looks the same way. Feels the same way. Functions the same way. Union comes when the right match is made.
Jesus is aware of what matches together in the correct way. When we yield to His voice, we ensure we benefit from this insight.
We must be aware of the kinds of matches we are trying to make. A wrong match causes problems, but the right match causes good for both.
In verse 21, Jesus uses an analogy of cloth, both new and old, to symbolize the contrast of new and old ways, seasons, covenants and so on. When God is doing a new thing, we cannot hold on to the former.
For example, using fabrics of different cloth, especially the combinatio of one that has been shrunk and one that has not been shrunk, can never coexist in the same garment. Jesus uses this analogy when he talks about the Kingdom of God and the former ways of living. He says that using a piece of an unshrunk garment on an old garment only makes a tear. A rift. You can try to use them together but they won’t fit.
We must know what matches with what.
The mark of match-awareness is when you know what your match is according what God says.
Be aware of what matches with you.
Match-awareness ensures we align our hearts with what belongs in our lives.
The Kingdom of God beckons The Kingdom of God.
Light beckons light.
Love beckons love.
Kindness beckons kindness.
Mercy beckons mercy.
Joy beckons joy.
These virtues match together.
The apostle Paul wrote the church in Philippi about the importance of having a matching heart when it comes to interacting with one another.
He said, “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:2-3
We need the same love in order to flourish in union.
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14
Whom you yoke with in marriage is important. Do not marry someone who does not share your faith in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. They will undermine your faith and you will have zero union in your spirit with them.
Your heart can only connect with your match. One who shares the same heart as you.
God also wants the right match. He is not a robot nor a machine. He is a real, living, breathing God and He has a heart that longs to be known, loved, and understood. God wants to experience deep connection with His Beloved.
“But whoever is united with the Lord is one with Him in spirit.” 1 Corinthians 6:17
He does not want a lover who does not share the same spirit as Him.
God wants a lover who has the same heart as Him… a heart of kindness, love, thankfulness, joy, peace, and goodness. Evil is not a match with the virtues of good. Hatred is not a match with the virtues of love.
Know what your match is.
The right match gives you a blessed life.
Jesus is always a perfect match for you… because He loves you with every part of who He is.
Verse 22: The Mark of Newness
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”
New waves of love crash over the shoreline where the sea retreats into the ocean deep. New light of the sun sets on the horizon where the clouds touch down to kiss the rainbow.
New love is for new life. New beginnings. New wine. You can let go of what’s past.
God creates new provision for the new promises He articulates.
Life is always bursting with newness when you walk with Jesus. Miracles are always possible.
His love is new every morning. New every sunrise. New every sunset in the day He sparked to life. His breath is new every moment. New every heartbeat. New every song of the sky singing holy is the Lord.
Jesus said in verse 22, “no one puts new wine into old wine skins.” When you discover the new, you must abandon the former thing in order to access it. Newness cannot coexist with the former. You must leave it behind. Move forward into all God has for you.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19
It’s time to let go now. You held on tight because your virtue told you it was right to be faithful. But there comes a time when being faithful to the past is not the path. God needs you to let go of the past. Let go of the former thing. He has something more than that. Let Him give you the new thing like He said He would. Be faithful to Him first.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory.” Ephesians 3:20-21
You cannot embrace the excitement of what is new until you let go of the former. But when you do, enthusiasm heightens and you can fully commit to what it new without being held back by what is in the past.
When we fail to let go, we burst the new thing God is trying to do in our lives. The only way to drink the new wine, or enjoy the new thing, is to say goodbye to the past.
Don’t lose the new out of fear of losing the old. You cannot have both. It’s either the old way or the new way. The new way is always God’s way.
In verse 22, Jesus says, “New wine is for fresh wine skins.”
When something new comes into your life from God, everything else renews as well. It’s like placing a river in a desert. It gives life and radiance, and it spreads an oasis where life can grow.
You need “fresh wine skins” for what is new. Not old wine skins. When you get your oil changed in your car, they change the oil filter as well. Because it only defeats the purpose to put new oil into an old filter still dirty from the last quarts of oil. Don’t expect to live vibrantly with old ways still in place. You need a new way of living, thinking, being, loving in order to elevate to where God is taking you next in your life.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” Jeremiah 31:31
God is making a new covenant with you of unceasing love. It comes from His heart of devotion to you no matter what. God will never stop loving us. He made every effort to ensure we can be with Him forever without the pressure of earning His love. His love is a gift and it always will be. You don’t have to earn it. You already have it.
Jesus enacted the New Covenant of salvation by faith in Him alone so that we do not follow the law of Moses. We simply trust in Jesus Christ and, by doing so, we fulfill the entirety of the Law, including all of the ten commandments. Because He fulfilled it all. When we say He is our Lord and Savior, He imparts that perfection into our own soul and generates a desire to want to change and grow because of the Holy Spirit in us.
Newness comes from the Holy Spirit cultivating change in you.
Newness comes from the overflow of love inside of you, and that can only flow from the heart of God.
God is love.
We love because He first loved us.
Newness of life in any realm of our lives always begins with love.
Verse 23: The Mark of Practicality
“One Sabbath He was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, His disciples began to pluck heads of grain.”
Jesus is practical. Jesus is observant. Jesus makes use of His resources and takes advantage of what He finds in His surroundings.
When His disciples needed food, He knew which route to take.
One Sabbath day, Jesus walks his disciples through the grain fields and so they pick grain. Brilliant strategy. If you need water, walk by the river. If you need fire woods, walk through the forest. If you need vegetables, walk through the garden. If you need flowers, walk through the rose garden. Jesus knew where to walk with His disciples when they had a need.
Do you know which way to go when you have a need?
Jesus knows which way to take you… Go with Him. Jesus will walk you through the exact pathway where your provision lies. The same provision that arose from the journey.
The disciples had been ministering with Jesus for quite some time. He knew they were hungry. So instead of taking the short way through roads and pathways, he takes through the grain fields because He knew they would be able to find food here.
Jesus wants to provide for you.
Walk with Him.
What if you walk with Him and you have no provision? Keep walking with Him until you get to the grainfield. You won’t walk through a grainfield at every mile on your journey. Nor should you. You don’t need to eat all day long. Some resources are only for certain moments or seasons. But one resource is constant: Jesus Himself. The disciples’ friendship with each other. That was also constant. Purpose. That was constant. The promise of Heaven. That is constant.
If you have a need in your life that is a foundational need, wait on God to give it so that it can stay in your life constantly without having it fail you. You don’t want to be given something that will only fluctuate in its
Verse 24: The Mark of Conflict
“And the Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
Are you experiencing conflict in your life as a result of your faith? Be encouraged… Jesus did too. So did His disciples. Conflict is a byproduct of walking in faith in a world where faith is taboo and love is foreign. But you are not shaken. You are a lover. You are a warrior. You are an encourager. You are a faithful follower of the God who loves you.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
Don’t be surprised when your faith-filled actions stir conflict with others around you.
The disciples picked grain because they were in a grain field. It was appropriate to do so. Yet, they encountered conflict with the Pharisees, who were not picking grain.
The Pharisees should have been picking grain too along with Jesus and His disciples. If Jesus allowed them to pick grain, then He allowed the Pharisees the same freedom. But the Pharisees would not allow themselves freedom. This is where they crossed the line into following rules that God never said.
In verse 24, the word for “lawful” that is used here in the Greek text is “exestin.” This word means, “what is legal, or proper and allowed.” But the irony of this statement made by the Pharisees is that they are not the authors of the rules. Yet, they are acting as if they are. They are speaking about something that has nothing to do with the Sabbath laws and are going to an extreme of saying it is actually illegal to do. But it is not. Thus, they are living in their own jail cell of limitaitons and trying to place that onto others.
If you restrict yourself when God never restricted you, you end up not only harming your own wellbeing but you harm your connection with others who are living out their God-given freedoms. Unity cannot thrive this way.
Freedom comes from knowing your freedom in God as His Beloved.
Jesus came to set people free.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
Jesus mission on earth was to die for mankind in order to give us freedom, not take it away. The Pharisees did not understand this nor did they abide by it.
The Pharisees were a group of Jewish religious leaders who constructed rules in order to not break the Sabbath laws, but this method of creating laws usurped Yahweh from His rightful place as King. Thus, it hardened their hearts, and they were never able to see Jesus for who He really was: the Messiah.
Here they question Jesus because they do not respect him and do not honor Him as God. When you dishonor God, you strip yourself of your own freedoms.
Disrespecting God puts a yoke on you that limits you from living with joy and freedom because you don’t have any way to feel completely free, loved and forgiven.
We need God in order to live loved.
We can only enjoy freedom when we have a healthy and vibrant relationship with Jesus.
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Freedom is a mark of the Holy Spirit.
Freedom is a mark of an intimate relationship with God.
Freedom as Jesus follower may stir conflict with others who don’t have the same faith to act in freedom.
In verse 24, the Pharisees make an incorrect accusation. They say, “look… they are doing what is not lawful.” However, they actually were doing what was lawful. It was completely kosher to pick grain because Jesus said so, and He makes the rules. He is God.
Be careful when others try to accuse someone else of doing something unlawful. In the Bible, it was always the ones who did not know God who accused other people. And Jesus overrides them every time. Accusers have no foundation to stand on because there is no accusation to be made against those who follow Jesus.
Love and grace cover you.
Dwell in His love and grace.
When you follow Jesus, you will encounter problems with those who don’t. You have to ignore it and not worry. Evil spirits are inevitable. Jesus never got through his three years of ministry without conflict. Because He is God and some people don’t want God in their lives.
Conflict for acting in faith marks you as a Kingdom warrior.
Conflict for showing awareness of Jesus’ Spirit marks you as one who carries His Holy Spirit.
Conflict for loving God marks you as His Beloved.
Don’t stop loving God, no matter what kind of persecution and spiritual warfare you face. Jesus does not tell His disciples to stop picking grain just because the Pharisees did not like it. Instead, He will go on to confront the Pharisees’ error in judgment in the verse following, which we will cover in the next study of Mark chapter 2. When you judge someone else, you bring judgment onto yourself. No one is qualified to judge another person. This is a good reminder to ponder on.
Live and lead with grace.
Live and lead with love.
When you face conflict, stand firm in your beliefs and let God take care of the rest.
“Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Proverbs 37:3-4
My Favorite Takeaway From The Passage
“…New wine is for fresh wineskins.” Mark 2:22
God will make it new. You don’t have to worry if it will be a repeat of the past or more of the same. It’s going to be new. Fresh. Different. Better. Unthinkable. Unimaginable. Because God is good at making even more brilliant art with every canvas He paints. His love always gets better. His ways always get better. His plans for you always get better, and there is more to look forward to up ahead.
I’m reminded of Joel 2:24-25 that say, “The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil. “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – my great army that I sent among you.” God will make up for what happened. Trust Him to impress you. Trust Him to captivate you. Trust Him to show you who He is and what He can do. He will not fail you. He will not let you down.
Joel 2:27 goes on to say, “Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.”
God comes to take shame off you. To take guilt off you. To take despair off you. To take hopelessness off you.
God comes to put love on you. Hope on you. Joy on you. Peace on you. Blessing on you. Let Him do the new thing.
a new thing
in Your eyes
You say I planned it
for all time
to make you Mine
let love collide
“Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.” Psalm 115:3