Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Part 3: Variations (Luke 5:37)

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. (Luke 5:37 NASB)

The people of Jesus' day understood the parable intimately because they had either seen wine being made or participated in the making of it. Understanding a little of the process brings fresh light to the words of Jesus, so we are going to spend some time learning about making wine. 

Of course the first ingredient in making wine is grapes, and the variety of grapes have a great deal to do with the flavor and quality of the wine that is produced. In the United States, the name of the wine indicates the type of grape used. For example Chardonnay wine is wine made from a Chardonnay grape. In this country, a wine can be blended with up to 25% of a different variety of grape and still retain it's name. In Europe, however, the name of the wine indicates the region and type of soil where it is grown. 

You may be asking what this has to do with a morning devotion, but it's more pertinent than you might think. The different varieties of grapes produce different types of wine. Red grapes make red wine, white grapes make white wine. The different red or white grapes also make a variation in the types of wine. For example, Zinfandel and Merlot wines both come from red grapes, but the character and color of the wines are vastly different. The location where the grapes are grown (weather, soil) also influence the ultimate outcome of the wine. 

There are different colors, different varieties, different countries of origin but all the grapes can be used to make wine. In that same way, all the different colors, varieties, and nationalities of people may have churches that are vastly different in flavor, but still serve the same Lord. The experience in an African church may be very different from a church in rural Mississippi, but neither of them are any less the body of Christ. Worship styles should not be a point of division, but simply a matter of preference. 

When Jesus talked about the wine in this passage, His only distinction was based on maturity of the wine and nothing else. Perhaps we would do well to see the body of Christ in this way, too. We learned it as children, but it's worth reviewing. 

"Red and yellow, black and white, Jesus loves the little children of the world."

He loves the adults, too, and so should we. 

Today, pray for the eyes of our heart to look for the commonality of Christ in others rather than our differences.  Pray, too, that our loved ones would be drawn to the style of worship that best draws them to Christ, even if it is different from our own.