Have you ever taken a glass freshly cleaned and dried right out of the dishwasher and tried to put ice cold water into it? Hopefully, if you have, it was only once, right? And if you haven't, let me go ahead and warn you from experience, it's not a good idea.
The extreme cold mixed with the extreme hot causes the glass to, at best, crack or, more likely, shatter, leaving you with glass and water all over the floor. (P.S. This applies to trying to cool glass dishes right out of the oven with cold water as well... Shoulda seen that one coming.)
The first time this happened to me I was shocked! I didn't know what had happened. Usually ice cold water and glasses went together just fine. In fact, that's kind of what I expect the glass to do but because I poured the water in at the wrong time, I got an unexpected and negative result.
Pastor Daniel Kelly
Believe it or not Jesus tells a parable that runs very closely along these same lines. In Matthew 9:17 Jesus says, "Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved."
Jesus' point in saying this was that his disciples were not fasting because they still had the Lord Jesus with them. What sense would it make to partake in the solemnity of fasting when the Savior was walking with them every day? In other words, there is a right time and place for different things but sometimes the right thing in the wrong place or at the wrong time can be the wrong thing. That's what Jesus meant by this parable.
Now some have said that this is referring to the need for religion, or specifically for Christianity, to keep up with the times. They claim that we can't put an old faith in a new culture and so we have to change the faith but that simply is not what Jesus is saying. For one, that interpretation just doesn't fit the context and I think a few minutes of good study will go to show that. However, if you want a quick way to put down this line of thought all you have to really do is go to Luke's account of the same parable. Luke adds at the end, "And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, 'The old is good' " (Luke 5:39). So if people want to make this about religious vogues, they would actually have to admit that Jesus here was saying the old was better than the new! (Of course, he's not saying any of those things.)
So what can we get out of this quip from Jesus?
I think that's pretty obvious. Let your actions fit the setting! If you are at a funeral mourning a loved one, show some grief (Romans 12:15). If you are in worship singing about the matchless grace of God, do it with a smile on your face and joy in your heart (Philippians 4:4)! If you're sharing the Gospel with a friend, do it with zeal like it really means something to you (1 John 1:4).
There's a time for everything under heaven but be a person aware of your setting and the people around you. Stop looking in and look outward and upward so that through Christ you can live a legacy that changes the world.
Don't let your life become a busted wineskin.
Pastor Daniel Kelly serves as pastor of Minot Church of Christ, Minot