Everything Must Be New | Mark 2:21–22
21 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. 22 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.
Jesus explains why religious motions provide no lasting help for the individual by following up His discussion on fasting. His two parables demonstrate that one cannot simply add fasting or ritual or ceremony to a sinful life to make it whole. While it may appear to work for a while, the end result is worse than the first. In doing so, He reveals an important aspect of His ministry.
Jesus didn’t come to simply sew new laws on our unregenerate lives. Even the heavens wear out like a garment (Ps 102:26), and Scripture reveals that our hearts are “desperately sick” (Jer 17:9). Jesus says in Matthew 15:19, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” So, fasting or some other religious exercise might cover some sin for a while, but it will eventually tear at the person’s unchanged life. It’s a poor patch.
Jesus didn’t come to simply pour religion in our unregenerate lives. You may have correctly heard that you need the Holy Spirit in Your life, but He’s to make you new. Otherwise, like the animal skins stretched out with sin, Scripture “fermenting” within your heart will condemn you, for the Law is spiritual and we are flesh, “sold under sin” (Rm 7:14).
Jesus came to begin making all things new. We look forward to this reality (Rv 21:5), but there are ways in which He is already working this in believers. He says in Ezekiel 36:26—“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
He doesn’t want to patch up your life or pour religion into a life on the verge of breaking. He wants to give you everything new. This is the regeneration of John 3, being born of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit (vv. 5–6). Don’t trust in your rituals to do what only He can do for you.