“The Bible repeatedly challenges us to pursue wisdom. Wisdom requires bigger thinking. It requires new thinking. Wisdom requires the exercise of a person’s mind. God cannot use narrow-minded people, closed-minded people, or empty-minded people. Jesus said that you can’t put new wine into old wineskins, which have lost their ability to stretch”. (Mike Slaughter, Momentum For Life, p 51.)
Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, 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. (Matthew 9:17)
Jesus was always being misunderstood because he was doing things new… different. In Matthew 9 Jesus is answering the question put to him by the religious leaders of the day: “why are you and your followers NOT following the rules, NOT following the tradition, NOT following the religion”. In fact, Jesus’ whole message to the religious leaders of his day could be summed up in this common phrase, “I am SPIRITUAL… not religious”.
It’s funny (or maybe not so funny) that people today utter that phrase often, “I’m spiritual but not religious”… even in response to the Christian church… the very community of people that was built on Jesus’ new ways of radical love, selfless service, and courageous faith rather than religious rules and hypocrisy.
As we take up the subject of ‘Readiness for lifelong learning this week’, let’s be ready to unlearn the baggage we have collected about the Christian church… and relearn the new ways of Jesus. It takes intelligence to analyse and critique where the church has gone wrong over the years… but it takes wisdom to claim for ourselves the timeless and radically anti-religious Gospel of Jesus: live and love and serve the God no matter what anyone tries to say and do to stop it (even if they are religious leaders).