After Jesus called Matthew the tax collector to follow Him, Matthew threw a big party for Jesus with all of his friends. John the Baptists disciples had come to ask why Jesus’ disciples celebrate instead of fasting like they were.
Ask the children…
What was Jesus trying to communicate by using this parable of pouring new wine into new wineskins and not putting it into old wineskins?
“‘And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.’” (Matthew 9:17)
Jesus was bringing the fullness of the kingdom to His followers. The old way of worship was to follow the letter of the Law. The new way was going to be to follow the Spirit from inside and no longer to be bound by the Law. A person could not do both of these at the same time or their life would fall apart.
The old wineskins represents our old legal way of living the kingdom life. The new wine is the life of the Spirit and the new birth given by Jesus when we receive Him. If we try to put our new Spirit life into the old form of living under the Law, our lives will fall apart.
That is why people are so miserable when they put themselves back under the Law after they come to Christ. When we tell a new believer that they now ‘have’ to read their Bibles and pray and witness we are putting them back under the Law. If we encourage them to grow in their friendship with Jesus then the fruit of that will be a desire for knowing His word and talking to Him and telling others about Him. That is putting new wine (the inner life of the Spirit) into new wineskins (the outward life of the Spirit).
Ask your children how they feel about reading their Bibles and praying? Are they just a chore they ‘have’ to do? Ask them if playing with and talking to their friends is a chore? Why not? Explain that getting to know God as a friend is like enjoying their earthly friends.
Ask them how they could make Bible reading and prayer more like friends getting together? Suggest things like singing their prayers, taking a walk and praying, reading the Bible out loud and stopping to talk to Jesus about His word every few lines or skipping rope while reading. Brainstorm and try out a few things. Don’t do the same thing all the time. That isn’t the way children play with each other, they are more creative than that and so is our God.
Feel free to share your own stories below in the comments section.
If you like what you read about ways to teach children the Bible, check out the children’s book, Hooked on the Book, on this website. It is great for parents and kids because it provides the Big Story of God’s miraculous plan for His children in all 66 books in the Bible. CHECK OUT A FREE SAMPLE OF CHAPTER ONE BELOW.