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A Study Of Luke 5:36-39

Staff Member
We begin this article in Luke 5:30. This sets the stage for verses 36-39 which we will be looking at carefully.

Luke 5:30-39

30 But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?”

31 Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. 32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

A Discussion about Fasting

33 One day some people said to Jesus, “John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?”

34 Jesus responded, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. 35 But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

36 Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment.

37 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38 New wine must be stored in new wineskins. 39 But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.”

Beginning at verse 31, the Lord Jesus is speaking to the Scribes and Pharisees, and He is telling them the Gospel. He is telling them what Salvation is!
But He is telling them about Salvation in such a way, that they do not understand it one bit, because the Lord Jesus is speaking in parables. One reason why they did not understand Jesus was: They did not want to understand His teaching. That is why it is so important to understand the parables in the Bible, especially those in the New Testament.

But If you refuse to understand the parables for whatever reason, or if you refuse to see aspects of Salvation in the parables, then you should know that you are not alone: You are in the company of the Scribes and Pharisees. That is an uncomfortable place to be.

To begin with, when Jesus said in Luke 5:32,
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Famous words, but this is the common denominator of this entire chapter 5 in the Gospel according to Luke.
The Lord Jesus did not come for those who saw themselves as righteous, but He came for those who saw themselves as sinners. And He came to call them to repentance! Ah, Repentance! That is a matter so often forgotten. You know, it was not only John, but also Jesus who preached:
“Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”

Let me summarize this article in a nutshell:

Luke 5:32
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Then beginning in Verse 36 Jesus told them two parables, explaining HOW He is calling sinners to repentance.
And then Jesus told them one parable WHY He is NOT calling the righteous.

Did they understand it?

Not at all. It was way over their head.

Why can I say that ?

You need the help of the Holy Spirit to understand the Word of God.

God says:

1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

In other words: To understand the Word of God, “Ye Must Be Born Again”!
If you have not been Born Again, you want nothing to do with this Gospel of Salvation that the Lord Jesus is speaking about.
At that time, the Scribes and Pharisees were definitely not Born Again.

Now, that was a brief summary of this article.

So, let’s look at these three parables of Jesus.

An Old Garment and a New Garment

The Lord Jesus Christ said in Luke chapter 5:

Luke 5:36
And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old (garment); if otherwise, then both (or else also) the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.

Isn’t this a strange parable?

A parable is an earthly story with a spiritual meaning. But this is no earthly story to begin with. Jesus said: No Man, or better No One does a foolish thing like that.

First of all, Jesus did not say that there was a tear or a hole in the old garment.

Secondly, would it not be silly to cut out a piece from a new garment, and make a hole in the new garment, and lay this piece over the old garment and sow it on?

Patch up work!

What is this a picture of?

And what has this to do with the Gospel?

What is the purpose of a garment?

Remember the theme of Verse 32: Call sinners to repentance.
Our garment is our covering, so that we do not stand naked before God with all our sins exposed.
That is the purpose of our garment. It is a symbol, or picture of our righteousness, to cover our sins.
The old garment is representing our own righteousness. But our own righteousness is not good enough. Our own good works are not good enough to cancel our sins.

But why can’t we make it work?

We can first clean up our sins and then come to Jesus.

Isn’t that a much nicer arrangement?

I cannot come to Church now. I first have to repent of this sin of fornication. Well, that takes some time. First I have to make the proper arrangements to clean up after me. I’ll do it later!
That is Patch Up Work!
People are desperately hanging on to the old garment, trying to make it new. But it cannot be done!

Why can’t we clean up our sins first, and then come to Jesus?

Because that is a works gospel!

What is a works gospel?

When we are insisting that there is basically something good in us, and that we can contribute something to our Salvation. That is a works gospel.

· We can see there are some imperfections in our old garment.
· We can see there are some imperfections in the old man.
· We can see that we do not love God with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength.
· We can see that we do not love our neighbor as ourself. We love ourself more!
· We can see a lot of bad people in this world. But we don’t think that we are all that bad.

We think that there is something good in us, that deserves some merit.
And that is why we think we can patch up that old garment before we appear before Christ.
It is a plan of salvation that comes straight from Hell.

But what does God say?

Isaiah 64:6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Our best works, our most righteous works, are hanging on us like filthy rags.

What are our best works?

Not the works we do before our Salvation, because they cannot not even be mentioned.
But even those works which we do after our Salvation are like filthy rags, because they are all tainted with sin. There is not a single work we can do that God considers perfect.
This passage in Isaiah 64 is not a prayer from unsaved people who do not care about God. This is a prayer from Godly people who are in Babylon, and who are bemoaning their lack of righteousness.

But what does God do with these filthy rags?

God replaces them with the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. God speaks about that in:

Isaiah 61:10
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

God has to give us a new garment. It is the robe of Christ’s righteousness.
In the parable of Luke 5:36 Jesus tells us that sinners do not come to God with a patched up old garment.

Why not?

It is God who must give us a new robe.
Sinners do not appear before the throne of God with a garment consisting of a mixture of two kinds of materials. There can be no mixture of works and Grace. It cannot be done! It must be a Gospel of all Grace, or else it is a works gospel. God must have done 100% or else it is no good at all.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

You must be made new all over: You must become a new creature by the power of God. “Ye must be born again”. That is how God saves sinners. That is how Christ is calling sinners to repentance.

· It takes only one sin.

Suppose you are getting visitors for dinner………………………

Ezekiel 33:12
Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.

Ezekiel 33:13
When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.

An Old Bottle and a New Bottle

The Lord Jesus in the second parable again starts with: NO MAN.
Just like in the first parable, Jesus says that it is impossible to do it this way.

Luke 5:37
And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled (poured out), and the bottles shall perish.

Luke 5:38
But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

This parable is similar in content to the previous one.

First of all, we can identify the old bottles and the new bottles. These are not like the 6 stone vessels that were used in John 2, where Jesus turned water into wine. The stone vessels were sturdy, and less likely to break. These bottles that are mentioned in Luke 5 are most likely animal skins that were used as wine vessels.

Is it important to know how those wine bottles were made in those days?

No! Not really!

Regardless how the bottles were made, one thing is clear: the old bottles with new wine would perish, whereas the new bottles with new wine would be preserved.
In the Bible, God uses vessels as a picture of people.
In this parable the new bottles represent new souls of people who have been Born of God:

John 1:13
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

At the moment of our Salvation we receive a new soul, that is a dwelling place for God the Holy Spirit. This is called the moment of regeneration.

What is being poured into this new soul?

New wine?

In the Bible, wine is used in three different ways:

1. It may mean just wine, made from grape juice, or
2. It may mean the fiery wrath of God, or
3. It may mean the blood of the Covenant of Grace, the blood of Christ in the Gospel of Grace.

Which meaning we choose depends on the context.

Perhaps you remember that Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan?

Let me break in the middle of this parable just to illustrate the point that I am making. A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers who left him half dead. Then we read in the tenth chaper of Luke:

Luke 10:33
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

Luke 10:34
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

So, he “bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine.” Spiritually, Christ is pointing to the nature of Salvation. The half dead man is a picture of someone who is unsaved; he was healed by the Holy Spirit (oil) and the Blood of Christ (wine).
The Blood of Christ, or the Atonement of Christ, is intimately woven into the Gospel of Grace.

What is the Gospel of Grace?

The Gospel of Grace, or the Good News of the Grace of God, is the only Gospel of Salvation that God proclaims in the Bible. Paraphrased, God says:

1. Because everyone is conceived and born in sin, living in sin and spiritually dead unto God, and deserving eternal damnation in Hell.

2. Not one of us could be saved unless God decided to make some of those sinful corpses alive. But then we still would have the problem of the payment for our sins.

3. The only way we could be saved from our sin problem, is if Christ took our sins and as our substitute paid for those sins the full price, which is the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.

4. Christ actually did that in 33AD when He suffered on the cross and shed His blood for those whom He came to save. He gave us that payment as a totally free gift.

5. The Holy Spirit gave us the faith to believe that (= made us Born Again), and declared to us, from the Bible, that Christ did shed His blood for us to give us eternal life.

6. The Holy Spirit gives us the desire to live a life of gratitude for what God has done for us, through the blood of Christ, and makes us persevere in the faith to the end.

Therefore, the Blood of Christ in the Gospel of Grace, means that Christ died not for everyone in the whole world, but only for those whom God chose from before the foundation of the world.
The Gospel of Salvation by Grace alone is not popular Gospel. But this is what the Bible declares.
Now, in the parable of Luke 5 the new wine represents the Blood of Christ in the Gospel of Grace.
Let’s look again at this parable:

Luke 5:37
And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled (pour out), and the bottles shall perish. (in Hell)

Paraphrased, the Lord Jesus says that it is impossible to put the Gospel of Salvation by Grace alone into unsaved people. The Gospel will be poured out, and the people shall perish in Hell.
Those who hear the Gospel and remain unsaved, their condemnation will be the greater.

Luke 5:38
But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

The Gospel of Salvation by Grace alone is preserved in those who have been Born Again, who have received their new soul.
There must be a total renewal. Nothing of the old sinful man may remain. First the soul is renewed, and eventually, on the last day, the Body also must be renewed.

God’s Golden Rule is:

It is all a FREE GIFT of God, totally by Grace. God says in John 3:5-8

John 3:5
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:6
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

John 3:7
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

John 3:8
The wind bloweth where it listeth (Lit: The Spirit breathes where He wills), and thou hearest the sound thereof (Lit: and you hear His voice), but canst not tell whence it (He) cometh, and whither it (He) goeth: so (in this manner) is every one that is born of the Spirit.

It does not depend on our will, or on our decision. It depends entirely on God’s decision.
That is how God saves sinners. That is how Christ is calling sinners to repentance.

Luke 5:32
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

I Came Not to Call the Righteous (Luke 5:39)

Let’s now look at the third parable:

Luke 5:39
No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

We have seen what God’s rule is. This, verse 39 is man’s rule.
You see, the new wine, the Gospel of Salvation by Grace alone, is not a popular Gospel.
Again the parable starts with: NO MAN. It cannot be done this way!

· First of all, they have no use for it.

The blind do not know they cannot see.
The deaf do not know they cannot hear.
They do not desire the new wine.
They do not desire a Gospel wherein they have no control.
They have no need of it. They are doing fine. Don’t rock the boat!
Look at the reaction of the Scribes and Pharisees:

Luke 5:30
But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? (Let them go to Hell; they deserve it.)

Luke 5:31
And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.

Luke 5:32
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Let’s examine the following situation:

1. A vicious criminal who has been in jail a few times, and has killed a number of people, is finally caught again and is on his way to his execution. Now he will have to answer to God for his actions. But wonder of wonders, an hour before this man dies, he is saved. Perhaps you recognize the thief on the cross next to Jesus.

And Jesus said unto him: “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

2. Now consider another man. He is a hard working man. He is a decent, moral, and upright citizen who is taking good care of his family, never mistreats his fellow man, he gives to charities, but he has never heard the true Gospel, and therefore he dies without Christ, and goes to Hell.

Is God unfair?

Why would the hardened criminal go to Heaven, but the decent, moral man go to Hell?

God answers this question in Ezekiel 33.

17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But it is their way that is not just. 18 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, they will die for it. 19 And if a wicked person turns away from their wickedness and does what is just and right, they will live by doing so. 20 Yet you Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to your own ways.”

Was the decent, moral, upright citizen committing iniquity?

Of course he was. Every hour of the day that he was not glorifying God, he was committing iniquity. He was created to glorify God.

Then what about that hardened criminal who has murdered many people ?

The Lord Jesus said: I came to call sinners to repentance.
The problem we often forget is this:

We are all sinners, and just one sin is enough to send us to Hell.

Article from: A Study Of Luke 5:36-39

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