Luke 5:36-39 says, "And He was also telling them a parable: ‘No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, "The old is good enough."'"
Jesus' ministry came at a time when Judaism had been severely perverted into an outrageous system of rule keeping with self-righteous teachers presiding as rulers over the people of Israel. Rather than look at how the Old Testament foretold of Christ's coming and sacrifice, they ignored what had come in the person of Christ in exchange for what had been. The Pharisees and many of the Jews had become enslaved to a thinking process that loved the old ways. Now, there is nothing wrong with being nostalgic or reflecting upon the past, but it becomes wrong when it controls us to the extent that we are unable to put it out of our minds. The Jews were so consumed with Moses and the Law that they could not recognize God Himself in their midst. Though they wanted a Messiah, they wanted it their way. They wanted a Messiah Who would bring back the glory days of an earthly kingdom as it had been under David and Solomon. They wanted the past, and because they thought that the old was good enough, they missed the future which was right before their very eyes. They were satisfied with the old wine, and their clouded view of the past led them to miss the new wine in Jesus which was far better.
In order for them to receive the new wine, they needed to realize that they would have to lay aside their system of self-righteous Law-keeping. Jesus preached a message of forgiveness, healing, grace, and life. He didn't come to set up an earthly empire, but He came to demonstrate His eternal power and overcome the world. He didn't come to show that Law-keeping was the way to eternal life, but He Himself fulfilled the Law because no man could do it (Romans 3:23, 8:4). The Law brought condemnation and showed man his inability to keep it (Galatians 3:24). Jesus came to bring life, and life to the full (John 10:10).
Old wineskins were fitting for the old wine. The Law did its job, and it did it well (Romans 7:12). But its job was to point people to the cross and to Christ, Who had come in the flesh. If new wine was available in Jesus, then it made no sense to put it into old wineskins which would break as soon as the wine was poured in. The Law had done its job, and the new wine needed new wineskins. The new wine of forgiveness in Christ needs to go in the new wineskin of grace. We were under law, but now we are under grace (Romans 6:14). The old covenant is over, and the new covenant has been established. Christ is the centerpiece and the focus. We must drink of Him (John 7:37).
If we find ourselves still trying to earn our way into God's favor, we need to lay aside the old and receive the grace and forgiveness of Christ. If we are attempting to manipulate God into giving us what we want in life, we need to stop drinking of the old wine and simply receive the blessings which He graciously gives as He knows best.
Trying to do things on our own strength apart from Christ is like pouring wine into a leaky wineskin. It will never work. Do we want to be full in Christ? Do we want to experience the promised abundant life? Life to the full is found in abandoning the old wine, taking hold of the new wineskin by faith in Christ, and allowing Him to fill us and empower us as He pours the new wine of His grace into our hearts.