Some stories become classics because they capture human nature in its truest form and provide windows into history’s transitions. For example, Ernest Hemmingway’s novel, “The Old Man and the Sea” became a monumental capstone at the end of his literary career. It was also set in Cuba just a few years before the Communist revolution.
Every one of Jesus’ parables are classic because they teach us kingdom truths at a time when Jesus was laying the foundation for the coming church. Jesus described this season of change in His parable of the wine skins. No one tries to put new wine in old, stretched-out wine skins, or patch an old wine skin with new skin. The new wine will ferment and burst the skin or make the patch pull away (Matthew 9:16-16). In the same way, Jesus’ death and resurrection fulfilled God’s old covenant Law and ushered in a new and lasting covenant of grace.
Though the parable of the wine skins captured this important shift in covenants, it also illustrated the human tendency to miss what God is doing among His people. We sometimes fail to realize our methods of reaching our lost world are no longer effective and ignore the new opportunities God is placing before us.
After two thousand years, people are still referring to the simple stories Jesus told to teach eternal truths. They continue to convict, inspire and guide. And just as they did in Jesus’ day, they also create controversy as our views of kingdom life are challenged.