SCHOOL OF ISRAEL
Mini-Study Guides, 1994-5
"More Than Conquerors"
1. NEW WINESKINS
Scripture Meditation: Matthew 9:9-19
"...men...pour new wine into new wineskins..." (v.17)
The theme we are following this year arises from the apostle Paul's triumphant phrase found in the eighth chapter of Romans: "We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Rom.8:27). This is a most interesting passage of scripture and a most unusual one. It would have been exciting enough if Paul had said: "We are conquerors through Him who loved us", but he didn't. Instead, he put in an extra word, "MORE than conquerors". Was he exaggerating? No, he was not. It was a plain statement of fact.
One of the things that fascinates me about today's reading from the New Testament is to see how language had to bear a new weight of meaning with the coming of Jesus into the world. Up until that time human language had coped very well with communicating the truths that men and women needed to understand, but when Jesus came it needed to express new and more profound concepts.
I am reminded of a group of physicists who were trying to express new ideas in English. They failed, so they tried French and then German. In the end, they turned to an obscure American Indian language, Navajo, to express the new concepts they were trying to get across.
This was the problem faced by Paul and the other apostles. The Hebrew language, whilst serving the Lord's purposes well up until the arrival of Jesus, simply lacked the vocabulary to express fully His new revolutionary teachings. So it should come as no surprise to learn that all but one of the books of the New Testament were written in Greek, because this was the language best suited to express the greatest revelation of all time: namely, that in Jesus the Godhead had broken through into human life. But even Greek was inadequate this truth, so the first Christians were forced to use one superlative after another in order to convey the wondrous truths originating from our Lord's coming into the world. For those of you who don't know what a "superlative" is, it is a word used to describe the "highest degree" of something. And Jesus was just that. The new wine of Jesus's teachings had not only to be put into the new wineskins of organisation and ministry, but also into the new wineskins of a new vocabulary.
Here was a fresh, new set of facts. To be a conqueror is one thing, but to be more than a conqueror is another. That word is a window word that lets us see the inexhaustible nature of our resources and the unlimited development that lies before us. In Christ we do much more than survive. We thrive! And this, friends, is the mystery of the Christian faith, for out of it comes an energy, wisdom, peace and love that non-Christians find hard to understand. Whatever we had before, we have more since we came to Christ.
Let us pray: "Dear Father, we see that this is one "more" that really counts. As we look through this "window" at the resources available to us in Christ, may we learn how to avail ourselves of these resources and live victoriously. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
This page was created on 15 May 1998
Updated on 15 May 1998
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