What does Mark 2:22 mean?Jesus uses another metaphor, that of new wine and old skins, to illustrate why He does not lead His disciples to follow the religion of the Pharisees, specifically in fasting.
Old wineskins, like the Pharisees' rules, are brittle and inflexible. When filled with "new wine," the skins are likely to break apart. The wine would then spill out and be wasted. In the same way, the freedom of a grace-filled life cannot fit in the legalistic rules the Pharisees impose on their followers. Galatians 5:1 says, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
The Pharisees to whom Jesus is referring believe it is most honorable to obey because the order is commanded. To obey because you want to do the thing that was commanded is no sacrifice, and therefore has no honor. Christianity teaches differently: that God will change our hearts to want to do what He wants us to do (Philippians 2:13). This is how we love God (John 14:15; 1 John 5:3). To try to fit Jesus' teachings of love and freedom into the Pharisaical legalism (or even its modern-day equivalences) would have resulted in a burst tradition and pieces of love and freedom spilled out all over the floor.
A particular misuse of this verse justifies a word of warning. Many modern charismatic teachers use this passage in relation to a new movement of God's Spirit within a person or the church. This verse has nothing to do with such activity and is used out of context when applied to these situations. Jesus uses these words to focus His audience on His role as the Messiah and His followers as those who serve according to His will. There is no legitimate working of the Holy Spirit that will burst Jesus' church.