Hold on to the Old While Embracing the New

Hold on to the Old While Embracing the New

Through a mini-parable, Jesus exhorts everyone willing to hear to hold on to the old while embracing the new. Only one verse in length, we could easily miss both the parable and its meaning. Confident that everyone would clearly understand, He offered no further explanation.

Although I try hard to avoid waste, invariably I discover an outdated, expired, or overdue food item pushed to the back corner of a cupboard or the refrigerator. Ugh! Because most food products carry labels informing us when something is no longer safe for consumption, I know when the old must go!

In contrast, as a watercolor painter, the beginning layers of paint affect every new layer that will be placed on them. The old never grows old but forms a strategic foundation for the new. The point Jesus makes in His parable resembles watercolor far more that my refrigerator.

“He said to them, ‘Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
Matthew 13:52

The Old

What happens when an old teacher of the Law becomes a new disciple of Jesus Christ? Must he then throw out every “old” concept as moldy, outdated, and expired?

Jesus answers, “No!”

The old teacher holds a tremendous advantage. As he pays attention to the Old while embracing the New, he discovers otherwise hidden resources — a storeroom overflowing with both New and Old treasures.

If we read the New Testament with honesty, we uncover a beautiful web of meaning originating from Genesis throughout the pages to end of Revelation. Out of the Old flows treasures far surpassing diamonds or gold.

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
Romans 15:4

“Everything that was written,” every word within the Word, precious, anointed, life-giving and powerful! Every word instructing, teaching, encouraging, and hope-filled! Oh, that we would learn to hold on to the Old while embracing the New.

The New

In another passage from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares,

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
Matthew 5:17

Jesus warns listeners, then and now, to not “set aside” the Old. In the same breath, He makes a surprising promise for those who both hold on to the Old while embracing the New.

” … but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:19

As evangelical Christians, we easily stumble blindly past Jesus’ words, failing to give them the respect and honor they deserve. We rightly enjoy freedom, knowing Jesus paid our sin-debt in full. No further sacrifice is needed!

Though ultimate sacrifice met every requirement of the Law, Jesus did not erase it.

Immediately after these words, Jesus shocked His listeners by reinforcing the Law to incomprehensible levels. Don’t commit murder now meant not even calling someone a fool! Don’t commit adultery now included not even looking at another person lustfully. He challenged everyone to not only love their neighbors, but to also love their enemies.

Old and New

Like a true watercolor artist, Jesus picks up the dual brushes of the Old and New Covenant — filled and exposed fully for us all. The rich, heavenly hues of depth, color, and dimension interwoven with precision. Both taking form in the Triunity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The more one studies the Old, the more beautiful the New becomes. The more one comprehends the heart of God in the Old, the more we are humbled by the expression of that heart in the New. Together, as teachers of the Law and disciples of the Kingdom of Heaven, we draw from the storehouse treasures available to us. In holding to the Old and embracing the New, a well-spring of wisdom unfolds.

“He said to them, ‘Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
Matthew 13:52

My Prayer

Oh, Holy Father, grant us tender hearts and willing minds to embrace both the Old and New of Your grace and goodness. There is no expiration date! The Old never grows old. The New never loses its luster. Both Old and New remain eternally true. May we read the Bible from a panoramic view — Genesis to Revelation. Reveal to us the depths of what we hold in our hands and hide in our hearts. Give us grace to see You in every word. May we see the beauty and artistry embedded within each line, woven like no other love story to us, Your beloved sons and daughters. May Your Word become fresh — both the Old and the New. The colours blending into the imagine of immaculate perfection that You designed. Help us to be brought low in the discovery, as we hold on to the Old while embracing the New.
Worthy, O God, are You!
Amen.

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