May 26, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
WEEKLY WORLD NEWS, May 24, 1994
Doctors are blaming a rare electrical imbalance in the brain for the bizarre death
of a chess player whose head literally exploded in the middle of a championship
game! …Nikolai Titov’s head suddenly blew apart. Experts say he suffered from a
condition called Hyper-Cerebral Electrosis or HCE….Incredibly, Titiov’s is not the
first case in which a person’s head has spontaneously exploded. Five people are
known to have died of HCE in the last 25 years. The most recent death occurred
just three years ago in 1991, when European psychic Barbara Nicole’s skull burst.
…”HCE is an extremely rare physical imbalance,” said Dr. Anatoly Martinenko,
famed neurologist and expert on the human brain who did the autopsy on the bril-
liant chess expert. “It is a condition in which the circuits of the brain become over-
loaded by the body’s own electricity. The explosions happen during periods of in-
tense mental activity when lots of current is surging through the brain. Victims are
highly intelligent people with great powers of concentration.
Yuck! But I am glad HCE is ‘extremely rare‘! Most of us will not experience a spontaneous explosion of our heads – or other body parts!!!
However, Jesus spoke of those who can experience explosions by trying to contain “…new wine in… old wineskins….” Here is His parable from Mark 2:22:
…no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the
wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine
must be put into new wineskins.
To understand what the Lord is talking about, you have to know something about new wine and old wineskins. New wine is the juice of the grape that is still fermenting. Natural yeasts on the grapes react with the sugars within and turn the juice into an alcoholic mixture which also releases carbon dioxide. When the fermentation is taking place in an enclosed container, the gas will increase the inside pressure.
Wineskins were generally the skins of goats or sheep, although sometimes ox or camel skins were used. The skin was removed from the neck down as a whole piece, tanned, the hair cut close, turned inside out, and any openings but one were corded off. Then it was filled with wine, sealed up tight, and the skin would stretch as the fermentation process continued. Smaller carrying pouches of skin were also used. Old wineskins had already been used once and had been stretched to their limit by their original contents of new wine. If filled again with the same, they would burst under the built-up pressure.
The whole point of what Jesus was saying is that the Jews already had been filled and stretched by the wine of the old covenant – obedience to the law. In the minds of the Jewish leaders, they were keeping the demands of law – both God-given as well as the many layers of rabbinical interpretation of that law – and were quite pleased with themselves in their self-righteous legalism.
Now along came Jesus who was challenging them to be new wineskins – to clean out the man-made rules and regulations, internalize their obedience unto God – from the heart, and begin it all by putting their faith in the Messiah, Jesus the Christ. New wine indeed! If they tried to cram all the new stuff into the old framework of the Jewish religion, it wouldn’t work – the old would explode!
Today most people who call themselves Christians are not trying to follow the old Jewish law. But too many are locked into legalism! It may be a cutesy way of putting it, but it has been said about legalism, “I don’t drink, smoke, cuss or chew, spit on the sidewalk, or go with girls that do!” This then – in that manner of thinking – makes one a Christian! And if you try to really cram all of true, real and dynamic Christianity into such a legalistic framework, that one will be an Exploding Christian!
Does legalism make you feel like you are going to explode sometimes – especially when you are challenged to be a real Christian from the inside out? Then throw out the old! Invite in the new – Jesus Christ into your heart and life! He will expand your new wineskin with the new wine of the Holy Spirit leading you to live out the vibrant Christian life the Lord came to give!
On Wednesday we will see how such new wine in new skins can really explode for God’s glory and His kingdom!