Those two sayings sum up the life of following Jesus. Jesus told a young rich man who wanted to follow him, to sell all his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor. Why did he say that?
First, because the poor needed it. The rich man wanted to sign up to assist Jesus in his mission, part of which was to proclaim good news to the poor. Think about that–if you are poor, what better news could there be?
“Some Wall Street wizard cashed in all his chips just before the crash–and he wants you to have the profits.”
Second, the young man’s possessions were dragging him down. What Jesus was really saying to him was
“Right here and now, I’m setting you free. You don’t need all that. Let it go.”
The second saying, “Drink the best wine first” wasn’t said by Jesus; it was said about him. Jesus attended a wedding, maybe of one of his sisters, and when they ran out of beverage, he turned water in to wine. If you’ve ever been to a wedding, no doubt you heard the preacher say, “Our Lord adorned this manner of life with his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. ”
The caterer said, “Woah!–everybody else serves the best wine first, but you saved the best wine for last.”
I’m not a connoisseur of wine–I didn’t grow up in California or France–I grew up in Carrie Nation territory; but I take turning water into wine as a metaphor. Jesus wants us to enjoy life. His presence is a celebration. He didn’t tell people to give up their possessions because he wanted them to live an austere, ascetic existence.
He knew that possessions can possess us and keep us from enjoying life to its fullest.