old-wine-skinIn Luke 5:39 an interesting quote is added to the famous wineskin parable. Following the statement about new wine needing new wineskins, Jesus says, “and no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’” What does that mean? It means that wine gets better with age. Fine bottles are often left to sit for years. Over time the chemical reactions inside the bottle improve the quality of the product. Apparently Jesus was well aware of this and alludes to it here. Given the choice, the people would take aged wine over new wine. What does this represent? Simply put, the Pharisees and all their legalistic followers got far more satisfaction out of their traditional formality. The old system was like wine aged to perfection. Most Jews liked the old style, the old hymns, the old expectations, the old rules. Jesus understood he was competing against a known product. It was Napa Valley in the 60’s vs. Bordeaux. The existing system, though hopelessly corrupt, was the wine of choice, and it took great courage to switch. The old wine of Judaism was an outstanding vintage, especially if you didn’t want the burden of thinking for yourself.

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