Summary: We’re going to look at why it’s better to abstain from alcoholic beverages, then at Jewish wedding customs in N.T. times, and lastly at 5 foreshadowings of Christ’s first miracle at this wedding.
THE WEDDING AT CANA
A. HUMOR: RUNNING THE SHOW -- Michael McPherson
“I am a deputy sheriff assigned to courthouse security. As part of my job, I explain court procedures to visitors. One day I was showing a group of ninth-graders around. Court was in recess and only the clerk and a young man in custody wearing handcuffs were in the courtroom.
"This is where the judge sits," I began, pointing to the bench. "The lawyers sit at these tables. The court clerk sits over there. The court recorder, or stenographer, sits over here. Near the judge is the witness stand and over there is where the jury sits. As you can see," I finished, "there are a lot of people involved in making this system work."
At that point, the prisoner raised his cuffed hands and said, "Yeah, but I'm the one who makes it all happen."
1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine." 4"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come." 5His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." 6Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. 8Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so, 9and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."
We’re going to look at why it’s better to abstain from alcoholic beverages, then at Jewish wedding customs in N.T. times, and lastly at 5 foreshadowings of Christ’s first miracle at this wedding.
I. DID CHRIST CONTRIBUTE TO DRUNKENNESS?
A. WHY ABSTAIN FROM ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
1. Today I’m speaking on the miracle of Christ turning the water into wine at the Wedding of Cana. Inevitably, when this passage is brought up, some think that Christ’s actions legitimize drinking alcohol or at least social drinking. Nothing could be further from the truth.
2. I want to briefly state why I believe every Christian should abstain from the use of alcoholic beverages. I don’t think that one glass of wine or beer will send you to hell, but I believe every Christian should avoid alcohol as they would a snake. Prov. 23:32 says, “In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.”
3. In my handout, “Why Abstain from Alcohol?” I list ten reasons Christians shouldn’t drink:
a. Harmful to the Body b. Bad Stewardship
c. Destroys Testimony d. Drunkenness – a Sin
e. Bad for Spiritual Growth f. Devil’ Foothold
g. Other Christians Stumble h. Brings Disgrace
i. Is for Glory of God? j. Not Necessary
These alone should be sufficient to compel most people to quit drinking.
B. WHY N.T. CHRISTIANS DRANK “WINE”
1. The my handout, “Wine Drinking in N.T. Times” by Robert H. Stein. This handout makes clear, from dozens of quotes from antiquity, that N.T. “wine” was no more than purified water. The only other method of purification was boiling which was too costly & time consuming. For “wine” that was 3 parts water and one part wine to get the effects of two martinis, you’d have to drink 22 glasses, which would affect the bladder long before it affected the mind!
2. Secondly, I believe the wine produced by miracle at the Wedding of Cana was non-alcoholic, the first-ever Welch’s grape juice! I have heard supposed scholars say that it wasn’t wine unless it was alcoholic. Those scholars didn’t study the Word on it.
3. There are four Bible words used of “wine”:
a. Shekar – “strong drink.” This is used of every kind of drink that is intoxicating. Its use is condemned in the Bible with one exception; Proverbs 31:6, as a painkiller for those in grief or physical suffering.
b. Tirosh – grape juice, “new wine found in the cluster,” Isaiah 65:8. The juice inside the grape, when it is still inside the grape, is called “wine”! “The presses break forth with new wine”(Prov. 3:10) – it’s called “wine” when it is just forced out of the grape, even though it hasn’t had time to ferment. Yet it is called “wine”.