Summary: This passage is not the legitimizer of alcoholic beverages. In fact, it is not about wine at all.
January 14, 2007
Second Sunday after the Epiphany - C
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
What we have read is the account of the first miracle Jesus performed – unless you want to include creation and pretty much everything else that ever happened before this one!
The old country preacher was doing well over 100 mph when he passed the State Trooper hiding behind the billboard. When the Trooper finally caught up with him and got him stopped, he stepped to the driver’s side door. A familiar smell emanating from the back seat caught the Trooper’s attention.
Preacher, began the officer, what’cha got in that Mason Jar in the back seat? The preacher responded, Oh, it’s just some water I use for baptizin’. Let me see it anyway, said the Trooper. One whiff confirmed his suspicions. Preacher – this here’s no baptizin’ water – it’s some kinda strong wine!
Said the parson, Praise the Lord – he done it again!
This passage is not the legitimizer of alcoholic beverages. In fact, it is not about wine at all. Many people make that mistake. The reason Christians should not drink isn’t because alcohol is demonic or ungodly…in the same way that a car isn’t ungodly. Both alcohol and cars are inanimate objects; neither is good, nor evil. It is in how something is used that determines whether it is useful or harmful.
Paul said, You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is helpful. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 24Don’t think only of your own good. Think of other Christians and what is best for them. 1Corinthians 10:23, 24 (NLT)
What other people see in you, and what you do is important! An elderly gentleman lived up the street from our house in Gainesville, Florida; we nicknamed him “Flash”.
Flash was about 900 years old – claimed he was going to outlive Methuselah. We called him Flash because he used to “jog” down our street with his walker several times a day for exercise. He would stop and talk to anyone…even a preacher.
Now, Flash couldn’t hear a thing; but if he sensed a vehicle coming down the street, he would check the rearview mirror on his walker, and if he saw your car he’d hoist that walker up and run to the sidewalk!
In those days we drove an old grey station wagon. Whenever I changed the oil I would pull the “grey ghost” part-way off the carport, so the oil wouldn’t drip on the cement carport pad and ruin Mrs. Preacher’s whole day. One Sunday night after a long day at church, I decided the oil needed changing. I pulled the family bus into that half-on, half-off position, drained and refilled the oil. Then the thing refused to start. I had to leave it there…just too tired to fool with it.
The next morning, in that nearly-sunrise dark/light time, Mrs. Preacher ventured out the front door to get the newspaper. She had coffee cup in hand, robe and curlers in place…almost, and absolutely no makeup…it was only a paper retrieval trip to the mailbox at the end of the front walk.
It so happened that this early morning stroll coincided with Flash’s first jog of the day. Eyes met! Flash stopped, took-in the sight of Mrs. Preacher’s robe, slippers, sloshing hot coffee and tired eyes. His eye also caught the grey ghost half catty-wumpus askew in the carport. As he looked back to Mrs. Preacher, he said in his most consoling tone, Whass’amatter, honey – did you come home drunk again last night?