Summary: We know Jesus drank wine but is that a reason or excuse for social drinking?
Why Jesus Drank and I don’t
In 1983 I witnessed a disaster of a wedding. Angela and I were standing up with another couple that we had gone to Bible College with and it was like the pastor just didn’t care. He dropped papers, fumbled through his readings and forgot names. It was horrendous. And as a young pastor I determined that I would do my best for any wedding I performed. After all this is to be one of the most important days in the life of a young couple.
And over the past 27 years I think I’ve done that, as far as depends on me. But as I tell most couples that I am marrying, “Every Wedding has a Story.” And some of them are funny, actually after the fact most of them are funny, but they aren’t necessarily seen as funny at the time, especially if you were the bride.
I’m sure the story with this wedding was how they hadn’t ordered enough wine and half way through the festivities the proverbial well ran dry. And that would have been an embarrassing wedding story, although a week later it probably wouldn’t have made a difference. But what happened after they ran out of wine, that became a great wedding story.
Most people are familiar with the story or at least the concept and wide brush strokes of “Water being turned into Wine.” Very early in the ministry of Jesus, this is actually his first recorded miracle, Jesus and his apostles get invited to a wedding party. Now we would think of this as the reception, but in that culture and day this was the wedding. There was probably no ceremony, the couple probably didn’t recite vows to one another and make promises they might or might not keep. In that day and age it was decided, either by the couple or their parents that they would be married, and they announced it. Bob and Sue are now married. And then they celebrated, there was a big feast and apparently not enough wine. And it was during this feast that we read these words: John 2:3 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” And then if we keep reading John 2:4 “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” And I’m sure at that point he assumed the discussion had ended. But just because he was thirty didn’t mean that Mary was any less his mother, so she does a mother thing. She puts Jesus on the spot, she turns to the servants and says “Do whatever my son tells you to do.”
Man you gotta hate when someone does that to you. My mind wonders how Mary knew that Jesus could do anything; think about it, this is his first miracle supposedly. But maybe it was just his first public miracle; I mean there had to be a reason that Mary thought Jesus could do anything about the fact that there was no more wine. I wonder if there were times at home she ran out of flour or sugar or wine and Jesus did “something” about it.
And so he did do something about it, if you know the story he had the servants get together a bunch of big stone jars and fill them with water and after they were filled he told them to dip some out and take it to the master of the feast. And it was wine and not just any wine apparently it was really good wine. And there wasn’t just a little bit of it, we are told that each of those stone jars would have held somewhere between 20 and 30 gallons, so between the six of them there was at least 120 gallons of wine. Jesus must have been operating on the premise of “Go big or go home.”
And it’s a great story, it reveals a lot about Jesus character and his personality, that he was concerned about his mom’s feelings, that he was at a party and apparently enjoying himself that he would take the time to make sure that the couple special day wasn’t ruined.
But you know sometimes I wish that John had skipped this story, it would have saved me from answering a lot of questions through the years and it would have made it easier to justify the Wesleyan church’s stand on alcohol. Now at this point some of you have perked up and are thinking “The Wesleyan Church has a stand on alcohol?” Yep, we’re agin, and we’ve been agin it for 150 years. And we’re not just a little bit a’gin it we’re a lot a’gin it. In our membership commitments subsection 4 it says and I quote: 4) To demonstrate a positive social witness by abstaining from all forms of gambling and by abstaining from using or trafficking (production, sale or purchase) in any substances destructive to their physical, mental and spiritual health, such as alcoholic beverages, tobacco and drugs (other than proper medical purposes of drugs). Guess that says it all. Some of you are still sitting with your jaws in your laps so apparently you didn’t catch that session of “Discovering Cornerstone.” Yep, we’re a’gin smokin’, drinkin’ and gambling.