New wine

water to wine

In John chapter 2 verses 1 to 11 is recorded Jesus first miracle – that of changing water into wine. Jesus, His mother, and his disciples were all invited. Liking this was the wedding of some relative of Jesus. In their culture and time it was VERY SERIOUS if a wedding guest did not bring a wedding gift. Similarly it was VERY SERIOUS if the wedding hosts did not provide adequately for the wedding guests. And Jesus’ mother comes to Him with a problem. There’s no more wine!?!

This passage, Jesus first miracle, is problematic for those who believe that Christians should never touch alcohol. Jesus turned water into wine and when the steward tasted it, he declared it to be of good quality compared to the wine everyone had been enjoying so far. And it is clear by how he says it that this wine was by no means some strange non-alcoholic wine.

If this is a problem for you, take a deep breath, and continue on with me. The focus this morning is not on the issue of alcohol and Christians. Read on.

Verse six says: “Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washing, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.”

Here, at the beginning of Jesus public ministry, at the event of His first miracle, Jesus changed the water of Jewish ceremonial purification to a wonderful wine.

Jewish custom insisted that they keep an outward appearance that was clean. The ceremonial washing of hands symbolized being washed of any filth, anything that was able to defile them. It was a work, in line with the Old Testament. To the Jews this was a way of maintaining right status before God. Yet as has been  shown over and over, man is unable to be perfect before God by his own acts. Man falls short again and again and again.

Jesus’ provision for the wedding also shows that His provision has come for man. In place of ceremonial cleansing water is now the wine of Jesus. A new covenant. One that is of high quality and pleasing. A provision that is Miraculous.

Today, don’t strive for righteousness achieved by perfect living. You and I will fail at that. Instead let’s recommit to living by Christ’s miraculous provision that is not based on our works but on His new wine, the new covenant between God and man. And out of our love and gratitude, led by the Spirit, we’ll be able to do any number of good works that are pleasing to Him.