Water Into Wine (Part 3)
John 2:1-11 records Jesus' miracle at a wedding feast in Cana. Our Lord turned water into wine--and not just any kind of wine--the best wine. In our modern society, the best wine is considered to be that which has the greatest alcoholic content, but that was not the case in Jesus' day. A couple observations are in order here.

First, the Greek word oinos (translated "wine") and its Hebrew equivalent yayin are generic terms which can refer to grape juice in a fermented or unfermented state. Carefully study Numbers 6:4, Isaiah 16:10, and Jeremiah 40:10 for examples of this truth. Simply because the Bible uses the word wine does not automatically mean that an intoxicating beverage is under discussion. Thus, the Biblical context must always be considered to determine if the beverage is alcoholic or not.

Second, Albert Barnes, in his commentary, gives good evidence to support the idea that the ancients judged wine to be good according to its freshness and mildness, rather than its vintage and strength. Pliny, Plutarch, and Horace are cited as examples showing that the best wine was that which was harmless, the most useful wine was that which had little strength, and that a good wine was one that was destitute of spirit. Therefore, one should not assume, by modern thinking, that the beverage Jesus made at the wedding feast had to be alcoholic since it is referred to as "good". Also, one should not assume that the beverage is alcoholic since it is referred to as "wine".

In fact, there are several good reasons to believe that the beverage Jesus supplied here was not alcoholic: (1) The Son of God never sinned (Heb. 4:15; I Pet. 2:22), and neither did He tempt anyone to sin (James 1:13). But, if Jesus made intoxicating wine on this occasion, then He would have been tempting and encouraging people to sin via drunkenness! It would have been impossible for Jesus to do this and not sin, for it would have been a stumbling block to His brethren (cf. Luke 17:1,2)! (2) How could Jesus be consistent if He provided an intoxicating beverage in such large quantities (over 120 gallons) and then sent the Holy Spirit to inspire Paul to warn against the sin of drunkenness (e.g., Eph. 5:18; I Cor. 6:10; Gal. 5:21)? Would He not be a hypocrite in so doing? (3) Why would Jesus use His miraculous power to furnish men and women with that which is destructive to them since His mission was "to seek and save the lost" (Luke 19:10), not cause drunkenness and other sins related to it?

Friends, I strongly believe that although Jesus attended a celebration, sinful activities were not part of it. Had Jesus created over 120 gallons of intoxicating drink, certainly sin would have been involved. We today can celebrate and have a good time without indulging in unrighteous behavior. It is true that most of the world's parties and celebration include alcoholic beverages, but Christians who think their restraints can be laid aside on these special occasions are mistaken. We are to be called out from the world and distinct from it; we are not to attempt to blend in with the wicked.

Other than for medicinal purposes, the Bible doesn't say anything positive about strong drink. Consider some things the Bible says about intoxicants: Proverbs 20:1 - "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise." Proverbs 23:29-35 gives a vivid description of the effects of drinking--sorrow, complaining, removal of inhibitions, lack of control, addiction, etc. Galatians 5:19-21 names drunkenness and drinking parties (i.e., revelries) as works of the flesh - "...those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Dear listeners, why did John record this miracle of Christ at Cana? John 2:11 offers two reasons: (1) To manifest Jesus' glory and (2) To produce faith in His disciples (cf. 20:30,31). I cannot understand how creating a large quantity of intoxicating wine, which would lead many into drunkenness (as well as other sins), could bring any glory to Jesus. I also wonder about the type of faith Jesus would have produced in His disciples had they witnessed Him encouraging the sin of drunkenness. Yes, Jesus turned water into wine, but it wasn't intoxicating. To say otherwise is to turn the Savior into a sinner.