Ask Pastor Adrienne column: Again … why the wine?
Q: Why did Jesus make wine for the wedding at Cana when he knew drunkenness was forbidden?
A: I receive this question in various forms fairly often. Perhaps we, as a church, continue to search for the answers when we don’t like the answers we find? Thank you for allowing me to take another run at it during a timely occasion to discuss.
While the darkness of Satan’s work rages forth around the world and all over the U.S., God is watching to see what we, the church and bride are doing in response. Part of God’s heartache with a half-asleep, fearful church right now is that we are also a divided group mostly void of unity. Christians are separated by denominations, cultures and creeds, which are often built around secular topics. Long hair or short; male-dominated or female-led; gays or straights; NIV or King James; to drink or not to drink. Alcohol is one of the devil’s most divisive subjects when it comes to Christianity. Even in my past church-life (prior to preaching), I was inched out of leadership roles in two congregations because of my non-religious views on alcohol. Where did I get those views? The wedding of Cana (John 2).
Jesus was not a teetotaler. No, our savior, God in the flesh, took the form of a middle eastern man who lived in the first century. This meant that the beverages available to him at that time were mainly water and wine. We know Jesus drank water, since one of his most famous encounters involved a woman at a well (John 4). Yet, while we split hairs over whether or not Jesus actually drank wine, we do know that he “took the cup” in the upper room of his last dinner with the 12 disciples; explaining how the new covenant was symbolized by bread and wine; his blood and body: “And when he had given thanks to God for it, he broke it and gave it to his disciples and said, ‘Take this and eat it. This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.’ In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new agreement between God and you that has been established and set in motion by my blood. Do this in remembrance of me whenever you drink it’” (1 Corinthians 11:24, 25, TLB).
So why would Jesus, the Living Word, say in one part of the Bible, “Those who practice drunkenness will not inherit the Kingdom of God,” (paraphrase of Galatians 5:21), while in another part of the Bible decide to manufacture the stuff for a wedding reception? Are we to assume this is a biblical error and proof of God’s inconsistency? The atheists do. Should we invent dogma-appeasing rationale about new-wine versus old-wine and degrees of fermentation? Some denominations do.
The answer to this question is so simple, a child could deduce it: Alcohol consumption is to drunkenness as matches are to an arsonist fire. Both matches and alcohol are dangerous if used unwisely or with evil intent. Standing by themselves, however, a match and a glass of wine are not only harmless, they are beneficial. Jesus crafted the finest wine a seasoned maître d’ had ever tasted because he wasn’t concerned about legalism or the religious police questioning his motives and whitewashing the miracle thousands of years later. Nor did Christ make the wine then stop and lecture on alcohol. He had other fish to fry that day, like honoring his mother’s urging to begin his ministry and blessing a new couple who had run out of their celebratory substance.
The church today has other fish to fry as well. We’re so busy chasing meaningless rabbit trails, distracting ourselves with mountains that should be molehills and propping up our pet causes, we can barely carry the water buckets needed to put out the fires of hell bursting forth around us.
Christians, it’s time to pick our battles more wisely and keep our powder dry. The Lord is trying to reshuffle the church’s priorities into lists that actually impact our world and mean something to heaven (and human history). We’ve got a presidential election coming up, chief of all. Will you vote? Will you vote the Bible? In this dark hour, the question is way beyond people and personalities, it is about honoring the only One who can save our world again. When we vote … and our vote is in alignment with the Word of God … we have fought the good fight and won the war against evil.
Do you have a question or comment for Pastor Adrienne? Send your inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 214, Harrison, OH 45030. For more information, please visit www.adriennewgreene.com or tune into the “Ask Pastor Adrienne” YouTube channel.