I saw the Internet meme that swept through Facebook and several other social media sites a few months back. It showed grocery store shelves labeled ‘Water,” but with bottle after bottle of wine stocking the shelves. The caption on the picture reads, “Jesus was here.”
This week’s Bible reading from John 2:1-11 describes the source material for the meme -- Jesus' first recorded miracle: Turning water into wine.
I don't know how he did it.
I don't know how it really happened.
Here are some things I've heard over the years.
"It wasn't really wine. It was grape juice."
"The wine of Jesus' time wasn't the kind that makes a person drunk."
"Jesus wasn't endorsing the consumption of alcohol -- he was simply doing what his mother asked"
It was wine. It was the kind that could make a person drunk. And Jesus drank the wine, too.
Look -- Jesus turned water into wine and the guests were really happy. Jesus offered extravagant hospitality in a situation where he was a guest! It’s likely that he even got a little bit tipsy -- on this and maybe some other occasions.
I also think that some people have a problem with alcohol consumption -- either from their moral perspective or as a person who has abused alcohol or as a person who has been affected by the actions of a person who abuses alcohol. I don't think a person should ever use this verse to berate or cut down a person who chooses, for whatever reason, not to drink. I also don’t think the story should be used to say that alcohol consumption is just fine. Ultimately, this story isn’t about drinking alcohol – it’s about abundance and hospitality. The wedding guests were out of wine. Wine was a part of the celebration. Jesus (at his mother’s request) responded to the need.
Yeah. Jesus does that.