John 2: Did Jesus really make wine as we know it?

John 2: Did Jesus really make wine as we know it?

In most any biblical discussion of teetotalling vs social drinking, the seminal event of John 2 is broached. The pro-alcohol proponent usually claims that Jesus made alcoholic wine at the wedding feast, but the evidence and tenor of the text tells a difference story.

First, there is the overall biblical view of the casual use of alcohol. The testimony of Scripture is decidedly negative toward the non-medicinal use of alcoholic beverages. Solomon sought to gratify himself with wine and determined it as an exercise in vanity (Ecc 2). In the Proverbs, we find even greater condemnation for alcoholic drink: “Wine is a mocker; strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Prov 20:1).

In today’s text we find that the sheer amount of “wine” produced is well over 100 gallons. Also, we also see that the master of the feast is not intoxicated so as to be unable to distinguish between the quality of beverage previously served versus that miraculously created by Jesus. The very idea that the Lord would use a miracle to create a beverage that would be harmful to the health and sobriety of the wedding participants is ludicrous.

But some will argue, “These are prohibitions against drunkenness, not social drinking.” Fair enough. But we might counter that any influence of alcohol is a matter of drunkenness to some degree.

Moreover, Peter spoke to drunkenness and social drinking individually and condemned them both: “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lewdness, lists, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:3).

You will notice that we have been careful to distinguish between the social and medicinal use of alcohol. There are legitimate medicinal uses for alcohol given in the Scriptures (cf Prov 31:6-7; 1 Tim 5:23). Its use in such cases is no different than any other modern medication that might be taken for pain, etc., but is not suitable for continual or recreational use.

Those who want what they want will continue to misuse these and other texts to press their agenda. Don’t let them!

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