The Wedding of Cana - Drinking Alcohol Acceptable or Not?

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John

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Re: The Wedding of Cana - Drinking Alcohol Acceptable or Not

Postby WSC » Sat Oct 30, 2010 4:08 pm

I don't think we can assume that people were drunk if the wine being served was alcoholic. They ran out...it may be that they ran out because more people showed up than they were prepared for.
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Re: The Wedding of Cana - Drinking Alcohol Acceptable or Not

Postby biblestudent » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:46 pm

I have always wondered why Paul would use "drink wine" in this passage if it were just grape juice. "Eating meat" offered to idols I understand, but not drinking grape juice. Does anybody have any thoughts why Paul would use "drink wine" if he meant grape juice? I have posted the entire passage for context and underlined the verse in question:

Rom 14:10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;
Rom 14:11 for it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
Rom 14:12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
Rom 14:13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
Rom 14:14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.
Rom 14:15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.
Rom 14:16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Rom 14:18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.
Rom 14:19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
Rom 14:20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.
Rom 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
Rom 14:22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.
Rom 14:23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
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Re: The Wedding of Cana - Drinking Alcohol Acceptable or Not

Postby D'Angelo Joyce » Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:43 pm

One possibility could be that Paul is referring to meat and drink offered to Idols (and I use to always wonder the very same thing about the text). The second possibility could be that "meat and drink" are simply a synecdoche for any dietary observance that can cause one to stumble, and finally I believe it could mean drinking intoxicating drink. I believe the latter is the weakest, not because I want to defend drinking grape juice, but because I believe drinking wine would have been so common in that day, that it would be thought of as strange as someone "being offended because of it." Of course today with our alcoholic pandemic, it is easy, maybe to read that back into the text--i.e. since some Christians are recovering alcoholics and even the smell of it could send them into a frenzy, we ought to abstain from it (at least in their presence). Now whether that is Paul's point or not it is very valid, because scruples transcend time and Romans has application for all people. But I think the second option best fits Paul. He already said, "the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy of the Holy Spirit."

For reasons, that Dick pointed out in his article, I find it highly implausible that Jesus made intoxicating drink. What concerns me though about this discussion is where we have taken it. Solomon warned, "beware of the little foxes" and it seems we have spent far too much time on little foxes that draw our attention away from the issue. What was Jesus doing at the wedding in the first place, and why did he turn water into wine.

I posits the following explanation: Notice verse six says, “Now six stone jars had been there for Jewish purification.” Why even mention what the use of the stones? Why not just say, there were 30 gallons of water there? What is the significance of mentioning that they were used of Jewish purification? That is, this was water used for cleaning tables and ceremonial washing’, of this they were extremely particular. Jews would not eat with any persons who were ritually impure. Because of ritual Gentiles and Jews could not fellowship and the sinners were looked down upon. Now look at the text. Here it is. Jesus is bringing in the wine of a new age, a joy that transcends and replaces the “old” water of Jewish purification. The prophets frequently described the blessings of the new age with an abundance of wine–the symbolization of blessings. In fact Amos said “The mountains will drip with sweet wine and all the hills will flow with it. I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel. They will rebuild and occupy ruined cities, plant vineyards and drink their wine.” (Amos 9:13). Jesus here announces the new era is coming near and is replacing old Jewish ritualism, and the acceptance of all people.

I think this is why the evangelist includes this story. When taken as a whole this explanation makes perfect sense. The next to stories depict Jesus as the new temple, or the temple alternative, and his vocation as the means of a new birth (John 2:12-23, John 3:1-7). Lets focus on Jesus and not side issues. This is neither a proof text for or a proof text against drinking wine socially. O for the day when this beautiful story can be taught without a reference to the sinfulness of drinking.
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Re: The Wedding of Cana - Drinking Alcohol Acceptable or Not

Postby D'Angelo Joyce » Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:54 pm

Regarding wine, there seem to be two verses which explicitly speak of God's people drinking wine.

Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the LORD your God and rejoice.
(Deut 14:26)

5 and like the heat of the desert.
You silence the uproar of foreigners;
as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud,
so the song of the ruthless is stilled.

6 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare
a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine
the best of meats and the finest of wines.

7 On this mountain he will destroy
the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;


Deut 14:26 is clear enough and needs no explanation. The other too, seems clear as well, God's people would drink aged wine (or wine on the less), even if this is a messianic referent, does not mean it does not have any literal meaning, it also puzzling why God would use something sinful to connote an age of blessing. Someone may say, "Ah, didn't Jesus say he would come as a thief in the night!" Yes, but he did not say he would be a thief in the night but would come as one, similarly to one, in a secretive manner. Where as Isaiah, description is not a simile at all, but would in my judgment metaphorically describes "good things of the messianic age" or perhaps even the rich sharing their goods with the poor (What the Corinthians should have been doing but were not in 1 Corinthians 11) within a blessed age--so it could sort of have a double meaning.
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Re: The Wedding of Cana - Drinking Alcohol Acceptable or Not

Postby biblestudent » Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:57 pm

D'Angelo Joyce wrote:One possibility could be that Paul is referring to meat and drink offered to Idols.


Seems most reasonable to me and fits the context of "eating meats" which I think is clearly meat offered to idols.

D'Angelo Joyce wrote:For reasons, that Dick pointed out in his article, I find it highly implausible that Jesus made intoxicating drink.


I agree. I am not sure it can be known. If it can't, then your point is well taken that it is commonly used as a proof-text for both sides of the argument that is not even the point of the text.

D'Angelo Joyce wrote:I think this is why the evangelist includes this story. When taken as a whole this explanation makes perfect sense. The next to stories depict Jesus as the new temple, or the temple alternative, and his vocation as the means of a new birth (John 2:12-23, John 3:1-7). Lets focus on Jesus and not side issues. This is neither a proof text for or a proof text against drinking wine socially. O for the day when this beautiful story can be taught without a reference to the sinfulness of drinking.


Insightful.

Either way, Paul's point is that we all stand before the judgment seat of God, not one another, so stop passing judgment. Whether I drink or don't, I better be ready regardless of what anybody else says.
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Re: The Wedding of Cana - Drinking Alcohol Acceptable or Not

Postby RAnderson » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:15 pm

I know that this is an old thread, but it was a great read!
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