“And he said to him, ‘Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!’” (John 2:10 NKJV)
This is a strange story from the book of John. At one time, I thought this came from Jesus’s younger days, because He told His mother that HIs time hadn’t come yet. (v. 4) A more careful reading reveals that His disciples were with Him. (vs. 11-12) Without getting into the whole “should we drink alcohol” discussion, we should note that this was real wine – a fine wine. It was better than the other wine served at the wedding. On the other hand, this was not Jesus teaching us that everybody must drink wine. I believe that there’s a deeper meaning to this story that’s followed quickly by Jesus cleansing the Temple. (Remember the campfire story concept?) It’s a living example that Jesus is greater than the prophets – all those who’ve gone before. The old ways of slavishly following the Law hoping somehow to gain favor with God are gone. The grace of God has been revealed in Jesus Christ.
Some have said that it’s natural for people to search for God. We all want to please God. Religions of all types have sprung up through the ages as people sought to please, or perhaps appease one deity or another. Even today, there are those who would seek to make God like them by doing good things or going to church. If you were to ask them why God should let them into heaven, they could recite a long explanation of how good they’ve been. Jesus offers us the new wine: a relationship with God based on grace. What makes the Christian faith different from religions is that we believe that God has reached out to develop a relationship with us. It’s not something we deserve, it’s what we’re given because God loves us so much. It’s a joy that we should want to share with others. We can do nothing “good enough” to get into heaven, but we can enter into a relationship with God because of His grace seen in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Lord, I come to You with nothing good and depend on Your amazing grace. As our relationship grows, though, let my thoughts, words, and deeds reflect Your love and grace to a dying world.