Messianic Rabbi: The Gospel According to Wine


This week I've been debating with a friend about the virtues of iced tea.

Our conversation shifted for a few moments to the book of John chapter 2, which shares the narrative of Yeshua (Jesus) turning water into wine, which happens to be one of my favorite passages. For many years, I wondered why this event was even included in the Bible. After all, John 21:25 tells us:

"There are also many other things which Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that not even the world itself could contain the books that would be written. Amen."

Knowing there were so many things Yeshua did not included in the Bible would cause us to conclude that if this narrative is included, then it must have tremendous importance. At first glance, this miracle seems so insignificant when compared to giving sight to the blind, giving hearing to the deaf, causing the lame to walk or raising the dead.

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Of all of the miracles that could have been His first miracle, Yeshua chose to turn water into wine. Why? When we read the last verse of the narrative, we can find the answer to our question.

In John 2:11, we see: "This, the first of His signs, Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and He revealed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him."

In this miracle, Yeshua revealed His glory. How is Yeshua's glory revealed in turning water into wine?

First of all, turning water into wine was not simply adding flavor to water the way we do today, nor was it like adding sugar to iced tea to make it sweeter. This was a re-creative miracle. Yeshua took something and transformed it into something that it wasn't. He also didn't turn the water into cheap wine; He made it into the best wine.

Yeshua's first miracle of turning water into wine was actually a greater miracle than the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the lame walking or even raising the dead. Each of those miracles were restorative miracles. Turning water into wine was not simply restoring what was; it was creating something totally new from what existed.

In other words, in Yeshua's first miracle, He revealed His glory and shared the Good News—that He came not to restore, but to renew. This is why in Mark 2:22 we read:

"And no one pours new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, and the wine is spilled, and the wineskins will be marred. But new wine must be poured into new wineskins."

Like the water turned into wine, when we are recreated, we become totally new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says:

"Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new."

So we see Yeshua didn't just save the reputation of the bride's father from the embarrassment that day in Cana; He actually revealed the gospel according to wine, because the gospel according to wine revealed His glory and the Good News of His recreative power.

Eric Tokajer is the author of Overcoming Fearlessness, What If Everything You Were Taught About the Ten Commandments Was Wrong?, With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians and Galatians in Context.

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