he Bible makes a very important distinction between "strong drink" and wine. New Wine, especially, is a symbol of the coming of the Kingdom of God in the Old Testament.
I'm not sure where the theological stance comes that says Christians cannot drink wine, and that wine itself is evil. My understanding of Scripture is that you need to read it in context to get the meaning of a verse. At least that is what my seminary teachers and mentors always said, but for some reason when it comes to this Wine issue, the rules seem to go out the window! I don't get it. Jesus was Jewish and he was very much part of his own culture and was even accused of eating and drinking strong drink with sinners. Any honest scholar will tell you that he really was eating and drinking strong drink with sinners! He went to those who needed him and showed himself to be fully human and fully able to engage in all of life's experiences without sinning.
I can understand the caution of some pastors and clergy, trying to protect their members who have addiction problems, but you cannot deny the truth. The truth is this: Jesus drank, all of the priests of Israel were required to drink, Moses drank, Paul commands Timothy to drink -- Wine.
I can give you a little background teaching on how I deal with the issue:
Why did Jesus turn water into WINE? Because it was required to fulfill the Rabbi's traditions! He could not have fulfilled tradition by turning the water into some kind of drink other than wine. By-the-way, all of Jesus' miracles were to fulfill Rabbinic Tradition that stated ONLY Messiah could do these things, so Jesus had to do them to prove himself beyond a shadow of doubt to be Messiah. Here is the tradition concerning the Marriage Wine:
The Rabbis teach that Adam and Eve sinned by eating a fruit from a tree that was similar to a GRAPE. They teach that Adam and Eve sinned just prior to consummating their marriage, and that the "second creation story" isn't about the creation of the world, or of the Garden of Eden, but about the WEDDING of Adam & Eve. Thus it was a seven day wedding.
All formal Orthodox Jewish weddings are Seven Days in commemoration of Adam & Eve's wedding. At every one of those weddings you are required to serve the best WINE first and the worst WINE last, to commemorate the Sin of Adam & Eve.
Further, because Eve was the one through whom the Original sin came in the first place, all of her daughters are required to be ritually bathed each day of the seven day wedding ceremony. She is required to have stone jars filled with water (symbolizing leaking vessels filled with the Spirit of GOD). After each cleansing that day's jar was to be smashed so it could not be used again. However, this did not happen in the New Testament story, the jars were kept whole. However, as is the tradition, the head of the party served the BEST wine first and the WORST wine last, BUT they ran out of WINE too early!
That is the moment where the story in John 2 begins, "And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
4Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
5His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
6And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
7Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
9When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
10And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
11This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him."
In other words this is what happened:
Jesus' mother saw an opportunity for Jesus to begin revealing himself to the world, but he knew that it was not time for the full revelation. However, he did do a very important thing. He had the six vessels (representing the cleansing of Eve of the original sin), filled with water (The Holy Spirit), then he turned the water into the BEST WINE, and all were surprised! Because you NEVER give the best wine (the NEW WINE) last!
Jesus with his first miracle used WINE and Rabbinic Tradition to personally reverse original sin...
We are the leaky vessels. We are filled with the Spirit which keeps us cleansed and we look forward to the day when we drink that Passover CUP of the Covenant with Jesus at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, when we drink with Him the New Wine of the Kingdom in the presence of His Father in Heaven.