Youth Corner

The Issue of Wine

Cana of GalileeA side thought –
This discussion has always come up whenever the topic of wine came up in our discussions during youth group or side discussions.
Basically the argument is at the wedding of Cana of Galilee if Christ turned the water into wine, he must of drank from it. We often use this example as a means to justify the reason why we should be allowed to drink.
I was just having a quick flick through the bible when i stumbled on something that caught my eye and triggered alarms bells.
When Joseph was returning from Egypt they settled in a town known as Nazareth. This town was small and had no great significance and was unlikely to be caught up in any political strife.
However something great was known about Nazareth, the people there where known as the Nazarenes. To the Jewish world they knew exactly what this meant.
If we have a quick look at the book of Numbers we will understand more about the person of Jesus, the way he lived and finally we will relate it back to the wedding of Cana of Galilee.
We catch the action when God is talking to Moses.

“Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD: He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk. All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separates himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow.” Numbers 6
This was amazing and triggered bells.
Jesus must of taken this vow and thus lived by the following rules
1. He didn’t drink any wine
2. He didn’t eat anything from the vine tree
3. He never shaved his hair………….this is why Christ is always depicted as having long hair in icons.
4. He dedicates his life to the Lord……and this is evident in the verse “i came not to do my will but the will of my father”
What id like to focus on is 1 and 2
There is no way that christ would have drunk of the wine he made because that wouldv’e broken his vow and pronounced him unclean. However this is not possible as the church affirms that Christ was sinless, therefore he could not have drunk of the wine.
Secondly, the church believes that if i were to cause someone to sin that sin is my doing and counts against me. we are instructed not to be stumbling blocks for others. Now if the wine created had any alcohol in it, i.e fermented it may have made people drunk. Drunkenness is a sin and this again would mean that Christ would have sinned if he did create an alcoholic beverage.
So this was my contemplation for the night which i thought i would share, because i know its something we’ve discussed and the above point has never been pointed out to us and i think it makes great sense.


5 thoughts on “The Issue of Wine

  1. + Irini nem ehmot,

    I came across this while perusing and wanted to comment. While your contemplation is interesting, I think there are a few mistakes. FIrst off, a ‘Nazerene’ is NOT a ‘Nazarite’. There is no evidence that Christ was a ‘Nazarite’. He was a ‘Nazerene’ (i.e. He was from the town of Nazareth). However, it is apparent that Christ did, in fact, consume wine. First off, Christ celebrated the Passover at least once (John’s gospel indicates 3 times). Secondly, Christ Himself says that He not only ate but drank. This is seen in Matthew 11:19 and the same incident is repeated in Luke 7:34. Add to that, Christ did turn the water to wine at the wedding (after the guests were quite inebriated I might add), there is no reason to think Christ Himself did not drink wine. And wine is not wine unless it is fermented (i.e. contains alcohol). Otherwise it is just grape juice. Just my two cents.

    1. Thanks for your reply

      However i tend to disagree with what you have written for the following reasons.

      1. The word nazarene only appears once in the New testament and never in the Old testament, it is well known that to be called a nazarene was meant as someone who is holy or dedicated to the law.

      2. In Matthew 2:23 we read the following, ” And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”” now who were these prophets that said he shall be called a Nazarene, and if they didnt use the word Nazarene they must of used the word Nazarite which was only known to them.

      The prophecy is quoted from the scriptures found in Judges 13:5-7 which talks about Samson.
      Jdg 13:3 And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.
      Jdg 13:4 Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drink, and not to eat anything unclean.
      Jdg 13:5 For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
      Jdg 13:6 So the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A Man of God came to me, and His countenance was like the countenance of the Angel of God, very awesome; but I did not ask Him where He was from, and He did not tell me His name.
      Jdg 13:7 And He said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. Now drink no wine or similar drink, nor eat anything unclean, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’ ”

      As we can see this vow is that of a nazarite not a nazarene.

      I understand where you are coming from however i disagree with your premise that you can blatenly rule out that Jesus was not a Nazarite.

      ST Jerome says the following

      Jerome: If this could have been found in the Scriptures, he never would have said, “Because it has been spoken by the prophets,” but he would rather have spoken more plainly: “Because it has been spoken by a prophet.” As it is now, in speaking of prophets in general he has shown that he has not taken the specific words but rather the sense from the Scriptures. “Nazarene” is understood as “holy.” Every Scripture attests that the Lord was to be holy. We can also speak in another way of what was written … in Hebrew in Isaiah: “A branch will blossom from the root of Jesse, a Nazarene from his root.”7 Commentary on Matthew

      Further St Chromastius Says the following as well

      Chromatius: Our Lord and Savior is called “the Nazarene” as much after the name of the place, the city of Nazareth, as from the mystery of the law. For, according to the law, those are called Nazarenes who make an extraordinary vow of chastity to God, maintaining that vow with the hair of their heads, which the ordained law had commanded them to offer as a sacrifice.9 Therefore, because the author and ruler of every act of sanctity and piety is Christ the Lord, who said through the prophet, “Let them be holy, since I am holy, says the Lord,”10 it was not undeservedly that he was called “the Nazarene.” It was he who, following truly what was preordained in the law, offered as a pledge to God the Father the sacrifice of his own body. David spoke about this pledge when he said of the Lord, “Just as Jacob swore an oath to the Lord, he was offered a pledge to God.”11 The Lord would show himself as the Nazarene at the time when he became a creature of flesh. Tractate on Matthew 7.2.12

      Finally St Cyril Of Alexandria states that

      Cyril of Alexandria: But if “the Nazarene” is interpreted to mean “holy” or, according to some, as “flower,” this is the designation found in many instances. For Daniel calls him “holy” or “of the holy ones.”

      In conclusion, To be a nazarite means to be of the lord and dedicated to the lord, so my question is wasnt Jesus that?

      God Bless.

      1. + Irini nem ehmot,

        I’m afraid I also disagree with your reasoning. Again, I have provided two passages, one from Matthew and one from Luke that explicitly indicate that Christ ate and drank (His own words). Further, the characteristics of a Nazarite are found in Numbers 6:1-8. Not only does a Nazarite not drink, they also do not touch dead bodies. We know for a fact that Christ touched dead bodies, on two occasions no less (viz. when He raised the son of the widow of Nain and Jarius’ daughter). To be called a ‘Nazarene’ was more an insult than anything else. Look at what the apostle Nathaniel said, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46). Christ is not a Nazarite because He is not ‘dedicated to the Lord’, He IS the Lord.

        Pray for me.

  2. Oh, just wanted to add, John the Baptist was a Nazarite as was Sampson (although Sampson wasn’t a very good one). Sorry for the double post.

  3. Let us agree to disagree about this

    However it is a bit unfair to just say he touched dead bodies, he also raised them up from the dead. Lets not forget that part.

    Secondly the references you refer to show a mocking of the people who accused him of drinking way too much wine. I do not for a second think that the Son of Man came eating and drinking in the way it was perceived by people. Fermented wine is old and it isn’t right to assume that Jesus drank such and we can argue this for days but as i said in my original post i do not think the lord will make fermented wine for people to drink from, especially people who have had much drink already.

    Being a nazarite does indeed mean dedicated to the lord, or of the lord.
    There is no reason that Jesus could not be a Nazarite because he was the lord. In-fact the Nazarite vow was for the holy, and it is only fitting that Jesus be crowned the Holy Of Holies.

    Jesus did nothing of his own accord but that of his father as we find in

    Joh 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

    Joh 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

    In regards to your comment about Nathaniel, scholars have debated the meaning of this, some say Nazareth was a small village and not importantm while others argue that they were people who did not believe in Jesus. And if we read later on we see Nathaniels confirmation that indeed something good has come out of Nazareth.

    God Bless

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