Did Jesus Drink Wine?

There are two times in the Bible when Jesus was involved with either wine or grape juice.

Bear in mind that wine in the ancient world was a very different thing than wine today. Also, remember water was not readily accessible to drink in the desert of ancient Israel. Plus, the water that was on hand was often contaminated with waste and swarming with germs, so often fruit juices and wines were consumed as a safe alternative to drinking the dangerous water. Further, wine could be fermented to a variety of alcohol contents from 3 percent to as high as 20 percent alcohol content. Low alcohol wines were often the everyday drink of the common people and were considered a vital food, since these wines still had the same nutrition as the unfermented fruit juice and could be stored for a long time. Further, high alcohol wines were habitually mixed with water, sometimes as much as a 50/50 blend, to make the water drinkable by killing some of the microorganisms. Also wine was often seen as a medication, such as when Paul advised Timothy to: “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses” (1Timothy 5 23).

The first occasion was Jesus is said to have dealt with wine was his first miracle at the wedding at Cana. This is where Jesus turned the water into wine. This story is told in the Gospel of John Chapter 2 1:10. The word used in the original Greek is oinos and means specifically wine, in fact, it is an unambiguous term meaning fermented fruit juices and can mean nothing else. Although the story in John does tell us that Jesus turned the water into wine, the story makes no mention of him then drinking any.

Some religious scholars think that the miracle of turning water into wine is a direct challenge by Christians to the very popular pagan cult of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. In short, the story is saying that the Christian Messiah is just as good as the pagan gods; after all look what he can do with wine.

The second time Jesus had anything to do with either wine or grape juice was recorded in the three synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The story is told in Matthew Chapter 26, Mark Chapter 14 and Luke Chapter 22, this is the story of the Last Supper, where Jesus instituted Holy Communion. In this story related in the three gospels, Jesus calls the drink: “fruit of the vine” or gennema ampelos, in the Greek. But again Jesus did not drink from the cup; in fact all the Gospels specifically state he wouldn’t drink again until the Kingdom of God had came.

While he might not have consumed any himself, it seems safe to say that Jesus didn’t object to drinking wine. But it is also clear that Jesus, as a devout Jew, would have strenuously objected to drunkenness, such as is mentioned in Proverbs 23:20.


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