“Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.” – Ben Franklin
I love the story found in John 2.1-11. It’s the story of Jesus’ first miracle where he turned water into grape juice.
Jesus was at a wedding where people had been enjoying some juice. All of the juice, actually. They started with the good stuff then they moved to the cheap boxed kind because people who are “over served” don’t care. When they were nearly out of the cheap juice Jesus (reluctantly) intervenes by turns water into grape juice. The hosts are accused of doing something dumb…saving the best juice for last.
Grape juice and sugar sure can turn any old lame wedding into a party.
At least that’s how I use to feel.
I had been taught Jesus didn’t really turn water into wine but it was juice and that all alcohol was wrong and not just the drunkenness the Scriptures speaks about (Ephesians 5.28; Titus 2.3).
That was my position until I met a pastor who shocked me when his assistant turned 21 and we were all invited out to celebrate by buying her her first beer.
I thought “DO YOU EVEN KNOW JESUS?!? If we’re going to buy her a beer then it certainly has to be non-alcoholic…like the first beer I bought was.”
Turns out, I was the one mistaken.
Many of the great church fathers were big fans of Jesus’ first miracle including John Calvin who had a 250 gallons of wine per year clause written into church contract and Martin Luther who married a woman who was a famous brewer.
Even my favorite, Guinness, has a fantastic story I don’t have space for here.
Some Christians (mostly since the Prohibition era) felt that the only way to avoid drunkenness was to avoid alcohol but if we really want to follow that logic then shouldn’t we avoid money so we don’t become greedy? Shouldn’t we avoid talking so we don’t gossip, lie, or be verbally destructive?
Well…maybe that last one…
The Scriptures speak clearly that both drunkenness and addiction (the dependance on anything/anyone other than God) are sinful but it speak of alcohol differently.
From the wedding wine to the Last Supper where he called the cup of wine “the new covenant in my blood” to the final feast where we’ll enjoy a “well-aged wine”, the Scriptures speak clearly that alcohol is to be enjoyed and not abused.
I used to hear Christians tell stories about their fear of being caught even going into a place that sells alcohol because they’d be judged.
The only people who tend to judge me or you for walking into a bar, or BWW’s, are other Christians.
In fact, I’ve found non-Christians love that I’m willing to go hang out with them at a bar. Some of the best conversations about Jesus I’ve ever had have happened over a pint.
So alcohol can be enjoyed and used to the glory of God.
Thank God for that.