Wine Of The Spirit
"And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee…And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine...Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. … 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." (Joh 2:1-10)
Think, for a moment, how wine would have been viewed in ancient times. The people then did not have our scientific understanding of yeasts and fermentations or the biochemistry of how alcohol affects the brain. They did know that if you put the juice of grapes into a container and waited, something incredible would happen. Instead of rotting the way most foods did, the grape juice was transformed and preserved. And, when you drank it, something happened to you as well. It seemed as if some "spirit" had entered into the juice and when you drank it that same "spirit" entered into you. To this day, we call alcoholic beverages "spirits."
"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;" (Eph. 5:18)
It's no wonder that wine was often used in pagan worship such as the cult of Bacchus. The power of that drink combined with man's carnality led to some of the most degenerate forms of debauchery. Because of that, many tend to shy away from the imagery of wine as it is used in the Bible. However, Jesus had no problem with using wine as a symbol, and when properly understood, neither should we.
"And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved." (Luke 5:37-38)
Wine begins by trampling out the juice from the fruit and the juice is put into new vessels. It must then be set aside for a time until the transformation takes place. It must be occasionally poured from vessel to vessel so that the sediment is left behind. So too, our lives go through this process of trials and tribulations. We rely on the unseen power of Christ to perform the work of salvation in us until we too are transformed and preserved.
"And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God." (Mark 14:23-25)
Think of the power of that symbol. What was ordinary became special. What was carnal became spiritual. What was temporary has become permanent. And, this transformation came about by an unseen force. It is an almost perfect metaphor for the work of Jesus Christ. His spirit infuses us with life, transforming the corruption of the flesh into the perfection of His spirit. By His Spirit, we are raised into new life with Him. We are lifted up from the mundane into the joy of being in God's presence.
"For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Act 2:15-21)