Pinot Noir Anyone?

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Have you ever wondered why Jesus turned the water into wine? He and his mum were celebrating a local wedding party… and a party it was, especially as all the wine was consumed. With no alcohol left, Mary seemingly coerces her son to turn the clay-urns (that were filled with water) into wine. The party was back on, and everyone hailed that this wine was the best they had ever ever ever tried (John 2:1-10). Analogy principle: every wedding should have a Jesus to make sure the grog is flowing….!?? No, not really… so let’s unpack this:

We all have a general idea of how wine is made: take the fruit, crush it up, add water and yeast… and after some time, do some refining to ensure clarity. One can then fancy up the goods, by putting the finished product into funky glassware and slap a label on it for others to know what’s inside… all ready for consuming.

“Consuming” is a common theme in biblical literature. For example: Peter was told to “consume” all the “animals” that were in the visionary net, which was a message by God to proclaim Jesus to those people in the Gentile nations (the variety of "animals" representing the variety of "nations").  Subsequently, this kind of metaphorical principle also applies to when we “consume” other things like: water, bread, trees, fruit, and of course wine. And just as there are varieties of fruit trees and vines for “consumption”, so too are there many varieties of wines: Pinot Noir, Merlot; Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Riesling, Gewurztraminer (to name a few).  All representative of the different flavours that God has provided for us to “consume”: and all representing the different kinds of people.

As stated, the ingredient that turns the fruit into wine is the yeast!! And do you remember what Jesus said about yeast? Beware the “yeast of the Pharisees” (Matthew 16:6): meaning “be warned of your religious leader’s belief systems who have ‘planted’ lies within the community of God”. Jesus was insinuating that their “yeast” had infiltrated the entire “bread”… making it “bad bread”. This “yeast” is also seen in the “wine” of Babylon (Revelation 17:2 “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication”). It's clear that the term “yeast” is a metaphor to do with "doctrine" or "way of life".

This is not saying that “yeast” is bad… absolutely not! Rather that Jesus’ “yeast” is the very best! When Jesus said His “wine is blood” and His “body is food”!!! He is saying that His yeasted, fermented, refined fruit (i.e. wine) is the “way to life” that aligns to the Spirit of God that brings good living and immortality back to humanity. It’s all very good!!!

And if we apply the ‘yeast principle' again to “bread”, Jesus’ yeast needs to infiltrate the “bread”, so as to make a “fantastic sumptuous loaf”!!! The best Vogel's bread ever, full of grain and goodness!!! Metaphors, metaphors, metaphors!!!!

Yes, this whole “consumption” analogy is also seen when Paul challenges the Church that they should be eating “meat”… wanting them to be weaned off drinking only “milk” (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12-13). That is, Paul was insisting that the Church needed to grow up in Christ: being weaned off the “milk” (as they are babies), so as to stand mature and independent before God (as an adult).

So let’s take the analogy further: should we give “wine” to a young believer? The answer is contextual: based upon ones age and maturity… but generally speaking, probably not, as they prefer to consume “fizzy drink”. However, hopefully as they develop in Jesus, so will their taste buds. Then one day, they’ll inevitably desire some “bubbly alcoholic grape-juice”… but as time again passes (and hopefully more maturity in their understanding of God), they’ll taste some “Pinot Noir” for the first time, having developed an acquired taste in ones fullness in Christ.

And we must not forget that we need to become “new bottles” (aka “wineskins”) that hold this “new wine”:

Matthew 9:17 “Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runs out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles and both are preserved”.

What I think Jesus is saying here is that, as mentioned, the finished product goes into new funky glassware with a label slapped on it for others to know what’s inside. Meaning: we can’t have this new wine (this new way of life) inside us, and not change our behaviour regarding who we are. We must apply what we learn in order to be preserved (to acquire immortality). Your ‘old nature’ of doing things must be replaced with a ‘new nature’. You can’t be transformed inside, without it being shown on the outside. No change will mean that the bottle will perish (and therefore the wine)!!! In other words, if the bottle perishes, you will not acquire immortality.

So back to our wedding analogy: Why turn the “water” into “wine”? My take is that the jars of clay which are full of water (meaning THE people who are good representatives of God) are transformed by Jesus into becoming the VERY BEST, TOP OF THE LINE, and QUALITY PERSON EVER!!!! Therefore, this should be our prayer: that Jesus molds us into becoming a fully mature, refined, full-bodied, smooth, aromatic, soft, oaky, tannic, flavoursome (and anything else you can add to this list) wine that people absolutely love tasting… to the point of having ‘after-tastes’ from their experience with you… all of course, for the glory of God!!!

Steve Shephard