December 21, 2013

The Best Wine

People have claimed no interest in Christianity because they “want to have fun.” They have no idea that the first miracle Jesus did was to turn water into wine at a wedding.
Fundamentalists might say that it wasn’t really wine, just grape juice, but they don’t know their Bible very well either. In most cases, God warns against too much wine and drunkenness. Paul said that church leaders must "not be addicted to much wine”(1 Timothy 3:8), but also told a young pastor to “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Timothy 5:23).

When Jesus ate the “last supper” with His disciples, He served them wine. At the beginning of His ministry for that wedding, the host ran out of wine. This was a huge social faux pas, but Jesus met the need and water became wine, not ordinary wine, for the people said to the wedding host,  

Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now. (John 2:10)

Today’s devotional says this illustrates something about God. When He is at work, He keeps the best for the last. Consider creation. First there was chaos and the formless deep, then light and form, then life. And at the end of it God created people in His own image, to reflect His glory. We are the “best wine” of creation, the delight of the heart of God. Of all else, He said it was “good” but of humanity, He said we were “very good.”

But that was a long time ago and before sin. Humanity is no longer good in the sense of imaging God or following His ways. Yet in the fullness of time, God sent His Son to repeat that creation sequence, this time in human hearts. He reveals Himself in Jesus Christ and grants new life, bringing light to darkness, and goodness out of those who have resisted Him.

The devotional author rightly says that the old life still struggles for the mastery, and we are in heaviness through manifold temptations, but the difference between Christ and our tempter is this, that the Devil’s tomorrow is worse than his today -- but the tomorrow of everyone who trusts in Christ is always brighter and better than yesterday.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22–23)

Also, every time I obey God, He gives me a new vision of His love. Every trial reveals His grace and compassion. Then, when all my wrestling is over and like a tired child I lay down to sleep, in that great morning I will wake up and see His face in a land where there is no more fatigue or fighting, no more trials and temptations. At that, I’m very apt to say, “You have kept the best wine until now.”

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