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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 2 - Verse 11

Verse 11. This beginning of miracles. This his first public miracle. This is declared by the sacred writer to be a miracle— that is, an exertion of divine power, producing a change of the substance of water into wine, which no human power could do.

Manifested forth. Showed; exhibited.

His glory. His power, and proper character as the Messiah; showed that he had divine power, and that God had certainly commissioned him. This is shown to be a real miracle by the following considerations: 1st. Real water was placed in the vessels. This the servants believed, and there was no possibility of deception.

2nd. The water was placed where it was not customary to keep wine. It could not be pretended that it was merely a mixture of water and wine.

3rd. It was judged to be wine without knowing whence it came. There was no agreement between Jesus and the governor of the feast to impose on the guests.

4th. It was a change which nothing but divine power could effect. He that can change water into a substance like the juice of the grape must be clothed with divine power.

Believed on him. This does not mean that they did not before believe on him, but that their faith was confirmed or strengthened. They saw a miracle, and it satisfied them that he was the Messiah. Before this they believed on the testimony of John, and from conversation with Jesus (Joh 1:35-51); now they saw that he was invested with almighty power, and their faith was established. From this narrative we may learn,

1st. That marriage is honourable, and that Jesus, if sought, will not refuse his presence and blessing on such an occasion.

2nd. On such an occasion the presence and approbation of Christ should be sought. No compact formed on earth is more important; none enters so deeply into our comfort in this world; perhaps none will so much affect our destiny in the world to come. It should be entered into, then, in the fear of God.

3rd. On all such occasions our conduct should be such that the presence of Jesus would be no interruption or disturbance. He is holy. He is always present in every place; and on all festival occasions our deportment should be such as that we should welcome the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is not a proper state of feeling or employment which would be interrupted by the presence of the Saviour.

4th. Jesus delighted to do good. In the very beginning of his ministry he worked a miracle to show his benevolence. This was the appropriate commencement of a life in which he was to go about doing good. He seized every opportunity of doing it; and at a marriage feast, as well as among the sick and poor, he showed the character which he always sustained —that of a benefactor of mankind.

5th. An argument cannot be drawn from this instance in favour of intemperate drinking. There is no evidence that any who were present on that occasion drank too freely.

6th. Nor can an argument be drawn from this case in favour even of drinking wine such as we have. The common wine of Judea was the pure juice of the grape, without any mixture of alcohol, and was harmless. It was the common drink of the people, and did not tend to produce intoxication. Our wines are a mixture of the juice of the grape and of brandy, and often of infusions of various substances to give it colour and taste, and the appearance of wine. Those wines are little less injurious than brandy, and the habit of drinking them should be classed with the drinking of all other liquid fires.

The following table will show the danger of drinking the wines that are in common use :

Brandy has fifty-three parts and 39 hundredths in a hundred of alcohol; or .........................53.39 per cent. Rum ................................53.68 " Whisky, Scotch .....................54.32 " Holland Gin ........................51.60 " Port Wine, highest kind ............25.83 "

lowest ..................21.40 "

Madeira, highest .............. 29.42 "

lowest .............. 19.34 " Lisbon .............................18.94 " Malaga .............................17.26 " Red Champagne ......................11.30 " White " ..................... 12.80 " Currant Wine .......................20.25 "

 

It follows that a man who drinks two glasses of most of the wines used has taken as much alcohol as if he had taken one glass of brandy or whisky, and why should he not as well drink the alcohol in the brandy as in the Wine? What difference can it make in morals? What difference in its effects on his system? The experience of the world has shown that water, pure water, is the most wholesome, safe, and invigorating drink for man.

{i} "manifested forth his glory" Joh 1:14 {k} "and his disciples" Joh 5:13

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