There is this cool story in John 2. Jesus, who hadn’t publicly began His ministry, was at a wedding with his disciples and mom. His mom gets word that the wedding hosts are running low on wine. Knowing this is a practical and social problem, she asks Jesus to help the people out.
At first Jesus declines, saying it’s not His time to begin such things… but she persisted. So Jesus has the servants gather a bunch of jars and He turns 120 gallons of water into 120 gallons of high quality wine. The guy running the event doesn’t know what has happened and he tells the groom he is impressed that they saved this best wine for last since most people serve the good stuff first and serve lower quality stuff when the guests have been overindulging.
This is an interesting story to me, especially in our cultural moment.
Let me ask you, was Jesus condoning drunkenness in this story? Are you following me? The guests plowed through the initial wine. The hosts are in a pickle. So Jesus, after some prodding, provides them with 120 GALLONS more. The guy in charge expresses that normally, since people at this stage are already drunk (and after looking at the Greek, this is in fact the implication I got), that he is surprised at the great wine they are serving. So Jesus gave over indulged party goers more wine. Was he sinning? Enabling? Condoning their behavior?
I’ve gotta think that Jesus was neither condoning drunkeness nor was he concerned about the fact that the people would use His wine to get more sloshed.
Jesus was concerned about other stuff:
He was simply doing what His Mama asked Him to do.
He was concerned with meeting a felt need. It was not a practical need mind you, a social and celebratory need.
He was caring for the dignity of those who would be embarrassed when the wine gave out.
And like all His miracles, He was demonstrating that the King has returned. Things were being made better in so many ways. Lack would be gone. There would be abundance.
This story is not some perfect correlation to our current dilemma about freedom of expression and gay wedding cakes. It doesn’t address the legal tensions between competing rights. It doesn’t touch on the morality of gay marriage itself.
In my opinion however, it does however show us a picture of a Jesus who was more concerned with meeting a felt need and caring for people’s dignity than with the idea that he was condoning and enabling disagreeable behavior.