Question: "Did Jesus drink wine/alcohol?"
Answer: There is only one group of people who are explicitly told in the Bible to never drink wine/alcohol, and that is the Nazirites (Numbers 6:1–4). Jesus was not a Nazirite; He was a “Nazarene,” a native of the town of Nazareth (Luke 18:37). Jesus never took the Nazirite vow.
Christ’s first miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana almost certainly involved a fermented beverage. According to Jewish wedding tradition, fermented wine was always served at weddings; if Jesus had provided only grape juice, the master of the feast would have complained. Instead, he said the wine was better than what was previously served; it was apparently a “fine” wine (John 2:10–11).
The Greek word for “drunk” in John 2:10 is methuo, which means “to be drunken” or intoxicated. It is the same word used in Acts 2:15 where Peter is defending the apostles against accusations of drunkenness. The testimony of the master of the feast is that the wine Christ produced was able to intoxicate.
Of course, just because Jesus turned water into wine doesn’t prove that He drank the wine at the wedding, but it would have been normal for Him to do so. What it does prove is that Jesus doesn’t condemn drinking wine any more than He condemns eating bread. Sinful people abuse what is not inherently sinful. Bread and wine are not sinful, but gluttony and drunkenness are (Proverbs 23:2; Ephesians 5:18).
In Luke 7:33–44, Jesus said, “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’” (emphasis added). In verse 33 Jesus is making a contrast between John the Baptist’s “drinking no wine” and His own practice. Jesus goes on to say the religious leaders accused Him (falsely) of being a drunkard. Jesus was never a drunkard, any more than He was a glutton. He lived a completely sinless life (1 Peter 2:22); however Luke 7 strongly suggests that Jesus did indeed partake of alcoholic wine.
The Passover celebration would also have commonly included fermented wine. The Scriptures use the term “fruit of the vine” (Matthew 26:27–29; Mark 14:23–25; Luke 22:17–18). Of course, Christ participated in drinking from the Passover cup (Mark 14:23).
All Christians would agree drunkenness is sinful, and Christ Himself warns against it (Luke 12:45). However, a biblical view of wine is that it is given as something to delight in (Psalm 104:14–15). There are plenty of warnings against alcohol abuse, in texts like Proverbs 20:1, because sinful men are more likely to abuse wine than to use it in moderation. Those who try to use Jesus’ probable use of wine to excuse their drunkenness should heed the warning in Luke 12:45. Christians who want to keep a biblical view of drinking wine should either drink in moderation, never to drunkenness, or abstain totally.
© Copyright 2002-2015 Got Questions Ministries.