OF ALL THE MIRACLES Jesus could have performed to launch his ministry—healing the sick or raising the dead—his first miracle on record was to liven up a party with enough wine to get more than 1,000 people legally drunk.
At least by today’s measure of a drunk.
That’s what his Pharisee critics might have said.
These Jewish scholars would later watch Jesus enjoying himself at a party and declare: “He’s a glutton and a drunkard” (Matthew 11:19, NLT)….
At Jesus’ direction, the servants filled six stone jars with water. Jewish households kept stone containers like this filled with water to wash away ritual defilement, such as that from touching a dead animal. Clay jars wouldn’t work. They had to be discarded if a ritually unclean person touched them. But stone containers were defile-proof.
Each jar in this home could hold “twenty to thirty gallons” (John 2:7). That’s a total of at least 120 gallons (454 liters), and as much as 180 gallons (681 liters).
“Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies,” Jesus told the servants.
Fine wine poured into the cup.
Three five-ounce glasses of table wine—a total of 15 ounces (.44 liters)—could raise the blood alcohol content of an average-sized person well beyond the .08 percent used today as a measure of impairment. There are 128 ounces in a gallon, and 15,360 ounces in 120 gallons.
Do the math.
Divide 15 ounces into 15,360 ounces.
Jesus had miraculously produced enough wine to render at least 1,024 people unfit to drive a donkey cart.
This wasn’t the watered-down, budget wine sometimes served late into the party, when anything crossing the palate tasted like a blur.
“A host always serves the best wine first,” the master of ceremonies said to the groom after drinking wine from heaven’s vineyard. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”