What saith the word?
First, the word translated "wine" in English (οινου in Koiné Greek) can refer to either alcoholic or non-alcoholic wine. Today, the term "wine" is used exclusively for alcoholic wine, but let us never be guilty of interpretation based solely upon modern day definitions. We must remember every time one sees the word “wine”, the context determines whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic grape juice.
The immediate context of John 2:1-11 is quite clear. The guests at the marriage feast of Cana were able to discern between the quality of the drink that the Lord had made and that which had already been served. If intoxicating wine had been served, and people were "well drunk" then they would not have had such keen discernment. Being well drunk is like being well-fed, and simply means they have had plenty. Though the amount is not specified as to what they had previously drunk, if they consumed the six waterpots that Jesus had the servants fill with water and which contained "two or three firkins apiece" (verse 6), then they would have consumed somewhere between 106 to 162 gallons of alcohol before Jesus provided more! This is far more than enough to make the most casual drinker drunk.
If Jesus provided alcohol to those who had already consumed over 100 gallons of alcohol, he both aided and encouraged their drunkenness, which would make him a sinner. Consider what Habakkuk wrote by inspiration, Habakkuk 2:15 (KJV) 15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! The sin Habakkuk is rebuking is the sin of contributing to drunkenness. However, we know Jesus was without sin (1 Pet 2:22), so that he could be the propitiation (sin offering) for us (1 John 4:10). Jesus knew what was recorded by Solomon when he wrote by inspiration, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise" (Proverbs 20:1).
The common daily drink of grape juice (οινου) was often made from a concentrate (paste) which was preserved in wine skins to keep it from fermenting. This paste was mixed into the waterpots, much like we mix kool-aid to give the water flavoring. There was fermented wine also, which was produced for the purpose of intoxication. We have many verses condemning the drinking of this fermented alcohol. In Titus 2:3 and 1 Tim. 3:8 we see the phrase “not given to much wine”. The phrase “to much” can be translated “in any respect”, thus resulting in the understanding of “not given in any respect to wine”. This agrees with Eph 5:18 (KJV) 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;. The word “drunk” is “μεθυσκεσθε” which is describing the process of becoming intoxicated and not the end result of drunkenness. Thus, Jesus could not aid in the process of their becoming intoxicated by providing Alcoholic beverage. Why? Because science has confirmed what the Bible has continuously warned; one starts to become intoxicated with the very first drink of alcoholic beverage. With close examination, we must conclude that the Lord did not make intoxicating wine at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee.
Many churches today observe a tradition setting the children apart from the worship service so that the adults can engage and appreciate the music, and hear the message uninterrupted by children who, as they say, cannot understand anyway. Sometimes the children are placed in “kids worship”, while others simply place them in a room to tell bible stories or allow them to play. Why wouldn’t that be a fitting decision at Portage church of Christ today?
God commanded His people to teach His word to children. First, parents were given the commandment to ensure their children were taught about God and his requirements. God’s word was never meant to only be heard by, or learned by, adults. When God told the people to hear the Law read in full every seven years, He commanded that they gather “all Israel” and that included “the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates” and the purpose was so that “that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 31:10-13) This is in addition to all of the commands that God gave to the people to teach their children His laws in person. (Deuteronomy 4:9-10; 6:6-7; 11:18-19). Therefore, God’s will is to be publicily proclaimed to both young and old alike that they may grow in knowledge. Furthermore, we are not to divide the assembly (1 Cor. 14:26), and this is seen when Paul directly address the youth in the assembly (Eph 6:1, Col 3:20). It is evident from the New Testament that the children were always included in the assembly and worship of the 1st century church.
What we teach our children will impact their future. As soon as children are old enough to understand our words, we begin to teach them how to go “potty”, brush their teeth, and perform the basic functions to become self sufficient and care for themselves. Why is teaching our children the basics of caring for themselves in life more important that caring for themselves spiritually. If we do not train our children when they are young, they are that much more likely to depart from a godly way of living. We have so many good examples of faithful people who learned God’s will when they were young. Therefore, it seems obvious that we should try to invest in that same future. (II Timothy 3:14-17)
We have a dangerous enemy who will devour the ignorant. If you knew for a fact that there was a dangerous person why was actively seeking to kidnap and your children, what precautions would you take? Would you teach them how to be safe? Would you teach them how to avoid danger? How young would be too young to start giving them the tools they would need to survive an encounter with this type of enemy? We have such an enemy, and he is characterized as a “roaring lion seeking those whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8) Those who are fooled by His tricks are “taken captive by him at his will”(II Timothy 2:26). Let’s be honest and logical, if our children are taught the scriptures and know the will of God from an early age, they themselves would never send their own children to children’s worship when they are adults. So, how did this all start within the Lord’s church? It is not because one searched the scriptures, but rather because some wanted to be like the people around them, just as Israel desired in 1 Sam 8:20.