9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
Through the Bible: John 2-4
If you have been keeping up with this Bible reading plan from the beginning, chances are you breathed a sigh of relief this week. For 273 days, we had been in the Old Testament. For two long months, the stretch from Days 190-255, we were in Isaiah, followed by Jeremiah, followed by Ezekiel. By the time we get to Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37, you might have been feeling a little like a spiritual valley of bones yourself.
And then you turned the page to Day 274, and you read those blessed words, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).
All that to say, you might have felt an experiential appreciation for the story of Jesus turning the water into wine. You might be thinking, “Now we are getting to the good stuff!” Just like the master of the feast’s delight when the water-turned-wine was brought to him, you are saying to God, “You’ve kept the good wine until now.”
I don’t know much about wine. I’m Baptist, after all. But I know enough to know that an aged wine is preferred. That’s why, in yesterday’s reading, Jesus said, “No one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old wine is better.” (Luke 5:39).
So there must have been something about the wine Jesus made that made it taste like some ancient vintage from a renowned vineyard, because even though it was only a few minutes old, the chief steward exclaimed, “You have kept the good wine until now.” With this one miracle, Jesus proves there is an exception to the rule He states in Luke 4: All who had been drinking the old wine are now saying, “The new is better!”
Here’s what I am learning from a lifetime of Bible reading: the more time you spend in the Old Testament, the richer the stories of the New Testament become. If my count is right, this is my twenty-seventh read through this year. Even so, Jeremiah-Ezekiel is still a really tough slog. However, all that time in the Old Testament has enriched my time in the New. If this was your first time reading through the Old Testament, I truly believe you will have a greater appreciation for the familiar stories of the New Testament. It will be new wine that tastes old. You may find yourself saying things like, “I definitely taste a hint of Isaiah in Jesus’ sermon in Nazareth (Luke 4).” Or, “Are you picking up on the texture from Daniel in this passage from Revelation?”
Jesus came to put new wine into new wineskins. But as you work your way through the Old Testament, realize that you are honing and refining your taste buds for the vintage the gospels serve.
Father, thank you for your Word. Thank you that the New Testament explains the Old Testament. But thank you also that the Old Testament contains the New Testament. Let me drink deeply from both.