Sabbath: wine

The fourth element we share in our Sabbath practice is wine or juice. The children are always excited to drink juice since it’s a rare sweet treat, symbolizing the joy and celebration in a life of freedom in Christ. It’s perfectly fine to serve juice for the adults, too (that’s pomegranate juice in the photo above), but if you don’t object to wine and you can afford it, there is something meaningful about the bittersweet quality of wine and its historical connection to Biblical times.

Wine appears often in the scriptures, perhaps most memorably in the story of Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding. Servants filled the large, heavy jars used for collecting water for ceremonial washings, and when it was poured out the people realized it had turned into excellent wine.

We drink wine on the Sabbath to celebrate our new identity in Christ, the joy of what he has done through redeeming us, washing us, and making us his bride. It’s reminiscent of blood, the blood of Christ poured out before his death when he cried, “It is finished.” It was the fourth cup of wine in the Passover Seder when Jesus said, “This is my blood,” the cup that symbolizes redemption. The Passover includes blood in another way: the Israelites were instructed to paint the blood of the Passover lamb over the doors of their homes — marking them safe from the angel of death.

How joyful that we are all marked by his blood, saved from death, alive in Christ. What a good reason to celebrate.

The beauty of this simple Sabbath ritual is that it shows us how we come to a place of entering God’s rest: First, as we light the candles, we are illuminated to our sinful condition and our need for redemption. Next, as we wash our hands, we repent of the sins we have committed and ask God to wash our hearts clean. Third, as we break bread, we are acknowledging that God has done the work needed, through Christ’s broken body, to redeem us. We need only take and eat, with gratitude for his work. And finally, as we drink wine, we celebrate our newfound freedom in Him and are finally able to enter into His rest.

Each Friday it is so meaningful to renew our commitment to our new life in Yeshua, and as we do this as a community, we are witnessing together that we put our trust in him. Shabbat Shalom!

We bless you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who gives us the fruit of the vine.