New Wine for a New Man
The Wedding at Cana - Jackson Snyder, May 26, 2005
With Applications from the Gospel of Thomas

“A real marriage is when two people are working. It can be in essence.
When he is asleep she must be awake. When she is asleep he must be awake.”

An invisible man marries an invisible woman.
The kids were nothing to look at either. – Eric Thiele

No man for any considerable period of time can wear one face to himself
and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered
as to which may be the truth.  – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.

 Ho, every one who’s thirsty, come to the waters,
Even if you have no money; come and drink;
Yes, come, buy wine without money! 
Isaiah 55:1. 


Jackson Snyder Bible    Search and Study     All Sermons     Drunk on Listerine   Prayer from The Gospel of Thomas
Go directly to the Message   The Short Version 
More John 2:1-12: Marriage, Murder and Mayhem in Cana (2004)  Taste the Best Wine (1994)

Shorter Preaching Version July 10, 2005      Learn about starting your own Christian Bookstore

John 2:1-12, A New Translation

The Fifth Gospel: The Gospel of Thomas Comes of Age   Stephen J. PattersonYochanan 2:1 And on the third day there came to be[1] a wedding in Kanah[2] of the Galil: and the mother of the Yahshua was there. 2 Yahshua and his disciples were called out[3] to the wedding. 3 And falling short of[4] wine, Yahshua’s mother says to him, “They have no(t) wine!” 4 And Yahshua says to her, “What is that to me and to you, woman?  My hour is not yet come.” 5 His mother says to the servants, “Anything whatever he tells you, you do!”

   6 And standing there in that place[5] were six stone water-crocks left from the cleansing of the Yahudaïm, each containing above two or three metrêtas[6]. 7 Yahshua tells them, “Fill the water-crocks of water,” and they filled them to the top. 8 And he says to them, “Draw up now and carry to the ‘ruler of three couches’[7],” and so they carried.

   9 But when the “ruler of three couches” tasted the water having become wine, and did not know from whence it is (howbeit[8] those servants having drawn water, knew), the “ruler of three couches” calls the groom 10 and says to him, “Every man sets out[9] the good wine first, and when they have become drunken[10], the worse.  You have kept the good wine until now!”

   11 This Yahshua did in Kanah of the Galil – the beginning of the signs[11] – and made visible[12] his radiance[13], and his students believed in him.

   12 After this he went down to Kapher Nachum[14]; he and his mother, and his brothers and his students, and stayed there not many days.


Psalm 85, UMH 806


Revelation 19:5. Then a voice came from the throne; it said, “Praise our Elohim, you servants of his and those who fear him, small and great alike.” 

   6. And I heard what seemed to be the voices of a huge crowd, like the sound of the ocean or the great roar of thunder, answering, “Alleluia! The reign of Yahweh our Elohim Almighty has begun; 7. let us be glad and joyful and give glory to Yahweh, because this is the time for the marriage of the Lamb. 8. His bride is ready, and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen, because her linen is made of the good deeds of the saints.”

   9. The angel said, “Write this, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb,’ “ and he added, “These words of Yahweh are true.”

   10. Then I knelt at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “Never do that: I am your fellow-servant and the fellow-servant of all your brothers who have in themselves the witness of Yahshua. Yahweh alone you must worship.” The witness of Yahshua is the spirit of prophecy.


Couple Married 80 Years Tell Their Secret

   Percy and Florence Arrowsmith of Hereford, England have what all couples want: A long and happy marriage. The two celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary June 1.  Florence is 100. Percy’s  105.  They live in on their own and will celebrate with a party in their home. They insist the secret to a long and happy marriage is a glass of sherry, and one of whisky, and the word “sorry.”

   Florence, reported, “We still love one another; that’s the most important part.  You must never go to sleep bad friends.  I like sherry at lunch time and whisky at night, and I’m looking forward very much to my party.”

   Meanwhile Percy said his secret to 80 years of marriage can be summed up two words: “Yes, dear.”


PRAYER:  O YAH, there are many around the drinking trough but nothing in the cistern.  Lead us to the New Wine so that we can become the New Man.  Show us how to make the two one, the inside like the outside the outside like the inside, the above like the below, the male and the female as one, fashioning eyes in place of an eye, hands in place of a hand, feet in place of a foot, and a new likeness in place of the old likeness, so we might enter into your kingdom. (From The Gospel of Thomas 74 & 22)


Mayhem in Cana

   A year and a half ago, I told the story of this wedding – who was getting married, why Yahshua, his mother, family and disciples were there, the marriage customs they observed, why they ran out of wine, and why new wine was manufactured.  It’s a good story, and you can hear it on my CD, “Murder, Mayhem and Miracle in Cana.”  But today we look past the realism into the symbolic and psychological secrets hidden in the three couches of the Marriage of Cana.


Seeking Integration?

   Most of us are like Humpty Dumpty, that unfortunate little egg who fell off the wall and broke into a zillion pieces.  We search for integration; that is, reassembling of all our pieces to form oneness of being.  Most are willing to remain broken but some seek a cure; a few have found that force greater than all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, and have.  They have, with His help, put themselves together again. 

   Our Heavenly Father desires that we regain his image and likeness as an essential compliment to our uniqueness. If he gets his wish, the pieces of selfhood begin to slowly migrate back toward the center.  The Son of Yahweh releases his Father’s radiance upon us.  For those who appropriate it, unity of flesh, soul, spirit, Son and Father may be achieved.  That’s a promise! 


Unity Prayer

   Yahshua’s most fervent prayer was all about integration: Consider

John 17:11,22 I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world and I am coming to you.

This prayer indicates that Yahshua was entirely integrated – body, soul, spirit, father and son – all one; but that his people were still in the world, and fractured.  As long as a person is earthy-minded, consumed with the assault on the five senses, one’s ability to come together is very limited.  Only when we rely on the power of the sixth sense may we become whole.  That mythical sense resides not in the brain, but in the heart. 

   Yahshua also prayed:

Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 

He’s asking his Father to supernaturally resume his mission – that of integration – unity – for he had to leave those he loved behind.  The Father had already planned a replacement – another paraclete, or helper – to stand alongside his friends and teach them, through the sixth sense, the way of unity. 

   He then prayed:

The RADIANCE that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one.

Yahshua would bestow on them something of himself; LIGHT – the “glory” of the Father – through which the spirit-paraclete-helper sent from above could readily communicate the pathway to wholeness.


The Struggle

   Though Yahshua was a whole man, he still had to STRUGGLE with his identity, work hard toward integrating the warring factions within himself, battle the devil in desert of this world, while, at the same time, keep his heart in tune and his course straight.  Yahshua wasn’t born the New Man; like us, he had TO BECOME. 

   This HUMAN STRUGGLE for inner unity – integration – The New Man[15] – had to be resolved before Yahshua could manifest any signs of his divinity.  Being the Son of Yahweh wasn’t “a gimme” – he neither sprang from the head of Zeus, nor was he the product of careful genetic engineering, as some today teach.   He had the same kinds of internal struggles as us, and WORSE – because he came into this world at a great disadvantage.  Yet if he would gather the scattered pieces and OVERCOME, he could BEcome the sign to Israel and the world, of the NEW MAN. 

   Ninety-nine percent of humans simply cover the Old Man in some filthy rag or scrap of painted paper; but the Son of Man chose to deal with his fraudulent feelings; to reintegrate and become the best he could be with the aid of the highest power.  I believe his therapy took many years.


The New Man

   The signal that Yahshua had become The New Man was given at his dunking.  Don’t assume Yahshua hadn’t been dunked before: he’d been dunked many times, perhaps hundreds – hundreds of opportunities for heavenly affirmation.  But it was at this dunking that the Voice hailed down like fresh, cool rain:

You are my son, today have I fathered you. Ask of me, and I shall give you the nations as your birthright, the whole wide world as your possession.(Psalms 2:7b-8 NJB)

   The Gospel of John is all about Signs of the New Man; the changing of water to wine is only the First Sign.  Even though Yahshua’s heard the voice, he’s still hesitant, even hostile, to his mother’s request for wine.  But once he tells the servants to fill the crocks, it’s too late to go back.  He’d have to make his radiance visible and demonstrate the power of ONE. 

   My struggle between the Old Man and the New has proven to me the need for integration; I’m shredded and torn, expecting a puzzle master to put me together again.  It’s been a long process, but at least now I can SEE the New Man in the distance.  And I’ve observed the struggles of hundreds through the surveys completed on my websites.  For some struggling pilgrims, finding integration is a matter of life or death.


The Delusions of Introverts

   You see, I offer a survey to measure how one sees herself – and a second survey to measure how she really is.  There’s usually a significant disparity between the two.  That’s because people construct MASKS to hide their brokenness.  Or they just imagine themselves as being different than they really are – either better or worse.  Many are unaware that they masquerade, yet the MASK takes all their energy to maintain. 

   For instance, many, many see themselves as very outgoing and caring.  But their surveys often prove them to be reserved, self-centered, sometimes isolated and mean.  Even wretched people can convince themselves they’re wonderful.  But they can’t convince others; so they can’t understand why they’re avoided. 

   Some fine people are convinced they’re rotten to the core.  These masks have been one for so long that some are totally incapable of self-honesty and repentance: too stubbornly entrenched to see the truth even when it slaps them in the face.  Know anyone like that?  The Old Man is the False Man and the Fractured Man – unfortunately, he’s also the Boss Man.


Naked in the Mirror

   One famous motivator suggests how we might reintegrate if we don’t like how we look (Jack Canfield).  Set up a full-length mirror somewhere private.  Every day, stand NAKED in front of the mirror for a long time and look at yourself.  Tell yourself how shapely you are (no matter the reality).  Compliment each part – especially the parts you despise.  This expert says that if you’ll do this every day, you’ll soon start loving your body just the way it is.  Maybe it’s worth a try; but oh, you’d have to lie.

   When the difference between a person’s real self and the fantasy is discovered, through my surveys or by admiring the image in the mirror (for instances), some become shocked, shamed, denying or hostile.  As Candid Camera taught us, “It’s hard to look at yourself as other people do.”

   I discovered my MASK in a paper mirror – a psychological profile.  I was very shocked to see myself naked.  I’d been very self-deceived.  I couldn’t understand how anyone might dislike me – such an outgoing, bubbly, optimistic, friendly guy.  Then the truth was revealed –I wasn’t this outgoing, bubbly, optimistic, friendly guy at all!  Just the opposite.  Having seen it, it took a long time to accept.  As Mrs. Covan observed, “You’re really not a people person, are you?”  I wanted to see the false, it was more intoxicating; but embracing the truth was a giant step toward sobriety and integration. 


Yahshua was a TEARER

   Meet yourself.  When the illusion is torn away, your soul becomes HOSTILE, SHAMED, UNBELIEVING – or goes into SHOCK.  Consider when Yahshua tore away masks.  He shamed the young ruler, “You love your money more than me.”  He riled the Pharisees, “You’re painted graves full of rot.” He annihilated Simon’s false self, “You’ll deny me three times.”  He unmasked Martha’s neurosis, “You’re a compulsive, trouble-making complainer.”  Only one received the truth right off.  That was the man to whom he said, “You wouldn’t have any power if my Father hadn’t given it to you!”  Yet these acts of shame served to set each person aright, tradition tells us.

   He ripped off the scabs of deception to get at the cancers.  He displayed those he cared for in a mirror - NAKED.  He put their shame on display so they could never again publicly assume their filthy rags.  This is the meaning of one of Yahshua’s most obscure sayings:

Thomas 37 His disciples said, “When will we see you as you are?” Jesus said, “When y`ou take off your clothes shamelessly and stomp on them like toddlers, then will you see the Living One, and you’ll fear no more.

   Yahshua taught what rags needed to be torn off, that they tear off their own without shame, and that they put on a new garment – the New Man.  After the resurrection, we read of how the Apostles ripped the false faces of others to shreds  (Peter vs. Magus; Paul vs. Peter; James vs. Paul, etc.).  Yahshua and his Apostles were powerful rippers; they knew that the tick had to come out.  There’s no soul too fractured, drunken or parasitized that Yahshua can’t restore.  But heart surgery requires the removal of clothing, even if it must be cut away.  A person must sober up, humble herself, repent then taste the NEW WINE.[16]


Listerine the Cure for the Fractured Self

   George was a new believer with a soft heart.  We decided to catch the trolley to the Gulf shore.  Walking to the stop, we followed a wretch dressed in rags who ducked into the Dollar store.  George wanted to see what he’d buy.  The fellow soon came out, sat at a bench, took a bottle of Listerine from his sack, cranked off the cap, and slurped it down.

   George felt sorry.  “Could I give him some money?” he asked me.  I said, “He’ll spend your money on Listerine.”  George said thoughtfully, “He deserves better, like a bottle of good wine.  I have five dollars – is that enough?”  I said, “No, but I’ll lend you five more.  You’ll have to escort him across the street into that wine shop and stay until he buys, or he’ll get more Listerine.  Mark my word.”

   George went to “the Chimp” on the bench.  They walked together toward the wine shop.  At the curb, the Chimp continued on.  When George returned, I said, “I told you to escort him in!”  Said George, “He smelled!  Besides, he’s going in right now! Look!”  George had tears in his eyes.

   We missed the trolley and headed back.  I said, “That’s OK, you did a good deed.”  When we got to the Dollar store, there was the Chimp on the bench.  “Let’s see what he bought!” cried George with excitement.  Beside the Chimp were eight bottles of Listerine in a sack, a ninth in his hand and two empties on the sidewalk.  He hoisted that ninth in the air as a Listerine salute to his benefactor as we passed on.

   The Chimp, like most, wasn’t interested in quality, only quantity.  Listerine is 25% alcohol and only a dollar a bottle.  The Chimp never intended to humble himself for the New Wine much less become The New Man.  The alcohol blinded his mind as the carbolic acid ate away the little bit left of his heart.   On the bright side, the Chimp probably had the freshest breath in Sarasota – covering up the stench of rot inside. 


An Apostle is Born

   The wedding guests were also drunk on cheap swill – a literal translation of the text confirms it.  They were completely disintegrated; in consuming, totally consumed; with false faces fortified and self-deception discarded, toasting the anti-bridegroom over and over again.  Yet here’s the catch: someone at the wedding tasted the superior vintage.  It was the Ruler of the Three Couches – the banquet manager.  He didn’t know the source of the new wine.  He only knew it was BETTER.

   Symbolically, Yahshua is also the groom – all the drunks in the chamber may be his brides, for better or worse – for the chamber is the world.  The “Ruler of Three Couches” is his FUTURE APOSTLE, a potential leader of the Messianic Movement who acknowledges the tastelessness and inferiority of the old “spirits,” and becomes enthralled by the bouquet and ambiance of the New Spirit.  “Everyone else,” he says, “serves the good first.  When everyone’s drunk, he brings out the new, minty Scope.  By that time, folks are too Listerated to know the difference.  But you’ve saved the best for last!”  This guy catered lots of wedding, but none so extravagant as this – and all for the sake of Heavenly Hospitality!


All Are Drunk

   Now, another of Yahshua’s more obscure sayings makes it’s way into this essay:

Gospel of Thomas 28 - Jesus said: I stood in the middle of the world.  I found them all drunk; not one was thirsty, and my soul was afflicted for humanity; for they’re blind in heart, and can’t see that they came empty into the world, (and) will leave the world empty still.  When they have thrown off their wine, they will repent. 

The Apostle of the Couches will see that all have the opportunity to repent, because he won’t keep his mouth shut.  He’ll go to the guests and preach – “Look what kind of a host we have!  He’s saved the best wine for last!  Repent of your drunkenness, cast off your falsehoods; take off all those silly masks!  Tell us what you think of this fellow and his wine!  Is he not the New Man?  Is he not the Master?  Call all your friends, because there’re 160 gallons of New Wine – and electric refrigerators won’t be invented for another eighteen hundred and eighty-six years! 

   Yes, that Couch-Ruler strips himself naked before the crowd and tells all.  An evangelist of the New Wine, New Birth, the Right Spirit, and the New Man, is reintegrated.  Did any drunkard pay attention to his message?  Did any acknowledge the great generosity of the bridegroom or the uniqueness of the banquet?  Did any of these partiers care that there was something higher to swallow than the frivolities of this world?  Or were they just as content to enjoy Listerine Moments?


The Last Invitation

   The New Testament ends with an unusual invitation.  COME to the Marriage Banquet of the Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world.”  Friends, this is the only wedding invitation that counts, because the wedding guests will be made up of NEW MEN AND WOMEN only.  Blessed are those who are called to the wedding supper of the Lamb,” cries the angel of Yahweh.  There’s only one requirement necessary for you to attend.  You must strip off your filthy rags before him and put on white linen, “for the white linen is the righteousness of the saints,” says the Angel.

   I’ve heard of a woman from the paper mill.  She was vile and wicked.  Some evangelist showed her a true picture of herself.  It wasn’t a pretty sight.  But she beheld it, then testified, “I was like the rags[17] that go into the paper mill.  They were all torn and filthy, but they came out as clear, white paper.  That’s what Jesus is doing for me!”[18]  Not only do the vile testify – consider the words of the Cornish evangelist: “I asked the LORD: you’ve said, ‘Knock and the door shall be opened, and I have the faith to believe it!  In an instant the Master made me so happy that I can’t express what I felt; I shouted for joy!  I preached Him with my whole heart.”  Both the evangelist and the formerly vile woman were obviously inebriated with New Wine.  Both of them eventually became NEW MEN, shouting for joy.[19]  

  What ragged clothing do you use to hide your naked self today, my friend?  It’s late; you need that white linen – the robe of repentance and rightness – to enter into this banqueting hall.  Change your clothes and come.  The wine and oil will flow freely and the festivities will be unlike any you’ve seen; New Wine and New Life will be party favors, and the Marriage Supper will last forever. My friend, give up your Listerine and your broken chamber pot and dash into the radiance and glory of your bridegroom.  For you’re not only invited as a guest, but if you’ll put on your linen gown, you shall also make for a beautiful bride.



Now your children can learn Hebrew

[1] came to beegeneto – the same verb used through the book referencing Genesis and the creation.

[2] KanahKanaCana – “a reed.”

[3] called outeklêthê.

[4] falling short ofusterêsantos – falling behind on, lacking.

[5] in that placeekeithere.

[6] metrêtas – measures of about nine gallons per.

[7] ruler of three couches – a compound word, architriklinoiarchi, ruler; tri - three; klino - recliner (couch).  This was the title of a banquet-master but may have hidden meaning.

[8] howbeitdebut, and – this word can represent several conjunctions.

[9] sets outtithêsin.

[10] they become drunkenmethusthôsin.

[11] signssêmeiôn.

[12] made visibleefanerôsin.

[13] radiancedoxanglory.

[14] Kapher NachumKafarnaoun -  Capernaum – “village of peace”.

[15]  See The New Man by psychologist Maurice Nicoll.

[16]  The Mask: On occasion, that fragmented soul tears off old rags and moves toward becoming the New Man – he’s been drunk on fantasies, but now recognizes and rejoices in the New Wine.  Most of the time, though, he ignores the truth and continues to project the “old man,” who provides the false identity he’s so used to.

   Sometimes the false self is called THE MASK – that’s the old man who’s the front man.  But the mask is only a deception covering the broken man.  This is why Yahshua called his religious adversaries hypocrites.  This word refers to stage actors who, at that time, wore masks to portray their characters.  The real stood behind the paint.  The real BECOMES the paint.

   When a person is a drunken hypocrite, the word of truth is seldom heeded.  Guests who remain at the banquet long past the hour of return so they can drink free get to the point in that they don’t care what they pour down their throats, as long as it intoxicates.  The drunk gets to the point that he can no longer tell what he’s drinking; he doesn’t care.  He’s in a downward-swirling vortex of self-deception and disunity.  Whatever can MASK his messed-up mind is most welcome. 

[17]  rags – Isaiah 64:6,8. We have all been like unclean things and our upright deeds like filthy rags. We wither, all of us, like leaves, and all our misdeeds carry us off like the wind. And yet, Yahweh, you are our Father; we the clay and you our potter, all of us are the work of your hands.

[18]  Aquilla Webb, One Thousand Evangelistic Illustrations, George H. Doran Co., 1921, pp. 264-5.

[19] Ibid., 264.