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Water to Wine

September 19, 2009

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine. Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. (John 2:1-11)

Little is known about the performance of first century weddings, but it is clear that the wedding feast was very important and could go on for a week. It was considered a serious offense to fail in providing proper hospitality to wedding guests. It was more than a social embarrassment to run out of wine at a wedding feast. Jesus and his mother, Mary, were guests at the feast. Mary noticed that the married couple had run out of wine and went to tell Jesus. Jesus knew what she was asking him to do and he tried to tell her it was not time for him to start his ministry. But Mary trusted what Jesus would do and asked some servants to do whatever he said to do. Clearly Mary knew that Jesus would do the right thing. She was in the unique position of knowing that Jesus’ birth was truly miraculous. She had heard angels tell her that she was highly favored. She knew she had been miraculously visited by the Holy Spirit. She knew that Jesus was born of a virgin. Mary had watched Jesus grew up and she obviously trusted him.

There were six large stone water jars that were normally used for ceremonial washings. Jesus told the servants to fill the jars with water and take some of it to the banquet master. They did so, and when the master of the banquet tasted it he wondered why the bride and groom had saved the best wine for last (most people brought out the worst wine last after banquet guests were drunk). This was Jesus’ first miracle. He turned ordinary water into fermented wine with no aging process and no grapes, only water. Jesus had compassion on the couple, not wanting them to be ashamed. In doing so, he revealed his glory to those around. Based on the miracle performed people began to follow Jesus.

All of us should follow Jesus. We all should know that there is a God. We all should be seeking to follow him. We should avoid being like the Jews that gathered around him and said “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. (John 10:24-26) We should avoid being like those for whom “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-19)

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