WATER INTO WINE
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 2:1-2 (Holman) AOn the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee. Jesus= mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding as well.@
Jesus evidently felt at home in the midst of merriment. Marriage celebrations were festive occasions usually lasting seven days. Jesus seemed perfectly at ease at this feast. He was no austere killjoy.
Some religious people spread gloom wherever they go, but Jesus never said it was a crime to have fun and be happy. Christ was absolutely free from any monkish idolatry of sorrow.
John 2:3 AWhen the wine ran out, Jesus= mother told Him, AThey don=t have any wine.@
The merriment was about to be spoiled. The wine had run out. This would humiliate the bride and groom.
Mary turned to Jesus. This would be natural since Jesus was her eldest son. She probably had depended on Him often.
John 2:4 AWhat has this concern of yours to do with Me, woman?@ Jesus asked. AMy hour has not yet come.@
Jesus= reply sounds harsher in English than in Greek. He was simply telling Mary she did not fully understand what was going on.
Jesus would handle this His own way. Mary may have expected a public act from Jesus, but it was not yet time for Him to openly display His power.
Jesus had an agenda different from Mary=s. Her request was based solely on humanitarian concerns. Jesus did not come primarily to add to human happiness or to satisfy people=s physical needs.
His main reasons for coming were to glorify God and gather a following of believers (see verse 11). His miracles were primarily for these latter two purposes, and only secondarily for the former two.
Jesus could have worked miracles at any time, but He waited until they could be used as aids to faith. His reply to Mary highlighted His infallible accuracy in knowing exactly when and how to act.
John 2:5 ADo whatever He tells you,@ His mother told the servants.
Though Mary=s implied request is met with an apparent denial, she persisted in her trust of Jesus. Mary told the servants to do whatever He told them.
Having enough faith to trust even when she did not understand, she kept circumstances ready for God to act. God often wants to move in our lives, but we are sometimes unprepared due to a lack of faith, holiness, or willingness.
John 2:6-9a ANow six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained 20 or 30 gallons. AFill the jars with water,@ Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim. Then He said to them, ANow draw some out and take it to the chief servant.@ And they did. When the chief servant tasted the water, (after it had become wine). . .@
Six water pots used for purification had a total capacity of about 120 gallons. Much water was necessary because there would be many guests, who had to wash their feet upon entering, and wash their hands before the meal and between each course.
Jesus had the water pots filled to the brim. This assured nothing but water was put in them. Jesus then said some of the fluid was to be drawn out and taken to the head waiter, who tasted wine rather than water.
Nothing is said of how the miracle was wrought. We are only told what preceded it and what followed it. The miracle itself is a hidden mystery.
We don=t even know for sure how much of the water was turned to wine. Was it all the water in the pots, the next batch drawn from the well, or only what was carried to the guests? The answer is not overly important because the details of this miracle were not as crucial as the message it conveyed.
This is not to say the miracle didn=t happen. It literally occurred. This silent act of Christ=s will verified His power over material things and reminded us of His participation in creation. When He willed the miracle, water became conscious, recognized its Creator, and blushed.
The message comes through loud and clear for those willing to heed it. The incident was merely a source of surprise to the head waiter, but had a profound affect on the disciples. Their faith was strengthened by it. What did they see that he missed?
John 2:9b-11 A. . . he did not know where it came from B though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom and told him, AEverybody sets out the fine wine first, then, after people have drunk freely, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.@ Jesus performed this first sign in Cana of Galilee. He displayed His gory, and His disciples believed in Him.@
The main clue to understanding this miracle=s importance is found in the words of the head waiter, who didn=t realize the significance of what he was saying. The lesson is, AYou have kept the fine wine until now@ (v. 10b).
Usually a party host used top quality wine at first and then shared cheaper wine once palates were dulled. At this wedding, that trend was reversed. The host had saved the best till last.
This statement hinted at what God was doing. The system of Judaism had been good in its day, but had now fulfilled its purpose. It was now completed. The time had come for a new and better covenant. God had Akept the fine wine until now.@
The number of pots, six, represented something unfinished. The six water pots stood for the incompleteness of Judaism. It was inadequate as the ultimate religion of salvation.
Judaism=s ritualistic system dealt heavily with externals. Jesus had now brought that system to fulfillment (filled the water pots), turning a religion of externals (water for purification) into something that could help people internally (wine for drinking). God saved the best till last. Something new and better came from Judaism.
God always saves the best for last. For believers, the best is always yet to come.
Unfortunately, deluded souls learn the hard way, sin does just the opposite. It lures people to be its slaves and victims by beautiful promises and Apleasures for a season.@ These things soon lose their luster, becoming stale and bitter.
This is not the case with Christ. He has transforming power, freeing power. We often try to improve ourselves, but self-helps usually fail.
Judaism represented the best any humanistic religion could offer, but it was not enough. Men like Nathanael, Peter, James, John, and John the Baptist knew something more was needed.
Early believers found what they sought in Jesus= power to transform them. The same power is still available and accessible.