In this passage of John 2:1-12 we see Jesus’ first miracle, turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana. At first blush this is a story many of us know, and since I tend to skim when I read, I was especially having a hard time seeing what we can learn from this other than “Jesus is powerful enough to turn water into wine”, or focusing on the fact that turning water into wine is inherently cool (we all kind of wish we could do it, am I right?!).
So to slow us all down, let’s observe my summarized details of the occurrence:
- Jesus is at a wedding with his mom and disciples, who he had recently called a day or two prior.
- Mary notices that the wedding is out of wine so she tells Jesus about the need.
- Jesus tells her “What has this got to do with me? It’s not my time.”
- Mary goes to the servants and tells them to listen to what Jesus has to say
- Jesus tells the servants what to do
- The servants obey by filling water jars (used for ceremony cleansing) with water
- The servants bring the warer to the master of the feast. When it is brought out of the jar, it turns into wine.
- The master of the feast is so surprised at how good the wine is that he tells the bridegroom how surprised he is that the best wine was saved for last.
- The bridegroom doesn’t correct him.
- Only Mary, the disciples, and the servants know Jesus was behind this miracle
I never noticed (until now) that the very first of Jesus miracles was specifically designed for servants, his new disciples, and his family. It began out of Mary identifying a need and bringing it to Jesus. How much faith she had in him. How she understood and accepted his response, understanding he wasn’t rejecting her but reminding her of his larger plan. How clever she was to use servants instead, and how gracious Jesus was for using them in his miracle.
I wonder the belief that stirred in the hearts of these servants. The grace that let them in on this amazing secret – one that surely was difficult to contain.
What a statement it was using ceremonial cleansing jars to put the wine in. He’s funny like that. He always replaces ceremony with celebration.
Yes, Jesus is the very best wine. Following him is this strange process of obeying in the little things and him showing us the very best thing: who he really is.
Praise Jesus for who he is in this story. He isn’t uptight or rigid. He listens to Mary. He uses ordinary people to carry out something extraordinary. He uses jars meant for one purpose for his purposes. He replaces ceremony with celebration. He involves the lowest people for a high calling, not using their power but their obedience to demonstrate his power. He focuses on the few, rather than trying to impress the crowd. I don’t know about you, but I need all of these reminders in my life.
To continue further, here are a few personal applications to take away from this text:
- Jesus’ method of answering requests is not always obvious. Notice he didn’t just grant Mary’s request, but used her faith to find a solution that would work in his will and timing. Consider areas of need in your life you need to bring to him, and ask him to show you his larger plan.
- Jesus always replaces ceremony with celebration. How have you reverted back to ceremony? Are you more joyful or serious in your relationship with God?
- Jesus can use our small moments of obedience to demonstrate and show us more of his power. How are you listening to his instruction?
- The bridegroom takes the credit for the good wine, likely because of his pride. How have you taken credit for the gifts God has given you?
- Jesus loves his followers and servants, letting those who knew him see more miracles than the crowds. Today, look hard to see how he provides for you through the hands of others. Strain your eyes to see his orchestration in your life. Take confidence he is at work, and give him credit for what he may be up to.