‘What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory’ (John 2:11 NIV)
One of the most precious occasions in life is that of a wedding. It speaks of a new beginning and of new life.
On this special day in Cana 2000 years ago, Jesus, his mother Mary and a number his disciples were invited to join a wedding. It seems that the celebrations got off to a wonderful start with the wine flowing and food in abundance until disaster struck…the wine ran out!
We may not consider this a disaster, but we can understand how embarrassing it would have been for the bride and groom to feel that they had not provided adequately for their guests.
So Jesus’ mother steps in and asks Jesus to help the couple. After some persuasion on her part, Jesus saves the bride and groom from embarrassment by miraculously turning the water reserved for purification into the most spectacular of wines.
This event is the first of Jesus’ miracles to be recorded in John’s gospel and we should pay attention to it because John is very selective about the miracles he chooses to narrate. In contrast to the other three gospels, John picks only seven miracles and he gives them a special name – he calls them the ‘signs’ of Jesus.
The reason that John calls these miracles ‘signs’ is because he believes that they point to something beyond themselves, beyond the actual miracle itself.
For John these miracles are signposts to Jesus’ identity. He says that in the signs Jesus reveals his glory.
In Jewish tradition wine is a symbol of new, abundant life and of re-creation, and so by re-creating this water into wine Jesus demonstrates that he is the one who is able to offer new life to others.
This sign and all the subsequent signs in John’s gospel reveal Jesus’ glory because they are miraculous demonstrations of his ability and authority to give life.
In fact Jesus describes new life as the whole purpose of his coming to earth. He says in John 10, I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Again in Jewish thought, God is the only one who has authority over life; only he can give life.
So by demonstrating his ability to give life through the signs, Jesus is revealing his divinity and his glory. He is showing that he is more than just a man, more than just a miracle worker; he is the God who is able to give new life and a new start to those who come to him, and this new life is abundant and everlasting.
In Christ, God offers us all a new start, a new abundant life, both for this life and for all eternity; he is able to renew our hope and renew our lives.
Father, in your grace give us this new wine.
Have a good week experiencing the new wine of Jesus.