On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Jesus’ first miracle, so familiar to us can even so give challenges when we really examine its meaning for us. We can see it firstly as an historic account of an actual happening, which of course it is. However, there is even greater spiritual value if we let the Holy Spirit open our understanding to such.
Too often have I heard the words, “If only Jesus could do that in this day and age, trips to the Off Licence would be unnecessary!” However, this miracle far exceeds the natural, wants or needs of mankind. Rather it encourages us to put the Lord to the test in our own difficult and at times, embarrassing human situations.
Think about the bridegroom, and the frankly appalling discrepancy he must have made in not accurately assessing quantities in order to provide sufficient wine for the festivities. In those days it would probably have been unlikely that formal invitations were used but even so this obvious lack would have been seen socially as a serious misdemeanour. We might well see it however, as a God-given opportunity for Jesus to manifest His divine ability. The Lord is indeed Sovereign of all situations which surround us, just as He was when His own Son walked this earth.
Then consider all the players through whom God moved in order to manifest His supernatural power and life. There was Mary the mother of Jesus, who I feel sure as any mother would feel, longed for her offspring to be seen in a good light by others, pushing Him forward to help, realising as probably only she did at that stage, that He was the only One Who had all the capabilities which were needed. However, at that time all she received was a rebuff for her efforts.
How about the servants themselves, being given orders from Mary, who as a “mere” woman would have had little social standing in the time of their servitude to the bridegroom? Did she really step out of line in telling them to heed Jesus’ words? Certainly such is implied by the Saviour’s response to her.
Then the chief steward, might well have felt humiliation as he had to approach the bridegroom himself on a day when most definitely he would not have wanted to be bothered with the finer points of housekeeping.
All of these so-called inconveniences however, pale into insignificance at the emergence of the One Who alone could so perfectly and faithfully show forth His Father’s glory, in this, the unveiling of the supernatural, miracle-working power of Jesus.
help us to remember especially in those times
when we are vulnerable or anxious
what you were able to do in a common, daily occurrence
when you turned water into wine of the best vintage.
May we come to you first rather than last,
when we encounter daily dilemmas and problems.
Verena Walder is a Lay Preacher and Elder at Tabernacle URC in Mumbles, South Wales.