All journeys have a beginning, a middle and an ending. We have been reflecting on the revelation of God. We have been reflecting on the reputation of God and His Son Jesus Christ. All along, we have been trying to decide whether or not we ought to choose God, His Son and the Holy Spirit as having complete command over the long course of our lives. The process of anyone making such a choice as this is immensely transformational. From the beginning, this engagement with this magnitude of “Living Hope” is fraught with many unknowns and pitfalls.
It is a good thing then that when you and I start, we first start at the beginning which we did when we began to plumb the depths of Genesis Chapter 1. Jesus was there from the very beginning as John 1:1-5 very succinctly communicates to readers. To better plumb the depths of this revelation, we begin before Jesus began to make Himself known as someone other than the son of Mary and a Carpenter.
Before Jesus made his official entrance into -public ministry, Jesus performed one sign, one miracle at a wedding. He would then go on to perform nearly 40.
Please open your Bibles to the gospel of John, chapter 2. Today we are beginning a new devotional series I have titled, “This Miracle of Transformation: Jesus the Carpenter, Jesus the Itinerant Master Rabbi, Rabbi Jesus the miracle worker.”
John 2:1-11 NKJV
Water Turned to Wine
2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”
4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
6 Now there were set there six water pots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and [a]manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Our text tells the story of the beginning of signs. Jesus took an ordinary occasion, a wedding, as an opportunity to act. The need was for wine. He worked a miracle to provide the wine. The miracle was also a sign.
In this devotional message we discuss (1) the occasion of the miracle, (2) the need for a miracle, (3) the performance of the miracle, and (4) the significance of the miracle.
This story, now as then, should challenge us to first, believe that the Lord Jesus is God in the flesh, believe in the ministry, mission and works of the Lord as our Savior, as having total sovereignty over our whole lives and to give Him glory.
What is our need for such knowledge and such a magnitude of conviction?
Whether we are believers or non believers or we are somewhere in the middle of making such a transformational decision, many of us, exactly right now, in this precise moment face difficult circumstances today. Perhaps you and I have said, or are currently saying: “It will take a miracle to get me through my situation.” Without something very miraculous taking place, you and I wonder if you and I will make it. With that in mind, let’s follow Jesus from Judea to Cana of Galilee.
It’s good when you start, to start at the beginning. Before Jesus made his official entrance into public ministry, Jesus performed one miracle. He would then go on to perform nearly 40. Most seem to agree on about 38 that we have record of.
It is important to stop and remember what John said: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for all the books that would be written.” I’m sure there were many other signs and miracles we are simply not aware of.
But this was the first and it is interesting that he chose to perform this miracle at a wedding. Less than a week has now gone by since Jesus had appeared in the desert. John had prophesied that Jesus was coming and when he arrived, John said, “Behold the Lamb of God who has come to take away the sins of the world.
There was a system taught in the OT for hundreds of years that on particular days man should bring a sacrifice-often a lamb. The lamb was to be without blemish. The lamb would then be sacrificed on the altar, blood would be shed and man would receive forgiveness. This completed the Scripture that says without shedding of blood there is no remission/forgiveness of sins. Now this lamb has arrived and that system from the OT is about to change completely.
This is the story of the beginning of miracles. We will discuss the wedding as an ordinary occasion which led to a miracle. Then, we will present the need for a miracle, the performance of the miracle, the significance of the miracle. This text, now as then, should challenge us to believe in the Lord, to give Him glory.
Then in just a few days a wedding takes place in Cana. We don’t know how many guests there were but the Scripture does tell us that Jesus and his mother were there and also his disciples. The Scripture gets right to the point-there was a problem-they had run out of wine and so Mary took the need directly to Jesus.
She made him aware. I suppose that it is difficult to know exactly why she told Jesus–after all we have no record of any previous miracle Jesus had performed and later in verse 11 we learn in fact that this was his first. But certainly by this time Mary was fully aware that her son, Jesus was the very Son of God himself.
So she says, ”hey, son, it looks like they don’t have any wine.” His response immediately captures our attention because it sounds so abrupt. Look at it. “What has this concern of yours to do with me, woman?” Now that is tense!
Things are now beginning to change. Their relationship is beginning to change. This is likely the first time Mary had asked Jesus for help in a public setting. And what Jesus has to say here in the 2nd part….when He says what does this have to do with me? Seems to be explained in the last part. My hour has not yet come.
So Mary who is apparently expecting this need to be taken care of then speaks to the servants and said, “Do whatever he tells you.” There’s a principle found here that God’s people have attempted to live by for 2000 years and here it is:
• Do whatever he tells you.
Mary knew that her son Jesus could do whatever was necessary to transform a negative situation as long as the servants obeyed. And the same is true today.
• Jesus is more than able to do whatever was necessary/needed in your family
• Jesus is more than able to do whatever is necessary in your personal life.
• Jesus is more than able to do whatever is necessary to heal relationships, to heal people, to heal circumstances.
You see the beginning of the first transformation. You see for the very first time Jesus acting directly and decisively in the affairs of ‘troubled’ man, the public is about to see that in any situation, Jesus the miracle worker can take something that is broken and fix it. He can take something which is old and make it new.
Look at what he does. Verse six. There are six stone jars and each one will hold about 20 gallons. Possibly 30. So we have over 120 gallons of water available.
They are told to take them and fill them to the brim. These pots were used for washing. The Jews had practiced for years that they should not eat until they had washed their hands carefully. We still practice this. “Hey kids wash up it’s time to eat.” These large pots were used because they also had to wash cooking utensils as well; pots and pans. So Mary tells them to fill them and the narrator John reports they filled them up to the brim. Now not sure why we have that particular detail except that it does point out that nothing else was added.
No wine was added. No grapes, no fruits of the vine No Kool-Aid was added. No food coloring was added. Just water from the well-filled directly unto the top.
So now Jesus chooses some of the servants to help again and he tells them to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. Not to the waiters, not to the maître d’… Take it to the master. The main guy. Now these would be very heavy. A gallon of water weighs just over 8 pounds so each container could have weighed in excess of 200 pounds and there are six of them. So there were more than just a few men who are carrying these. Because this is over 1200 pounds.
So the host asked for wine and they bring water. It happens sometimes. Hey, I ordered sweet tea you know the stuff dripping and saturated with sugar. This is unsweetened tea. This is terrible. Or I ordered Coke, not Diet Coke or Pepsi.
The host ordered wine— they were bringing out water cause they were just doing what Mary had told them to do-Jesus had told him as well and so they were just following orders. We know it was water when they left the kitchen with it so we kind of have to conclude that the water miraculously transformed into wine somewhere between the kitchen and the head table at the banquet.
It’s like the waiters at a steak house walking out of the kitchen carrying a whole side of beef and he says, because it is a special customer, I need you to become a nice juicy ribeye, medium well by the time we get to serve the guest at the table.
That takes faith and obedience. It’s difficult to do what God tells us to do when we look at the situation. The circumstances. It often looks virtually impossible.
But as much as we desire to ask so many questions, to dot every “I” and cross every “t” and know every single detail. God says just do what I told you to do.
And that is what Mary had said and what Jesus had requested. This is what the master of the banquet, not Jesus, I’m speaking of the master of ceremonies— and told the wedding servants for them to do on behalf of every single guest.
So they discussed it with no one and they marched out with it. They took it over to the master of ceremonies. Since he was responsible-he had to make sure all the food and drink was “Reasonably” acceptable. So, in the regular course of his responsibilities, when he tasted the “new” wine the Text says, something about the wine had been transformed for the better and he knew not whence it came.
The master is obviously surprised because this wine actually tasted better than the wine they had earlier. You see it was customary to serve the best wine first-then when people continued to celebrate and drink, they did not care as much what it taste like you would bring the lesser wine-the one that was not so good.
Just as there is grape juice and wine today there was intoxicating wine and non-intoxicating wine in that day. The word here in the Greek is oinos and it refers to both so that doesn’t help us know which one it was. https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/jhn/2/10/t_conc_999010 https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g3631/kjv/tr/0-1/
For me, because I am Diabetic, I made the choice to refrain from alcohol in any form. Champagne, wine, beer, hard liquor-I drink none of it and have not for well over 20 years. I do not know what you choose to do… That is between you, your family, friends and God but if you have problems in this area, if you drink and don’t know when to stop; if there is a history of alcoholism in your family or you have a personal history then I encourage you to completely abstain.
Look now at verse 11. This is an important verse because it reminds us that every miracle Jesus performed had a purpose. It was never simply a display of power. John said Jesus performed this very first sign in Cana. What is a sign?
When we are traveling down the highway and we see a road sign, that sign is always pointing you and I towards something is about to occur. Rough road, Uneven lines. School zone. Deaf Child zone, Slow down. Curve in the road, Ice on the roads and bridges ahead; communicating: Slow down. Trouble is ahead. But signs are not always negative. If you’re traveling down the highway there also positive signs. Motel 6 and Cracker Barrel ahead, likewise Rest stop is ahead.
But, here, Narrator John is referring to the miraculous transformation of the water into wine, but not just any wine, but wine far exceeding all standards of the day, and indeed, far exceeding all standards of any day and any time frame.
Several things happen as a result of this miracle.
(1) Jesus revealed his glory. The glory of God was revealed that day.
(2) His disciples put their faith in him; apparently for the first time. Remember, his brother James did not believe until the resurrection. Their faith was solidified at this moment and now they were ready to follow him anywhere
(3) The law was exchanged for grace. This ceremony washing hands—that’s what these jars had been used for. Now all of this was replaced with something new.
(4) The law of Moses was exchanged for the law of grace. Now we would be cleansed by the blood of the cross.
You know, under the old system of beliefs and traditions, if you have to keep going back time after time and completing this ceremonial washing of hands you are constantly reminded that it is not enough. You just get unclean again. One more animal sacrifice. Again and again. But now we have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. And this same Jesus continues to change lives today.
We are living the ordinary life in extraordinary times. The Best is Yet to Come!
We are each confronted by extraordinary challenges. The Best is Yet to Come!
We are “hot wired” by God to overwhelm, to overcome. The Best is Yet to Come!
I am “hot wired” by God, “believe in infinitely more.” The Best is Yet to Come!
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, let us now Pray,
Lord, we need a miracle today.
Like Jesus changing water into wine
at the wedding feast in Cana,
we need a water to wine miracle today.
We are tired, Lord, of the hurts of this world.
We are discouraged
in the face of injustice, war, poverty, and indifference.
We need a miracle of water to wine today, Lord.
Your steadfast love, like a mighty mountain,
will not be moved.
Your gifts, as many as the mighty winds,
cannot be counted.
Your glory, like a mighty torch,
will not be put out.
Lord, crown us with your love.
Show us your water to wine glory,
that in you we may be moved
to acts of kindness, love, justice, and mercy.
Lord, we need a miracle today. Alleluia! Amen.