In John 2:1-11 we have recorded the first miracle of Jesus. This is another example of how much cultural context matters to understanding the purpose of this miracle being recorded. Before we jump into the text let me address an old argument that really shouldn’t even be a matter of discussion. Was the wine fermented? Doesn't matter. Has no bearing on the message. However, I can tell you contextually it can be supported that the wine wasn’t fermented and it can be supported that it was fermented.
Pass the wine - John 2:1-11
“On hthe third day there was a wedding at iCana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with jhis disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, k“Woman, lwhat does this have to do with me? mMy hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Now there were six stone water jars there nfor the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty ogallons.1 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted pthe water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested qhis glory. And rhis disciples believed in him.”
Jewish weddings were huge community events that would last seven to ten days. Months of planning and storing wine and food would be necessary for this grand celebration. The wedding in Cana they ran out of wine on the third day. This is a huge miscalculation that will result into devastating consequences for the servants, the host, and the marital couple. Socially this would be a great embarrassment and would have been considered unacceptable.
The servants who were tasked with storing up enough wine are going to be in big trouble. How did this happen? Did they miscalculate how much wine the guest would drink? The why for this crisis is insignificant in light of the consequences for running out of wine. They will not only lose their job, they will be excluded from the community. In our culture one might move on and gain new friends. Didn’t work that way in first century Israel. To be excommunicated from your community would also mean you wouldn’t be welcome in the neighboring communities.
The host will experience social shame as a terrible host and will be excluded from other communal events. The host would lose their position in the community and would feel as a social outcast.
The married couple will always be remembered as the couple who can’t even plan a party. Houston we have a problem. And this is a problem no one is going to be able to fix. You can’t run to the local store and buy more wine. This special celebration is about to go seriously wrong and heads are going to roll!
Jesus mother is aware of this crisis and she moves into action. She goes to Jesus and tells him to fix this problem. She then tells the servants, whatever he (Jesus) tells you to do, do it. He will fix this.
Jesus tells the servants to fill six stone jars with water. I’m thinking if I were one of the servants, I don’t need water, I need wine. The servants fill the stone jars with water, and then Jesus said to one of the servants, dip some out and take it to the host. Wait a minute! This is no joking matter. You want me to take a cup of water and give it to the host to drink? What do you think the host will do when he takes a drink and discovers it is water, and not wine? Oddly, the servant does what Jesus had instructed, and somewhere along the way the water turned into wine. And not just wine, but the best wine! The day is saved! Problem solved! Disaster avoided!
Jesus saved the day! This won’t be his last time he will save the day for someone. In fact, his ministry is characterized as “coming to the rescue”.
Lessons from this miracle
When we are aware of a problem and we can resolve the problem, we should.
Notice Jesus didn’t lecture the servants on better planning. He had the means to step in and provide a solution to this crisis, and that’s what he did. What if we followed Jesus lead here. What if we were less critical and more action. What if
when we recognized a problem we offered solutions instead of complains or criticism?
As followers of Jesus we have opportunities to be guiding lights providing resolutions to problems and to be salt bringing healing to a hurting world.
Let us be known as people who are helpful.
We should be people who have great compassion for other’s weaknesses.
It was out of compassion Mary and Jesus stepped in to help. Jesus summed up the law and the prophets by stating “to love God and love others as yourself”. Love can be defined as, “seeking the best good for the object of your concern.” This is what Mary and Jesus did that day. Jesus acted in what was in the best interest of the servants, the host, and the couple. What if we demonstrated a little more love and a little less judgement?
There are many in our culture who are struggling and they need a Jesus follower to love them and compassionately support and encourage them. Be with them. Be a friend. There may be someone in your life that needs to hear it is not their fault and they are not alone.
Let us be known as people of loving grace.