The purpose of John’s gospel is to reveal the signs or miracles in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ to prove His identity. Jesus performed miracles to demonstrate His true identity so that those who saw and heard might believe in Him as Lord and Savior. We saw that in our first message from this book as we looked at John 20:30-31.
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
In today’s text, we see the first of thirty-five plus miracles to come in twenty-one chapters of the gospel of John. Today’s message is entitled, “Turning Your Water into Wine.”
- An Invitation for Jesus to Intervene, 2:1-3
1 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.”
Verse 1 begins with “on the third day.” As we have seen before, this is a time marker probably regarding the last time marker in John 1:43. Today’s scene is three days from when Jesus called Phillip and Nathaniel, and it probably took three days of travel time from Bethsaida to Cana.
The situation here is a wedding, and Jesus and His disciples and His mother were all in attendance. It was probably the wedding of a family member or close friend of Jesus’ family.
The fact that Jesus’ attends this wedding and his first miracle takes place at this wedding should not be lost on us. Jesus is pro-marriage. He is pro-family. He is not about living together. He is not about multiple wives or multiple husbands or homosexual unions or homosexual marriages. Jesus is pro-marriage and pro-family.
In this day and time, weddings differed than what we know today. Marriages were arranged by the parents of the bride and groom. The bride was between thirteen and fifteen years of age. The groom was between eighteen and twenty-four years of age.
The marriage was arranged and contracted but not consummated as quickly as we do. Once the contract had been formalized, there was what is called a betrothal period of between two and twelve months.
During this time, the bride lived with her parents, and the groom lived with his parents, but they were still considered married. This was the context when Joseph found Mary to be with child. They were in the betrothal period.
After the betrothal period, the groom and his wedding party made their way to the bride and her home, and brought her and her wedding party back to his house. Then the wedding feast began and last up to seven days. This was a joyous, festive occasion with lots of social interaction including food and drink of which the groom and his family were completely responsible.
However, this joyful situation turns tragic in verse 3. The wine ran out. This was the faux pas or all faux passes. This would have been social embarrassment for the couple but especially for the groom and his family.
When we see Jesus’ mother taking this very proactive position, we can again conclude that this was a close family member, and perhaps she had some type of official responsibility at the wedding feast. She came to her son and by implication was inviting Him to intervene.
We also can infer from this that Joseph was out of the picture at this time. Christian tradition holds to Joseph dying sometime in Jesus’ teen years.
- An Explanation of Jesus’ Timing, 2:4-5
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.”
Notice Jesus’ response to His mother in 2:4. In our minds, it may seem rude. He says, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me?” As Bro. Ronnie would say, “Not my circus; not my monkeys.”
However, actually, it would be akin to our ma’am or madam. He then essentially says that this is not His problem solve. Why?
For His time has not yet come. That means the full revelation of His character on the cross as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Regardless, Mary told the servants to do whatever He said.
- A Demonstration of Jesus’ Power, 2:6-10
6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots 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 manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
Even though Jesus was not obligated to help out in this situation, we see His kindness and grace sparing this young married couple and their family from colossal social embarrassment.
In 2:6, we are introduced to six stone waterpots that was used for the guests to wash their hands before eating. John tells us that there was about 120 to 180 gallons of water here. We see this behavior described in Mark 7:3-4.
3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.
Seeing these, Jesus instructed the servants to the fill them with water all the way to the top. Something special is about to happen, but Jesus doesn’t want anyone to think that a bait and switched has occurred. The water was all the way to the top so you couldn’t add wine to the pots.
He then told the servants to draw out what was now in the pots and take it to the headwaiter or what John calls the master of the feast. They did.
Somewhere along the way, Jesus turned that water into wine, some 120 to 180 gallons of wine. One commentator estimated around 2,400 servings.
That fact doesn’t need to escape you either. Jesus blessed this couple not only for this particular situation but with wine for days to come.
When the headwaiter tasted the new, fresh, sweet wine, he was caught off guard, and he went to commend the groom. Most of the time, the good wine is served first, and people drink it and get intoxicated, and their senses are dulled. The poorer wine is then brought out, and at this point, it isn’t that important because the people are intoxicated, and they don’t care. However, that wasn’t true here.
In this case, the good wine was served at the end. For this, the headwaiter was surprised and impressed.
The reality is that the groom and his family had not planned well. However, Jesus stepped in and bailed them out, but why?
In verse 11, we find the significance or the reason behind all of Jesus’ miracles. He did what He did to demonstrate who He was so that men and women and boys and girls might believe in Him as Lord and Savior.
One more point before I conclude. Jesus did what He did in response to Mary’s surrender and the servants obedience. Don’t miss that.
First, Jesus was different, and Christianity is better than Judaism. As for Jesus, He was not just a man. He wasn’t just a son or just a brother. He was the God-man, and this story demonstrates such. He was the promised Messiah. Jesus was God!
As for Christianity compared to Judaism, we see that in verse six and following. Notice how John mentioned the Jewish custom of purification. When Jesus turned the water into wine, He was demonstrating that Christianity will be more joyful and abundant than religion, especially Judaism.
Religion is man’s attempt to reach God. Christianity is God’s success in reaching man. Christianity provides the joy and abundance of earthly life and eternal life that Judaism cannot.
Second, Jesus’ timing is not our timing. As a follower of Christ, not only should surrender our will to Jesus but also our watch to Jesus. It is so hard to wait, but waiting maybe exactly what God wants for you because His timing is perfect every time.
Third, Jesus can still turn water into wine today. He does when He turns a sinner into saint, when He turns sick to health, when He turns a rocky marriage into a prospering marriage, when He turns an addict into sobriety.
All across the room this morning, there are people whose wine has run out. Today, Jesus can turn you water to wine through surrender and obedience. See Romans 8:28.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.