On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.” Jn 2:1-12 (NIV)
As we read through this very rich and beautiful Scripture passage that is describing the miracle in which Jesus turns water into wine at the wedding at Cana, we see His very first miracle unfold before our eyes and we ask the question:
What can we learn from this event today?
JESUS IS ACTIVE IN OUR LIVES
The story starts off telling us that Jesus’ mother was attending a wedding in Galilee and that Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. We see a side of Jesus that perhaps we may not normally think about, one that shows us that Jesus chose to participate in the common and routine events of marriage festivities. He was gathered among the people, participating in their daily lives.
Celebrating. Laughing. Drinking.
And then we hear those dreaded words spoken by the mother of Jesus: “They have no more wine!” To you and I today that may sound very trivial but back in Biblical times, the marriage feast would carry on for several days and it was considered a great disgrace to run out of wine during the celebration. It would bring shame on the newlywed couple and their families. This certainly would not be a good way to start off a new marriage.
This story in John chapter 2 reminds us that things don’t always go as planned. That includes weddings, but even more so, that also includes the details of our lives. Scripture tells us this will be the case in our lives in John 16:33 (NIV):
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We see that they certainly thought they had planned for enough wine for all the guests, but they inevitably ran out. Sometimes all our good planning and best intentions go awry. Things don’t work out as planned or the way we had hoped.
What we can take away from this is a wonderful example of how Jesus’ mother, Mary, knew exactly who to turn to in times of trouble. In her time of need. She knew how important it was that they had run out wine and the shame and disgrace it would bring on the newly married couple.
Biblical scholars write that it is suspected she was involved in some way in planning the wedding feast as well, so perhaps she may have also had a personal stake in the celebration. That shame may have been filling her heart just as deeply, so what did we see her do?
She went directly to Jesus. Asked for His help. She invited Jesus in. To her problem, her troubles. And then she waited for Him.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Mt 7:7-8 (NIV)
When we invite Jesus in, He always stands waiting. And just as His mother turned to Him for help, He answers when we call. In 1 John 5:14 (NIV), Scripture tells us:
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.”
Very simply we see Jesus survey the situation and He hears His mother’s request, and then we see His response in John 2:7 (NIV):
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.”
We will be discussing in more detail about the filling of the jugs and their symbolic nature in the next section, but let’s stop for a moment and think about how even the servants knew in their hearts to obey Jesus as Lord when He told them to fill the jars with water.
It was no easy task to haul these 20 to 30 gallon jugs for a long distance in order to fill them with water. They were undoubtedly very heavy, but they knew Jesus was about to do something they wanted to be a part of.
Can you think of a time in your life when things didn’t go as planned and, instead of taking your trouble to Jesus, you tried to fix it yourself and made it worse? Can you imagine what the servants were thinking as Jesus asked them to fill the jugs with water? Or what was going through their minds as they were hauling the jugs back?
Sometimes I sit and wonder about these things.
JESUS HAS POWER OVER THE EVENTS IN OUR LIVES
By turning to Jesus, we show our trust in Him. When problems arise, the best thing we can do is to do as He says.
- He tells us in Matthew 11:28 (NIV) to “Come to Him.”
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
- Then in 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV), we hear Him say to “Lay our burdens on Him.”
Cast all of your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
- And in Romans 8:28 (NIV), Jesus tells us to “Trust Him.”
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
- Finally, Acts 16:31 (NIV) reminds us to “Believe in Him for our salvation.”
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”
We can see in these four verses above that Jesus has power in our lives. Just as He did in the lives of those at the wedding at Cana. Mary came to Him, she laid her burden before Him, she trusted Him and then she had faith in Him.
What we saw next was Jesus in action. Jesus showing His power over the events in their lives.
In reading some great sermons on this miracle, I found that in Jewish customs the number 7 is considered the complete and perfect number. The book of John is filled with great symbolism and this miracle of Jesus certainly includes examples of that.
In other Biblical texts, the Scripture says that Jesus asked the servants to carry six jugs to be filled with water. These six jugs symbolized the imperfections of the current Jewish law. Jesus came, as the Son of God, to do away with all these imperfections and instead put in place “The New Wine” of the gospel of grace. And while we see that He has the power to turn water into wine at a wedding when necessary, He more importantly has the power to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
When we accept Jesus into our lives and truly take hold of the grace that He offers, He turns the imperfect into the perfect. He turns our six jugs into the complete seven. He turns our water into wine. Our ordinary into something extraordinary. Without Jesus, we are quite plain and common. But when Jesus enters our lives, we become extraordinary and begin to sparkle and live a life that is transformed.
JESUS PROVIDES FOR OUR NEEDS
In previous parts of this Bible Study, (you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here), we talked about how one characteristic of a miracle was that it was immediate. We see how Jesus met the needs of the wedding party by giving them exactly what they needed at the moment. Scripture gives us a great example of God meeting our needs in Philippians 4:19 (NIV):
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
After Jesus turns the water into wine, He tells the servants to take some of the wine out and take it to the master of the banquet. When he tasted it, he called the bride groom aside and said:
Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” Jn 2:10 (NIV)
Jesus provides for our needs which, in turn, increases our faith and hope for tomorrow. Jesus cares about us and meets our needs. Scripture tells us that God cares about our well-being and the details of our lives in Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV):
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for being active in our lives, for wanting to know us intimately and be a part of every detail. Help us to invite you in as we go about each day. Let us see that You alone have power over the happenings in our lives and to trust you to provide for our every need. Thank you for your gift of grace, turning our ordinary into the extraordinary. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Looking to find Part 1? You can find it here at Miraculous! The Miracles of Jesus: Introduction Part 1.
Or Part 2? You can find it here at Miraculous! The Miracles of Jesus: Introduction Part 2.
Are you looking for Jesus Feeds the 5,000?
Need to catch up on the most recent post, Jesus Walks on Water?