Have you ever looked at the miracles of Jesus in detail as part of a topological study? There’s so much in the miracles to encourage us and remind us of Christ’s great love for us. By looking at them, we’re able to get a better perspective of why God does some of the things that He does and why He doesn’t act in other cases. For instance, let’s look at the very first miracle, which tool place in Cana at a wedding feast.
When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.
Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim.
And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him.
When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
– John 2:3-10, NASB
Jesus’ earthly ministry had not yet begun. Therefore, the time for signs and wonders was not upon Him. However, there was a problem: they were out of wine. Now we probably wouldn’t think a whole lot about it, but in that day, running out of refreshment was a big deal. It spoke poorly about you to the community. It meant you weren’t able to plan and prepare properly. And while that’s still somewhat the case nowadays, back then you weren’t let off the hook. Mary knew that and came to find the only one who could do something about it: Jesus. There is so much that we aren’t able to do without HIm. The things that are really important, especially from an eternal sense, do not escape the notice of Christ. He is able to overcome our weaknesses, supersede our ignorance, and deliver what we lack. We too often forget the promise given in John 16:24 that anything we ask in the name of Christ (that is, something that Christ would also ask for) we will be given. Mary asked. The bridegroom received.
However, Jesus also drew a line with her. Notice what He called her: woman. I was listening to a sermon by John Piper on the wedding feast and he hit upon the apparent rudeness of how Jesus addressed Mary. Would we dare call our mothers “Woman?” Why did Christ? Christ did so because He was pointing out that His ultimate allegiance is to His Father. That’s why He said, “My time has not yet come.” As believers and followers of Christ, this is something for us to remember. Regardless of the situation, our ultimate allegiance should be to our Heavenly Father. Sometimes this means choosing to draw a line with family. In Jesus’ case, He made the point in a way she would understand, but still honored her request. And how did he honor it!
The waterpots were used for purification. That’s what He chose to use of the vessels of His first miracle. It’s a reminder to us that ultimately Christ didn’t come to make our lives easier, or to give us what we think we should have, but to purify us, to sanctify us, to make us holy for the day of judgment. That gift is so above and beyond anything and everything we could receive in this lifetime that it’s unbelievable. When we start to understand how much God truly hates sin, Christ’s purification of us solely due to grace stands out for the magnificent act that it is, incomparable and awesome. This miracle is more than about saving face. This miracle is more than about earthly things. It’s a symbol that He came to wash us clean, to remove the stain of sin from our lives through His shed blood. What an awesome Savior we love and serve!
Then we come to the quality of the wine. It was the best. The tradition was to let folks partake of the good stuff because as people imbibed more, they become less concerned with taste. But the headwaiter tasted the wine and found it to be superior to anything that had come before. This was shocking. This was a testament to the generosity of the bridegroom. But what part did the new husband play in all this? Absolutely nothing. Yet he was glorified. And so are we, for Romans 8:29-30 reminds us that if we are called by God it is God Himself who will justify us and glorify us. This is the way God is. We don’t deserve such glory. But He willing chooses to give it to us. The bridegroom deserved condemnation and scorn for not planning well. But because of Christ he is glorified. The bridegroom lived out in his lifetime what we are promised in eternity. Are you looking ahead to what is promised in such a way a way that you are not held back to the shackles today and yesterday would try to place upon you?
Finally, In this first miracle we are reminded of where our priorities should be. But then we are also reminded of why God should be our first priority. He purifies us. He sanctifies us. He prepares us to escape wrath at the final judgment. And He meets our needs in this earthly life as He gives us His very best. But not only does He give us His very best here and now, but He has set us apart to be glorified in eternity. We don’t deserve any of this. He has chosen to give it us – the ultimate expression of grace. Though we are undeserving, it is all ours. How can we not be thankful? How can we not be humbled? How can we not look to Him first and foremost? As you begin this week, seek to do just that. Remember what His death on the Cross did for you and for me. And remember that it’s more than just salvation that Christ offers us. He offers us Himself and His power as we take each step. What an awesome God we serve!