John 2: 1-11
Who hasn’t been in a tricky situation and needed something dramatic to happen in order to get out of it? Have you longed for something good to come out of the bad? It could be you’ve got too much to do and not enough time to do it. It could be you just don’t know what to do, where to start, and you have a deadline to meet… a bit like writing a new sermon! So, how often have you said, or thought, “To save the day I need a miracle here”!
Today with Covid-19 we’re looking for something good to come out of the bad. Can good come out of this bad time we’re in now? Can Jesus make something good come out of this bad time?
Jesus and his disciples had been at a wedding celebration, and midway through, the hosts ran out of wine. This was unheard of and highly embarrassing. We don’t really know a lot about Mary, the mother of Jesus, but we see her compassion, and a fortitude in this account. She feels the pain of the hosts and knows Jesus can resolve this situation, and so she makes His miracle-working abilities public, a little bit too soon if we take verse 4 at face value, “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
Had Mary seen her son do something as He was growing up that would indicate He could make something good out of this embarrassing lack of wine? Mary must have seen something different as Jesus grew up for she clearly knew He could do something to make good to come out of the bad.
So what did Mary know? Have you ever thought about that? I have to say I haven’t given this much thought, but as I thought about this, could it be that Mary on an occasion burnt the evening supper? Burnt fish lingering in the house, and Jesus comes in and restores it to its pre-burnt state! Maybe one of His brothers skinned their knee and Jesus healed the cut! No need for Band-Aids in that Nazareth home!
The Bible does tell us that she knew that her child was special for she pondered on all the things that happened. After all, wouldn’t you think your child was special if you had angels appearing telling you of about the birth of a child you are going to have?
Furthermore, Luke tells us in chapter 2 that after they returned safely from their trip to the Temple with Jesus when He was a boy, and after He had stayed behind in His father’s house, Mary “treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.” Obviously there were many characteristics that showed Mary the uniqueness of her son.
The Bible doesn’t tell us these details, but Mary knew something. She knew Jesus could take a bad situation and make it right and not only right but so much better than anyone could have imagined.
When the master of the feast tasted the water-become-wine, he called the bridegroom to one side (he didn’t make a scene) and said to him;
‘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.’” (John 2:9-10)
Did you know that changing water into wine involved an entire change in the molecular makeup of the water? It’s not like Jesus added some food colouring or a teaspoon of salt. No, he changed the atomic structure of the liquid — a feat that required a staggering amount of energy. This shows us that Jesus has a real mastery of the natural law, far beyond the comprehension of the world’s best scientists.
Isn’t that typical of Jesus? The change He brings is not a minor modification, no He brings about a complete remake! The classic Austin/Morris Mini car only had minor modifications for 40 yr., then… in 2000 it had a complete remake… Mini One!
So why did Jesus turn water into wine? What is its significance?
Water-into-wine teaches us that Jesus is all about making us completely new. He doesn’t change bits and pieces here and there because He has the power to change us completely, as if he is changing our whole molecular structure. Like water-into-wine.
Before we look at this further, it’s worth noting that John refers to what other Gospel writers call miracles as “signs”. Why? Well, signs emphasise that there is something significant about the action just undertaken, rather than the marvel of what has just occurred. So what is the significance of Jesus turning water into wine?
Jesus turned water into wine to prove that He is the source of life. Changing the water to wine offered a symbol of the new supernatural spiritual life Jesus brings from the old mortal in conversion. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”
Many people make a mistake here; they want to improve themselves into being worthy of God before they accept Christ. The truth is the other way round it is by accepting Jesus as Saviour that God counts us worthy of entering His presence…
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Jesus turned water into wine to prove His real nature to the disciples. For this was the ultimate purpose of the miracle: to reveal His Glory! This resulted in them putting their faith in Him.
From what we read Jesus had no interest in recruiting faith in the members of the wedding party, or the master of the feast. Even though the servants knew the provenance of the wine, Jesus didn’t perform the miracle to convince them. His only interest was to reveal His true, inner being to the six men He had handpicked to be His disciples; two of John-the-Baptist’s followers, one of whom was Andrew, who finds his brother Simon Peter, that’s three. Then Jesus finds Philip who then found Nathanael, that’s five, and I’m assuming John was there, as it is his Gospel, so that makes six. This glory would only be completely uncovered once during his ministry – at his transfiguration in front of a select few. But this sign, of water into wine, achieved its purpose, for His disciples believed in Him.
As Jesus continued His ministry many who came to believe in Him through His preaching, miracles, claims and example understood what glory meant… in Christ, God had become a mortal. In Christ, God put on a human face – a reality verified by John when Jesus appeared to him as we read in Revelation 1:12-18.
I turned round to see the voice that was speaking to me… His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
When we put our faith in Jesus and believe who He is, the eternal invisible God will be made visible to us all. This is redemption through Jesus Christ. In essence then, this miracle proved more about the someone Jesus was than the something He did. He is the only person who has the power to remake us completely so we can know and experience his supernatural divine glory personally for ourselves. A glory that leads us to believe in Him.
Time to think
Read John 2:1-11. With pen and paper (maybe your journal) to hand give yourself time to think about the following as you dig into God’s word.
- When has God shown up in ways you did not expect?
- How has He worked something good in your life that you could not have pictured?
- Can you imagine that He can do it again at this moment in time? If so ask Him how He is going to do that.