Second Sunday of Epiphany | January 20, 2019
2The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”
“Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.
When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”
This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
John 2:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT)
While the other gospel writers begin Jesus’ public ministry with his baptism, John tells of the beginnings of Jesus’ ministry in a different way. We know little of the backstory to John’s account. How did the couple’s celebration end up with so little beverage? We don’t know. Why did Mary ask Jesus to get involved? We don’t know. What we do know is that Mary finds out that the celebration is out of wine and she asks Jesus for his help. Why would she do this? After all she did know that she had an extraordinary birth. She was told that her son would be the Son of the most high God. Perhaps she expected Jesus to be able to do something extraordinary, although it’s not recorded that he had done anything like that prior to this event.
Nonetheless, she asks Jesus to do something. Jesus replies “My time has not yet come.” Meaning that God’s agenda is not determined by human desires or will – hmm – that sounds familiar – (John 1:13). This will not be the only time that John records this reply. Jesus also gives the same reply to his brothers in John 7:8.
I think we see Mary’s faith when she tells the servants, “Do what he tells you.” The servants await Jesus’ word. Jesus tells them to fill six jars with a capacity of over 100 gallons total with water and present them to the host of the celebration. We can see that God provided generously for his people – and he provided the best. Isn’t that like God?
Just last week, Pam and I received a blessing from God that I don’t think we will ever be able to repay – it was generous and it was the best. I couldn’t have even dreamed it in my wildest dreams. That’s the kind of God we serve. What’s even more amazing is that we didn’t even ask or expect it.
We may notice that there were just six clay jars set aside for purification – not seven – suggesting that they were incomplete in the purification that they provided – Jesus was the answer in that he came so that we could be cleansed completely. Jesus was full of unfailing love and faithfulness…From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses…God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17)
I believe that the transformation of the water into wine could also signify the transformation that Jesus can do in our lives. This miracle caused some of the disciples to believe in Jesus (2:11b.) Belief is one of the themes of John. This is one of the first signs that points the way that reveals the glory of Jesus. This glory that was revealed in Jesus flowed from the Father. It proved that Jesus was God’s Son. That Jesus rightly stands as the fullness of God’s self-revelation for his people. At this time, his glory was revealed to a small group of people until his time had come.
Today we can be thankful that God indeed did reveal Jesus to the world and the fullness of his glory, grace, and mercy. He is the one that can change us. He can change us from ordinary people to people that can give glory to the Father. If you believe, let us live in that glory.