In the 2nd chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus turns water in to wine. Most of us have heard this story, and some have used it as evidence that it’s ok for Christians to drink alcoholic beverages, or something like that. In reading that this afternoon, I am struck by the situation that Jesus finds himself in at this wedding. Here he is, at a feast with friends, celebrating a great day in the lives of two people he knows, and it’s a lovely thing. Then, disaster. No more wine. This was a huge embarrassment for a host to run out of wine! What will the people think? So Jesus is hanging out with his family. Then in verse 3, it simply says “When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “they have no more wine.”
What did she expect Jesus to do? Jesus’ response to this question implies that she was asking him to do something. Was there a BevMo around the street or something? “Quick Jesus; here’s twenty bucks…go top off the barrel…”
Clearly Mary thought that Jesus could help. Did she know in what way? And then Jesus, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords…is being pressured by his mother to help out. That would have been an interesting conversation to be a part of. Look at Jesus’ reply:
“Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come.”-John 2:4
Don’t put me in the middle of this. It’s not my time to shine yet. Lets not make this about me.
The funny thing is that Mary ignores his request and just tells the servants to do what he says, assuming he’ll take care of things. And of course he does, and the rest is wine loving history. It makes me think about Jesus’ divinity and his humanity. He was totally human. He obeyed his mother. He wanted the party to be great. And with humility, with subtlety, graciousness, and no small miracle, he saves the day. It is a unique look at the Servant King. It could have been a moment to boldly display his glory; to show to all at this gathering (I assume it was somewhat large if they needed 6 large water tanks as backup wine) that I AM the son of God. But he uses servants to draw the water, the host doesn’t even know what’s happening, and the wedding continues unaffected by wine-loss. Not flashy. Not self-promoting.
But it was very effective.
In verse 11 we read “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.”
In John, there are 7 stories of Jesus revealing a glimpse of his divine nature through miracles. This is the first, and it got the attention of his disciples. It doesn’t say they believed him, they believed IN him. This guy is the real deal.
So what do we take away from this? Drink more wine.
Or, use this story as a way to increase our awareness of Christ working in subtle ways. I see us as either the disciples or the host. The disciples saw what Jesus did and believed. The host was oblivious that there was a problem that was fixed, and went about his business. I want to be a disciple. I want to see Jesus working in and around and through me. He can be subtle sometimes.
But he is always good.