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John 2:1-12 - On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.
Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.
Jesus’ first miracle is not at all what we might expect. It certainly wasn’t a “burst-on-the-scene” moment, since only His mother, His Disciples, and a couple servants even knew what had happened. And it wasn’t a “wow-what-a-great-deed” moment. Jesus didn’t heal a sick person here. He saved a wedding host from extreme embarrassment by replenishing wine at his party. At the very least, it seems like an odd way for Jesus to begin.
It’s interesting that John doesn’t use the word for “miracle” here. He uses the word for “sign.” Jesus is doing more than just performing a miraculous deed. He is announcing something; revealing something. Often, in Scripture, wine is a symbol for joy, so it is interesting that the stone pots Jesus tells the servants to fill are ceremonial washing pots. Empty ceremonial washing pots. The picture of Jesus taking these empty pots and filling them with life and joy is profound.
Remember, Jesus was a Jew. God had gifted the Jews with Torah – THE LAW – the very revelation of God. But this religious system in and of itself did not bring people closer to God. The people went through the motions of ceremony without a true relationship with God. Now God was in their presence, as close as a family member or friend. And because of what Jesus would accomplish, the door to a relationship with the Father would be opened forever. That’s life. That’s a reason for joy. Maybe Jesus’ first miracle was more fitting than it seemed.
If your relationship with God feels cold, empty, and distant, break away from your routine and talk to Him as you would talk to a loving Father or Friend. Ritual and ceremony has its place, but Jesus made it possible for us to come close and experience JOY in the presence of God.