His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” … 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. [John 2:5,7-11 (ESV)]
The catering manager pulled me aside and told me there was a problem. My mind rushed through various scenarios that could turn our daughter’s wedding reception into a fiasco: the chef quit, the room was double-booked, the minister didn’t show, the cake or flowers hadn’t arrived, and so on. Then he admitted they didn’t have enough of the wine I’d ordered weeks earlier and offered to substitute a better wine at the lower price. I assured him our guests would appreciate the better vintage and none would even notice that the wine served wasn’t the one listed on their menus. This occurred years ago and yet I thought of it this morning when thinking about Jesus’ first miracle, turning water into wine, at another wedding feast more than 2,000 years ago. The guests at that wedding never knew why they had such good wine either.
That first miracle tells us a great deal about our Lord. Since He came out of love and brings us joy, it is fitting that His first recorded miracle occurred at a wedding feast—a celebration of love and time of joy. Jesus’ action was in direct response to a persistent plea from Mary and, from her words to the servants, it’s clear she had no doubt about his ability to solve the problem. We need that same kind of persistent faith when we come to Jesus with our prayers. That first miracle at Cana required work on the part of the servants who had to fill the jars with water. Although Jesus can provide the answers to our problems, He still expects us to follow his directions and do our share of the work. That first miracle was one of abundance—not one but six jars were filled with wine that was better than the original. The offer of life Jesus gives us is also bigger and better than anything we experienced before we knew Him. The changing of water into wine was done quietly, without any hoopla—only the servants knew what had happened and it was the bridegroom, not Jesus, who got the credit for the superb wine. Jesus continues to work behind the scenes and we rarely acknowledge His works or thank him as much as we should. The events at Cana tell us that Jesus was in the business of transformation; he didn’t simply modify the water—he transformed it! Turning water into wine is nothing compared to the way he can transform our lives. At Cana, the best wine was saved for last and Jesus has saved the best for last for us as well in the way of eternal life. Finally, like the better wine at our daughter’s wedding, there’s no extra cost; Jesus paid the price for our salvation.
Let the vineyards be fruitful, Lord, and fill to the brim our cup of blessing.
Gather a harvest from the seeds that were sown, that we may be fed with the bread of life.
Gather the hopes and dreams of all; unite them with the prayers we offer.
Grace our table with your presence, and give us a foretaste of the feast to come.
[Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) – Augsburg Fortress]
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. [John 10:10b (ESV)]