This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”
4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” 11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
Some portray Jesus as a joyless Messiah who simply came to do the Father’s will but had no part in other parts of life. But from this account we see that Jesus attended a wedding with His mother and His disciples. Every account given in the gospel of John has the purpose of showing that Jesus is truly the Son of God and that He is God. Here Jesus is placed in a situation where wine runs out at a wedding. From our western perspective we may not fully understand the social embarrassment this would have caused the family putting on the wedding, but this is what drove Mary to turn to her eldest son for assistance. Joseph at this point is dead and Jesus being the oldest brother in the home would have assumed the role of providing and taking care of His family. But now that Jesus has been baptized and gone into the wilderness for forty days, His earthly ministry has now begun and the direction of His life is focused on the cross.
When they run out of wine Mary looks to Jesus and makes the statement “They have no more wine”. Now we don’t fully know what Mary implied with this question. At this point Jesus has not performed any public miracles. Mary is well aware that her Son is the Son of God because of her encounter with the angel Gabriel. But what that fully means upon the earth, Mary has not come to recognize or understand. Because Jesus was the eldest, Mary was seeking assistance from her Son. But this request and running out of wine prepared the way for Jesus to perform His first public miracle. Often in life when we face situations that seem impossible, it is a platform for God to move if we will trust and bring all things to Him in prayer. Mary brought this situation to Jesus, Jesus desires that we would bring all things to Him. Nothing is too hard for the Lord and some would think that running out of wine is not worthy of Jesus injecting Himself into the situation. But Jesus was always moved with compassion and in this instance the running out of wine would have brought incredible shame and public disgrace to the family putting on the wedding.
Jesus addresses His Mary as woman. Some believe that Jesus was looking down upon Mary or was upset that Mary would even bring this to His attention. But Jesus through His responses demonstrates authority and that His life is no longer dependent and driven by the desires and request of His earthly mother, but He is instead led and guided by the leading of His Heavenly Father. Even though Mary is His earthly mother, Jesus is the Son of Almighty God. He is God Himself and everything Jesus did and said was according to the Father’s will.
Jesus' statement My hour has not yet come shows that Jesus is following the will of the Father and the leading of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t mean that Jesus would not do anything in this situation or that He was upset Mary brought this to His attention. But it is a statement demonstrating that the driving force in His life is the perfect will of God. Whenever anything was brought to Jesus when He walked upon the earth He would follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Throughout the gospels we are given different examples that show Jesus life was one of deep prayer (Mark 1:35, Luke 3:21, Luke 5:16, Matt 14:23, Mark 6:46, John 6:15). Even though it is not mentioned here in this account, we can conclude when this request was brought to Jesus, that the Holy Spirit led Jesus to turn the water into wine.
In Mary’s response we see that Mary understands the authority of Jesus. She doesn’t demand Jesus do anything. She doesn’t dictate to Jesus what needs to be done. She simply tells the servants to do whatever he tells you to do. This is something all of us should learn from. When we follow Jesus as Lord and Savior we are not called to dictate to God what He is to do in any situation. We are simply to bring our request and needs before the Lord and follow His leading. Jesus is concerned with everything in our lives, when we bring situations to the Lord on a daily basis, we will find that it sets the stage for God to move in power and to do the impossible.
We find that there stood six stone water jars that held twenty to thirty gallons each. If these are filled to the brim then it would hold a total of 180 gallons of water. One of the things this miracle points to is the new covenant and salvation found in Jesus. The water in the water jars was used for ceremonial cleansing. The Jews before eating would wash their hands to purify them and would wash their feet. Because they wore sandals everywhere and the roads were dirty and filthy, their feet were filthy and needed a cleansing. This is why the water jars were as large as they were.
Jesus turning the water into wine shows for a person to be truly cleansed they must partake of the new covenant based on faith in Jesus. Living according to the law will never cleanse us or make us clean. God gave the law to reveal man’s need of a savior (Romans 3:21-26). Everything the writers of scripture included has a purpose in revealing who God is. Even in a circumstance in which it seemed like there was incredible lack and there was no solution, in the hands of Jesus everything would change.
Jesus tells the servants to fill the water jars to the brim. He is being directed by the Holy Spirit. By filling the water jars to the brim, nothing could be added to the water. What went into the water jars by the servants was simply water. But under the command, the spoken word of Jesus everything changed. We must remember that God created all things by His spoken word. When Jesus gave the command to the servants to fill the water jars to the brim, the situation was not placed firmly into the hands of Jesus. It is also important to see that Jesus used human vessels to accomplish His will. Jesus asked the servants to fill the water jars with water. When God accomplishes anything in the earth He always uses human vessels who are created in His image. It is not that God needs us, but He chooses to use us.
Jesus now tells them to draw it out and bring it to the master of the banquet. As Jesus is speaking, the Holy Spirit is working. The water is being turned into wine. What we find from the master of the banquet is that this was not merely diluted wine with water. It isn’t as if some of the wine became water and some remained water. All of the water turns into the highest quality wine. When things are placed in the hands of Jesus our expectation can be for the very best.
When the servants take the water to the master of the banquet it is simply water. But most likely as it makes its way there it is turned into wine. It shows that the servants working the wedding simply responded in faith to the words of Jesus. They knew where the water had come from.
The statement is made “every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now”. This miracle showed that the time of the Messiah was ushered in. The Old Covenant was fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. Jesus not only produced a little wine, He produced an abundance. Often wedding celebrations would last an entire week. This demonstrated that the miracle Jesus did fully met every need that existed. In Christ nothing is ever lacking. He always saves the best for last. Jesus not only saved the family putting on the wedding from shame and disgrace, but He demonstrated that in Him we have all that we need.
The purpose of Jesus' signs that He performed was two fold: to manifest His glory and so those who encountered them would believe. We see from this account that the disciples came to believe. Oftentimes we may feel like if only we had a miracle or a sign or wonder would someone come to believe. But there were those who saw all that Jesus did during His earthly ministry and did not come to saving faith. Faith in Christ is a work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the individual. But an important thing to understand is God still does miracles today. God still uses human agents to accomplish His purposes and to reveal His glory and power. We are jars of clay and the Lord desires to pour out His glory and power through us (2 Cor 4:7). The apostle Paul understood this more than anyone. But for God to work through an individual in a mighty way, that individual must be willing to have their heart and life prepared. One of the great dangers of having God’s power and glory demonstrated through us is taking the honor and glory that is due to the Lord alone. The same Jesus we read about in the gospels is the same Jesus who desires to work in our lives today. May we be fully surrendered to all that He desires to do. May we not doubt in our hearts.