Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.t 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 2:6-11 ESV)
This miracle of Jesus has always puzzled me. You can’t help but LOVE it, even if you don’t understand it! Every wedding ought to be such a celebration and needs good wine to gladden the heart. (This was real wine, by the way. John uses the same Greek word for wine that Paul uses in Eph 6 when he writes, “don’t get drunk with wine.”) Even without understanding the meaning we learn that Jesus wasn’t a stoic and knows what when to celebrate.
But there is great significance in the miracle. It is the first that John records so it invites is to consider it as some kind of announcement to what Jesus came to do and who he is. Luke writes about Jesus’ visit to speak in a synagogue when he reads from Isaiah 61 about the messiah’s coming to proclaim freedom for the captive. John’s reference is more subtle, but our best clue comes in verse 11 when he explains the miracle, “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” Jesus manifested his glory and his disciples believed. Two important things. So what kind of glory is Jedus Introducing with this miracle? Another passage from Isaiah helps us with the image,
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:6-9 ESV)
Jesus comes with the “best wine” and that wine was in the ceremonial washing jars. The wine that Jesus provides is his blood which washes away our sin and brings our salvation! He comes to “swallow up death!” His introductory miracle invites you to believe in Jesus as the Lord who wipes away your tears and your reproach, just as the disciples believed.
What is it that you believe about Jesus?
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: 1 Sa 21-22, 1 Co 3, Ez 1, Jn 12