Jesus began His ministry at a wedding in Cana. John records Jesus’ first miracle. It kicked off His ministry and as you’ll hear, wine is an important part in the ministry of Christ.
Key Passage – John 2:1-11
If you’ve ever seen anyone who’s intoxicated (or if you’ve been intoxicated yourself—DON’T raise your hand) you know there are certain characteristics that present themselves when someone has had a little too much to drink.
Some of the effects of alcohol include a loss of inhibitions and being over emotional. Nobody likes and angry drunk but for some reason we find the “happy drunk” to be a little more bearable.
This account of Jesus first miracle we’re about to read took place at a wedding. I’m sure you remember your wedding day. Standing at the altar looking into your betrothed’s eyes, completely enthralled and enraptured by their beauty (OK, guys, you were handsome).
If you wife’s father was standing nearby with a shotgun your experience may have been a little different but for most of us we we drunk with love for one another.
I’d like to suggest to you that we are to be intoxicated with Jesus. Our faith should cause us to lose some inhibitions (not all of them) and we should exude a joy when speaking of our Lord. We should be enthralled with our Savior just as a bride and groom are lovestruck with one another on their wedding day.
READ JOHN 2:1-11
Here we have John’s account of Jesus’ first miracle. It’s a gratuitous and unnecessary miracle that Jesus performs. One that (in more ways than one) takes away the shame of an embarrassing situation and restores joy to an otherwise odious occasion.
You see, it was a huge social faux pas to run out of wine during a wedding. It was mistake that no newly married couple would ever want to make. The modern-day equivalent would be like having an embarrassing moment from your wedding blasted all over the Internet for the whole world to see.
Merrill Tenney noted:
“To fail in providing adequately for the guests would involve social disgrace. In the closely knit communities of Jesus’ day such an error would never be forgotten, and would haunt the newly married couple all their lives.”
This was a big deal. For some reason, Mary, wanted Jesus to do something about it. Until now, Jesus hadn’t performed any miracles so Mary was acting in faith too. (v3)
We don’t know why Mary wanted Jesus to perform this miracle. I’m just speculating but perhaps this was a cousin’s wedding and she didn’t want any additional stigma attached to the family name.
Now Jesus, He wasn’t planning to do anything about it. Or was he? You see he’d already attracted His disciples. They were following on His word alone (there’s a whole other sermon there). They had seen no miracles and had no reason to believe Jesus was anything more than a traveling Rabbi.
Sure, they knew there was something special about Jesus but they hadn’t seen Jesus perform any miracles yet. That was all about to change.
So Jesus calls the servants over and tells them to fill the jars. (v7)
They fill them to the top. Not halfway. Not three-quarters. TO THE TOP. Jesus was going to turn the water into wine but it was up to the servants to determine how much water would undergo the transformation.
Jesus wants to transform our lives too. We control how much of our lives will be transformed. The more of us we give to Him, the more he transforms. You see, we get to participate in the miracle. Jesus performs the miracle. It’s His power that transforms the water into wine. It’s His power that transforms our hearts from stone to flesh and the more we lose our inhibition and let Jesus have control, the more our lives will be transformed.
Now, it wasn’t enough that Jesus turned the water to wine. It also had to be served. If Mary knew there was no more wine surely other guests and especially the head steward knew there was no wine. Someone was probably already scrambling madly to find more wine.
Jesus tells the servants to take the wine and serve it. (v8) What faith this must have taken. Can you imagine the looks on the servants’ faces when Jesus said to take this “water” to the head steward?
When Jesus transforms our lives, sometimes it takes faith to act on what we believe. We know Jesus has changed us, transformed us into new creatures, but acting that way is really hard sometimes (especially when that person in the BMW cuts you off on the Northway).
So the head steward tastes the wine. He’s probably wondering where it came from and expecting the worst. When he tastes it, the head steward immediately goes to the bridegroom and praises him for this good wine.
Jesus makes good wine, not some watered-down Welch’s. It’s good wine. It’s aromatic, complex, flavorful, and robust. It’s also intoxicating. Anything that tastes that good, people are going to want to drink a lot of it. If they drink a lot, they’ll get intoxicated.
We should look at our faith the same way. We should drink in as much of Jesus as possible, to that point that we’re intoxicated with His grace.
Our faith shouldn’t be a staid and boring faith. Our faith should be aromatic like the prayers of Cornelius in Acts 10.
The word for memorial evokes the fragrance that went up during a sacrifice. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon describes the word for memorial as “that part of a sacrifice which was burned on the altar together with frankincense, that its fragrance might ascend to heaven and commend the offerer to God’s remembrance.” Wow!
Jesus makes good wine. He doesn’t make junk. Jesus put that good wine in you so make sure you put it to good use.
Finally, we come to the end of this account and John makes a fascinating statement about this miracle. (v11)
Jesus “revealed His glory” to the disciples and it moved them to follow Him for three and a half years. Their faith in Jesus was so solidified that they would follow Him until the last day he drank a cup of wine.
This seemingly minor, gratuitous, and unnecessary miracle points to the day he would inaugurate the Lord’s Supper and taste of the fruit of the vine for the last time before His death, burial, and resurrection.
In your bulletin is a quote from N.T. Wright about this miracle,
“When John declares that Jesus ‘revealed his glory’ by changing the water into wine, we shouldn’t limit his meaning to that single extraordinary act – as though God’s glory should be understood in terms of what some might see as a spectacular conjuring trick…Jesus did plenty of other signs, and John has chosen this one, the wedding at Cana, very carefully as the opening one in his sequence. Everything in God’s creation points beyond itself. And of course John frames the story so that it points ahead to the ultimate moment of glory, the resurrection itself. ‘On the third day’, he says, an unnecessary note of time unless he intends it to carry this Easter significance, as surely he does since he repeats it in the next story, the cleansing of the Temple and the promise that when the Temple is destroyed Jesus will raise it up in three days. There is something about this wedding, this wine, which speaks of resurrection, of new creation, of new beginnings and new hope.”
You see, this was no ordinary miracle. This was the first. It was the miracle that launched Jesus ministry and foreshadowed His perfect work on the cross for us.
Jesus saved a couple that had made an embarrassing mistake. He redeemed a situation from which there seemed to be no way out. Jesus restored this couple to a position of honor that had been lost because of a misstep.
And Jesus does that with our lives too, doesn’t He? He takes a person like me and pulls me out of my sin and restores me as His brother. He goes a step farther and calls all of us His bride. Jesus is in love with us. He’s intoxicated with His church and we should be just as intoxicated with Him as He is with us.
After Jesus ascended into heaven, his disciples had to explain some of their actions because people thought they were drunk.
They had just left the upper room on the day of Pentecost after being filled with the Holy Spirit.
They were speaking in other languages and some around them thought they’d been hitting the sauce a little early.
Peter goes on to preach this unbelievable sermon and 3,000 people come to faith in Christ and are baptized. I wish there was a DVD of that sermon.
When we become intoxicated with Jesus, we can’t hold our tongue. We have to share about the love of Christ in our lives. We want to tell others about how he transformed our lives from plain, tasteless water to aromatic and robust wine.
When my wife and I go out to dinner and we have a meal that tastes good, we want to share it with each other. We offer what we have to each other, especially if it’s a dessert!
We should do the same with Jesus. We’re told to taste and see that the Lord is good and we should share Him with others because we know people will like if they have one little sip.
Finally, Jesus’ earthly ministry began and ended with wine. We’re privileged to celebrate His life, burial, and resurrection every time we partake of communion.
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