The Wedding! — John 2:1-12
By Pastor Lee Hemen
October 19, 2014
According to a recent article by Kelsey Thibodeau of WGGB/CNN, “Marriage can be an expensive adventure. But can the size of your ring be a predictor of how long that marriage will last? New research from Emory University suggests the bigger the diamond, the shorter the marriage. Researchers surveyed 3,000 adults who’ve been married at some point. They found that men who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on engagement rings were more likely to end up divorced than those men who spent less than $2,000. The same appeared to be true for women receiving rings. The more expensive it was, the more likely the woman reported being divorced. The study also suggests the more expensive the wedding, the higher the divorce rate. Women whose wedding cost $20,000 or more are 3.5 times more likely to divorce than women who spent $10,000 or less.”
Here we find Jesus invited to a wedding in Cana. It is a wonderful retelling of an intimate event in Jewish life. And what makes it even more delightful is the fact we not only find Jesus, but his mother, and the disciples there as well. I find it somehow comforting that Jesus enjoyed the normal things, the traditional things, and the joyous occasions of family and friends. What could be more enjoyable than a wedding of a friend or beloved relative? It is here we see the Savior at the wedding…
I know that some pastors would rather do funerals than weddings; as one minister related to me, “Grief over death makes people see life in a healthier perspective and silences the obnoxious relative.” However, we find the wedding a place where…
I. Jesus does his first miracle! (Vv. 1-5)
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
1. The third day could refer to three days after meeting Nathaniel, three days after Meeting Peter, or three days following John the Baptist telling his disciples to look intently at the Lamb of God. More than likely it was three days after meeting Nathaniel. And now, “a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee.” We also discover that “Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.” She must have had a major part in the wedding planning and execution of the celebration, the feast, and the events. The reason I say this is because of her involvement in what occurs next, her concern for the wedding couple, and the embarrassment it would cause them, because “When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’” A simple guest would not have been aware of such an intimate detail and certainly would not have been concerned. Yet we find Jesus’ mother both knowledgeable and anxious about the couple being embarrassed. And, interestingly John never names himself nor uses the name of Jesus’ mother. Here we read Jesus replies, “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus’ response has been dissected and discussed for centuries; however, within the words he uses we see his respect and love for her. Could she have known of her son’s ability to perform miracles or of his Messianic status? I would say “No” because we find her and the rest of Jesus’ siblings trying to discourage him later in the direction his life would take and John notes, “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. (v. 11)” And, we see Jesus immediately responds to her request, “My time has not yet come.” It was not time for him to reveal himself to the general public through any outward sign. His mother commands the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” He still had not called all of his disciples yet to follow him and he was not willing to do something dramatic to draw attention to his self but out of respect and love for his mother, he does his first miracle.
EXAMPLE: “Keep calm and eat bacon.” “Keep calm and put the kettle on.” These sayings originate from the phrase: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” This message first appeared in Great Britain as World War II began in 1939. British officials printed it on posters designed to offset panic and discouragement during the war. My favorite would be, “Keep calm and ask mom!” There is something very endearing about Jesus doing this act of kindness. I do not believe Mary forces him into doing something he does not desire to do. The answer that Jesus gives his mother might be better translated as, “What do you want of me? I am not prepared for this.” Yet for sake of a young couple and because he loves his mother, Jesus performs his first miracle.
Jesus is always using the simplest of things for great things. He does this when feeding thousands, using a fish net, or in providing wine for a wedding. We discover that…
II. Jesus provides the very best using the mundane! (Vv. 6-12)
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
1. John relates that “Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.” This was no small gathering but rather a large celebration where perhaps the whole village was invited or at least a large group of folks. We find that there is between 120 and 180 gallons of water, and soon to be wine involved! This was not a few bottles of Champagne! Jesus tells the servant to “Fill the jars with water” and to fill “them to the brim.” They have no idea what is about to occur but in the time it took them to finish filling the jars and when the master of the banquet tastes the newly drawn liquid, it miraculously changes! Jesus simply tells the servants, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” Obediently they do so “and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.” The water was used for purification rights before the meal so the participants would come to the meal clean. The master of the banquet “did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.” This ceremonial water that was turned into wine ceased to be what it was before and became what it was not: celebration wine! The wine used in Hebrew meals was far weaker than what we drink in our day because wine for the Jew was seen as a food item to be enjoyed as part of the meal and not something to get a buzz from. And during most feasts folks would bring out the stronger wine first. This is why we learn that when the master of the banquet “called the bridegroom aside and said, ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.’” The plain water of cleansing became the joyous drink of celebration! Jesus uses the mundane to provide the very best!
EXAMPLE: How often have parents planned and schemed to give a child a present they wanted only to later find them playing with the box it came in instead. I loved getting a refrigerator or washing machine box and turning it into a rocket ship, army tank, or play house. It is taking something simple and turning it into something wonderful. However, what Jesus does is more than using one’s imagination, it is the power and presence of God actively involved in the lives of those he loves. The Savior of the world provides the very best using the mundane! How truly marvelous is that? And yet this is exactly what Jesus does with our lives when we trust him with them? I believe so.
Jesus does his first miracle! Jesus provides the very best using the mundane!
This article is copyrighted © 2014 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.