water into wine and the wedding

Topic: Water Into Wine. First Sign. Category: Son of Man>
Bible Scripture: John 20:31, John 2:1-11 and John 15:3.

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The apostle John stated his objective in writing His eye witness account of Jesus’ earthly ministry in John 20:31 ‘…these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

His primary purpose was that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, that is the anointed one. Who is God the Son who became flesh and dwelt amongst humanity touching every aspect of human life. Both private and public. 

So the first sign that John included in his gospel to reveal that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God is an event that celebrates relationships. A wedding where family and friends are invited. It is a time when the whole community comes together to celebrate a union of two who become one.

In eastern culture a wedding could last up to 7 days. The cost is extensive. The resources immense. The public and private expectations are extremely high. Into this culture where shame or honour determine everything, Jesus walks in.

water into wine

John 2:1-11 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants,

“Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” They filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it.

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.

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!” This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

the wonder of water into wine

Let us pray> Father thank you that by your Spirit you bring revelation into our hearts and minds. We thank you are always desiring us to know and experience you and live in the reality of your truth. May we never loose the wonder of you. In Jesus name amen.

As we journey through this real story, and discover the rich symbolism in the details comparing the old with the new, let us not forget the beauty in the simple truth that Jesus turned water into wine. 

First let us look at the vessels Jesus used. There were six water pots of stone. Six is the number of man or humanity. According to the manner of purification of the Jews, these pots were set aside for outward cleansing. In an era of dusty roads, sandals as footwear and eating of food with the right hand, it was essential for water pots to be set aside. These pots held the water used to cleanse the feet, hands, pots, cups and vessels from the dirt of the day. To the Jews outward cleansing was also a symbol of purification and honour.

real cleansing

Yet God revealed to them long ago that it was inward cleansing that is required. He declared that with a new covenant relationship, He will replace their heart of stone with a new heart. He will put His Spirit within them and deliver them from all uncleanliness and shame.

In Jesus the new covenant and fulfilment of that promise had come. The old had become new. Jesus used six stone ceremonial pots that represented humanity. The hardness of heart and rebellion against God. 

The great shame of humanity is this. Back in the beginning humanity tried to seize by force what God had already given to them. They had His image, His power and authority. They were even as God, as He gave them everything of Himself, including the stewardship of looking after His perfect creation. 

Yet humanity chose to usurp God’s authority and in doing so, gave power to evil and their selfish desires. They enthroned themselves and chose to determine for themselves what was good and what was evil. As a result, they used the gift of God’s perfect world for their own self gain. 

Shame and fear enveloped them. As a result they ran from God. They disrespected Him and each other. The man blamed God for his selfish actions, the woman blamed satan for her selfish actions and both became trapped in a web of lies.

Now living in the reality of what they had chosen to partake of, which was  to become one with both good and evil. They had given power to their selfish desires and evil to rule over them. As a result of their choice they activated evil and death into God’s once perfect world. 

What was God’s response?

God never changes. He still loves them and continues to pursue them and every individual in love. To reveal both His love for them and their need to be set free. God out of love continues to do everything out of love, to restore honour and freedom to humanity. 

So Jesus used old stone vessels that were set aside for outward cleanliness. He said to the servants, fill the water pots with water. The servants filled them to the brim. Jesus told the servants to draw some out and give to the master of the feast. The water was not only turned into wine, but into wine of the most excellent quality. A wine far superior to anything ever experienced before. 

At a later time recorded in John’s gospel, Jesus declares over all His disciples, ‘You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.’ 

At the first Pentecost after Jesus ascended into heaven, He poured out His Spirit upon all flesh. It was a sign of a new experience of daily inward renewal and eternal life transformation. 

At a later time recorded in John’s gospel, Jesus declares over all His disciples John 15:3 ‘You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.’

At the first Pentecost after Jesus ascended into heaven, He poured out His Spirit upon all flesh. It was a sign of a new experience of daily inward renewal and eternal life transformation.

Water into wine, old into new, religion into relationship.

shame into honour

The second aspect of what we can discover about Jesus and God from this miracle of Jesus turning water into wine is evident in the concern that Jesus’ mother has. In her shame based culture if a wedding ran out of wine, the humiliation brought onto the families associated with the wedding would remain with them for years. 

Jesus knew He had come to pay the cost for humanity’s shame. But He knew that that time had not yet come. That time would come on the cross. When He would willing give up His life and die the most public shameful death devised by humanity, at the hands of humanity. There was much Jesus was to do on earth before that time.  

Remember believing and receiving Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God was John’s intent in writing his account of Jesus’ life. To reveal that the divine had became a man and in all power and authority of the creator He willingly laid it all down and subjected Himself to the full human condition. To sacrifice His physical life to set humanity free. 

the glory of God

In turning the water into wine Jesus’ glory was manifested and the disciples believed. 

Jesus used the physical realm to open the eyes of humanity into the spiritual realm. In a practical way, Heaven came down to earth in Jesus and smashed through the religious barriers and shame of humanity. Jesus turned the shame of humanit≥y int.≥≥≥I remember listening to the life of a man who grew up in extreme pove≥≥≥≥≥≥≥≥rty. He said the physical hardship of not enough food to fill his belly each day or not enough clothes to keep him warm was not his greatest challenge. The thing he resented the most about being poor, was the shame. 

Humanity looks to the outward appearance and makes judgements through their selfish heart of stone. No one would acknowledge the man born into poverty as a person. This world damaged by evil gives no place, no voice and no value to them economically poor. All this shame was because he was born into poverty. The one thing that he desired above all else was respect or honour as a person. 

Jesus restores honour and takes away the shame.

Water into wine, old into new, shame into honour.

exclusion into inclusion

Thirdly what we can discover about Jesus and God from this miracle is that Jesus invites all to participate in His wonders. He could of simply commanded the wine into existence just as He said, Let there be light and there was light. But instead He included the servants and asked them to fill the water pots. Jesus empowered them to be part of His wonders. 

Jesus used humanity’s cultural structure to empower the ones at the lowest end. The servants are not participating in the wedding as they are not guests, they are servants. In the culture of the time servants are on the low end of the social scale. 

Yet it is the servants who are empowered. They participate in the miracle and know where the choice wine had came from and who was responsible. This is a beautiful picture of the Kingdom of God. How the lowest in man’s kingdom is raised up into a community of inclusion and equality.

Water into wine, old into new, exclusion into inclusion.

temporary into eternal

The fourth detail that reveals the heart of God and Jesus is that the wine had run out. The things of this world are only temporary. They last for but a moment. 

Out of the revelation of who Jesus is the immediate response of Jesus’ mother was to turn to the One she knew was eternal. In Jesus there is a continuous eternal supply of fullness of life. Everyday is a new day to receive more from Him and of Him, living by His Spirit and not being controlled and dominated by the selfish desires of humanity. This is living in true freedom, to be in constant communion with the divine. Each day surrendering self will to that of the Father’s will and drinking freely His living waters. That is the Secret of Success.

Water into wine, old into new, temporary into eternal.

Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry He reveals that when custom, culture and traditions of man have been corrupted by humanity, they oppress, shame, prohibit and exclude others. This is the opposite to God and His kingdom.

the new

Jesus does not come against the social structure, He redefines it. He does not condemn the cleansing ritual, He transforms it. Jesus does not simply cover the shame, He removes it and replaces it with His honour. God  does not approve of exclusion, He includes all. He does not ignore the temporary need, in fact God fulfils it eternally.

The new wine is poured out for all, that is upon all flesh. It is our free choice to be willing to receive and believe. On the cross Jesus made a way for us to enter into a new freedom and intimacy. A place of honour and inclusion. Everyday continually receiving and living in the flow of His Spirit. Be surrendered to the Father’s will, living in His unending love, liberating truth and transforming power. 

Jesus the Christ, the Son of God turned water into wine, old into new, religion into relationship, shame into honour, exclusion into inclusion and temporal into eternal. There is none like Him. 

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