On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days.
I think we all know the look. The one you get when you have done something not very wise, the one that is disapproving and reproachful and can make you feel two inches tall. The one that most of us spend quite a bit of time trying to avoid. I have received the look many times in my life, and not once did I enjoy it. Every time it sears straight to the core, leaving me wishing I could find a hole in the ground to crawl into and disappear for a few days while things cooled down. I cannot say how comforting it is to know that Jesus Christ, the son of the living God, received the look.
If there were ever occasion for it, here it is, in the second chapter of John’s Gospel, right before he performs his first miracle.
Jesus and his disciples are at a wedding in Cana of Galilee, enjoying one of the greatest celebrations that we have. A wedding is a wonderful thing; two souls are joined together and family and friends gather around to celebrate and support the happy couple at the beginning of their marriage. Rachel and I spent over eighteen hours in the car last week in order to be a part of such a celebration, and we were happy to do it. Weddings are wondrous celebrations.
In Jesus’ time they were even bigger celebrations than they are now. They would last for days, so it is no surprise they ran out of wine. Thankfully, Jesus was there, and somehow his mother knew that he could solve this problem without any question. I would love to know the history that comes before this, to know just how his mother knew that Jesus could solve this particular problem. Was this a habit of his? Or did she just know, the way mothers do, that he could solve this dilemma?
Jesus, however, didn’t seem to agree. And he spoke quite strongly. His mother approaches and says, “They have no wine.” And Jesus replies with, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”
Oh, to have seen the look upon her face when she heard him say this. Her son says to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me?” In other words, “Woman, why do I care?” I cannot begin to imagine saying that line to my mother or to my wife. Surely everyone around Jesus must have swallowed those words in shock as every head turned to his mother to see how she would respond. According to the text, no more words were spoken to Jesus. She merely turned to the servants and said, “Do whatever he tells you.” The rest must have been communicated to Jesus very clearly with a look saying, “Son, it is of every concern. And don’t ever talk to like me that again.”
So Jesus does what she asks; the water is turned into wine, which turns out to be the best wine of all. Perhaps this is making up for his hesitance, perhaps it is simply how God works; when God creates something, it is good to the core, the best that can be made. It was the first of his signs, revealing his glory.
But why a wedding? Why wine? Why not have it be some grand display at the gates of Jerusalem, or perhaps floating through the air in the city to show his divinity? I don’t know, but I, for one, love that it is a wedding.
As I mentioned earlier, a wedding is one of our greatest celebrations. It is human and divine, a joining of two lives and two souls, a covenant between two people to seek to live out God’s love by loving one another. It is a communal event, a gathering of family and friends to offer support and love to the new couple. It is a festival, a celebration.
And Jesus, the Son of God, was right in the middle of it.
We can often be guilty of removing Jesus from the midst of our humanity. We can forget the part about his life and simply focus on his passion, his death and the resurrection. We get so caught up in the blood and the cross and the nails and the tomb that we forget that Jesus was entirely human as well as completely divine. He lived and breathed and walked among us. He was the perfect human, but he was still human. He sat down and ate, walked along the dusty roads, slept in a rough bed and sailed on a boat on the sea. He lived like you and I do, enjoying a sunset and marveling at the stars. Sure, it was probably a little different, seeing as how he made the stars, but I’m sure he still enjoyed their beauty and mystery.
Jesus knows what it is like to be human. When we gather to celebrate a wedding, Jesus knows our joy. When we gather at a funeral, he knows the pain of loss. He knows hunger and thirst. He knows friendship and disappointment. He has walked a mile in our shoes.
As you go about your week, remember that Jesus knows your feelings and emotions. Don’t lock Jesus away and confine him only to experiences like Bible Study and our hour of worship this morning. Open your heart and allow yourself to experience worship throughout the week. Remember that Jesus is your companion as you work and eat and sleep and laugh and cry. Don’t be guilty of thinking Jesus isn’t worried about the problems and struggles we each encounter in our daily lives; instead lift up each moment in prayer, asking Jesus to help you through them, for Jesus knows how you feel, and abides with you in every moment of every day. The Christ of the cross is the same Christ of the wedding ceremony, and the God who can turn death into life can turn ordinary water into exceptional wine.
Let us be grateful that the God of the universe abides with us in all we do, and may all we do be offered up to God as worship. May we remember in our celebrations as well as in our hours of need that God is with us, walking with us, praying for us, and offering his strength and his love so that we may never be separated from the eternal love of God through Jesus Christ.
Let us pray.