Summary: This sermon is about how God abundantly provides for our needs.
Changing Water Into Wine
Primary Purpose: Jesus abundantly provides for our needs.
In John 20:30-31, John reports that his goal in writing the Gospel of John is that “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. With this in mind, John picks several miracles that tell us who Jesus is to write about. The first one happened at a wedding that Jesus was invited to in Cana. (Read Scripture)
Several questions went through my mind as I read this story. Perhaps you’ve thought of them also. Why did Jesus refuse to help when Mary asked, but intervened moments later? Why such a ordinary and simple miracle to display who He is? Why not something more supernatural? Why use the ceremonial washing pots? Why not just speak it into existence? Why even bother using water? I’d like to look at each of these questions in turn to understand why Jesus did what He did.
First, why did Jesus respond to Mary like He did? He asks her why does she involve him. I think Mary realized that Jesus would care about the bride and groom being embarrassed. To run out of wine in the middle of the celebration was a terrible embarrassment to the whole wedding party. So, Mary does what she should have done. She takes her problem to Jesus. But, she has to understand here just like we do, that God’s timing isn’t always ours. Jesus is redefining their relationship, from mother and son to woman and Savior. From this point on, Jesus doesn’t take orders from her anymore. He’s here to do the work of His Father. This is what motivates his ministry. This is what dictates what he does and where he goes. This is what He said in John 9:4. He is there to do the will of the one who sent Him, the Father.
Mary did the right thing though. She brought her concerns to Jesus. This is what we should do also. We have to pray though, “your will be done” and not mine. Her comments to the servants show that she thinks he might still respond in some way. Mary says to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” She realizes apparently that it might not make sense at first. But, that it will work out. This is great advice for us also. “Do whatever he tells you.”
Second, why such a ordinary miracle? Why doesn’t he do something more spectacular and awesome? It seems clear that even the head waiter at this wedding did not know what Jesus had done. Only the servants and the disciples were in on it. To understand that, you need to understand why he was doing this miracle. The key is in verse 11 “He thus revealed His glory and his disciples put their faith in Him.” It was for the disciples sake that he did this. To reveal his glory. To show that he was who he said he was. To reveal His person and His grace. A pastor named Rodney Buchanan once said that “Jesus is in the business of turning water into wine, sinners into saints, fear into courage, sorrow into joy, defeat into victory, despair into hope and death into life.” I think that’s a good thing to remember.
Notice also that Jesus didn’t just answer the prayer a little bit. Jesus abundantly provided for the needs of the wedding party. The water containers were large containing 20-30 gallons. That makes from 150-180 gallons of water turned to wine. More than they could possibly use. That is the way that God gives. God gives abundantly. If you remember from the story we looked at this morning of the 5,000 men that Jesus feed. Philip claimed that 8 months wages wouldn’t be enough to feed everyone even a little, but when Jesus fed them they were full and there was 12 baskets full left over. It was an abundance of food. We should remember what it says in Ephesians 3:20, that He is able to do “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. . . .” God is a generous giver.
Jonathan Edwards once said, “The redeemed are dependent of God for all. All that we have—wisdom, the pardon of sin, deliverance, acceptance in God’s favor, grace, holiness, true comfort and happiness, eternal life and glory—we have from God by a mediator; and this mediator is God. God not only gives us the Mediator, and accepts His mediation, and His power and grace bestows the things purchased by the Mediator, but He is the Mediator. Our blessings are what we have by purchase; and the purchase is made of God; the blessings are purchased of Him; and not only so, but God is the purchaser. Yes, God is both the purchaser and the price; for Christ, who is God, purchased these blessings by offering Himself as the price of our salvation. What the law was unable to do, Christ did. He made for us peace with God.