Summary: Jesus is still in the business of taking the ordinary and transforming it into the Extraordinary.
“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.’
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.” John 2:1-11
He was amazed. And he wasn’t the only one. It was better than he’d ever expected – maybe better than he’d ever tasted. As the wedding coordinator, he had been to many receptions and tasted many wine, but was unbelievable. Not only was this wine really good, it was better than the very first wine they had served at the beginning of the reception. This was such a surprise.
Remember, this is probably a long wedding reception. At least two or three, well… maybe more like four or five… at least five… days. Days, not hours. Today many of us think of two or three hours as a long wedding reception, especially if you’re the groom or bride. But in ancient Palestine, guests traveled far distances, like 90 miles, on foot. It days to get to receptions. And the entire village or town would be involved, not just your select list of guests. Common practice was to serve your good wine the first day or two. Then, after people had gotten their fill, and Uncle Paul and Aunt Sally were starting to dance on tables, you’d bring out cheaper and lower quality wine.
Standard Operating Procedure. But not what happened today.
So the wedding’s MC calls over the bridegroom and expressed his amazement. “This wine is incredible – better than anything else you’ve offered. I’m impressed.” So was the bridegroom. Because he remembers that no more than 20 or 30 minutes ago he discovered they were out. “There’s no more wine… what are we going to do?” he had been asked. And now, suddenly, someone’s patting him on the back about this special vintage that was being served.
How is this possible? I know Uncle Anton couldn’t have run down to Piggly-Wiggly – there not open on weekends. And this was a real problem. This family had run out of something you just couldn’t let yourself run out of. Why they ran out is a mystery. Maybe they hadn’t anticipated people being so thirsty. Perhaps more visitors came than they had expected. Or perhaps this was a family big on compassion and very low on funds. Maybe their poverty was as great their desire for hospitality. In any case, their pride and image was about to take a major hit. They were about to be seriously embaressed and humiliated in front family, friends and the entire town.
Maybe this is what Mary was talking about.
And I’m not entirely sure how or why Mary is connected here. Clearly she had some kind of inside knowledge or backstage pass to the ceremonies and events of this reception. Its likely she’s somehow related to the wedding party – maybe through her husband Joseph. We’re not told. But we do know Mary, or Aunt Mary, or cousin Mary somehow discovered that they were out of wine. So Mary does what any good mother does – she calls her oldest son and tells him to fix it.
We’re in John 2. Look at verse 3: “When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’”
Here’s the problem Jesus. Notice she doesn’t tell him how to solve it? I don’t know that she had idea how Jesus would address it. We don’t know that he’s done any miracles to this point. John seems to suggest that isn’t just the first miracle recorded in his book, but the first miracle of Jesus.
But not knowing how Jesus will work doesn’t stop Mary from asking him to get involved. Mary finds her son and asks him to get involved. There’s a powerful truth at play here. Jesus doesn’t expect us to always know how he will answer the challenges we run into, just to know that he will answer them.