Summary: The miracle at the wedding of Cana is an example of the extravagant grace of God poured out for us.
“Grace by the Gallon” - John 2:1-11
How do you inaugurate the Messiah’s ministry on earth? Considering royalty, presidents, popes, etc. Imagine launching Jesus of Nazareth Evangelistic Ministries, LLC: line up key board members, raise funds, develop marketing strategy, identify target demographic, media rollout, and of course find your hook, ie: prophecy, miracle water, prosperity gospel, etc. He didn’t begin with an Assertion of His Authority. Instead we have a wedding feast at an obscure little town called Cana.
Turning water into wine is no small thing but nothing miraculous. People have done it everyday for thousands of years. It pales in comparison to healing the blind, walking on water, or raising the dead. Jesus wasn’t doing magic tricks at a birthday party. Almost no one even knew what had happened. He didn’t begin with a Demonstration of His Power.
Given what we know happens later in the gospels, why hold back? Why start this way? Why begin your ministry at a wedding in Cana turning water into wine and make sure no one knows what even happened? Jesus tells Mary, “My hour has not yet come.” It’s something we hear repeated all the way through John’s gospel. Jesus lived according to a divine timetable. He lived to do the will of His Father. We know that following Christ doesn’t come with some neat little guide book with instructions that tells you what to do and when to do it.
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8
It’s worth noting that Jesus began his public ministry at a party instead of a pulpit at a time of revelry instead of reverence. God is anything but predictable and neither is following Jesus.
We don’t always know what to do and often scream in protest and prayer questioning what God is doing in our lives if anything at all, but sometimes in life we come across sacred moments, opportunities, and experiences that change us... moments when our time and God’s time seem to intersect and something remarkable happens: falling in love, the birth of a child, opportunity to encourage someone, witnessing special events or places that make a lifelong impact on you.
Just three days ago we see where Andrew had such an encounter when he heard John the Baptist preaching, as did Simon who Jesus called Peter, Philip who Jesus invited, and Nathaniel who Jesus saw under a fig tree. They had an encounter with Jesus that triggered something deeply personal in them that compelled them to follow Jesus and learn for themselves just who He was.
We see these divine intersections in the life of Jesus all through John’s gospel leading up to His Passion. This is one of seven moments in the life of Jesus that John refers to as a “sign.” He never calls them miracles. It’s a unique moment that reveals something to us about who Jesus is and what He’s here to do. From these signs we not only learn about who Jesus is, we also learn something about who we are and what it means to be a follower of Christ.
All the ladies can sympathize with this bride. Can you imagine not having enough cake to go around? It was a major social faux paux. It didn’t help the situation that Jesus brought these guys he just met three days ago to crash his family’s wedding feast. Wedding receptions lasted 7 days. Start with the best quality wine to make an impression and begin the festivities right, day by day the wine more diluted. Ex: sort of like weaning off that crazy uncle after Christmas…
Jesus hadn’t performed any public miracles up to this point that would lead Mary to ask him to make more wine. It’s simply the request of a Mother to an eldest son for help. Maybe a request to find more wine. Maybe a statement that had you not brought these guys you just met three days ago to the wedding we wouldn’t have ran out so quickly. “They have no more wine” is stating the obvious. Sometime the simplest form of prayer is naming where it hurts, naming the pain. There are times when we are unable to articulate words to describe how we are feeling and are so overwhelmed don’t know how to pray or even feel like praying. Illus: When the earthquake happened in Haiti, I found it difficult to know how to begin to pray for them. Like so many others, I felt helpless to help. The simplest prayer that I began with was, “They have no more water, no more food, no home, no loved one. Christ have mercy."