Summary: “This just doesn’t seem to make much sense.” How many times do you think the people there for Jesus' first miracle asked that question? This event in the life of Jesus confirms exactly who Jesus was and how God works – amazing solutions that we would have never expected.
Just this past week, one of my daughters was looking through the scrapbooks that my wife has assembled throughout the years of various events in their lives. One of the things you’ll find for each of them is the famous “First day of school” picture. Those pictures are kind of fun to look at and compare from year-to-year, “Look at how little you were. You could almost fit in that back pack. Can you believe you wanted to wear that to school?” But those pictures not only bring to mind that specific point in time, but they also remind you of what happened during the school year. That was the year you lost your two front teeth, had all that homework, you had her as your teacher, got your braces on, got your braces off. Those “First day pictures” not only recall that day, but what would follow in the days to come.
This morning we get a bit of a “First day picture” in the life of Jesus. No it’s not Jesus’ first day of school. Jesus was 30 years-old at this point. It’s a wedding picture. Now let’s be clear so as not to start any heretical rumors. This is NOT Jesus’ wedding picture. Rather it is the picture of a wedding Jesus attended where he performed his first miracle. This picture of Jesus’ first miracle not only reminds us of what Jesus did on that day, but also what would follow in the days to come.
This wedding that Jesus’ disciple John describe for us and himself attended took place just a few days after Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist at the Jordan River. After his baptism, Jesus traveled to the area of Galilee, in the northern part of Israel where he began to assemble a small group of disciples called “The Twelve.” Jesus, along with his disciples, were invited to a wedding in Cana, a place not far from Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. We’re told that Jesus’ mother Mary was also there and so it seems that this might have been a wedding for a family friend or maybe even a family member of Jesus and Mary. Whatever the case, the traditional week’s long celebration of a man and woman beginning their married lives together was well underway when Jesus and his disciples arrived. And that’s when it happened.
There was a potentially embarrassing situation that would have been disastrous for this wedding. Mary reports to Jesus, “They have no more wine” (John 2:3). Now we need to understand that this wasn’t like the bar at a 21st century wedding running out of beer or alcohol. Wine was a very common drink. To not have wine was in essence saying to the guests, “Go home. There is nothing for you to drink.” Mary saw the situation and she took it to Jesus. Now think about that for a moment. This doesn’t really seem like a crisis that Jesus needed to be involved in, does it? Couldn’t the servants or the master of the banquet have found somewhere to get more wine? But for whatever reason, that was not an option. This was not a problem that could be solved by any of them. Mary knew that it was going to take something extraordinary to solve this problem and so she went to Jesus. Mary was convinced that her son Jesus was capable of doing the extraordinary. She went to Jesus because she believed that Jesus was more than just her son. She believed that she was going to the Lord her God, someone who had the power to do the extraordinary and to solve the impossible.
How good are you at doing that? Do you ever look at the situation in your life and try to convince yourself, “I can solve this! I can handle this. I don’t need help.” That stubborn sinful nature so often convinces us that we don’t need help, that we can handle it all on our own. Instead of handing our problems over to Jesus, we hang onto them, try to carry them, and inevitably get crushed and overwhelmed by them. The Apostle Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6,7). Humility is not humanity’s strong suit. Stubbornness is. Instead of being crushed by your troubles, and overwhelmed by the situations in your life, be like Mary. Humbly take them to Jesus and trust that he has the power, as your Savior-God to address every single one of them because he cares for you.
Just as amazing as what Mary DID say is what Mary did NOT say. She simply says to Jesus, “They have no more wine.” How often when we do take our problems to Jesus do we also include how we believe he should solve the problem? Did you notice who she did not tell him HOW he should solve it. She simply trusted that he would. And when you see his solution, it is certainly nothing that she or any one of us would have come up with. Can you imagine her saying, “Jesus, they’re out of wine. Why don’t you take those jars over there, fill them with water, and turn the water into wine?” Probably not the solution that she would have come up with. But have you ever noticed how God’s solutions to our problems are rarely what you would expect and always so much more amazing?