Summary: Jesus begins His ministry with the changing of Water into Wine, which points to a greater reality later in His ministry.
The Sign of Changing the Water into Wine
In John 1:50 Jesus said: “You will see greater things than these!” Three days later, Jesus and his mother, Mary, go together, along with His first disciples, to a wedding in Cana and witness the first miracle or sign of Jesus’ ministry:
John 2:1-12: On the third day (the third day from the last recorded event) there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. (probably a relative of Jesus since Jesus and Mary were invited.)
3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." 4 And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." 5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. (The water jars were there because the Pharisees and the Jews would not eat unless they carefully washed their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; they would also utilize the water from those jars for the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots, especially during this one week celebration.)
7 Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. (no room for deception or trickery-fil them to the top with water!) 8 And he said to them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast." So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now."
11 “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. 12 After this he went down to Capernaum, (which would be Jesus homebase during His ministry) with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.”
The “first of his signs”
If you grew up in church and in Sunday school, you probably remember that “changing the water into wine” was Jesus’ first “sign” or “miracle” which He performed. A “sign” is first of all an extraordinary phenomenon: A sign calls your attention to something supernatural, something beyond human ability; you know very well that human beings cannot “change water into wine”, let alone 120 gallons of the finest wine. There were eyewitnesses who would be able to verify the fact that a miracle had occurred. (This sign was also a miracle, but not all signs are miracles.)
A “sign” also points beyond itself to a greater reality: The Lord brought wine into existence from nothing but water. None of the normal process was utilized in wine making: No grapes were gathered and pressed. No time was allowed for fermentation. No straining or stirring. Nothing was added. Jesus demonstrated that He is the Lord over Creation and the Lord of Creation had come to dwell with men in the flesh!
This sign manifested Jesus’ glory: Remember John 1:14: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” The first miracle reveals the essential nature of the person of Jesus Christ and He gloriously reveals Himself to many witnesses. He also reveals the essential character and nature of the Father. God is “tabernacling” (pitching His Almighty tent) in the light and life of Jesus in His ministry. His nature is still very much veiled like that of the Old Testament, but the works of this God-man Jesus display the veiled God of the Universe in a form consistent with man’s ability and fragility.
THIS Sign caused some to believe! “And his disciples believed in him.” We know that the disciples who were present with Him came to a point of decision and became absolutely committed to Jesus. They would be OBEDIENT to His Word and serve Him and His Mission. They would follow Him in His fellowship of persecution, suffering and death. They would be truthful witnesses to Jesus as they wholeheartedly surrendered to Him, KNOWING AND BELIEVING in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. They threw themselves upon the Lord in self-abandoning faith and trust in the person of Jesus Christ.