Saturday, June 21, 2008

Water to wine

Long long ago when Johnny Carson was the host of The Tonight Show he interviewed an eight year old boy. The young boy was asked to appear because he had rescued two friends in a coalmine outside his hometown in West Virginia. As Johnny questioned the boy, it became apparent to him and the audience that the young man was a Christian. So Johnny asked him if he attended Sunday school. When the boy said he did Johnny inquired, "What are you learning in Sunday school?" Well, came his reply, "Last week our lesson was about when Jesus went to a wedding and turned water into wine." And while the audience roared, Johnny tried to keep a straight face as he said, "And what did you learn from that story?" The boy squirmed in his chair. It was apparent he hadn't really thought about this. But then he lifted up his face and said, "If you're going to have a party, make sure you invite Jesus!" And he was certainly on to something in a simple yet profound way.

Jhn 2:1
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there,

Alright so get your radar up. In this first verse we have a clue about what is going on here.

When does it say this wedding took place?
And Did Jesus do anything else on the third day?

Jhn 2:2
and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.

We have no way of telling when it happened, but Joseph must have died at some time after Jesus’ twelfth birthday, which is the last recorded time he was with Mary and Jesus (Luke 2:41-51)

The occasion was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, the home of Nathanael, a town around 10 miles from Mary and Jesus’ home city of Nazareth.

10 Miles is a long way to walk, so this is probably an important wedding for them.

Jhn 2:3
When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."

We don’t know who was responsible for the catering of the wedding at Cana, but i Mary felt some level of care and responsibility. She was told that the wine had run out before the master of the banquet. The master of the banquet didn't even know of the problem, he was suprised when the exceptional wine was brought out (Verse 9).

Hospitality was, and still is a big thing in the Middle East. In that culture it was the groom that was responsible for the wedding expenses. The family could be sued by the bride’s parents if people left the festivities unsatisfied, or thought that the catering was under par.


It was a social stain on the couple if their wedding had gone badly. It woiuld make them and their families outcasts.

People would be like... “see that kid walking down the street there. He's the son of that couple who through a banquit and couldn't afford enough food and wine for all the guests.”

The wedding is in trouble...

It was a dilemma that needed a solution. Mary did something about the problem. She went to Jesus and said, “They have no more wine.”

What do you think Mary was expecting Jesus to do about the problem?

How could Mary know what Jesus would do about this problem? Remember, this was His first miracle.

So we do not know if she expected anything miraculous, only that she was relying on Him in a tight situation, hoping that He would have an answer.

Perhaps she was expecting Him to make up a decent excuse to those attending. It’s possible that she was expecting Jesus to give a speech of some sort to get people’s minds off of drinking while the his disciples went looking for the nearest party store to buy some more wine.

The way the stewards looked to Mary for direction also tells us that the wedding was the occasion of a relative or close friend. She gave the instructions to the servants when the wine had run out as to what to do about the problem.

Jhn 2:4
"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."

Mary was confident that Jesus was more than capable of fixing the problem.

Jesus’ answer at first seems kinda harsh; "Dear woman, why do you involve me?"

Jhn 2:5
His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

And you have to love Mary's response to the servants “Do whatever He tells you” (Verse 5).

Jhn 2:6
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. [fn]

The stone jars held water normally used only for ceremonial washing, a symbolic act of cleansing from sin, not for cleaning off the dust of the road or other dirt. They were placed at the door so a person would not enter the celebration in a ceremonially “unclean” state.
By dipping their fingers into the water and wiping them dry, a person would symbolically “wash away their sins” and be ceremonially clean. When we say, “I’m washing my hands of this matter,” we really mean we’re trying to absolve ourselves of any responsibility for it. The phrase comes from this practice, which was soon to be immortalized by Pontius Pilate in the matter of Jesus’ trial and conviction.
Canna was a small village 120 gallons means probably people from several surronding villages.

Jhn 2:7
Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.

Jhn 2:8
Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so,

Jhn 2:9
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

Jhn 2:10
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."

Jesus told the stewards to fill each jar to the brim and then take some of this water to the master of ceremonies. They must have wondered what He was thinking! Why would they serve the guests water which they were meant to wash with? Imagine the surprise of each steward who had put water from the stream into each water pot. When they dipped in ladle and out came wine, and not just good wine, but exceptional wine!

The master of ceremonies was quite surprised at the quality of this wine and was so impressed, that he praised the bridegroom.
 Jesus was to reveal the everlasting God, some established customs and rules needed to broken. At Cana, Jesus used six large stone jars as carafes for new wine…jars that were normally filled with water for purification ceremonies, for the ritual cleansing.

Jesus claimed the authority to break the rules, and put those jars to another use.
Imagine if someone threw a party and we all went. And while the crystal punch bowl is being carried to the center of the room, it accidentally slips and smashes to the floor. Daren says, “Don’t panic. I know something we can use.” He sends two of you out of the room to get the washing dish and carry it to the kitchen where the you are told to fill it with water and the washing bowl becomes our serving bowl! Get the picture? It goes against the grain, it’s what Jesus did behind the scenes at the wedding in Cana.
It goes to show there’s no telling what rules Jesus will break in order to disclose the presence and power of God. All we can be sure of is that God’s glory will not be reduced to traditions and rituals. Jesus is not interested in maintaining religious customs and established patterns.

One last thought...
Jesus never turned the water into wine...
He simply told the servaqnts what to do, and when they did it the water became wine.
The servants do what Jesus said and the hope of the family of the couple for a future is restored
The servants do what Jesus said to do and Joy is present at the feast.

Have you ever not done what Jesus said to do?
How can we do what Jesus said to do?

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