Jesus' First Sign: Turning Water into Wine.
John 20:30–31 (HCSB)
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book.
31 But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.
These two verses give us insight into why John wrote his Gospel account.
He did not write an exhaustive list of Jesus’ miracles/signs, but rather chose a select few so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah and have life in His name.
John’s Gospel answers three important questions:
What do we need to believe?
What does it mean to believe?
Why do we need to believe?
With these in mind let us begin with the first miracle/sign that Jesus preformed.
Read John 2:1-12.
1 On the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and 2 Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding as well. 3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother told Him, “They don’t have any wine.” 4 “What has this concern of yours to do with Me, woman?” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.” 5 “Do whatever He tells you,” His mother told the servants. 6 Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained 20 or 30 gallons. 7 “Fill the jars with water,” Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim. 8 Then He said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the chief servant.” And they did. 9 When the chief servant tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it came from—though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom 10 and told him, “Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people have drunk freely, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.” 11 Jesus performed this first sign in Cana of Galilee. He displayed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him. 12 After this, He went down to Capernaum, together with His mother, His brothers, and His disciples, and they stayed there only a few days.
What has transpired so far in John’s Gospel is a grand introduction to the person of Christ.
1:1-5 John addresses the deity of Christ.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
1:6-13 John addresses John the Baptist.
8 He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.
1:14-18 John then addresses Jesus’ incarnation.
14 The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
1:19-34 John recounts John the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
1:35-51 John recounts Jesus’ first followers.
35 Again the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus.
We then arrive at our passage for today. Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding, and his mother was there as well.
The fact that Jesus was invited and Mary was apparently helping in some capacity and had some authority over those serving at the wedding leads us to think that the wedding was probably for family or a close family friend.
3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother told Him, “They don’t have any wine.”
Running out of wine was a BIG deal in ancient times.
The groom was responsible for providing for the wedding banquet (which could last up to a week). Lots of preparation went into this because you couldn’t just run down to the local market and pick up something you ran out of.
This would have brought great social shame on him and his family.
Also the groom could have been opened to a lawsuit from the brides family for failing to provide the adequate level of hospitality and celebration.
It is fair to assume that Joseph has passed away by this point, as he is never mentioned except by reference
45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law (and so did the prophets ): Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth!”
In the other accounts Joseph is only seen alive and active up through Jesus being taken to the temple when he was 12. after that he is only referenced by name connecting Jesus to him and Mary.
In Mark 6:3 we see that Jesus is not referred to as the son of the carpenter but the Carpenter himself, further proof that Joseph has since passed and Jesus has taken over the family business and for providing for his mother.
3 Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And aren’t His sisters here with us?” So they were offended by Him.
This is important for us to know because it brings into focus the request of Mary to Jesus.
Mary isn’t gossiping she is relying on Jesus and his resourcefulness to help come up with a solution to the problem. She is leaning on her first born son to fix the problem.
Unlike apocryphal writings that give bizarre accounts of Jesus as a child bringing clay pigeons to life. There is no biblical support that Mary came to Jesus expecting a miracle to happen. John’s account is that this was Jesus’ first miracle/sign.
One commentator suggested that because of the way in which Jesus was conceived that Mary knew His life was stamped to be different, and that maybe in this particular moment Mary is pushing Jesus to unveil that He is the messiah.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally I think Mary does this to some degree, which is why Jesus gives her a subtle rebuke.
4 “What has this concern of yours to do with Me, woman?” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.”
Jesus’ response to Mary seems harsh, and maybe even rude. “Woman”. This is one of those instances where the Greek word looses something in translation. Jesus is in fact being very respectful in his address of Mary. It is similar to saying Ma’am, might be the closest I can get to the sentiment.
However something has in fact changed though. This is not the way that a Son would have addressed his mother. You would expect Him to have said “Mother”.
Jesus is on mission now, the burden of His life is that of the cross, looking towards His Resurrection. “My hour has not yet come.” Something he reminds people of up until it is time for Him to go to the cross.
John 7:30 “30 Then they tried to seize Him. Yet no one laid a hand on Him because His hour had not yet come.”
John 17:1 “1 Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You,”
Jesus is gently rebuking His mother and telling her that she does not have special access to Him, that she now has to come to Him as everyone else comes. As sinners in need of a Savior.
Imagine the pain of a loving mother having to this kind of relationship shift. It was mentioned that this may be what Simeon meant when he gave his blessing to Mary in Luke 2:35 “35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.””
Jesus is essentially telling His mother there is no insider track, I can’t sneak you in through the backdoor, you don’t get a pass because your my mom.
Mary’s response to Jesus’ rebuke is a testimony of her faith and a model for our own.
5 “Do whatever He tells you,” His mother told the servants.
She didn’t know how, but she just trusted that He would.
The second question that i said John’s gospel would answer is “What does it mean to believe?” This is it, She believes that Jesus will come up with a solution to the problem. And she exercises that faith by instructing the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do.
It is like looking at a bridge in the forest that is hanging over a ravine. When you say i believe that that bridge will hold me, what your really saying is i “think” that the bridge will hold you. it is not until you step out on the bridge that shows your belief.
Many people and unfortunately too many in the church say that they believe in Jesus, yet they they stand on the soil and not on the bridge. they have yet to but their lives in His hands and conform their lives to His will. That is not belief. That is not believing in Jesus.
Believing in Jesus means to step out into the unknown because you know who holds your life in His hands, it means that they only thing that matters is Him, His will, His commands, His Glory.
Now that Jesus has begun His earthly ministry all relationships are subject to His relationship with the Father, that includes His mother. Jesus though does not ignore His mother but instead preforms His first Miracle, which John calls signs because they point to something greater beyond themselves.
6 Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained 20 or 30 gallons. 7 “Fill the jars with water,” Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim. 8 Then He said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the chief servant.” And they did. 9 When the chief servant tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it came from—though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom 10 and told him, “Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people have drunk freely, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.”
Jesus turns potentially 180 gallons of water into wine, and not just any kind of wine, put wine of very high quality. We know this from the Chief Servants interaction with the groom.
What can we gather from this first sign?
The Stone Jars were used for Jewish purification. Those Jars held water, Jesus happened, and now they hold something much greater. The water represented the old Jewish laws and customs that Jesus was going to replace with something better.
Wine at the last supper was given new significance - in that it represented His life-giving blood, a new covenant. Redemption is foreshadowed here.
In that same vein we see Jesus’ power to transform. Just like He is able to transform water into wine (He is able because He is the creator) He is also able to change our hearts of stones into hearts of flesh, to to bring dead men to life, or to make us new creations.
The wine of this world is going to run out someday. The celebration is going to come to a close.
However Jesus also shows us here the abundance of His kingdom. In salvation the celebration is deep and rich, it does not run dry because it has as its source the creator of the universe. the creator of all things.
The news headlines and history books are filled with men and women who chased the “wine” of this life only to kill themselves because it left them empty, the celebration ran out.
One commentator shared the unfortunate end of Earnst Hemming Ways life. Some one with great success, who saw the world, had famous friends of influence, only to one bright sunny day go and use a double barrel shotgun to end his life.
What impact did this have on the wedding?
The groom was spared the shame and potential lawsuit.
The Disciples Believed.
11 Jesus performed this first sign in Cana of Galilee. He displayed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him. 12 After this, He went down to Capernaum, together with His mother, His brothers, and His disciples, and they stayed there only a few days.
This sign was a display of His glory and power.
As a result His disciples believed in Him.
John’s account of this wasn’t that everyone who saw or partook in the wine believed, only that the disciples believed in Him. Not everyone who sees Jesus’ glory is going to believe in Him. Some will go even as far to acknowledge the uniqueness of Jesus and still plan to kill Him.
Reflect and Respond
Reflect and Respond
This sign gives us two options:
1st is to not to believe it is real, it is a fairy tale, fake, thus the Bible cannot be true.
2nd is that Jesus did in fact transform water into wine, thus He is who the Bible says He is. The savior!!
Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God?
If yes, is your belief marked by a transformed life?
Are you trusting Him with all areas of your life?
“Do whatever He tells you,”
Express your faith in Christ in this way, that you live your life knowing He will do what is necessary.
Obey without question what Jesus tells you to do.