In this study, we focus both on the miracle itself and on the interaction between Jesus and His aging mother. The study is filled with lessons regardless of what season in life we find ourselves.
- The Feat
Notice first how gracious this miracle was! Even though it wasn’t His mother’s place to give Him ministry advice. By the way, you’ll never find Jesus taking the advice of anyone when it came to His ministry? Why not? Isn’t a humble person supposed to seek the counsel of others? Not in this case! Jesus was humble. No doubt about that! More humble than you and I have ever dreamed of being. Try dying on a cross for a crime you didn’t commit without defending yourself or trying to get even! The reason He didn’t seek the counsel of sinful human beings is that He couldn’t trust us and didn’t need it.
For one thing, Jesus is holy and we are sinful. John 2:23 explains, “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.” Jesus’ wisdom gave Him the answer to every problem on earth, be it spiritual, financial, political, or relational. Furthermore, He was in perfect and constant fellowship with His Father, His prayers clarifying every decision He made.
Nor do I believe that His mother Mary was trying to tell Him what to do. Women’s intuition or the Holy Spirit may have led her to believe that He was about to do something wonderful. If so, she was right! By God’s grace her concern, the need of this young couple, and God’s will all came together in one miraculous moment of time leading to one of the greatest feats ever performed.
You see contrary to popular belief, this miracle was not an unexpected event interrupting God’s plan for His Son, due to a well-meaning albeit interfering Jewish mother. This was Plan A from eternity past—for the first sign of His Son’s Deity to be a miracle performed at a wedding in Cana of Galilee to bless His mother, His family, and His friends. And here’s how it happened.
Verse 6 says: “Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim.” This water wasn’t for washing hands or for taking a bath. It was for ceremonial purposes. Before a family ate a meal, they poured water over their pots, their pans, their plates, and their hands, not to get them clean, but to remain ritually pure. So for a feast of several days, you had to have a lot of water.
Why did He have them fill the jars to the brim? So there would be no question about something being added to the water. Skeptics always try to explain away the miracles of God. Remember how Pharaoh’s magicians tried to copy the miracles of Moses? So He had the servants fill the jars to the brim. That ought to be enough to last until the weekend, don’t you think?
But why so much wine! To picture the abundance of God’s grace. “Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will be poured into your lap.”
Verse 8 continues, “He said to them, ‘Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.’ So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine…” Wait a minute, you say! I missed it. When did He do the miracle? Between the lines in verses 8 and 9! That’s how the Bible describes the miraculous. Very matter of fact. You didn’t expect Jesus to make a big deal out of this, did you? Drum roll, please! “Tah-dah!” No.
But what a miracle it was! Verse 9 says: “When the master of the feast (i.e., the headwaiter or master of ceremonies) tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew, (he) called the bridegroom 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.’”
That’s true, isn’t it? When you invite guests to dinner, you get out your best china, put flowers on the table, cook your best meal, and serve them in style. But if they linger a second, third, or fourth day, it’s: “There’s the fridge. Try your luck! There are leftovers in back if you look hard.” But in this case, it’s far different! The maître d says, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk too much, he serves the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Good wine! This was the best wine anyone ever tasted—like wine freshly squeezed from the grapes of Eden.