As I mentioned on the first, there are seven miracles, or "signs" in John's Gospel, and this is the first one. There's debates among scholars about whether John meant that this was Jesus' absolutely first miracle, or just his first one in Cana. But whichever the case, we can definitely learn from it.
The very background for this passage actually gives us some insight into our Lord’s personality. Apparently he was the type of person to be invited to, and attend, weddings. He was, in general, a person with whom people liked to hang around! If you’ve ever been to a traditional Jewish wedding, you know that despite being a solemn occasion, it’s much more of a celebration than we’re probably used to, bordering on the raucous. For some reason, Jesus’ mother was in charge of the logistics, and a terrible thing happened. By some oversight, the servers had run out of wine.
To us modern Americans, this doesn't seem like a big deal, but to first century Middle Easterners, this would be disastrous. Mary went to her Son and asked for help, and depsite some initial reluctance he gave in to her request.
And for anyone reading this who has a Catholic background, I’d like to point something out. I heard this several years ago from a friend who was discussing the Church’s view on Mary with some Catholics, and this summarized what he said to them: “I thoroughly believe in obeying every command that Mary gives us from Scripture.” This is the only recorded command from Mary, and what does she tell us to do? “Do whatever he tells you.” Sounds good to me!
The servants obeyed Jesus, and thus were the instruments of a great miracle. I always find the master of the banquet’s remark to be really funny: “You’re supposed to break out the good stuff at the beginning of the party, not the end!”
So if this is a “sign,” then what does it tell us about our Savior? First, when he does work, it's never second-best or "good enough." It's always the best of the best of the best. This convicts me of the quality of my work at times. Second, he always saves the best for last. Six was a symbol of something that was less than complete (as contrasted with seven). Many people have noted that the jars were there for ceremonial washing, so they see them as being illustrative of our efforts (through the Law) to cleanse ourselves, and how futile that really is. Our Lord then comes along, and turns the plain water of our dull experience into the sweet wine of a full relationship with him, a never-ending celebration of our new life in him.
Have you experienced this new life? If you are saved, have you been living life to the fullest? Are you really living up to all that Christ has for you? If not, what’s holding you back?
Lord Jesus, everything you have for me, I desire. I refuse to settle for anything less than your best. I’m going to follow the example of those servants: Whatever you tell me to do, I’ll do it.
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