The Miracle at Cana
THE MIRACLE AT CANA
John wrote this gospel to try, once again, to convince people that Jesus is truly the Son of God.
- So, what John does in this book is he gives us a collection of supporting proofs that Jesus was who He claimed to be.
- Some of those proofs are verbal proofs; or the inspired words of John himself; or the testimony of John the Baptizer; or the verbal testimony of those who followed Jesus.
But John not only gives us verbal testimony confirming that Christ is the Son of God but he also gives us physical signs or miracles. In this gospel he gives us 7 miracles that confirm who Jesus is and the first one is found here in chapter 2.
- This miracle in chapter 2 marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.
There are many things going on in our world and in our culture that can shake your faith; but what Jesus does here in these 11 verses will hopefully encourage you to stay faithful to Christ no matter what happens.
So, let’s look at this first miracle; look at vs. 1-2.
And on the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee,
- Now, understand that in this culture a “wedding” was the ultimate party; it was the best party ever; it was a party that exceeded all other parties!
- And the wedding celebration wasn’t just a one day celebration; they celebrated for several days.
And it wasn’t just a celebration for the bride and groom; this was a celebration for everyone in the community.
- People would come from the outlying areas; family and friends would all come to this celebration.
And vs. 1 says that “the mother of Jesus was there; 2 and Jesus also was invited, and His disciples, to the wedding.”
Now, some people think that Jesus should have been a “killjoy.”
- For some people there is this sort of religious spirit that creeps into their hearts and minds and says, “If you are having a good time you must be in sin.”
- “If you are enjoying life and the good things that God has given us to enjoy there must be something wrong with you.”
- And they would shut this whole thing down.
But you know what, Jesus doesn’t do that.
- Jesus was not somebody who looked around to see if somebody was having a good time and stop them if they were.
- In fact, Jesus is going to perform a miracle at this wedding and this miracle is going to increase the fun at this wedding.
- Jesus is not going to preach a sermon at this wedding. He is not going to lead a prayer meeting. He is not going to berate or condemn the people for being there.
- He is going to enjoy the wedding feast and his friends and neighbors and his people.
Listen, God doesn’t want us to be miserable and walk around frowning all the time.
- If we, as God’s people, can’t enjoy life how do we ever expect to bring others to Christ?
- God wants His people to enjoy what He blesses us with. As a matter of fact, isn’t heaven going to be joyful?
- What does the song say: “No tears in heaven, no sorrow given, all will be glory in that land.”
- If there is no joy in heaven then why would any of us want to go there?
So Jesus is “invited” to this wedding
- I am afraid that not many “invite” Jesus to be at their wedding anymore; if they did perhaps fewer weddings would end in divorce.
But Jesus was “invited” to this wedding and the fact that Jesus attended this wedding and the fact that He performed His first miracle at a wedding emphasizes the sanctity of marriage.
- Weddings matter; Public covenant matters; the ceremony matters; it always has.
- And that means that the marriage covenant is not to be entered into lightly and once entered into it is to be honored and maintained.
In fact, any society that honors marriage and the life-long commitment made and kept between a man and woman, and who rear children in the bond of love; that society will prosper; it will be secure; it will know peace.
- On the other hand, any society that fails to honor marriage as a covenant for life between a man and a woman; any society that diminishes marriage; that society is corrupt; is doomed to chaos and turmoil, and immorality will abound.
- When marriage is not honored as a lifetime commitment the fabric of society is shredded.
- Our Lord honored marriage by attending and doing His first miracle at a wedding.
So, Jesus attends this wedding; and His mother is there and that is no surprise because Mary had lived in Nazareth for several years; and Nazareth is only about 9 miles away and they would have known the people just up the road; possibly related to some of them.
So, this wedding celebration is in full swing; everyone is having a wonderful time; but then there is a PROBLEM. In vs. 3 the “wine runs out.”
- And when the wine runs out that is a major catastrophe; this is a colossal, social embarrassment.
- This would ruin the wedding and damage the reputation of that bridal couple in the community forever. (This is a small town; people talk; people don’t forget things.)
- When you run out of wine that is a huge mistake.
Now, what about the wine? I think it is interesting that a lot of people do not even see the miracle that takes place; they don’t even see Jesus as the Son of God; what they see in this event is justification to drink! To imbibe alcohol.
In the world that these people lived in wine was made from all kinds of fruit; mostly grapes.
- And yes, the wine and the juice of any of the fruits that was used was subject to fermentation because there was no refrigeration; so, everything fermented and developed alcohol.
- And they drank a lot of “wine” because drinking water was dangerous because water was not purified; but to drink fermented wine was also dangerous because you could get drunk and that was a sin; In fact, in that day to get drunk was an incredible disgrace.
- And if you drank too much fermented wine you could get sick; so to keep from getting drunk or sick what they did is they diluted the wine with water; usually 3 parts water to one part wine; and they did that so they could drink water because it had been purified by the alcohol in the fermented wine; and they could drink the wine because it had been diluted and would not make them drunk.
- So, this “wine” would have been prepared in the normal fashion.
- And besides, the distillation process that is used to make todays alcoholic beverages didn’t exist until 1000 years after this event.
- This “wine” was nothing like what people drink today.
So, they run out of wine at this wedding celebration and that is a catastrophic embarrassment; and in vs. 3 Mary says to Jesus, “They have no wine.”
- Now, why did Mary say this to Jesus? Did she think He would perform a miracle? Was she telling Him to perform a miracle? I don’t think so because as far as we know He had never performed a miracle before this.
- She why does Mary say this.
Well think about it this way. Jesus is somewhere around 30 years old and up to this time if Mary ever had a problem who do you think she turned to?
- He never had a bad idea in His life; He never had a wrong solution to a problem; He never led her a step in the wrong direction; He had a perfect solution to every dilemma.
- He was the most wise, intelligent person that had ever lived or ever will live on earth.
- He was compassionate; kind; loving; He cared about people; He knew the problem; who else would she turn to?
- So, I don’t think she asks for a miracle. I think she simply says to Him, “They have no wine.”
And look at vs. 4 how Jesus responds. Jesus says, “Woman…”
- Why not “mother?” Some say that Jesus is being harsh; rebuking Mary.
- But this is the same word He uses in John 19 from the cross when He says, “Woman, behold your son” and He handed her over to John.
- This isn’t a harsh response; but it isn’t intimate either.
- Why does He call her “woman?”
Because He is telling her that their relationship has changed; He is telling her that they don’t have the same relationship that they have had up until now; It’s over.
- In fact, look at what He says next: “What do I have to do with you?”
She is no longer in a position to act as an authority in His life; she is no longer in a position to tell Him what to do; to make suggestions to Him.
- Here, at this wedding celebration His Father’s business began and His mother’s business ended.
- From here on He was saying, “I don’t do your business; I do My Father’s business.”
- What Jesus is doing is He is distancing Himself from the mother/son relationship that has existed for 30 years; and now she is no longer dealing with her son; but with the Son of God.
By the way, what Jesus does here refutes the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching of asking Mary to plead with Jesus for the things you desire because Jesus cannot refuse Mary; Mary is not in a position of authority over Jesus.
Then Jesus says in vs. 4, “My hour has not come.”
- This is the first time we see this statement; but it will be used again several times; and what this is, it is a statement that in its fullness looks at the cross, the hour of His death and resurrection.
- And what Jesus is saying to Mary is, “Our relationship is different now because now I am on a divine schedule that has been set by God; that will culminate in My death and everything leads to that; every event, every issue, every circumstance is leading to that final hour.”
And with that Mary bows out and she says to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
- These are words we should live by today. If Jesus tells you to do something, do it!
So Jesus takes care of the problem. Look at vs. 6: Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.
- This water is not for drinking because you didn’t drink water unless it was mixed with a purifier; this water is for washing their hands; for washing the utensils; for plates; for pans and pots; this water is for cleansing.
Now, vs. 7: Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.
- If these pots weren’t “filled to the brim” somebody would just say that He added wine to the water.
- But if the water goes all the way to the brim, there’s no room left; that is His point.
Now verse 8: And He (Jesus) said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter.” And they took it to him.
- Now, we have no idea how Jesus performed this miracle; He didn’t wave His hand; He didn’t snap His fingers; He didn’t say, “Abracadabra”; He just transformed this water into wine.
And another thing, you have a lot of people in attendance at this wedding and no one ever came back later and said, “This didn’t happen! This is a lie!” Surely if this didn’t happen someone would have said so.
And notice He tells them to “Draw some and take to the headwaiter. And they took it.”
- Jesus wanted the miracle to be put to the test right away.
- There are those who claim to perform miracles of healing; should they not allow the same thing.
- If God performs a miracle of healing then take them to the doctor and prove it right away.
- No claimed miracle should be afraid of immediate, up front verification.
Now, vs. 9: And when the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew) the headwaiter called the bridegroom; 10 and said to Him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then that which is poorer, you have kept the good wine until now.”
There is a great principle based on these words.
- For the people of God the best always comes last.
- People always think that the best comes first and the worst come last. In the kingdom of God, no matter how good you think things are now, God has better things for you later.
- For God, the best is yet to come and that will be fulfilled in our destiny in heaven. God always saves his best for the last.
- For those who know God, this life is as bad as it ever gets. For those who reject God, this life is as good as it ever gets.
So Jesus turns the water into wine and vs. 11 says: This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
- And that brings us back to John’s purpose for writing this gospel: These things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing have eternal life in His name.”
Now, let me separate you all in three groups. You will be in one of these three groups.
In vs. 11 it says that “His disciples believed in Him.” That is group number one.
Look at John 12:37: Though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.” This is group number 2.
And then there is group number 3. In John 12:42: Nevertheless, many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue, 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
Every one of us is in one of these three groups; We either believe; or we don’t believe; or we are not willing to pay the price to trust in Christ.
If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; be steadfast in your faith.
- If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and you want to follow Him and your desire this morning is to obey Him and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins; we are here to assist you.
If you are not sure about Jesus and you want to learn more; we are here to assist you in that as well.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023