First Miracle: New Wine
A pastor was once talking to an agnostic and was trying to convince him who Jesus was and convert him to Christ.
“Speaking of miracles,” the pastor said, “if a man jumped out of a ten-story building and did not die, would that not be a miracle?”
“No,” said the agnostic, “it would only be an accident.”
“Then what if he jumped out a second time and did not die. Wouldn’t you say that would be a miracle?”
“No, that would be a coincidence.”
“Then, what if he did it a third time? Wouldn’t that be one?”
“Now I’ll grant you this,” said the agnostic, “that would be a strange habit that person started.”
It seems some people are convinced who Jesus is, sight unseen, without any real proof. While others, no matter what proof you present; nothing will convince them, not even a miracle.
It’s by no accident or coincidence that John’s first major event in Jesus’ ministry, is a miracle. John’s focus in presenting Jesus so far has been to reveal this is the God-man. The proof which John offers is a miracle.
Actually, he will hand pick eight miracles as signs to show that Jesus is the God-man. It’s as if John is saying, “If these eight miracles won’t convince you of Jesus’ deity, then nothing else written in this Gospel account will either.
Signs were given to the Jews, to help them believe in the message they were hearing was a message from God. So John carefully selected each sign or miracle to reveal the uniqueness of Jesus, as the Son of God.
It’s interesting that the first miracle was at a wedding, and the last miracle in John is at a funeral. At life’s happiest hour and at life’s saddest hour. Maybe to say, that Christ is there with you and able to work at these times; and every where in between.
And as with the last miracle, this first demonstrates the Lord’s purpose in coming to this world. He comes to show us His love and the power of God to meet man’s most basic need.
I. Jesus Walks among Ordinary People. (vv. 1,2)
If there was ever an ordinary event celebrated by ordinary people it is a wedding. Even in the end times people will be given in marriage. It is a part of life being an institution establish by God.
Jesus did not live within a monastery cut-off from people. There was never a person more spiritual than Jesus. There was never a person more heavenly minded or stronger in faith than Jesus.
Yet, Jesus lived day to day among ordinary people who sinned before God and who lived life with all of its ups and downs.
It is the third day of Jesus’ ministry, having only called 5 out of the 12 disciples. And yet on this ordinary day Jesus takes the day off to share in the celebrations of a wedding.
Notice from the text; who is not at the wedding: Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. It is believed that he had died while Jesus was in His teens.
The point is, Jesus also had an ordinary life in as much as He had struggles in growing up, living in a single parent house. The struggles of life, is in part, what makes life ordinary; they are never to become excuses for giving up.
As well being holy, or being a witness, being busy within a ministry; doesn’t mean you can’t take time aside to celebrate and share in the good times of others.
By coming to this wedding, Jesus (being God) He brings honor to the marriage institution. Where a marriage is a union between a man and a woman; that are joined as one flesh, as long as they both shall live.
Here we see our covenant keeping God affirming the marriage covenant; which is a picture of the union we are to enter into with the Lord by faith.
II. A Faith that Looks to Jesus (vv.3-5)
A Jewish wedding typically involved 3 parts:
· The Ceremony itself
· The escorting of the couple to the groom’s house; where that night they would consummate the marriage.
· And then an open house for the community to visit the couple; this would last for approximately a week.
From v.1 the third day of Jesus’ ministry coincides with this week long feast, where a problem arises. The wine runs out. In the eastern culture there could be no greater embarrassment.
A note is needed about the wine of the day. Yes it had a alcoholic content, that was because they did not have refrigerators to preserve grape juice.
Water was added to the wine to help lower the alcohol content. This wine was not a strong drink or comparable to the wines produced today. I would not use this text as an endorsement for drinking today’s wine.
Now apparently, Mary had been called upon to help in the preparations of the feast. She may have even been the first to discover the problem.
Being the mother of the Lord, she would have learned over the years she could call upon her son in times of need.
So instinctively, she goes to Him. But in v.4, Jesus is reluctant in as much as He is only a guest so He says, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” But more over Jesus is reluctant as it’s not the right time to reveal Himself saying, “Mine hour is not yet come.”
Have you ever asked someone to do something, and they are reluctant, still you know they’ll do as you ask. Mary knew she could look to her Son and He would do something.
At the same time she had no clue what He could do. She never saw Him do a miracle prior to this; she simply had come to believe in Him.
So what does she do in v.5? She turns to the servants and says, “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.”
This is blind faith which we are to have in the Lord. It is a faith in the ability of God to do abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think.
It’s what Mary was originally told by the angel many years earlier; that she had come to believe was true about her Son. “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).
III. Jesus’ Abundant Blessing (vv.6-11)
Jesus uses what is available to Him. There were 6 large stone water pots used for the Jewish custom of purification. Each pot was large enough to hold approximately 20 gallons of water.
Together we’re talking about 120 gallons of wine being supplied. This is far more than what in needed to met the need. And again, that is how God is capable of working in our lives; to do more than we could ever ask or think.
These water pots were demanded by the law to wash pots and pans, to even wash the hands and feet of the guests. Back in John 1:17, John told us, “For the Law was given by Moses…” That is what these pots pictured: the requirement of the Law.
Moses’ first miracle (seen in the plagues) was turning water into blood. That was the best the Law could do. All the Law could do; is tell you how you broke it and that the requirement was a blood sacrifice to make atonement.
But John went on to say in 1:17, “…but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Where the first miracle by Jesus was to transform the law into a blessing for all to enjoy. John 3:17, Jesus says, “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”
So in v.7 Jesus directs the servants to fill the pots, “And they filled them up to the brim.” I can see Mary getting excited with anticipation, while the servants are looking very skeptical with drawing all this water out of a well and hauling it to these pots.
There is no “Hocus Pocus” here, no waving of hands or some magical dust sprinkled over the pots. Jesus simply directs the servant to draw some out and give it to the Governor or master of ceremonies of the feast.
Now, if you were that servant; what would you have done first, knowing all that was put into the pots was water? I think I might have been tempted to take a sample taste.
When the governor drinks, he is amazed, as well as the servants but for different reasons. The governor praises the groom for holding the best quality wine last or for the end of the feast.
The Governor has no clue what really has happened, but the servants knew. They worked hard in filling those pots with water.
This was the sweetest wine ever tasted, and it didn’t come from the normal processes of fermentation. This was the power of God, who is able to transform that which is ordinary (water) into that which is extra special, as a blessing.
It is a picture of what God can and is looking to do within our lives. God wants to not only save us, but to transform us for His glory.
This is why John selects this miracle, (which no one else mentions) as the first to reveal Jesus as the Messiah. Sadly, this obvious conclusion about Jesus; was lost before the guests and even the servants.
They missed the Messiah, as do many unbelievers today. But that is what Paul speaks about in 1 Cor. 4:4, “…the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ… …should shine unto them.”
And yet, by this first miracle, we see the power of our creator God at work, looking to reveal Himself as the Messiah for Israel. But that requires people like the disciples and Mary look to Jesus by faith.
This miracle is not just about Jesus meeting a temporal need, as even the 120 gallons of wine at some point will run out again. The miracle is a prelude of Jesus transforming the believer into a blessing for all eternity.