"This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him."
The miracles in John's Gospel are called "signs." This suggests that they have a meaning that is deeper than just a miraculous event that displays Jesus' power. These verses record the first of Jesus' miraculous signs. It reveals Jesus' transforming power. He not only changes water into wine, but also he makes useless people into useful people. He changes curses into blessings. Jesus revealed his glory in this first sign, and his disciples put their faith in him. May the changing power of Jesus work in those who study his word.
1. Jesus' mother (1-5)
Jesus' mother teaches us how to pray. She was in the kitchen at the wedding feast, when the wine failed. She might have thought, "Well, that's too bad." But she made this problem her own. She brought it to Jesus. Bringing it to Jesus is prayer. She didn't tell him what to do, but by bringing it to him, she was asking for his help.
Jesus' answer is surprisingly harsh. He said, "Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come." He didn't say, "Mother." And he sounded as if he were going to refuse her request--although, actually he did what she wanted him to do. Jesus was beginning his public ministry. He was no longer free to be a good son to his mother, as he had been for 30 years. From now on, he was living on his Father God's time schedule, and everything he did was in obedience to God's specific direction.
Jesus' mother was not offended or hurt by his words. She left her small problem with him and prepared an environment in which he could work. She told the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Jesus needs an environment of obedient faith in which to work. He needs the hands and feet of people who trust and obey him absolutely.
2. Jesus and the servants (5-10)
The servants must have been very busy, because there were many guests to serve. Jesus pointed to 6 large jars which held 20 or 30 gallons of wash water 2.
each. He said, "Fill the jars with water. This seemed to be useless work--the guests had already washed, and such water was no longer needed. The jars were almost empty, so filling them was a big job. But servants did it, asking no questions. They didn't do it in a half-hearted way, but they obeyed Jesus with their whole hearts, for they filled the jars to the brim. How hard it is to really put one's heart into obeying a command that one can't really understand. In our pragmatic society, such obedience is rare. But Jesus still uses servants who love and trust him and work with a "fill it to the brim" spirit.
Jesus then gave the servants another hard job. He told them to draw some out and take it to the master of the feast. They knew that they had just filled the jars with wash water. Now, they had to take this water to the banquet master, who was shouting for wine. If they had taken him wash water, they might have been beaten for playing a prank. But again, they obeyed Jesus. When the banquet master tasted the wine, he could not stop praising its quality.
Jesus blessed the wedding at Cana. He turned a potentially miserable wedding feast into a joyful occasion. Jesus came to bless and to bring joy. He blesses weddings. The bride and groom, the guests and the banquet master did not know why the wedding feast was so joyful and gracious. But they were blessed anyway. The unbelieving world frequently does not know or acknowledge the fact that Christians are the salt and light of society. They do not recognize the influence of the gospel in the history and life of a nation. England did not have a revolution like the French revolution because there were Christians like William Wilberforce who brought about a social revolution by prayer and by Christian influence; Christians like William Booth and John Wesley and George Whitfield changed the social climate of England. They were like the servants working in the kitchen.
Jesus came to transform our lives. He came to change us into useful and fruitful people, to make our lives meaningful. He will change the life of anyone who welcomes him in as Lord. He wants us to make an environment of prayer and obedience in our hearts. Then he will come in and do his saving, healing, changing work.
We can see the glory of God in the lives of those who have been touched by Jesus. We can see his glory when we invite him into our lives and allow him to change us. Our faith grows every time we open our spiritual eyes and see Jesus at work in those for whom we pray, or see him at work in our own lives.