The miracle of wine – the subject of a sermon I heard yesterday – continues to amaze me. First of all, the fact that Jesus’ first miracle took place in a small town, Cana, reminds me that great things can happen even in my little corner of the Texas Hill Country. The Biblical story comes from John, Chapter 2 (verses 1-11). Here it is:
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
I remember pondering this miracle about a year ago. Hearing it again yesterday, I broke out the HP calculator – just to be sure – and I’m amazed at the sheer volume of wine Jesus brought to the party when asked. Roughly 908 bottles. Yep, that’s a lot. And this is after the bridegroom ran out of wine. Besides that, its quality put the earlier wine to shame. Further, Jesus didn’t go to the wedding intending to make his big debut, according to his words about it not being the right time. But, the faith of his mother, certain her plea would be heard, caused even the heart of God to change plans.
I know the story of this miracle doesn’t intend to promote drunkenness, although I do believe it speaks to the fact that Jesus knows wine makes the heart glad and it can be a good thing. The reality that he was invited to the wedding indicates he wasn’t the stuffy sort of religious person that nobody really wants to be around. People want fun people to be at their parties. He probably sat around and told stories and laughed a lot, I suspect. I think he knew how to have fun and he knew how to be serious when needed.
Why so much wine? Why such good quality? Why at this wedding?
To me, the volume of wine shows signs of the extravagant abundance of God’s love. Further, the quality of the wine certainly conveys the extravagant abundance of God’s love. And the realization that Mary’s request changed the eternal plan for the revelation of God speaks to the extravagant abundance of God’s love for us.
I love the wine story. Even more, I love what it tells me.