Jesus made some pretty great wine at the wedding feast at Cana.
I’ve seen people do back-flips trying to explain all the different ways that Jesus couldn’t have possibly made actual wine (with alcohol). All I can say to that is this: The master of the banquet thought it was pretty dang good. (John 2:10)
This post isn’t about alcohol.
This post is about how Jesus, fully God and fully man, stepped into a world filled to the brim with the same-old same-old. He offered something undeniably better than what we had tasted before.
When Jesus walked the earth, he gave us an accurate view of our Father in Heaven. Being God himself, Jesus was called the “logos“, the word. He was the representation of God in flesh. His first miracle, at the wedding feast in Cana, “was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory…” (John 2:11)
Jesus’ first miracle started with a problem at a party.
The wine ran out at a wedding reception. In this culture, running out of wine for wedding guests would be a crushing embarrassment to the hosts.
Mary, Jesus mother, was somehow involved in the arrangements for this feast. Given the fact that she pointed to Jesus and ordered the servants to “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5), it is presumed that Mary may have been doing the catering for the wedding.
Whatever the case, Mary knew two things:
1) There was no more wine.
2) Jesus could fix this problem.
Jesus didn’t really want to do what she was asking. He said, “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4) But like any good son, he did what his mother wanted him to do.
Old Water = the Old Covenant
Sitting nearby were six empty stone jars, each able to hold between 20 and 30 gallons. Without running water, people would store their water supplies in these tall jars.
Here’s where it gets interesting. The water in these jars would have been used for the Jewish purification practices. The guests at the party would have washed their hands with this water. Their dishes would have been ceremonially washed as well. All this kept the Jewish laws of the Old Testament.
But the water had run out.
These empty vessels, now exhausted of their usefulness, sat there, waiting to be filled.
Jesus ordered the men to fill these jars with water. They did.
New Wine = the New Covenant
All the servants had to fill these jars with was water. But Jesus’ intervention made a whole new product.
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.” (John 2:8-10)
Wine. New wine. Brand new wine. Wine so good the master of the banquet questioned why it hadn’t been put out yet.
Jesus stepped into this world to bring the new, the better, the best. All that had been poured out prior was good, but its usefulness had run its course. Now, in the fullness of time, the Savior stepped onto the scene. He came to fulfill the Old Covenant, where animals were offered as a temporary sacrifice for sins. He came to usher in the New Covenant, in which He would offer Himself as a poured out offering.
New Wine > Old Water
New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce says, of Jesus’ first miracle:
Christ has come into the world to fulfill and terminate the old order, and to replace it by a new worship ‘in spirit and in truth’ which surpasses the old as much as wine surpasses water. (The Gospel of John, Introduction, Exposition and Notes pg. 72)
Jesus offers us something completely better than what we could ever attain on our own.
Would you like a drink?
Want to know more about Jesus?
Check out the other 4 parts of this “Logos” series.