John 2:1-11 • August 28, 2019 • w1271
Pastor John Miller continues our study through the gospel of John with a message through John 2:1-11 titled, “Water To Wine.”
We saw in John 20:30-31, and I keep alluding to it in the beginnings of my teaching, that it is the purpose statement of John’s gospel. I do that because tonight it’s significant. In John 20:30-31, John said, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples,” so not everything that Jesus did, spoke, or miracle He performed, is recorded in the gospel of John. John is a selective gospel. He said, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,” that’s why John is written, “and that believing ye might have life through his name.” In that purpose statement, John makes reference to miracles or “signs” as he calls them. Tonight we get the first of the seven signs. It is the sign of Jesus turning water into wine. In this section, we actually find that Jesus came to bring us joy, the joy of the Holy Spirit, and to transform our lives.
In John 1:19-2:11, let me set the context, we come to the end of a section tonight. This is the section known as preparation. It’s the beginning or transition into public ministry. In John 2:12, Jesus officially begins His public ministry. Some put it at the beginning of John 2, but I think it’s better to see it as part of the preparation. It’s not really a full public display of His majesty, He’s doing it in a wedding at Cana, and it’s just His disciples, a few servants, and His mother who know what took place. This section is preparation. In that section, this is what we’ve seen and are going to see, we saw three witnesses to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. The first was that of the forerunner, John the Baptist, who pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold,” or “Look,””the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Then, we saw the first followers. It goes from the forerunner’s witness to the first follower’s witness—Andrew and Peter and Philip and Nathanael (also called in the other gospels Bartholomew).
Tonight, we look at the first miracle. It’s in John 2:1-11. We have the witness of the forerunner, the first witness of the disciples, and the first witness of the miracle. The Bible says that in the mouth of two or three witnesses let everything be confirmed, so in this transition period into public ministry, we have three clear witnesses to the deity of Jesus. I want you to jump down to the last verse of our text tonight to start us off. It says, “This beginning of miracles,” that word “miracles” would be better rendered signs in John’s gospel. They are miracles, yes, but they have a purpose to point to His deity and majesty. This is the beginning of signs, “did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” Jesus performs a miracle. It’s a sign pointing to His glory, majesty, and deity, and then there’s a result—we either believe or we reject Him. We either put our faith in Him or we turn our backs upon Him and do not believe. In this miracle (notice it in verse 11), we have a manifestation of His glory. Oh, the beauties that are found in Jesus on the pages of Scripture! We see His deity in this miracle, His power, His love, His sympathy, and we see His majesty all displayed for us in this marvelous story.
There are four movements to this story, and we’re going to take them one at a time. If you want to take notes, you can follow with me in your Bible. The first is verses 1-2, we have the scene or setting in which the miracle took place. Go back with me to verses 1-2. It says, “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.” This is the scene or setting for the miracle. Now, I want you to notice that it says (verse 1) that it was the third day. You remember every week when we’ve been going through the gospel of John that there’s been these kind of date setting times as we go through. James Montgomery Boice says it like this, “According to the chronology that John gives for us, these opening chapters, this was the last of seven original eventful days of Christ’s ministry. The first was the day in which John the Baptist confirmed the Jewish delegation, confronted them, and identified Jesus. The second was the day in which John identified Jesus for the first time as the Lamb of God. On the third day, it was Andrew and an unnamed disciple, probably John the evangelist, that followed Jesus. On the fourth day contained the events connected with Andrew’s call of Peter’s brother. On the fifth day, Jesus called Nathanael. The sixth day was spent traveling. On the seventh day, Jesus arrived in Cana and was invited, with His disciples, to the wedding.”
In John 2:1, we come to the end of a one-week period in the life of Jesus Christ, and it just goes each day. It’s probably from the area down in the Jordan Valley where John was baptizing. It took Him a day or two to walk the 70 miles, all the way up to the Sea of Galilee, and notice it says that now He’s come to the area known as Cana of Galilee. It’s interesting because Nathanael was from Cana of Galilee. Cana was on the coast there of the Sea of Galilee, very near the city of Nazareth. He came there and there was a wedding, “and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called,” or invited, “and his disciples, to the marriage.” Every verse we read is just so pregnant or packed with things to learn. It’s kind of challenging to know what to go into and not, but let me break this verse down just a little bit. Notice that Jesus is now in the area of Cana of Galilee.
I told you that you need to familiarize yourself with the geography of Bible lands. Galilee is a region, and in the middle of that region is Lake Galilee. We call it the Sea of Galilee, but it’s really what we would call a lake. It’s a fresh water lake. It’s about 13 miles long, about 8 miles wide, a beautiful, beautiful fresh water lake. It’s down in this basin surrounded by mountains. It’s the area where Jesus actually was from, near Nazareth His hometown. He comes to this area of Cana, but the interesting thing is that He attends a wedding feast. Now, we hear so often (and it’s true) that Jesus sanctified the institution of marriage with His presence, and that’s something we don’t want to miss (I’m going to come back to in just a moment), but the fact that Jesus went to a wedding put His stamp of approval on both the ceremony and the institution of marriage. I say that because there are so many people today that are putting down this idea of marriage.
What is marriage, anyway? It’s just completely tragic that the United States is trying and even our Supreme Court has passed laws to try to redefine what marriage is. Marriage is a divine institution. It’s created by God. It’s the first institution ever created by God. He created man, then He created woman, and He performed the first ceremony—He brought the woman and the man together. The Bible says, “For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife,” so it’s pretty clear from the book of Genesis that marriage is the divine institution, and it is an institution to be with one man and one woman. There’s no if, and’s, or but’s about it. That’s marriage. God created it. God designed it, and God put His stamp of blessing and approval upon it. Marriage is the building block of society—as goes marriage, as goes the family; so goes the family, so goes our culture. The thing that’ll heal our culture is to have Christian marriages—godly homes, with husbands loving their wives as Christ loved the church and wives submitting to their husbands as unto the Lord—and children obeying their parents, learning to respect authority, and being raised in the fear and the admonition of the Lord.
Marriage, though, in the time of Jesus was quite different than it is today. I want to give just a little background and understanding about marriage. One year before the couple consummated their marriage, they would enter into a period of espousal similar to our engagement period but a little different. They were legally bound. They were actually legally married, but they did not consummate their marriage until after the wedding ceremony. Unlike today, where the bride’s family pays for the wedding and puts it all together, what would happen was the groom had that responsibility. Now, having been the father of three daughters and paying for three weddings, I was praying that we would adapt that culture biblically unto today, you know. In those days, the groom actually paid for everything; and the wedding ceremony would go to his house, for the following after the ceremony would be there. The bride would know that the groom was going to come and pick her up, but she wouldn’t know the exact date. Jewish weddings were traditionally on Wednesday, in the middle of the week. She would be ready, and she wouldn’t know the day or the hour. Again, it was the imagery of the Lord Jesus coming back for us, the church, in the rapture, which are the bride of Christ. We don’t know the day or the hour, we just have to be ready.
How many of you brides would like to say to your fiancé, “Let’s get married.” “Ok. When?” “I don’t know, sometime this summer. I’ll be by to get you.” I don’t think so. “Just be ready. It could be June. It could be July. It could be August. It might even be September. Just be ready. I’ll ring the doorbell, and we’ll go get married.” The groom would come with his groomsmen and they would say, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh.” He would get the bride, the bridesmaids come, and there would be the procession (we’re going to study in Matthew 25 the parable of the foolish virgins and so forth, which are a picture of that). They would come to the groom’s house, have the ceremony, but they wouldn’t just leave after the ceremony on the honeymoon. They would actually have a party that could last for a whole week—a whole seven days! I know when I got married, I wanted to get out of that reception, get in the car with my wife, and get out of there. It felt so good to just get away from that reception. In those days, everyone comes to your house and stays for a whole week, and they would just party and have a grand old time. It was very important that all the food and wine be supplied by the groom’s family and there be no shortage during the ceremony and the festivities.
Another little footnote, and I kind of just interject these as I go along and try to come back to them; that is, Jesus was invited to a wedding, and He attended it. He didn’t say, “No. I can’t go. There’ll be unsaved people there. There’ll be heathen there, and there may be dancing there, and I don’t want cooties. I can’t go to that.” Jesus went. An interesting contrast between John the Baptist and Jesus. John the Baptist was an ascetic. He lived out in the wilderness. He didn’t come drinking or eating or anything like that. Jesus was called a friend of publicans and sinners and a winebibber because He attended weddings and festivity kinds of things with people. It’s interesting, though, that they felt comfortable inviting Jesus to this wedding.
Now, when it comes to the invitation, I want you to notice in the text the mother of Jesus was there. There’s a distinction in the text (verse 2) where it says, “And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.” Most Bible scholars will point out that the distinction is Mary was there and seemed to have some responsibility, some involvement in the ceremony, some commitment to do things and was just part of it, but Jesus was officially invited. Now, we don’t know who was getting married. The groom isn’t mentioned. The groom is mentioned later in the passage, but the bride is not mentioned. We don’t have their names or anything, but there’s a good possibility that it was somebody Jesus was related to, that at least Jesus knew. Interesting, Jesus was invited and Mary was there. She was involved and some connection there. He probably just showed up and brought His disciples with Him. Some make a big deal out of that and say they probably ran out of wine because Jesus showed up unexpectedly with His boys, they drank too much, and Mary is actually trying to get rid of them. I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s really what’s going on, but there’s some interesting thoughts about who got married, you know, and why would Jesus be invited officially but not Mary.
Another little footnote, too, nowhere in the gospel of John does Mary’s name appear when John’s referring to her. She’s always called the mother of Jesus. He doesn’t use the name Mary, but obviously that’s who is referred to there in verse 1. Jesus is invited. He says, “Yes,” and comes to the wedding. Jesus sanctified the institution of marriage, the ceremony, and the union as being sacred, and we need to keep that always in mind. Marriage is a divine institution, and Jesus sanctified the ceremony.
I talk to young couples that say, “Well, we can just live together and say we’re married. In God’s eyes, we’re married.” The Bible says you leave father and mother and cleave to your wife. It speaks of a public declaration of leaving and cleaving and the idea of a ceremony where you make that commitment, pledge your vows, and make your commitment to one another before God and man; so He sanctified the ceremony and the union of marriage. Jesus was also a friend of sinners and comfortable, evidently, going to this wedding that was taking place.
The second movement is in verses 3-5, that is, the situation that developed in this wedding feast as it was going on. It says (verse 3), “And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.” This was a real crisis. As I said, this celebration could go on for a whole week, and I don’t know at what point in the celebration they ran out of wine, but this is a real disaster. “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants,” this is the word deacons or diakonos, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” Again, a lot of speculation about the things that are said and what is going on. Evidently, they’re having the festivity—the celebration at the wedding feast—and they run out of wine. That wouldn’t be a big deal today, you just jump in the car and jam down to the local Stater Bros or Alpha Beta or whatever it might be, and you buy more wine. I don’t do it, but you do. I’m just kidding.
Now, I can get off on a subject about wine here, and I don’t want to get too far off, but I’m going to mention it. A lot of people kind of get into a big tizzy over wine and the Bible and should Christians drink or not, or to drink and not to drink. Let me say a couple of things. Wine in the Bible was different than wine today. The wine that they would’ve drank at this wedding would have been diluted with water. As a matter of fact, it would’ve been diluted with a lot of water, and it may not even have been fermented and diluted with water. That was a common beverage for them to drink at that time. I don’t think it’s a wise thing to say, “Wow, Jesus and His disciples drank wine. Jesus turned water into wine.” Every wino I’ve ever talked to loves this story in the Bible. It’s his favorite verse in the Bible. The Bible talks about (I was going to quote a couple of verses in conclusion about wine bringing joy to the heart of man and so forth and wine is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and all that), but it also warns of the dangers of strong drink and forbids us to be intoxicated, Ephesians 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess,” debauchery, “but be filled with the Spirit,” so you don’t want to be under the influence of anything. You want to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and you don’t want to stumble someone else that might not have that liberty to drink wine or something that’s an alcoholic beverage, which I think is a dangerous thing to do because you can become addicted and come under its influence and power, and you can also be a stumbling block to someone else. You need to do everything to the glory of God.
The wine that they were drinking was probably diluted with water but was a common beverage in those days and was part of the ceremony, but I found it interesting that if the wine were to run out, that would be such a horrible embarrassment to the groom and his family. It would just be a reproach and a shame that he would actually bear for the rest of his life. The bride’s family could actually file a lawsuit against the groom’s family—a great way to start your wedding—because they ran out of wine, so it was a serious matter.
It’s interesting that Mary brings this to Jesus’ attention. Now, if anyone knew who Jesus was, it was His mother, right? She knew that He was born of a virgin. She knew what the angels had told her about who He was and what He would do. She knew about Simeon and Anna and their testimony. She knew about the wisemen and all of that. She met Him in the temple where He was doing His Father’s business. Mary is, no doubt, trying to think that, Maybe this is the time, this is the opportunity for You to declare Yourself the Messiah, the Savior, and set up the Kingdom and rule upon the throne of David. Perhaps this is the time for You to show Yourself, and maybe even eliminate the stigma that she lived under for the rest of her life that she was not a virgin when Jesus was born, and if Jesus were declared to be the Son of God, that would actually remedy that problem. She comes to Jesus. She doesn’t tell Him what to do, she just brings Him the problem. She says, “They have no wine.”
Some people are bothered by Jesus’ response to her. He says, “Woman.” In that day and in that culture, that time, that was a perfectly honorable and legitimate way to address your mother or a woman. It would be like today saying, “Mam,” to a woman. Actually, Jesus, when He was hanging on the cross, you remember, looked down and saw His mother. He saw John, the author of this gospel, standing next to her. He said to her, “Woman, behold your son,” referring to John; and to John, “Behold, your mother,” and from that day John took Mary into his home and took care of her. It wasn’t a derogatory or disrespectful term at all for Jesus to call His mother “woman.”
Jesus makes this amazing statement. He says, “…what have I to do with thee?” It seems as though, for the first time now in His life, Jesus is making clear that He is going to follow the Father’s purpose, plan, timetable, and will for His life and not submitting to or following His mother’s wishes for Him. He’s breaking off and following the Lord’s will in His life. He’s basically saying in, “…what have I to do with thee?” that it’s no concern to Me. Now, He’s going to take action and alleviate the crisis, and this is a crisis. This is a disaster. This is horrible to have happen, and it seems as though Jesus is just moved with compassion, sympathy, and kindness in performing this miracle to alleviate the sorrow and the suffering of the groom, the family, and the embarrassment to the guests as well.
Jesus then makes this statement in verse 4, “…mine hour is not yet come.” We meet this statement for the first time in John’s gospel, and it’s one you need to familiarize yourself. It will appear in John 7:30, John 12:23, 27, John 13:1, and again in John 17:1. What does it mean? It basically means several things, but in essence it’s talking about His hour to die on the cross. It carries primarily the concept of Him being lifted up and crucified on the cross for the sins of the world. When Jesus told Nicodemus, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me,” He’s talking about, “My hour to be crucified, My hour to die is not yet come.” Jesus was on a divine timetable, and He wouldn’t allow a situation to pressure Him into doing a miracle out of the Father’s will, purpose, or plan. As we see this miracle in just a moment, Jesus didn’t just do miracles to entertain or to razzmatazz people. He did it because it was something the Father had designed or planned for Him.
Verse 5, “His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” These “servants,” it’s an interesting Greek word. It’s where we get our word deacon from. It’s the Greek word diakonos. It means servant or slave, but it’s a deacon or servant. They were evidently maybe family servants or family household slaves who were working there at the wedding. Notice it says, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” I like to follow Mary’s advice and do whatever Jesus tells me to do. There are some that make a lot about Mary—worship, pray, and follow Mary—but here in the Bible Mary tells us to do whatever Jesus tells us to. I think it’s good advice that we follow that. Again, there is a lot of speculation about what Mary was trying to do or trying to convey, but I like the idea that Mary basically just brought the problem to Jesus and left it there but told the servants, “When He tells you to do something, just make sure you do whatever He asks,” because she was confident that in this crisis that her Son, who was the Savior of the world, would save this wedding from this horrible disgrace and problem.
What I want to point out in this passage by way of application before we move on is that the world’s joys always run out, and there’s going to be an analogy here. Jesus brings a new wine to provide joy in abundance; but whenever you’re drinking of the wine of the world, you’re drinking of the pleasures of the world, you’re trying to be satisfied with worldly pleasures, guess what will happen? They’ll be depleted. You will end up empty. Jesus told the woman at the well in John 4, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall…be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” The world’s joys always run dry, but Jesus always brings an abundance of new joy when He transforms our lives and fills us with His Holy Spirit.
Thirdly, (verses 6-10) notice we move to the supply—from the scene, the situation, now the supply. “And there were set there six waterpots of stone,” normally they were made out of earthen pots, but these are actually stone waterpots. John wants to throw in for his Gentile or Greek readers, “after the manner of the purifying of the Jews.” When you go to Israel today, in all the hotels, when you have dinner in the eating area, the Jews have an area where they do all their purifying washings before they eat. Especially on Shabbat, they’re washing their hands and going through all the ceremonial cleansing. They would use these water pots for the water of their purification rites as they would eat. These water pots were empty. Notice it says, “…containing two or three firkins apiece,” so there were six water pots and each one of them would carry 20-30 gallons. That’s a lot! Six water pots with 20-30 gallons, that’s between 120-180 gallons of water in these water pots. We don’t know for sure, I don’t know of any reason to doubt it, but all of that water was turned to wine. Now, some people say, “No way, Jose, because why would anyone need all that wine?” I say, “Yes, way! When God does a miracle, He does it big. Doesn’t He? He doesn’t just give one little taste, He gives them an abundance.
Verse 7, “Jesus saith unto them,” the servants, “Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.” Now, why that statement, “up to the brim?” It’s believed, and I think it’s a good guess, that in filling the water pots to the brim, it would eliminate any possibility that they would pour wine into the pot and have any room to add wine. The water was full to the brim which meant there was no trickery here, that you couldn’t add any wine to the water pot. They were filled to the brim. “And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor,” now the governor was kind of the master of ceremonies, and in all our study of Jewish weddings, we don’t have any real handle on who this person was and what he really did. It’s kind of like having a DJ at your wedding today, that keeps the party moving, you know. They took it to the master of ceremonies, “the governor of the feast. And they bear it,” to him.
Verse 9, “When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine,” there’s your miracle, “and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,” now we hear about the bridegroom for the first time, “And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou has kept the good wine until now.” That’s the story of the miracle.
Why did Jesus perform this miracle? He performed this miracle to save these poor people at this wedding—this groom and his family—embarrassment and to provide the joy of the ceremony for the family. Notice that all of this water had turned to wine. There was no fantastic display of hocus-pocus or Jesus didn’t wave His hand over the water pots three times and say, “Abracadabra.” He didn’t speak. He didn’t touch it. He didn’t do anything. He just said, “Fill it with water. Now, take it to the head master,” and they took a scoop out and brought it to him. He tasted it. When he tasted it, he was blown away and called the groom and said, “This is really amazing! Most people,” this is the order, “at the beginning of the wedding bring the good wine and after they’ve drank a lot of wine,” again, Bible scholars argue as to whether the governor is saying that they get a little tipsy from drinking too much wine, so they can’t really taste the wine later in the wedding and doesn’t really matter what you give them. To be honest with you, that’s kind of what’s happening here. They drank a lot of wine and by then don’t even know what it tastes like anymore. They just drink it. This guy takes a taste and says, “Wow! This is amazing!”
Can you imagine what the groom is thinking? The groom knew that they had run out of wine and was, no doubt, freaked out. He was devastated. Now, the guy calls him over and says, “Wow! This is amazing! You saved the best wine until last.” He says, “Yeah, great. I have no idea what happened.” He, no doubt, found out that Jesus had turned the water into wine. I believe that this is truly a miracle. It’s a miracle of Jesus’ power to create. It points to His deity—not only His majesty, His sympathy, and just flat-out kindness—that He has power to take water and turn it to wine. What an interesting contrast. Remember Moses performed a miracle? By the way, this is the first miracle that’s happened since back in the days of Elisha the prophet—no miracles in Israel until Jesus now shows up on the scene. This is the first miracle He performs. The amazing thing is that without any process of fermentation, He actually just turns that water by His power into wine. It’s a miracle of creation, and it is indeed a miracle that can only be performed by God. There’s no fanfare, flash, or excitement. He doesn’t touch it or speak to it or do anything, and it’s very natural as He just tells them to take the water to the head master.
Now, as I mentioned Moses just a moment ago, the contrast is that Moses turned the water of the Nile River into blood. Jesus comes with His grace and turns the water into wine. What a contrast between Moses and Jesus. Interesting, too, most people bring the good wine at the first and the bad wine at the end, “…but thou hast kept the good wine until now.” There’s a principle there. I don’t want to make too much of it, but God’s ways are not our ways. His ways are beyond ours, past our finding out. I really believe that God does bless our lives at the end of our lives, that in God’s economy, walking with the Lord only gets better and better and better and better and better and better and better as time goes on.
Do you know what the opposite is? Satan makes everything look good right now. “You can have the good stuff, now. You can have a fun time, now. You can have the good wine, now,” and then it gets worse and worse and worse and worse and worse. Go and visit the elderly people shut in at a rest home and mark the difference between people who have walked with God their whole lives and love Jesus with all their heart—the good wine comes last—and mark the difference between those who lived for satan and for the lust of their flesh and themselves all their lives. They’re angry, bitter, hateful, spiteful. What a difference. What a contrast. What a wonderful thing it is to serve the Lord and to find God blessing you at the end of your days.
I believe that some of you right now are maybe discouraged thinking, Why hasn’t God done this or that. God hasn’t opened this door. God hasn’t done what I hoped He would do. He saves the best til last. Amen? He’s got a purpose. He’s got a plan. “You mean, I gotta wait until I’m 65 or 85 or 110?” No. He gives an abundance of joy right now, and it only gets better and better and better. We used to sing a song, Every day with Jesus, Is sweeter than the day before, have you ever heard that song? Every day with Jesus, I love Him more and more, Jesus saves and keeps me, And He’s the One I’m living for, Every day with Jesus, Is sweeter than the day before. Amen? What a blessing that is! Even though you’re getting old and your body may not do what you used to be able to do, your hope shines brighter. You know, getting old in Jesus just means you’re just closer to getting face-to-face with the Lord into heaven. What a blessing that is!
Notice the abundant supply as well—as I pointed out, between 120-180 gallons of wine! This is a miracle not only of quality, but quantity. Not only does God do things well, He does things in abundance. Amen? He not only rains down good blessings, but abundant blessings. The simple fact is that Jesus did this miracle just to gladden the heart of man, just to bring joy. They were in a desperate situation. This encouraged me as I studied it these last couple of days to think that Jesus cares about me. When my finances are strained or my car is not working, I can’t make the mortgage, I’m having trouble with my health or other things, Jesus actually cares about me. He actually can come and heal me, provide for me, and take care of me. Jesus cares.
I love the passage of Peter that says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” We love to talk about the great love of God, and it is a marvelous thing, the love of God, just think that Jesus is actually kind and sympathetic. He has all this power to do this marvelous miracle, but it’s all influenced by His sympathy and His kindness and His compassion. Any wonder that they saw His glory as Jesus did this marvelous miracle for them.
Wine is symbolic of joy in the Bible. We don’t want to read into the text symbolism that isn’t intended there, but certainly wine is a symbol of joy, and Jesus comes to bring us joy—to heal us and to bring joy. In Psalm 104:15 it says, “And wine that maketh glad the heart of man,” and joy is the fruit of the Spirit. In Galatians 5:22 it says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, and peace.” In Ephesians 5:18, where we’re commanded not to be drunk on wine, wherein is debauchery, we’re also commanded to “…be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Do you know what the greatest evidence of the Spirit-filled life is? Joy. If you’ve lost your joy, you’re not a Spirit-filled Christian. You’re not being filled with the Spirit or yielding to the Spirit. Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart when the King is in residence there.
Another lesson in this whole story? Christians should have joy. There’s no place for long faces, sadness, constantly being bummed out, and Christians look like they’ve been baptized in lemon juice. You know, for years the church thought the more holy you are, the more spiritual you are, the more sad you looked. Not so. They were having joy at this wedding. They were celebrating. They were having a good time, and Jesus was smiling and having a good time with them! What a marvelous thing that is! He sanctified the joy that He wants to bring us. What a marvelous truth!
In closing, verse 11 is the significance. We’ve already alluded to a lot of things that are significant, but notice verse 11. “This beginning of miracles,” this is the wrap up or conclusion, “did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested,” or displayed, “forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” It’s not talking about unbelievers or unsaved people, he’s talking about His own disciples, His own followers, went deeper in their understanding of who He is and believed in Him.
A little note, “this beginning of miracles,” there are those that read the Apocrypha, and there are stories there about Jesus doing miracles as a boy. I don’t believe they’re true or accurate, and I believe this verse is an indication of the opposite. This is the first miracle Jesus ever did. There’s a story that He was with other little boys his age making little clay pigeons. Jesus just reached out and touched His clay pigeons, turned them into real birds, and they flew off into the sky—another little fanciful tale in the Apocrypha books, which aren’t included in the canon of Scripture. I believe that this indicates that Jesus didn’t perform any miracles until this, the first one. This is the miracle only recorded in John’s gospel, and it suits the purpose and design of John’s gospel. For those who chose to follow Him, their faith was strengthened. They believed on Him. First, this was the beginning of miracles. Secondly, it was a sign (verse 11) pointing to His deity, His manifested glory. Thirdly, it strengthened the disciples faith, “…his disciples believed on him.” First, they were following John the Baptist. They saw John point to Jesus, then they followed Jesus and began to understand who He is. Now, they’re blown away when they see this first miracle and really believe that He is the Son of God.
There’s also a symbolism, in conclusion, that I want to bring out. Jesus' new wine of grace came to replace the old wine of law. Jesus came to bring the grace of God, the joy of God. He came to bring a new grace, mercy, and love; and the Christian life should be marked by joy. Someone said, “The Christian life is not a funeral, it’s a wedding.” So many times the Christian life becomes a funeral, and the joy of the Lord is our strength and we want to rejoice. The Christian life isn’t gloom, it is gladness; and Jesus transforms us by the power of His Spirit. We, too, by reading this story, can see His glory, His majesty, and we also come to believe in Him and to trust Him. Whatever you’re going through, Jesus cares. You can bring to Him your problem and you can trust Him that in the Father’s plan and purpose and design, He can bring you abundance of provision to take care of your need. Amen?
Pastor John Miller continues our study through the gospel of John with a message through John 2:1-11 titled, “Water To Wine.”