EXPLORING THE WORD
The Wedding at Cana
John 2:1-11Denise M. Kohlmeyer
Jesus gazed upon the newly-wedded couple with delight. They certainly were in love, despite their marriage being arranged. As He lay lounging on His side, enjoying the wedding feast, He could not take His eyes off of the bride in particular. Oblivious to everyone else, she never once took her eyes off of her groom, resplendent in his white wedding garment. The rapturous smile never once left her lips.
Jesus smiled at the scene, knowing that one day His own "bride" would lavish that same adoring look, that same rapturous smile upon Him. But not just yet. There was still time. His own "bride" was not yet ready.
For the past several days, Jesus and His first four disciples — Peter, Andrew, Philip, and Nathanael, — had been enjoying the wedding celebration of this lovely couple in the northern town of Cana, Nathanael's hometown. They had laughed, danced, eaten and imbibed joyously, all in celebration of the young couple. But the feast was winding down now, and some of the guests had already departed.
Suddenly, Mary, Jesus' mother, approached Him, a look of concern on her face. She bent down and whispered in His ear, "They have no wine." The last thing Mary wanted to do was to broadcast that the groom's father, the host, had failed to provide adequately for the guests. The wine had run out. Which, according ancient Near Eastern customs, could result in legal action being taken against him.
The situation was dire, to say the least. And Mary, desperate to spare her relative that embarrassment, approached the One she knew could make it right.
Jesus then said under His breath, "Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come."
Any other woman would have looked bewildered, even offended at such a remark. But Jesus was replying appropriately. He was saying, in essence, "What does this matter have to do with Me? It's none of My business. My 'hour' to help has not arrived."
The "hour" of which He alluded to was the one thing — the only thing — He had been sent to do: to hang upon a cross for the sins of the world (John 3:16). That was it. Nothing more, nothing less. But at the time of this wedding, though, that "hour" — the ninth hour on a darkened Friday afternoon when the temple veil would be torn and He would lift up His life and cry "It is finished" — had not yet arrived. In fact, it was still three years away.
And until that "hour," Jesus was not expected, nor obligated, to do anything.
But Mary knew otherwise. She knew the heart of her Son, filled as it was with compassion, love and grace. He would do something for this lovely couple. For the father. To spare them all embarrassment, shame, and a lawsuit. Because He cared. Because He loved them.
And so she ignored His remark and beckoned some nearby servants over, saying to them, "Do whatever He tells you."
Getting up from His reclining position, Jesus left His friends and followed the servants out of the courtyard, out of the sight of the guests and the bridal couple. He spotted the six stone water jars that had been used earlier for the guests to cleanse themselves before the celebration began, for no self-respecting Jew would ever think of eating or celebrating without ceremoniously cleansing themselves. But now that they had done so, the six 20-gallon jars stood empty.
"Fill the jars with water," Jesus instructed. The servants did so, filling them to the brim. "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast," Jesus said. Again, they did as they were told.
A cup was taken to the hired master of the ceremony who was overseeing the festivities, making sure that all was going according to plan. His dark eyes lit up in pleasant surprise as he took a drink from the proffered cup, not knowing from where it had come. Immediately, he called the groom over and praised him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now."
The groom, clueless, smiled widely, then went back to his new wife.
But the disciples, having deduced what had happened, marveled at this miracle. The supernatural had affected the natural order, in this case, fermentation of water. For when had the disciples ever known water, simple H2O, to turn into wine? Never! And when had they ever known superior wine to ferment instantaneously? Never!
In that moment, though, the disciples believed. How could they not?
Had the miracle, then, really been for them? Had it been meant to show them His glory so that they would pledge their full allegiance and loyalty to Him?
Yes, that miracle, and the innumerable ones afterwards, really was for them. And it had worked. From that day forward, they had followed Him everywhere. Even unto death.
Image Credit: Photo-Mix; untitled; Creative Commons
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