On the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and 2 Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding as well. 3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother told Him, “They don’t have any wine.”4 “What has this concern of yours to do with Me, woman?” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.”5 “Do whatever He tells you,” His mother told the servants.6 Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained 20 or 30 gallons.7 “Fill the jars with water,” Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim. 8 Then He said to them,“Now draw some out and take it to the chief servant.” And they did.9 When the chief servant tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it came from—though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom 10 and told him, “Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people have drunk freely, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.”11 Jesus performed this first sign in Cana of Galilee. He displayed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
The hosts have done their best, but it isn’t enough. The wine has run out at the wedding feast. They are about to be embarrassed. Everyone is about to go home. The big celebration is about to fizzle. As diligent as the hosts probably were in planning for the feast, they didn’t accurately estimate the refreshment needed. Or perhaps they bought all they could afford and hoped it would be enough. It wasn’t.
The wedding feast at Cana is a lot like life. It’s a good attempt at a celebration, but it doesn’t quite satisfy. It requires lots of planning and preparation, but there are inevitably unexpected crises. Always visible are the laughter and dancing, but behind the scenes there is stress over whether it will all work out. And everyone knows it will eventually end.
But when Jesus steps into the situation, everything changes. His word is enough to take our stone jars and fill them with satisfying substance. At His word, these ritual cleansing jars-the utensils of legalism-become the vessels of abundant life. They shadow gives way to reality.
Jesus is the life of the party—Literally. He steps into our world and changes futility into fulfillment, blandness into flavor, obligation into celebration, law into life. And, like the servants at the party, we never see it happen! We don’t know how He does it, just that He does. We see the problem, we invite Him to be the solution, we hear Him give the command to prepare for a miracle, and we do so. We fill the pots with water of our faith and obedience, but we don’t understand the miracle that is taking place inside. He turns the water to wine without our understanding either how or exactly when. The dancing can continue, the guests can keep laughing, and we can relax and enjoy the celebration.
In John’s writing, the ministry of Jesus begins with a wedding feast. It also ends with one (Revelation 19:7). The kingdom of God is all about celebration. And it begins when Jesus speaks a transforming word and provides new wine.