Water into Wine (John 2:1-11)

That Jesus was a miracle worker was never questioned, even by secular historians. Extra-Biblical sources also showed that the carpenter from Nazareth was known, among others, as a healer and an exorcist. Jewish religious leaders even emphasized the negative aspect of this claim and portrayed Jesus as a sorcerer or a magician. What was clear from all these references, however, was the supernatural works attributed to Christ.

In the Gospel of John, these signs, wonders and miracles all started in a wedding at Cana. There are extra-canonical references that say otherwise. One book, for example, portrayed Jesus working miracles at a very young age. According to these sources, he even brought a dead friend back to life to clear his name of a crime. These are interesting reads, but the Scripture is clear that the "first of his miraculous signs" happened in the wedding at Cana.

The miracle was simple. Jesus turned water into wine to satisfy the demand in a wedding feast. Why did Jesus choose this wedding? I'm not sure, but I believe Jesus could have chosen any other event for his first miracle. It was not the act or the timing, but the grand plan of God that governed Jesus' decision. He did not haphazardly perform miracles to boost his ego, instead, he chose specific instances that would help people identify him as the Messiah, the fulfillment of the prophecies of the old.

When Mary asked him to save the newly-wed couple from embarrassment, Jesus' answer was straightforward, "Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come." At first, I thought "time" referred to the divinely set moment for Jesus' first miracle. But the Gospel contains several other passages where Jesus spoke the same words, so, I reconsidered that understanding.

Time in this passage is better understood as the fulfillment of Jesus' purpose here on earth-- his sacrificial death on the cross. When he said his time "has not yet come," Jesus earmarked his crucifixion. He revealed that he had a set time on earth when his grand purpose would be revealed and fulfilled. Everything he would do inched him closer to that moment. Even his miracles pointed to that day.

In this particular passage, the wedding and the wine readily revealed Jesus' identity. If we backtrack into the Old Testament, Isaiah, Joel and Amos prophesied about the overflow of wine at the coming of the Christ. Jesus literally fulfilled this in the wedding. He, however, brought it to completion when his blood, represented by the wine, overflowed on the cross for the salvation of all.

If we fast-forward to the future, in the book of Revelations, again we see the imagery of the wedding banquet. This time, however, Jesus is the groom and his bride is the body of believers (the universal Church). As early as his first miracle, Jesus gave us a glimpse of his purpose and the things to come.

After witnessing the physical miracle, Jesus' followers "put their faith in him." For us, today, we may not be able to witness this wonder, but we understand its significance. When we try to fit all the pieces together, we will find God's love story culminating at the cross. I praise God for having a Savior who gave himself up for the forgiveness of my sins. I also praise God for the free gift of salvation he offers by grace through faith.

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