When we read the passage before us, we generally dwell on one fact: Jesus turned water into wine. Because of this presupposition, we sometimes miss the real point of the passage. It’s similar to watching Ben-Hur only for the chariot race, Return of the Jedi only for the Ewoks, or It’s a Wonderful Life only for its happy ending. This passage is about more than winemaking. It’s about giving us a glimpse into the glory of the King.
Let me set the scene for you. Jesus was at a wedding with His mother and some of His disciples. The guests had a little too much to drink and ran out of wine as a result. Mary, Jesus’ mother, who knew her Son's power, asked Him to perform a miracle. Apprehensive at first, He obeyed. He ordered the servers to fill several large pots with water and distribute the beverage to guests. They poured the water into the guests’ cups, but the water no longer was water, but wine—and not just any wine. This was the best wine the host ever tasted!
While the fine wine sometimes steals the spotlight in this story, the nature and character of the King who had come to redeem the world ultimately is the Star of the show for three reasons.
The King Showed Up
What was Jesus doing at a wedding? Didn’t He have more important matters to attend? While Jesus could have been wandering around Cana preaching the good news, He opted to attend a wedding instead. Interestingly, the Book of John doesn’t tell us whose wedding this was, only that Jesus and those closest to Him were present.
What does this tell us about Jesus? It tells us that He’s present in the midst of the some of the highest and lowest moments of our lives. Throughout the gospels, He was there feeding the hungry, healing the sick, comforting the brokenhearted. In today’s passage, He was celebrating the gift of marriage. He is a King who gloriously graces us with His presence throughout our lives.
The King Submits
It wasn’t Jesus who initiated the winemaking miracle, but His mother. While Jesus didn’t think it proper to initiate His public ministry at the time, He obeyed His mother’s wishes. Think about how profound this act of obedience truly is. The incarnate King of the universe obeyed His mother when He easily could have asked her to obey Him!
This marks of the beginning of Christ’s humility that would culminate in His obedience unto death, “even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). While Jesus obeying His mother seems so simple, mundane and perhaps unnoticeable to the casual observer, this act of obedience gives us a glimpse into His nature—that of a servant King.
The King Transforms
While Jesus exemplified servanthood and humility by obeying His mother, He demonstrates to us His power over creation by transforming dirty water into lovely delicious wine. Some of the best wine in the world ages for 20 years, while the wine Jesus created aged less than 20 minutes!
While some use this passage to teach that our Lord endorses wine consumption, this passage actually reminds us of how Christ transforms the ordinary into the beautiful. The greatest gift He has given us is the gift of His sacrifice for our sins so we can call upon the name of Lord and experience the transformation of the heart. Our hearts were ordinary, but now they’re beautiful because the King has taken our hearts of stone and given us hearts of flesh.
In this passage, we receive a glimpse into the glory of the King. He is present with us in this age, He has laid His life down for us, and He continues to transform us into His own image. This short story isn’t about winemaking; it’s about giving us a taste of the King’s ultimate rule and reign over this universe.
Ben Espinoza, pastor, Community Life at Covenant Church in Bowling Green, Ohio.