On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
John 2:1-11 (NIV)
I think a lot of people think that Jesus was a “miracle-a-minute” kind of guy. That if we were to hang around Jesus he would just constantly be performing one miracle after another. And I’m sure that there were times that that was true. But the miracles that Jesus did always seemed to have a deeper purpose behind them. In other words, He never really seemed to do miracles for miracles sake. There was always an agenda behind everything He did.
John gives us the earliest pictures of Jesus’ public ministry, and up to this time the only thing that He had done that would even seem like a miracle was His insight into Nathanael’s character that He had gotten before He had even met him. But even without the miracles, His teachings and His character were enough to convince His new followers that Jesus was at least a great prophet, and possibly even the long-awaited Messiah.
Then came the wedding. Most people at that time wouldn’t consider a wedding feast to be a likely spot for a miracle to happen. Usually weddings were happy times, and the sick and lame and blind and destitute usually didn’t attend them. But as the wedding feast proceeded, the wine ran out – to many people’s mind a tragedy of the highest degree! How could the festivities go on without wine?
Jesus mother approached Him with the problem, and His answer seems kind of harsh to our ears: “Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” But a better translation of the Greek would be, “What does this have to do with you and me? (We’re not the caterers – the ones who have been given the job should see to this.) It is not yet time for me to begin working miracles.” But His mother just blows by His objections, telling the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” And then she apparently just walks away, leaving Jesus there with the servers.
So what is Jesus to do? He doesn’t feel that His time has yet come, but here He is, expected to do something miraculous to save the feast! Looking ahead to John 5:19 (Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”) I can easily believe that He didn’t make a single move without asking His Father what He should do. Having received the answer that now WAS the time for His first miracle, He sprang into action.
Now I have seen a lot of movies about Jesus, and they all depict Him doing miracles. And when He does a miracle in these movies He really concentrates, His eyes get all wide, and He even gets all red in the face from the effort of doing the miraculous. What a contrast to the way the Bible shows Him working. No waving of the hands, no magic words, no “focusing” of His power. He simply has the servers fill six jars to the brim, and then dip out glasses of freshly made wine! Simple. In a very real sense, it didn’t even seem like He was involved. He never touched the water or the vases; the servers did all the work, and He simply empowered their efforts to make the miracle happen.
I think that we depict Jesus straining to make a miracle happen because, first of all, it wouldn’t make good cinema if we didn’t, but also because such amazing miracles would be so hard for us to pull off that most people imagine that, if there ever WAS a chance of us doing something like that, it would take a lot of grunting and groaning, and gesturing. But we always have to remember that, even though He was 100% human, at the same time Jesus was also 100% God! The same God who made the whole universe with a mere word from His lips. No grunting or groaning or gesturing to bring every sun and every planet in the whole universe into being. Making water into wine would be child’s play compared to that. So would healing the sick, or raising the dead, or any other miracle that we could think of.
I think that that is vital for us to remember today. When we ask God for even a mighty miracle, it’s never hard for Him to do “immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine…” (Ephesians 3:20) The biggest thing we could possibly ask for won’t even make Him break a sweat. Whatever challenge we have, whatever impossible thing we find ourselves up against, God can do by simply instructing us and letting His power flow through our efforts, producing miracles beyond our wildest dreams!