Sunday, January 16, 2022
The First Miracle of Jesus
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9 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 10 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.” 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
People often evaluate other people to see if they are capable of helping them in a certain situation. There is a legend of a small European country that needed to choose a new king. 4 men had come forward desiring the position, and one of them suggested that each should do something to prove why he should be the new king.
One stepped forward, walked into the field and carried out the biggest boulder that he could find. The second stepped forward, went into the same field and dragged out the biggest log that he could find. The third took a wagon into the field, filled it with dirt and pulled it out of the field and dumped it. The crowd watched while the last man made no move. “What will you do to show us that you are worthy to be our king?” they asked him. “I’ve already done it,” he replied. “This is my field, and I’ve had it cleared and prepared for planting without having to pay anyone or do any work myself.” He was quickly crowned king.
Our text shows us one of the ways in which our Lord showed us that he was qualified to be our Savior. There is plenty of evidence recorded for us in the Bible to make that clear. Today’s text points to the first of many miracles that he performed. As we look at it today we will want to see how it points to Jesus as the true Savior. John tells us to.…
“Watch for the Signs”
I. Signs of Power
II. Signs of Mercy
III. Signs of Reliability
As Jesus began his public ministry at the age of 30, there were probably some very interested observers. People had heard the news first reported 30 years earlier by angels to shepherds that the Savior had been born in Bethlehem. As that Savior stepped out into the public and began his work, people were looking for signs to see if he really was that promised Savior.
The first dramatic sign came in a setting that was quite unexpected. Jesus, his mother, and some of his disciples were attending a wedding in a town called Cana at which the host family suddenly encountered an embarrassing problem. Weddings customarily lasted a week at that time during which time guests would come and go throughout the week. After three days, they ran out of wine to serve their guests. Mary approached Jesus with the problem telling him, “They have no more wine.”
Mary was not out of line by turning to Jesus for help. We know that Jesus cares about us and about all that happens in our lives, significant or trivial. But Jesus also wanted to remind her that he wasn’t just her son, he was her Savior. Addressing her as “woman” instead of “mother” was a gentle reminder of their Savior/sinner relationship. He answered her, “Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” Jesus would help this couple, just not at that particular moment. In a short time, though he would step forward and display his power for all to see. Mary respected the response that Jesus had given to her and said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
What Jesus did was more than anyone would have expected. He told the servants to fill 6 jars with water and take them to the master of the banquet. When he tasted the contents of the jars, he realized it was wine, in fact, the best wine that had been served at the wedding. In our text, John called this “the first of his miraculous signs Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee.” Critics have tried to explain away this miracle, using chemical experiments and unreasonable explanations, but John called it what it was—a “miraculous sign,” an act of kindness that demonstrated his divine power.,
Jesus used this “sign” to show that he was the true Son of God. The miracles proved his divine power, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t logically explain them away. They stand today as testimony to what Jesus said about himself, “I and the Father are one.” (Jn. 10:30)
We might not realize it, but miracles are still being performed every day. All of us are miracles, redeemed from sin and saved for eternal life by the power of our Savior. Water sprinkled on our heads while God’s word was spoken accomplished that for many of us. In the supper Jesus instituted the night before he was crucified offers us forgiveness through the body and blood of Jesus that we receive through the bread and wine. And, when needed, our Lord still performs miracles of a more dramatic nature, although today his written word is more commonly used to authenticate who he is.
So consider the impact that the first miracle of our Lord had at the wedding of Cana. People took notice, and people began to see that Jesus truly was the Son of God. His miracles served as proof of his power, and many of them also displayed another characteristic, as this one did…
II. His mercy
This miracle, like so many others, came about due to a need. The wedding couple had run out of wine. The word must have spread pretty quickly, and the host family faced a pretty embarrassing situation. There may have been some frantic scrambling as they tried to figure out what to do. Before they could think of something, a servant brought some of the “miracle wine” to the host. John says, “the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned to 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 (better translated “had been able to drink freely”) but you have saved the best till now.”
Almost every couple that I have worked with who were planning to get married has mentioned a concern or two that they had, usually about how things would all work. There are concerns about who to invite, the dress and tuxedos, the reception, and so forth. Most weddings have worked out pretty smoothly, but I do remember going to one of my college classmate’s wedding and finding out the roast beef at the reception dinner was rancid. We felt bad for him, but there was little that we could do.
Jesus’ felt bad for the people at the wedding of Cana too. But then, he mercifully used his divine power to help them. And that was the pattern for many of his miracles. They were motivated by his mercy. The 5,000 were fed because they had no food. The widow’s son was raised form the dead because he was her only means of earthly support. The demon possessed man Jesus encountered one day was freed from his tormentors so that he could go back and live with his family.
Jesus understands what people go through in their lives. He lived with those same challenges and disappointments, and he reaches out in love and mercy to help. He laughs with us during times of joy and he cries with us during times of sadness. And in mercy, he reaches out to us to offer us his help, every day, to meet our every need as he sees fit. We can depend on Jesus no matter what it is we may be facing. Jesus miracle is proof of….
III. His Reliability
As John recorded this event, he called it “the first of his miraculous signs.” John wrote this gospel years after this event took place, after he had seen many more of Jesus’ miracles. But he adds a statement following this first miracle that should not be overlooked. He said, “and his disciples put their faith in him.” The most important result of this miracle was not that the people had more wine for their wedding. People saw more than just what was done, they saw who did it. What they saw gave them a better understanding of who Jesus was, helping them to see him as the true Savior.
John called this a “miraculous sign.” The Greek word that he used emphasizes the purpose of the miracle. Jesus did these “miraculous signs” with power and mercy to make a lasting, an eternal, impression on people. Keep in mind that there were all kinds of people running around at this time claiming to be the Messiah to one degree or another. The people who followed them and put their hope in them would meet a horrifying realization when they faced their judgments. Jesus’ miracles were evidence to show that people could rely on him to provide the eternal safety that they were looking for from a Savior.
John concluded the gospel that he wrote with a summary passage regarding Jesus and all that he had done. He wrote, “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (Jn. 20:31) If the miracles were just for show and personal glory, Jesus would not have done them. The miracles were done for others, done to confirm what people believed about Jesus, to show that they could rely on him.
Today we get to read about the amazing things that Jesus did, and the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to produce the same results in our hearts. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God and Savior of the world. He is powerful, he is merciful, and he is reliable. Like his first disciples, we have put our faith in him, and he will not fail us. Amen.