Jesus Turns Water Into Wine

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 36:7

Jesus turning water into wine Out text today is John 2:1-11: The Gospel reading is about Jesus turning water into wine. This is a wedding reception but we don’t know the bride or the groom. The ancient middle eastern reception lasted seven days. Imagine looking after all your guests for a week. They ran out of wine. It is a unique story, but why did Jesus perform this miracle? Jesus performs 37 miracles and all met a physical need: he healed the blind, fed people, calmed the storm, raised the dead, healed the cripple and so forth. In this case, when the wine ran out, was there a physical need? No. There was a social need. The host family would lose face. Jesus still performed the miracle. God is telling us that what is important to you is also important to God.

This is the first sign of God’s presence in the world through Christ. The miracle revealed his glory. The amount of water Jesus turns into wine symbolises God’s presence now fills the world. It symbolises the fullness we have all received through Jesus’ presence in the world. The miracle is about abundant goodness, about grace upon grace. Jesus creates more wine than was needed. When Jesus fed the 5,000 and again the 4,000 there were plenty of leftovers which are an indication that God’s blessing is always bountiful.

What is the meaning of this story? Jesus took all the old Jewish laws, traditions, rituals and transformed them into a new religion. 180 gallons of guilt was transformed into 180 gallons of grace, forgiveness for the past, present and future sins. The new religion of Jesus is a religion of joy and happiness. The new religion is like going to a party. The bridegroom is with us and he brings pleasure to our lives. The new faith lets us know that God loves sinners.

There are two other points which John draws out in the story of the wedding at Cana. He says that this is the first sign, the beginning, the ruling principle, the overarching principle or sign of Jesus. A sign of transformation, a sign that the new world order has come, a sign that the way of access to God is not some abstract ladder in Jacob’s dream but Jesus Himself as the Messiah, the Son of God. And if this is the ruling principle of the signs that follow, the healings, the walking on water, the raising of the dead, need to be understood in its light. That Jesus takes the old world order and transforms it by His touch and His Spirit. He did then and He does now.

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