We often hear mention of Jesus’ first sign – the turning of water into wine. Wedding couples often wonder whether I can pull off that trick for them on their big day! Wouldn’t parish parties go with a swing if it was that easy?
But, of course, there is so much more to this first sign than Jesus showing himself as either the perfect party guest or the one who can do the impossible.
When we consider the scene we see Jesus’ mother showing us how to confront a serious problem.
To run out of wine at a first century Jewish wedding would have brought the stigma of unforgiveable disgrace down upon the newly-weds.
Mary saw the gravity of the situation, and she took the problem to Jesus – she trusted that Jesus alone could save the day!
Mary shows us exactly what to do when problems arise in our lives – take the problem to Jesus and then do exactly as he tells you.
At another point in the gospel narrative, Jesus tells us that we should come to him, that we should cast our cares on him, that we should trust him, and that we should believe on him for our salvation.
Mary’s actions and words in today’s gospel reading model all of that for us!
Today, we have not encountered Jesus performing some sort of conjuring trick – rather, we have seen Jesus taking something commonplace and ordinary (plain water) and making it something extraordinary (the finest of wines).
As Jesus turned that plain water into that fine wine we are given a glimpse of just how good he is at changing any situation into something beyond our wildest imaginings – we just have to invite him to the party, and then listen to what he has to say.
There is another lesson for us in today’s gospel reading – Jesus does not work within the small parameters of human imaginations!
Jesus is unconventional – he does not follow the social norms – he is always happy to step outside the box we create for ourselves.
When Mary asked Jesus for help – I wonder whether she expected to be answered with such an abundance?
Was she expecting him to produce 180 gallons of wine, I wonder?
And not just plonk – no, only the very best wine would do.
Jesus is not afraid to break the mould of man-made traditions by simply doing things his way!
When we invite Jesus into our times of need – darkness is turned into light.
When Jesus lifts the burdens we carry from our shoulders – we know it, and we never forget it!
Just like the servants who had carried the great stone jars full of water, only to see them then produce all that wine.
At this moment in the gospel narrative, Jesus satisfied an earthly need – he answered their cry for help with exactly what was needed – Jesus does the same for us too, if only we invite him in, listen to what he has to say, and then trust that he always gets it right.
And, of course, inviting Jesus into our lives also allows and empowers us to work miracles in his name.
When we accept the truth of Jesus’ divinity our faith is strengthened, and we are given that great gift of hope.
It is through the light of Christian hope – a hope that is based in true faith – that truly remarkable things happen in this world.
So – next time you read, hear or simply recall the story of Jesus’ first sign at the wedding in Cana what will you do?
I pray that you will do as Mary did on that momentous day –
- you will take your burdens to the Lord who cares –
- that you will take it to Jesus, our Lord and Saviour –
- and that you will be prepared to be amazed at the wonders he can perform in our lives – time and time again!