We are in the middle of a series of messages that looks at some of Jesus’ words and works as recorded for us in John’s gospel. Today we will be looking at one of his miracles, which the book of John refers to as “signs.” They pointed to who Jesus was and to the purpose of his coming. To discover how Jesus’ first sign, turning water into wine, points to who Jesus is and to his purpose requires asking more questions.
What do the waterpots do? To run out of wine at a wedding feast would be considered a grievous lapse in judgment and would have brought shame on the couple and the family in the Jewish honor-and-shame culture. The waterpots were storage for water used for ceremonial washing, which Jews used during their multi-layered cleansing process before worship. Jesus ultimately rescues this couple and their family from social guilt and shame, but on a higher level, this miracle points to the fact that his purpose in coming to earth is to permanently cleanse all of us from our guilt and shame resulting from sin.
What does the brusque exchange with his mother point to? God constantly calls himself a bridegroom throughout the Old Testament, because he does not just want a royal relationship with his people as a king does with his citizens, but a love relationship with his people like that of a bridegroom with a bride. Jesus refers to himself as the “bridegroom” in Matthew 9, and elsewhere in Scripture draws many parallels between weddings and his union with his people. Jesus is pondering the agony of his prophesied death and the wedding feast with his bride, the church. When his mother asks him to bring joy to this wedding, he cannot help but think about his own wedding, when he will bring joy to all who come to him in faith.
What does the wine point to? Jesus lifted up a cup of blood (signifying God’s judgment) at the Last Supper, and then begged that wine cup of wrath be passed from him as he prayed in Gethsemane. At the wedding feast, the wine was a symbol of joy and celebration—Jesus’ graciousness in turning the water into wine pointed forward to the wedding feast of the Lamb when Jesus brings lasting joy to those he loves and who have trusted him as their bridegroom. As the wine symbolizes his shed blood which cleanses us from all of our sin and imperfections, it also prepares us for the joy of our heavenly wedding day, when we will be united with Jesus.
What does this mean for us? Any wine except this wine of Jesus Christ will run out. Do whatever Jesus tells you to do. Learn how to draw on your knowledge of what’s coming in the future to help you deal with the troubles of the present. Don’t let all this talk about marriage throw you. Don’t settle for anything but a rich prayer life.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
- Know that any source of “wine” (joy) other than Jesus Christ will run out.
- Do whatever Jesus tells you to do.
- Let your knowledge of your future help you deal with your present troubles.
- Don’t put the weight of your soul’s longings and hopes of marriage on anyone but Jesus.
- Don’t settle for anything but a rich prayer life.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large, that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)