“The steward tasted the water that had become wine.” – Jn 2:9
“Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory.” – Jn 2:11
Jesus is at a wedding – a wedding that he was invited to. Perhaps one of his Nazareth neighborhood chums (Biff?) is finally tying the knot. Jesus’ mother is present. His disciples are present. But there’s drama – a horribly embarrassing social taboo takes place. The hosts of the party run out of wine.
But then a miracle happens. Jesus turns 180 gallons of water into wine. I actually did the math. This is more than 900 bottles of wine. And what’s amazing is that the guests at the wedding have already been drinking. And not only that, but Jesus makes the “good stuff.” “You have kept the good wine until now” (Jn 2:10). Jesus doesn’t turn the water into boxed Franzia. No, Jesus takes the water – something ordinary and common – and he turns it into more than 900 bottles of Dom Perignon. Jesus’ act is extravagant. It’s wastefully graceful. It’s scandalously abundant and gloriously rich. And according to John, this was the first of Jesus’ “signs.”
It’s interesting, but John never uses the word we translate miracle (dunamis). Instead, he calls Jesus’ mighty deeds signs (semeion). And although both words describe the same reality, the difference in emphasis is worth noting. Because signs, by definition, point to something. And for John, Jesus’ signs point to the kingdom of God.
And so if you want to know what God’s kingdom is like, just look at the signs. See what they point to. And what you’ll find is that God’s kingdom is like a marriage feast where the celebration never ends, where the wine never goes bad, and where all that is ordinary and common (me and you) is gloriously transformed into something extravagant and abundantly rich (adoption, co-heirs with Christ, crown of glory that never fades).
FOR THE WEEKEND: Jesus’ first sign takes place at a wedding because Jesus’ first sign points to a wedding. In fact, all of human history is gravitating towards this one marriage celebration. Jesus is the bridegroom. His church is the bride. And only the best wine will be served (Mk 14:25). “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9). For the weekend, consider the blessing of receiving the invitation. (And don’t forget to RSVP.)