August 13, 2020
John 2:9-11 (NIV)
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 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.”
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.
No one had any idea the Bridegroom had come to this wedding. In fact, it has me wondering, What if he comes in secret to every wedding? Would we recognize him? Is it even in our mind to look for him? I once saw a giant billboard that was solid black with white letters that said, “Loved the wedding. Invite me to the marriage. God.” Seems apropos to mention.
Permit me a few more theological speculations on this mysterious story.
- Do you remember how this story began? “On the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee” (v. 1). Might this be a foreshadowing of the last and greatest sign of the gospel? Fill in the blank, “On the third day, _____________________.”
- The next thing we were told is this: “Jesus’ mother was there” (v. 1). If my memory serves me, there is only one other place in John’s Gospel where we see Mary— at the cross. Could this entire opening story be mysteriously foreshadowing the closing story?
- Now to this curious word from Jesus back to his mother. “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come” (v. 4). What is Jesus’ hour? As Jesus was riding into Jerusalem for the last time (okay, the next to the last time), he said this, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (12:23). More pointers from the first sign to the last?
- Then there’s the matter of the water and the wine. Go with me again to the cross. “[O]ne of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water” (19:34.) File this one under the category of, “Things that make you go hmm.”
- Now to this word from the maitre d’. “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.” Could this word at the first sign be telling us the story of the last sign—the death and resurrection of Jesus—the best saved for last?
- Finally to the wine. Did you pick up just how much wine Jesus miraculously made? The text told us yesterday: six stone jars each containing between twenty and thirty gallons. Let’s average that at twenty-five gallons a piece and do the math. I get 150 gallons of wine. To give us an idea of how much that is—the standard bottle of wine contains twenty-five ounces. That means it takes five bottles of wine to make one gallon. It comes to 750 bottles of the choicest wine for these already inebriated guests at this small-town wedding. Take a look at the wine section the next time you are in the grocery store. That’s how much wine we are talking about. Why so much? Could it be a sign pointing to the endless abundance of everlasting life given freely to us in the Holy Spirit?
That’s where we are headed: abundant life, living water, bread with no expiration date, fruitful branches, and more. Between this first sign and the last sign we are going to behold Jesus like never before. Prepare yourselves. This is not abundance as a magnification of whatever we tend to think of as a lot—this is abundance of another magnitude, of another order.
Abba Father, thank you for your Son, Jesus, who is abundant life and who gives us abundant life by giving us himself. Thank you that by your Spirit Jesus will make us this kind of gift of abundance to others. We want that. In Jesus’ name, amen.
1. What about your own notion of abundance must diminish in order for you to begin to grasp the abundance Jesus offers?
2. What do you make of all these allusions from the first sign to the last in this Gospel? How does that impact you?
3. Imagine someone giving you 750 bottles of wine, all at once. How would that impact you?
For the Awakening,