Jesus makes some wine, but it’s a sign – the first of a series in John’s gospel. (John 2:1-11) But what is a sign? We shall see. Let’s start at the end. verse 11 Jesus performed this first miracle in Cana in Galilee; there he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. Other translations use the word “sign” for miracle. The signs are more than odd or unexplained events, they are clues, if you like, to what is happening. And all the signs point to Jesus:
- not because he is looking for publicity (in every case there is a good and compassionate reason for the miracle. Here, the embarrassment of the family hosting the wedding.)
- often they point to Jesus as the answer to a need, even spiritual bankruptcy. Here there are details
- 6 jars for water – not the perfect number 7
- The “wine” of Jewish celebration runs out
- The “mother” must no longer dictate action
Again, all the “signs” in John point to what God and his Kingdom are like (John 10:10)
Again, marriage is endorsed here. It is sad that many now find that politically unacceptable. Marriage is good, a gift of God to people who need it and benefit from it
More widely, as we see in other signs, Jesus sets about restoring and improving relationships. The signs point away from manipulation and control to freedom and responsibility.
Many signs point to God’s provision. This one in particular:
- Here wine is provided, in quantity (perhaps 900 bottles), and of a notable quality
- Here Jesus action (quietly done) means a feast can continue without embarrassment.
- Jesus and his disciples (who may have contributed to the shortage of wine!) are welcome guests, not a burden to be shouldered – symbolically important.
As so often in John, there is a great deal to look at, and symbolic detail to ponder. Let’s not get lost though; Jesus was a welcome guest who transformed a party. It was a sign of what he was doing, and pointed to a God with a generous understanding of people, a willingness to give what was good, and to help repair what was damaged or disordered.