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Saturday, January 23, 2010

1/23/10- Water to wine

(Left stone water jar in Cana church today)
1/23/10- John 2:1-11

1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine." 4 "Woman, [a] why do you involve me?" Jesus replied. "My hour has not yet come." 5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so, 9 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 10 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." 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples put their faith in him.

Calvin abridged: There are many reasons for us to look at this miracle, but as this is the first miracle of Christ it becomes even more important to pay careful attention to it. While there are several Canas in Israel, this Cana was in Galilee near Capernaum and Nazareth and was part of the northern tribes of Israel. It was probably one of Christ’s close relatives- for Jesus and his disciples were also invited. The person who was married did not come from a wealthy family or they would not have run out of wine after inviting so many. Yet this poor person was more concerned about friendship than he was running out of food or drink. The passage indicates it was towards the conclusion of the banquet that they began to run out. All this was regulated by the Providence of God so that a miracle might occur. Mary had compassion on the situation, and she may not have expected a miracle from her son. Christ’s answer to his mother was in part to show he did not perform the miracle simply because she asked him to do so. Christ’s rebuke of Mary (calling her “woman” and not “mother”) is also a warning to not superstitiously elevate Mary above Christ. When Christ says, “My hour has not yet come” he was telling Mary it was not quite the right time for the miracle, but he was also concerned about the situation. After he says this, Mary now expects something to happen and tells the stewards to do what he says but does not address him any further acknowledging that she did not have the power but he did. We are taught by her words “do whatever he commands” to depend upon him alone, look to him, and serve him. The purpose of miracles is stated here- that he would be glorified and that his disciples might believe in him.

Thoughts: Mary had no wedding that we know of, yet she really enjoyed the celebration of this one. Jesus did not get married yet, he celebrated marriage by performing his first miracle there. The pots were large ones (see picture above). God was continually providing for his people in unexpected ways. This miracle reminds us in part of Elisha’s miracle of the oil continually being poured from the jar and providing for the poor widow (2 Kings 4). But this shows that God is not just concerned with the basic necessities of human life, but also with the joys of human life- marriage, and wine. Christ was no ascetic- unlike John (Lk. 7:33,34). It is silly to argue about the alcohol content in this wine- the wine was not water, but as Proverbs speaks of wine “gladdening the heart” so Jesus sought to gladden the hearts of those at the wedding. Ecclesiastes says “wine makes life merry.” Like any of God’s gifts it may be abused. Calvin was not an abstainer from wine, nor was he one who promoted celibacy. Rather he promoted the enjoyment of life with moderation- not getting drunk and keeping sexuality confined to the bounds of marriage. In our day, we do not need to over-react to the abuses of the world (while at the same time being sensitive to those with addiction problems). But Christians, above many, are called to enjoy life and the good things God has provided.

Prayer: Thank you for the joy you put into my life, Lord. Help me to be joyful today.

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