Reading the Signs: John 2:1-11


Reading the Signs

Let’s be honest. If we did not have Grandmothers, Mothers, and Aunts, we would not have Thanksgiving. Instead, we would all head out to dinner and then back home for some football. So while I have very distinct and precious memories of my grandfather carving the Thanksgiving turkey, it was my Grandmother cooking through the night that made the day come together.Thanksgiving Signs

That does not means each Thanksgiving came off without a hitch. There was that one year the “kids” table suddenly collapsed. Or the time when the idea of putting the buns in the oven to keep them warm didn’t look so good in hindsight after the bag they were in caught fire. However, with each disaster, there were many avoided by the insistent care and thought our mothers put into preparation. The signs of Thanksgiving point to more than just food.

In the book of John, we see a similar event with a mother busy trying to prevent a food disaster; the wedding feast in Cana. (John 2:1-11).

Concern for the Family

Mary, the mother of Jesus, has noticed that the drinks are running out. For a wedding in this culture and time period, wine would have been provided to the guest over the course of days; seven days as it is traditionally understood. This would require preparation since running out of drinks, food, or anything the guest would expect would make this event the talk of the town; and not in a good way.[1] Mary realizes that the honor and reputation of this couple are about to be ruined. So she turns to the only one who she knows can solve this problem, Jesus.

“They have no wine!” This simple phrase was more than information. When you Mother tells you something like this, implied is that she expects you to do something. Jesus response is to remind her that He is on earth on a particular mission. That mission is bigger than a lack of wine. Nevertheless, Mary brings over the servants managing the feast and says to them, “Whatever He tells you, do it.”

 “Whatever He tells you, do it.”

If you could put yourself in the sandals of the servants at that moment, you can realize how Jesus’ instructions may have sounded. Jesus tells them, “fill the waterpots with water”…and they obey. He says them to draw some out and bring it to the Master of the Feast….and they obey.Wedding at Cana

There is no mention of doubt or questioning the direction of Jesus, but, you have to at least think that filling jars, used for washing hands, is not the solution to the problem anyone must have been considering. On the surface, it made very little sense. But look at what happened…it was turned into wine before their eyes. The day was saved, and the honor of the family preserved.

A Miracle…or Something Else?

At this point, most sit back and say, “wow” in awe of the miracle Jesus just performed. But this is not how the scripture describes it. John does not call it a miracle at all; instead, he calls it a sign.

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee[2] (emphasis added)

We all know what a sign is. You look for one when you head to the restroom to make sure you go through the right door; hopefully. It tells you something important. This event is also telling us something important.

This something is two-fold. First, that Jesus is God, that he deserves glory because He is the Messiah. Secondly, knowing this should impact us. We see this in the commentary about the disciples; they believed in Him.

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.[3]

Being Impacted by Christ

So what does this sign mean to us…just like Mary said to the servants we need to listen to her words, “Whatever He (Jesus) tells you, do it.”

So what is Jesus telling us to do…to repent and trust in Him.

“The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” [4]

Just like the water was before it turned into wine. We are not what we are meant to be. We were designed to be more than this, but our sins have destroyed our ability to fulfill our God intended design. However, if we will turn to Jesus and look to Him by placing in Him our trust…He will turn us into a new creation. When the servants obeyed Jesus and handed the water to the Master of the Feast…he said, “You have kept the good wine until now.” Turn to Jesus Christ, and he will turn you into the good wine today.

 

[1] J. D. M. Derrett. “Water into Wine.” Biblische Zeitschrift 7 (1963): 80–97.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jn 2:11.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jn 2:11.

[4] Tyndale House Publishers, Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013), Mk 1:15.

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