Today’s Scripture: John 2
Let me set the scene for today’s reading. Marriage today is not like marriages in Biblical times. Today, the couple usually dates, gets engaged, and has a wedding ceremony at a specified date and time, followed by a reception that lasts for several hours. How the wedding expenses are covered is primarily based on the financial situation of each family.
In Biblical times, marriages were usually arranged by the fathers of the bride and groom, based on mutual benefit to both families. The process would begin with a betrothal period which was as binding as the marriage itself. The bride-to-be would live with her family until the groom had prepared a place for the couple, most likely in his father’s house. This period usually lasted a year or more during which time the groom would demonstrate his ability to financially support the bride. Then, at a time not known to the bride, the groom would fetch her, and there would be a wedding ceremony that was attended by a select few. After the ceremony, they would go to a large wedding feast that would last a week and was paid for by the groom’s family. If food or drink would run out, this would be a major embarrassment and would indicate the groom was financially irresponsible.
At first read, it appears that a major social faux pas was averted when Jesus turned the water into wine. However, this story’s meaning goes much deeper, let’s unpack the symbolism:
- Wine symbolizes joy to the Jewish people, so if the wine ran out, their joy would run out, too.
- The wine is more than a beverage at the wedding, it is representative of our lives. Wine running out is a reminder that our lives are empty without Christ, but he can turn water into wine, sin into grace.
- Jesus made use of the water jars that were used for external purification for his first miracle, and over the next three years, he would teach about inner cleansing.
- Jesus could have filled the jars himself, but he had the servants fill them so they could share in the joy of the miracle.
- Jesus made between 120 and 180 gallons of wine. That was more than was needed to meet the immediate need, thus showing he is the giver of abundant joy.
- Jesus turned the water into the best wine, just like he wants to transform our lives into their best.
- The best wine was saved until last, much the same as with God’s people. The best is yet to come!
- The wine was gone, the ceremonial pots were empty, and through a symbolic act, Jesus announced that he was the new wine, the new covenant.
- Moses turned water into blood, showing the law results in death. Jesus turned water into wine, showing his new work. The wine was after the water, the new covenant was after the old; the wine was from the water, the new covenant is from the old; the wine is better than the water, the new covenant is better than the old.
We may never know why Jesus chose this miracle to begin his public ministry. We do know that Jesus initially chose to reveal his glory to very few people—Mary, the disciples, and his servants. Jesus did something to benefit the wedding couple that they were unaware of, and he chose not to take credit for it. Just as the wedding couple was not aware of Jesus’ provisions, neither are we aware of all the blessings he provides for us nor the problems he prevents in our lives. Jesus is our provider and the source of all true and lasting joy.
Has the wine run out in an area of your life? Are you settling for the cheap wine? Have you tried having an attitude like Mary, where she trusted Jesus to do whatever was necessary?
This story is about a shortfall that could have haunted the couple all their lives. Identify deficiencies in your life and journal how to trust Jesus to fill you with joy.
Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for the miracle of Jesus’ grace. Show us the areas of our lives that need healing. Forgive us of our earthly desires instead of your ultimate joy. Help us to reflect on you, so we may be free from the temporary things of this earthly life. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.
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