A young boy was asked by his mother what he was learning in Sunday School. “Last week,” came the reply, “our lesson was about Jesus at a wedding turning water into wine.” “And what did you learn from that story?” she inquired. After thinking for a moment, the lad answered, “If you’re having a wedding, make sure Jesus is there!”
Well you’d have to invite Him first. He’s no gate-crasher. As in the text, He was there because along with His disciples and mother He’d been invited. Likewise the Gospel story is inviting us to come to this little town, nestling in the hills above the Sea of Galilee, to see and understand what was taking place there. We don’t know who the happy couple are. It’s not important. Neither is the wedding. The focus is on Mary asking her son to do something special and having faith in Him to perform a miracle when there appears to be no way ahead. She says to the servants: “Whatever He says to you, just do it.” (vs.5). That’s the crux isn’t it? You see many of us are faithful to our ideas about Jesus Christ, but how many of us are faithful to Jesus Himself? “Whatever He says to you, just do it.”
Faithfulness to Jesus means that we must step out even when and where we can’t see anything. It’s hard. Faith shouldn’t easy. We’d take God for granted otherwise. But Jesus said if faith’s as tiny as a mustard seed it’s enough. Mustard seed faith in the Word made flesh, the God who dwells among us, joins in our everyday activities and gets involved with human affairs. The holy God has been made visible and the wedding serves merely as a backdrop for the evangelist to say, “Look – the Light of the World has come into the darkness. Don’t miss Jesus by staying in the shadows.”
A mountain climber was desperate to conquer a high mountain. He started his climb after years of preparation. But he wanted the glory to himself, therefore, he went up alone. He started climbing and it was becoming later, and later. He did not prepare for camping but decided to keep on going. Soon it got dark…Night fell with heaviness at a very high altitude. Visibility was zero. Everything was black. There was no moon, and the stars were covered by clouds. As he was climbing a ridge at about 100 meters from the top, he slipped and fell. Falling rapidly he could only see blotches of darkness that passed. He felt a terrible sensation as he kept falling….and in those anguishing moments good and bad memories passed through his mind. He thought certainly he would die. But then he felt a jolt that almost tore him in half. Yes!! Like any good mountain climber he had staked himself with a long rope tied to his waist. In those moments of stillness, suspended in the air he had no other choice but to shout, “HELP ME GOD”, “HELP ME!” All of a sudden he heard a deep voice from heaven…”What do you want me to do?” ”SAVE ME” ”Do you REALLY think that I can save you?” ”OF COURSE, MY GOD” ”Then cut the rope that is holding you up.” There was another moment of silence and stillness. The man just held tighter to the rope. The rescue team says that the next day they found, a frozen mountain climber hanging strongly to a rope… JUST TWO FEET OFF THE GROUND.
How about you? How trusting are you in that rope? Why don’t you let it go? It’s hard to cut the rope and simply trust in Christ. But that’s Full Assurance in Trusting Him for that’s what faith is all about. Mary turns to Jesus for help. The sheer quantity of water turned into wine is remarkable. Six jars that size equals 120 gallons or 750 bottles of the best quality wine. Jesus has performed His first miracle but this isn’t just a miracle in which, out of the goodness of His heart, He rescues the embarrassed master of ceremonies. In fact His initial response is not encouraging, suggesting that He’s not going to do anything: “You must not tell me what to do, He replied, “My time has not yet come.” (v.4). Mary, who had conceived Jesus supernaturally, knew Her Son was the Holy God. Her request was more than just a desire for wine. It showed her faith in Jesus as the Messiah. But quite rightly Jesus tells her that now was not the time for the truth of His nature to be revealed. She was trying to rush events that would come later with His death – where on the cross He was forced to drink cheap bitter wine. The statement: “You have kept the good wine until now. You have saved the best for last” (v.10) is a proclamation that God has the best wine cellar of all and turning water into wine is itself a picture of all that Jesus came to do: “I have come so that you might have life, and have it abundantly….For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” (Jn.6:40). The grave need not claim victory!
In sharing Holy Communion we may only receive a small piece of bread and a sip of wine, but it is not the physical quantity that matters, but what they point us to. We are looking ahead to the day when we are wedding guests of the Lamb of God. When Christ is married to His Church. Have you faith enough to be there? Surely it’s only what you’d expect – that God who took such delight in creating the world and all its people, would delight to be with us and offers everyone, whoever we are, the same sort of new life as He’d injected into that wedding with that new wine – isn’t that such abundant generosity? “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” says the Psalm (34:8).
So, we have a sign performed at an ordinary wedding that points us to the lavish extravagance of God’s heavenly banquet. It’s a sign for us to put our faith in Jesus. Often, we’re like tired, worn out, empty jars facing problems that are beyond our capacity and hanging on by our fingertips – where we are so far from God, that everyday cares and worries get on top of us and we so easily forget that the glory of God is at hand. But let go of the rope and remember that heaven comes to earth now and changes water into wine. As Jesus brought life to the wedding party when things ran out, He can fill the emptiness in our lives and utterly remake us – giving us a taste that is beyond what we ourselves are capable of providing. Replacing within something rich, fragrant and ripe with the joy of knowing Jesus and His promise of life in all its fullness. So persevere in faith and continue to believe that the best is yet to come!