Party Favor

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:1-11)

Jesus was at a party. They ran out of wine. He made more. Jesus’ first miracle tells us something surprising about him.

Jesus’ mother knew he was the Messiah. She asked him to take care of a rather mundane problem. He warned her about the consequences of her request, but she insisted. With his obedience, he began the public ministry that would lead to his crucifixion.

No problem, however inconsequential, is beyond mattering to Jesus. Jesus loved his mother and what was important to her was important to him because she was important. Jesus cared that the people at a party had fun, and that the hosts not be embarrassed.

For some Christians, realizing what Jesus did at that wedding may be profoundly disturbing. But instead, it should be comforting. People enjoyed spending time with Jesus, where they did not enjoy spending time with religious leaders. In fact, religious leaders criticized Jesus heavily for his relationships with sinners. In the minds of many of the religious leaders, Jesus was not religious at all.

And that is precisely the point. Religion does not and cannot fix the problems of the world, but a relationship with Jesus does. Even if the problem is only a lack of wine at a wedding.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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