Week of March 18: Jesus supplies not just enough, but an abundance
By THE REV. DOREEN SMALLS
Scripture: John 2:1-12
There are different signs all around us. We see signs that give us directions on the interstates and roads. They also instruct us on how to drive: when to yield, to stop, and to slow down. In stores, signs point us to the various departments and sections. Not only do signs supply us with directions, they also convey meanings and messages. In John’s Gospel, he introduces us to signs (miracles) performed by Jesus.
Many of life’s major decisions warrant a plan. While children are still young, parents prepare for their college education. During their college years, young adults make plans for professional careers. After a couple becomes engaged, making wedding plans is the next step. Most brides will confirm that preparing for upcoming nuptials is not always an easy task. Between the cake tastings, dress fittings, engagement parties, budget planning, menu selections, guest lists, and more, preparing for one’s wedding day is incredibly rewarding and somewhat exhausting.
During Jesus’ day, the traditional Jewish wedding lasted at least seven days! Banquets were held throughout the week for many guests and the entire week would include celebrations honoring the new couple. According to biblical scholars, the entire town or community would be invited. In order to accommodate a large crowd, careful planning was necessary.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus, his mother and his disciples were invited to a wedding celebration in the town of Cana. During the festivities, the wine ran out, and running out of wine was quite embarrassing to the new bride and groom.
Jesus’ mother notified him there was no longer any wine. She said, “They have no wine” (John 2:3). Jesus responded, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). Jesus’ reply seemed a bit harsh and rather indifferent. He just didn’t appear to be engaged in the problem. Maybe Jesus’ lack of eagerness was because his time or “hour” had not come for him to reveal his divine power. Perhaps, he did not plan to display his divine power at this wedding.
Have there been times in our lives when we did not feel the timing is right to take on significant tasks? Yet someone encourages us to take a risk or to step out on faith. What preparation is needed for you to take on a significant task? Who encourages you to step out on faith?
Despite Jesus’ response, his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). Jesus stood by the six stone jars that could hold 20- 30 gallons of water. He instructed the servants to fill the six stone jars with water and then to remove some of it. Next, he told them to take it to the chief steward (John 2:7-8). When the steward tasted the liquid, it was no longer water but it was wine. Jesus created 120-180 new gallons of wine out of water.
This was an abundance of wine – this was a miracle! Jesus did not just meet a need, he supplied more than enough. This is a reminder of Jesus miraculously feeding more than 5,000 people with two fish and five loaves of bread. After the feeding, there were twelve baskets left over (John 6:12-13). Paul testified the Lord “is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). And he promised blessings proved in “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over” (Luke 6:38).
This is the nature of the Lord’s provisions. Our God is not a God of lack but a God of abundance. Not only was there an abundance of wine but the wine was also the best wine. The chief steward stated, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now” (John 2:10). The wine Jesus created was the finest wine, the best wine.
But this miracle was more than just changing water into wine. This miracle was a revelation of Jesus’ glory. This sign (miracle) along with the others listed in this Gospel remind us of the power and presence of God in Jesus Christ. The author pointed out these signs did two things: revealed his glory and led his disciples to believe in him (John2: 11).
The purpose of the signs was to say who Jesus was and so that those who believed in Him could have eternal life. That was true for the first readers of the Gospel and it is still true for us today. Who do you say Jesus is? What difference does that make in your life? How and where do you see the power of God at work today?
Jesus’ signs were to reveal the presence of God in him, leading to faith.
Rev. Doreen Smalls is an associate director at the Office of Connectional Ministries. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.