Read: John 2:1-11
Focus: John 2:11
This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed His glory. And His disciples believed in Him.
Weddings are a time of joy, fun, and happiness. Whether it’s a large wedding or a small casual one, they are usually times of celebration – when Sherri and I were married, it was a small, somewhat informal wedding, but we both had a blast. In Biblical times (both Old and New Testament times), weddings were also festive, joyful events.
This particular wedding happened in Cana, a small, otherwise inconsequential town outside of Nazareth. Much like with His birth, Jesus began His public ministry with His first recorded miracle in a small, unknown, peasant town. I think it’s important to realize that the witnesses to both His birth and His first miracle were the common folks, people who were looked at as if they “didn’t matter”, not the religious and political elite of His time and culture.
Why is this important? Because it reminds us that God has a special place in His heart for the marginalized and “the least of these”.
Much of Jesus’ preaching emphasizes God’s heart for the forgotten, the ignored, and the marginalized. Next week, you will be reading Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7). This collection of Jesus’ teachings is recognized by many (even some outside of Christianity) as the greatest teaching ever. Additionally, it contains the central aspects of Christian discipleship (in other words – following this teaching shows us how to be a believer in and follower of Jesus). Again and again throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that people matter, our attitudes and actions towards people are critical because they reflect our hearts, and our actions towards people in certain measure influence God’s actions towards us (for example in the Beatitudes at the beginning of Matthew 5, in telling us to forgive others so your Father will forgive you, to give your gifts in private so your Father Who sees everything will reward you, the standard you use in judging others will be used to judge you etc). Jesus also focuses on the marginalized in Matthew 25 when He talks about our final judgement. He tells us that how we view and how we treat the “least of these” reflects how we view and treat Jesus.
Matthew 25: 37 – 40, 44 – 46:
When Jesus was talking to the righteous:
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see You hungry and feed You? Or thirsty and give You something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show You hospitality? Or naked and give You clothing? 39 When did we ever see You sick or in prison and visit You?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!’
When Jesus was talking to the unrighteous:
44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help You?’
45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these My brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help Me.’
46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
So it’s no coincidence that this wedding in a small, “backwoods” out of the way town in front of the people deemed to be “nobodies” is where Jesus chose to initially reveal Himself with His first miracle (or sign) and where He started His journey to the cross that would eventually free everyone who believes in Him of our sin debt.
It’s also not a coincidence that Jesus chose as His first miracle to turn water reserved for ceremonial washing into wine in front of these people; there is significant symbolism involved in this miracle that would have had meaning for His disciples and others who understood the Jewish purification system. The water that Jesus used symbolizes the entire Mosaic purification and ceremonial cleansing system. Jesus replaced that water with pure wine. Just as in communion, the pure wine symbolizes Jesus’ sinless blood. By doing this, Jesus was foretelling that at one point in the near future, the inadequate Jewish purification and sacrificial systems would be replaced with His fully sufficient sacrifice; instead of being washed and temporarily cleansed with purification water, believers in Him would be completely cleansed of sin by the spotless blood of the Lamb.
Father, thank You that You see and acknowledge everyone regardless of their wealth, their importance, their place in society; in your eyes, everyone was made in Your image and everyone has the same worth and value. In Romans 3, You tell us that everyone is a sinner who has fallen short of Your standard, but because of Jesus’ sacrificial death, everyone can be freed and forgiven for our sin and declared righteous, regardless of our background and regardless of the wrong we’ve done. Lord, please help me to truly see the value and worth in others as You teach us throughout the Gospels; please help me to reflect Your love and light to everyone I encounter. I pray this in the name of Jesus… Amen