Shane Johnson talks about Jesus’ first miracle – turning water into wine! He explains why we have been given this picture of Jesus using this strange miracle to announce his ministry, and what its relevance is for us today.
A Strange Miracle
The first miracle Jesus ever performed was turning water into wine. This is a strange miracle to choose to start showing your followers that you have been sent to be the Messiah. This miracle is recorded for us in John chapter 2. If I was the author of the Bible I would have started with a more powerful miracle – perhaps the healing of a lame man or the restoring of sight to the blind. And if I could raise the dead, I would have definitely started with that and called it a day.
But the miracle by which Jesus started His ministry, the first miracle He used to show His followers His glory, was the comparably plain miracle of turning water into wine. I say “plain,” even though it was miraculous, because no one was healed. No one was raised from the dead. No one was even fed. He simply saved a young couple a lot of embarrassment and made sure their day remained special and not ruined. Compared to the other miracles Jesus would later perform, this one was rather tame.
Why This Miracle?
So why did He do it? Why did He perform this miracle, and why did He choose this miracle as His first? He did it to reveal Himself. As soon as there was a problem, in this case running out of wine, His mother Mary immediately knew what to do. She went and told Jesus. “They have no wine,” she reported to Jesus. When problems arise, where do heads turn? I submit to you that heads turn to people who are competent and to people who care. I know in my family, if problems arise, heads immediately turn to my aunt who usually knows what to do. I know also that in my church, if problems arise, heads immediately turn to those who are competent and to those who care. The Lord Jesus was one who was highly competent and deeply cared. Mary must have known that. Mary must have seen that displayed countless times over the quiet years of Nazareth as Jesus went about doing good and serving those in His family and community. That is why with the utmost confidence she said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
The Miracle Reveals Jesus’ Character And Heart
So the first thing we learn is that this miracle reveals Jesus character and heart. He was the type of person people turn to in times of crisis. Although Mary did not know what Jesus would do to fix the problem, she knew He would do something of value and benefit. Little did she know, He would use the opportunity to show forth His glory.
And that’s the other thing we learn about the Lord Jesus Christ through this story. He was a man of authority. He told the servants to fill the six water pots of stone. They did not question him nor did they hesitate to obey Him. Implicit trust was their first response to His gentle authority though they may not have understood why He asked them to do it. After they had filled the water pots with water, Jesus told them to draw some out and take it to the master of the feast. Immediately the master of the feast recognized the quality of the wine – it was one of the finest he ever tasted.
And then something happened that revealed yet another aspect of the Lord Jesus’ excellent character. When the master of the feast had tasted the wine he called the bridegroom, not Jesus, and said to him, Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” Here we see the humility of God displayed. The Lord Jesus did not take credit for the miracle of the wine. He let the bridegroom receive the praise. Jesus was not concerned with receiving public glory, He was concerned for the young bride and groom and that their day would not be ruined.
The Miracle And Us
This miracle reflects something that happens every day. Every day the Lord Jesus is working behind the scenes, healing us, serving us, feeding us, protecting us, teaching us, leading us, even though we may not be aware of it. Just as the bridegroom was not aware of the massive problem Jesus took care of (although he may have been aware that they had run out of wine), so too, we are not aware of all the problems Jesus saves us from in our families, churches and jobs as we go about our business from day to day. Jesus received no credit then and He receives very little credit now. Even unbelievers are served and nourished by Him every day, leading them, wooing them to faith. Our God is a humble God who does not need to have his ego stroked by cringing worshippers and fawning sycophants. He is content, like a loving watching father, to see His children blessed and helped in times of trouble. In a future day we will realize what He has done, and how much He has done in all our lives, and then He will receive the glory. But the Lord is humble and does not demand acknowledgment of everything He does for us, nor are we even aware of all He does.
Did you catch what the master of the feast said when he tasted the wine? He said, Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. Well, what the master of the feast did not know is that Jesus of Nazareth is not like every man. In fact, Jesus of Nazareth is not like any man. Jesus of Nazareth was God in a disguise – disguised as that beautiful Man of Galilee.
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Images Courtesy of:
Water Into Wine: José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro