Why’s the Wine Gone? | John 2:1-3
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” John 2:1-3 | ESV
It’s now the third day following this whole exchange with Nathaniel (completing Jesus’ first creative week in which he was gearing up for his work and ministry). And it’s…a wedding. A nice diversion before the rush of his work begins. It’s in the nearby village of Cana (“Reedtown”) in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there right in the middle of it all. And he was invited to the wedding party – both Jesus, and his followers, too.
And then, calamity struck. The wine ran out.
In a bit of a tizzy, Jesus’ mother says to him in hushed tones, “They don’t have any more wine!”
In that small town, the newly married couple would simply never live it down. MAV
What are the key ingredients in coming up with a good photo op for launching a Messianic campaign? Satan actually came up with some good ones during Jesus’ 40-day wilderness excursion. Turn a huge pile of stones into bread on the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem. Or, “Look, up there! Someone’s perched on the pinnacle of the Temple and he’s going to jump!” Yep. That would work too. Part a sea. Stop the sun. Evaporate a Roman garrison. Or two. Oh yes, if Jesus opened up a brainstorming session with his contemporaries, they would have filled the board for him. But he didn’t, so they couldn’t (though we are always ready to do it for him anyway; just being helpful). Actually, I suppose we’ll never know what the original plan was for his Messianic ministry kick-off, because whatever it was, it got preempted by a wedding, and his mom. I see this wedding day as something of a Sabbath for Jesus after six days of walking about and gathering his first followers. At least, it seems that was the plan. The last of them was Nathaniel, several days before this wedding. “You believe because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree’? You will see greater things than these.” His followers must have been rubbing their hands in anticipation. What would the first act be? I can hear the quiet debate now. And then they’re all sucked into this wedding. “Okay, after the wedding, we’ll see.” Oh, but as it turns out, it is the wedding. The occasion for the Messiah’s grand entrance was a wedding. In a backwater town. Because the bride and groom ran out of wine. And because the Messiah’s mom prodded him into it. No, this is not the history we would write. It’s not the story we would tell. Thank God for that. And thank God that the One who calls all things into being, the pulsating Heart at the center of all reality, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Almighty – stops to take in a wedding in nowhereville and ends up coyly averting a minor catastrophe with a quiet display of kindness and grace. Yes, thank God, for in what quiet, unexpected ways might he show up in the midst of our own inopportune moments? This is the first of Jesus’ “teaching signs” of which there will be seven chronicled at length in John’s Gospel. Jesus was not a mere conjurer of tricks or a divine muscleman flexing his messianic pecks. He is teaching them. Teaching us. The question is, what are we seeing?
When most recently has God not exactly acted “on schedule” and according to plan? What happened?
Lord, thank you for the unexpected ways that you show up in nowhere places and greet us with unanticipated rendezvous of mercy and grace. Help me to wait for it, to watch for it. For you. Through Jesus.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.