What a feast! Jesus knows how to throw a party!

John 2:1-11 The wedding at Cana in Galilee.

When you left off,[1] we were simply spending time with Jesus – trying to take in the change that had just happened. One minute we (or some of us at least) were spending time with the Baptist out in the back of beyond – the next we were staying with Jesus in a borrowed house and he had added several more to the company. The time seemed to fly – it was less than a week in all but it seemed a life-time.

 The phrase I left you with was this – his words to Nathanael: ‘You believe because I said I saw you under the fig tree. Greater things than this you will see – you will see heaven opened and angels descending and ascending.’[2] I suppose we thought he was exaggerating for effect – how wrong we were.

 It was the end of the week about three days since Nathanael joined us – we went to a wedding, some relation or neighbour of Jesus.  Certainly his mother was in a fuss – taking responsibility though it wasn’t hers. It was a good wedding as weddings go – we were slightly embarrassed because we had had nothing to bring to it.[3] But in a way Jesus made up for it!

His mother came fussing over – ‘They have run out of wine!’ ‘What’s that got to do with us’ he replied but she ignored him – don’t all mothers do that!

‘Whatever he tells you to do, do it,’ she said to the servants.

There were six huge stone water jars – you would call them Ali Baba Jars – each held 20-30 gallons standing outside the door. The water would be used for washing your feet or your hands when you arrived. It would not be drinking water. ‘Fill your pitcher with the water from those,’ he said ‘and serve it.’

I don’t know what amazes me more – that the servants did it or that the water tasted like the best wine I have ever drunk.

I kept saying to myself, would I have dipped the pitcher in and carried it to the MC[4] or would I have told him to get lost? But I know the answer – for right from the beginning there was something different. You, and people generally, did what he asked  – he was not bossy or arrogant or any of that but there was ‘authority’.  Even when what he asked seemed crazy as now. But he wasn’t crazy – the wine was the best anyone had ever tasted – and there was 120 or 180 gallons of it.

It’s only as I reflect now that I see this was not an attention-grabbing trick – he did not do those – it was a statement of who he was and what he had brought to our world.  The old wine was poor and cheap – the new was rich and amazing – and you could not come to the end of it ever – we sat and wondered if that crowd could have drunk it all, would the jars have kept refilling like the widow’s at Zarephath?[5]  Or when it was all over was it wine in the jars or was it water again? But we did not bother him with those questions for he surprised us all with his travel plans.

We were going to Jerusalem – now!

But that will wait till next week. I just hope you understand what I am trying to tell you.

  • Jesus is the Living Word, God’s only Son from all eternity, made flesh for us. Know who he is!
  • The way to find out is the way we did – ‘Come and See.’ That is discipleship – hang out with Jesus and his people.
  • And you will discover there is no limit to the grace he has for you – none it never runs out. As the Psalmist says  ‘He loves you with an everlasting love.’

By the way – It was a great party – I have never been at better – but it was his company not the wine that made it. Maybe you need to learn that lesson too.

See you next week.

[1] At the end of chapter 1.

[2] Referring to Jacob’s ladder – a vision found in Genesis 28:12

[3] It was customary for guests to bring sufficient food to feed themselves – a sort of pot luck meal – though meals would be better as weddings took days. This is still the practice in Inishowen in Donegal where they frequently invite 3 or 400 guests but there is a basket at the door and folk are expected to put in what would cover their meal

[4] It is not clear whether the architriklinos (lit: head table sitter) was what you would call the Master of Ceremonies or what you would call the Maître d’

[5] 1 Kings17:9-16