“Who is Jesus?” John 2:1-12

A Sign: Water into Wine

John 1 took us to existence before creation, to the activity of creation, and to the promises of a coming Messiah.  After this grand scale prologue, John 2 takes place in a decidedly more focused setting.  We are shown Jesus in one of the most intimate of settings as he attends a wedding with his mother and disciples.  This wedding is a family and community event, a joyous celebration of the connections in community, the establishment of a new family.

The narrative is very matter-of-fact.  “When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.””(3)  We could speculate as to why Jesus’ mother might have come to him with this particular embarrassment.  Had He performed miracles at home?  Did they run out of milk or bread?  Why would she think Jesus needed to be told that they had no wine?  I really don’t want to speculate.  I do find Mary’s next comment to the servants very interesting, “Whatever He say to you, do it.” (5)

The servants heed her admonition and follow Jesus’ instructions.  Six large stone waterpots, set out for the Jewish custom of purification, are filled with water which is then served as good wine.  John writes that this was the beginning of Jesus’ signs, and by them He “manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” (11)

Have you ever stopped to list, draw, or plan the natural process necessary to produce wine from water?  Let’s start with water provided by rain.  The falling raindrops are caught at one point in the infinite hydrological cycle.  They moisten the earth enough to soften the outer shell of a grape seed hidden in the soil.  The seed begins to do what it was made to do – grow into a green vine.  As it grows, the vine thickens and strengthens, nourished by elements in the soil.  Time passes: more rain falls.  Time passes: grapes grow.  Time passes: harvest arrives.  Time passes: juice ferments.  In the natural process, it could be years before a drop of water becomes a drop of wine.

Who is Jesus?  Jesus is Creator God with power over all of nature.  The natural process of water into wine is compressed into a moment following the command of Jesus and the obedience of the servants.   A super-natural provision for a small village wedding is a sign to point the way to the ultimate wedding feast of the Bride and Lamb of God.  The transformation of the water into wine, compressed into a fraction of a moment, is an assurance of what we hope for in faith.

If we asked the servants at the wedding, “Who is Jesus,” they would say that He was the One who turned water into wine.   As each one answers this question, Mary’s comment to the servants grows in significance –

“Whatever He says to you, do it.”


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