For the last 5 years or so, I’ve been bartending. More recently, I have been bartending weddings (shoutout to Executive Catering… also my first business sponsor for my podcast). One thing that is easy to spot is when people are in good spirits and their drink choice grows less particular. When you start to run out of the top shelf liquor or fine wine, most people will take the next best thing. At the end of each wedding, we start to break down the bar about 30 mins before the last dance. People bum rush us with their orders. Most the time I’m like “Listen here, all we have left is a bottle of wine and a couple Bud Lights… or I have water.” It’s crazy because at cocktail hour, wedding guests go nuts over the specialty drinks due to its availability. I think my favorite part about bartending weddings, as opposed to the restaurant bar scene is this: the parents of the bride and groom have already paid the bill and the guests can come and go as they please and enjoy an open bar.
Why do I bring this up? Because I’ve been studying Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine. I am not writing this blog post to merely prove a point that Jesus drank and served wine, but mainly to articulate a side of Jesus that I have overlooked. This miracle is recorded in John 2.
Y’all might know the story. Jesus attends a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mom and his disciples are there with him. His mom runs up to him and declares that there is no more wine to serve the guests. Yikes! Jesus responds calmly telling Mary that His time to perform miracles hasn’t come yet. She looks to the disciples and tells them to do whatever Jesus asks. So, Jesus had the disciples fill six stone jars with water. These jars were twenty or thirty gallons in size. That would be about 180 gallons of water. The disciples filled these jars to the brim. The tippy top.
Jesus then turns water into wine, and the headwaiter of the wedding tells the groom “Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are drunk, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.” (verse 10)
Lesson One: The Setting
We are living in a society where marriage is becoming tabooer and scarier. Divorce rates even in Christian homes are rampant. The assault of marriage began in the garden when the enemy tempted Eve and pinned her up against God and her helpmate, Adam. The fact that Jesus performs His first miracle at a wedding, not only redeems what the enemy assaults, but it is also a foreshadowing of the bride of Christ (aka the Church) and Him as the groom. Marriage is a depiction of us and Jesus’s relationship. No one wants to be married to a religious task master. He has invited us into a romantic story with Him where we are fully known and fully loved. Who wouldn’t want to be in a beautiful and balanced marriage?
Lesson Two: Our Part
Most of us want Jesus to perform miracles in our lives, but we forget we have a part to play as well. Mark Batterson (a pastor from National Community Church) says this: “If we want God to do the super, we need to do the natural”. Notice Mary told the disciples in verse 5 “Do whatever He tells you.” Then Jesus told them to fill the jars with water. The disciples had to do their part in order to participate in the miracle. After filling the jars, they drew some out and took it to the headwaiter and it became wine… The disciples saw this sign and believed Jesus was the Son of God. Many of us want a sign or a miracle, but why don’t we ask Him what He wants us to do first? Our obedience and trust in Him is the perfect platform to watch a miracle occur. He is personal and loving and will show you what He wants you to do.
Lesson Three: Quality
We can learn a lot about Jesus and His ability to do everything with excellence. Jesus will always exceed your expectations. He has no problem with doing quality work. He didn’t provide decent wine, He provided the best wine. He didn’t tell his mother “Well tough luck, they shouldn’t be partying in the first place.” No. He chose to reveal His glory (verse 11) with this miracle. This goes beyond the argument of if God condones drinking wine or not. No, this miracle illustrates that our Heavenly Father takes what is decent and makes it decadent. This is direct reflection of what He does in our own lives. We just need to be willing to do our part and obey Him completely by “filling our water jars to the brim”.
Lesson Four: Personal
This miracle reminds me to take the Gospel personal. I used to think the Gospel (Jesus coming to earth as fully God and man, living a perfect life, dying for my sins, and resurrecting from the dead) as a general gesture. But the Gospel is personal. It is detailed just as much as it is broad. He doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9) and He will reveal Himself to us even at weddings. Heck it could be at a gas station. Bottom line, He is a hound for the soul and can’t help but pursue us every day with His rich and sweet love. When you hear the voices in your head that sound like fear, condemnation, and anxiety just take a peak at this miracle to see a unique point of view of his personal love for us. He cared enough about the reputation and ambience of a wedding to bring about the best wine. Don’t you think He cares enough about your situation to bring about the best wine? He exchanges beauty for ashes. No matter your situation, He invites you to participate in a beautiful love story where His glory will never be exchanged for any less than.
Lesson Five: Paid For
Rest assured. The bill was paid for. Jesus didn’t take out a small loan for the 180 gallons worth of wine. He had all the resources He needed. He is God after all. We can be assured the bill for our salvation was already paid for, and we mustn’t worry about picking up the tab for fine wine either. He already did it.
*Note: I realize there are some Christians who have different convictions regarding drinking alcohol and everything surrounding the scene. If the Holy Spirit has redeemed your past from being an alcoholic, Praise The Lord! I hope you read this blog with discernment. I am in no way, shape, or form trying to deter you from your growth and freedom from alcoholism with this post. I champion you and your convictions. The Holy Spirit knows how to speak to His children and give them wisdom with the content they consume. I hope you are only encouraged in Christ’s love by reading this.