For years and years, I have heard the story of the Wedding Feast at Cana. It is the story of Jesus’ first miracle – turning water into wine. The story is great and you can find the full story here. The debates over the story are even better. Those in the teetotal crowd claim Jesus made the water into fresh squeezed grape juice while those who do imbibe claim that such an idea is rubbish.
Honestly there is a lot going on in the story. The groom has run out of wine for his wedding reception – major problem and social faux pas. Jesus, a guest at the wedding, has gathered His disciples but has not begun any form of public ministry yet. And, Mary tells Jesus to fix the problem. When Jesus protests that it is not time to reveal Himself by demonstrating His abilities Mary ignores the protest and tells the servants to do whatever Jesus says.
Jesus complies with Mary’s wishes. He has the servants bring in the huge water jars used for purification. There were six and each held between 20 and 30 gallons. Jesus had the jars filled with water and then turned the water into wine. Bang – on the spot – somewhere between 120 and 180 gallons of wine. Not just wine but, according to the words of the story, the best wine (the word used in the text can be translated “excellent”). Crisis averted – let the party continue.
As mentioned above I have heard this story explained many ways. Typically, those ways fall into two primary groups. One is: First miracle – proves Jesus is God. The next is closely related: First miracle – God turns tragedy into blessing. Those are good understandings but there is more.
The “good”, the “best”, the “excellent” wine has been saved to be served at the end. The inferior wine was served early. The host even remarks about the strangeness of this by saying, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the excellent wine until now.”
With that comment we bring together the signs and symbols of the story.
The wine is created in the jars used for ritual purification.
The wine is needed for the wedding feast.
There were 120-180 gallons of wine – there was more than enough for everybody!
Jesus declares the wine which He blesses to be His blood poured out for the purification of sin and says He will drink no more of it until the ultimate Wedding Feast in the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 26:27-29; Matthew 22:2; Revelation 19:9)
Why are these details important?
All of the Jewish purification rituals – all of the bloodletting on the altar was temporary and had to be repeated over and over. It is the lesser blood served early.
The Blood of Jesus, poured out in His perfect sacrifice, is permanent forgiveness of sin.
It is the Excellent Blood and there is more than enough for everybody! Everyone can be forgiven – no matter the sin committed!
Will you come to the Table – Will you join the Heavenly Wedding Feast – Will you drink of the Excellent Wine?