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Why Did Jesus Turn Water into Wine?
When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” - John 2:9-10, ESV
In John's Gospel, the first miraculous sign Jesus did was to turn water into wine at a wedding in Cana in Galilee. In many ways, this is the most unusual of all of Jesus' signs:
- It was neither a healing nor a demonic exorcism, so it did not restore someone to health or life or set someone free from Satan's tyranny.
- It was not a powerful sign of Jesus' command over the forces of nature, such as calming a storm.
- In fact, as a sign, this miracle wasn't even done publicly; only Jesus' disciples even knew he had done this miracle.
So, why did He do it?
1. Turning water into wine announced to the coming of His kingdom to His disciples. Jesus was showing His disciples alone first, in a "secret" miracle, that His kingdom of joy, peace and salvation was breaking into the normal order of the world. The wine represents celebration, joy and blessing from God, which Jesus came to bring into the world.
2. Turning water into wine blessed the wedding and showed Jesus' support of marriage. This reason is commonly referenced at weddings. Jesus did bless and support marriage as God's ordained institution, though He Himself never married.
3. Turning the water into wine was a blessing to the bridegroom, saving him from humiliation and bringing him honor. This was a great blessing to a close family friend, someone who was evidently close to Mary, Jesus' mother. Interestingly, we don't know whose wedding this was, but we see Jesus blessing this groom and his family.
4. Turning the water into wine was a sign of the abundant life that Jesus had come to bring. Later, Jesus would say that He had come in order that people might have abundant life (John 10:10). This wine is a sign of the rich kingdom blessing of abundant life and joy that Jesus came to bring.
It is interesting that John records Jesus' cleansing of the Temple next. John is the only Gospel writer to record this first cleansing of the Temple, early in Jesus' ministry. Jesus cleansed the Temple because He wanted all people - Jews and gentiles - to have access to the worship of God in a fair and open manner, not in a controlled, corrupt and extorting manner. Joy and worship, life and prayer, blessing and access to God - these are the kingdom benefits Jesus came to bring His people. Let us enjoy them today!
Prayer Based on Psalm 1:
Lord, You have pronounced the abundance of Your blessing for the one who will reject the false counsel of the world and instead walk in the ways of Your Word, in the path of Your Law. None of us does this as well as we should, but Your Son, Jesus, perfectly fulfilled the vision of the Blessed Man of Psalm 1. He never followed the counsel of the wicked and He perfectly fulfilled Your Law in every aspect of His life.
Father, we thank You for Jesus, You Son, the incarnate Word, and the abundant life we have in Him. In Jesus, we are like trees planted by streams of water, yielding the fruit of the Spirit in season. In Jesus, we are known and kept and loved and blessed abundantly forever. And so we praise You for Your Son, our perfect righteousness. Amen!
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