August 25 – John 2:1-12
It’s worth pointing out clearly and emphatically that this passage is not about the wine. Wine is a merry little secondary character in this story, showing up only to tell us something about the hero, Jesus.
As John documents in 2:11, turning water into wine was Jesus’ first sign. You might remember from the series intro that this begins the big section of John’s Gospel called the Book of Signs. While we read the word sign as a synonym for miracle, don’t miss what the word itself means; this supernatural work is meant to be a signpost pointing towards or indicating something significant. In this case that something isn’t just Jesus’ miraculous power. This is about the Messianic Kingdom. Jews in Jesus’ time understood that Kingdom to be marked by abundance and provision from God himself. Check out Isaiah 25, which talks about God’s kingdom in Zion after Judgment Day:
6 On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
7 And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
9 It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the LORD; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
Other aspects of this story elaborate add to this core message. Jesus performed this miracle in jars filled with water for ceremonial washings, placed by the entrance so that people could join the party ritually cleansed. He quite literally turned a symbol of lifeless ritual into a symbol of joy. The circumstance of the party running out of wine perhaps indicates the spiritual status of Jesus’ world, having entirely run out of and desperately seeking after something merely to gladden the heart, only to receive something so much more than mere wine.
What this passage says about alcohol
Questions for Discussion
• Can someone read John 2:1-12 for us?
• What stood out to you from this section?
• What can this miracle tell us about Jesus?
• Turn to Isaiah 25:6-9. Could someone read that for us?
• Why do you think God is going to do this?
• How does this idea of feasting with God compare or contrast with your understanding of the Christian life?
• How does this passage relate to what Jesus was doing at the wedding in Cana?