The Wedding Gift

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It all started at a wedding! Jesus did not start his ministry of miracles by healing the sick or by walking on water. But He chose to turn water into wine at a wedding feast for a newly married couple and their guests. That thought alone should provoke us to learn more about the Son of God’s first miracle while He walked this Earth. Like a diamond that glimmers and shines so beautifully whichever way you turn it, so is our Lord Jesus and such is this very first miracle He performed. There are so many truths to learn here and I pray that as you read through this article God would open the eyes of your understanding and see the heart of our Savior and that you receive from Him. So, the story is recorded for us in John 2:1-11. Let’s break it down and see what God has for us in this passage of scripture.

On the third day, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. (John 2:1,2)

A couple was getting married in Cana and were hosting a wedding feast. The fact that Jesus and His disciples were invited to this wedding before he ever performed any signs or miracles in the public tells us that He was invited because this was a family event. He was not invited by the reason of His popularity, because He did not perform any miracles yet. It was someone close to Him that was getting married. And the fact that it says, “and the mother of Jesus was there..” before it said, “Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding” shows that Mary, mother of Jesus was very much involved in planning, organizing and helping with the preparations of this wedding even before Jesus and His disciples got there. All this to say, it was a close family member or a very close friend of Jesus that was getting married.

And when they ran out of wine… (John 2:3)

Now that we have some background, let’s see what happened. Apparently, at some point in the feast, they ran out of wine. Unless we understand the nature of this crisis with which the wedding family is faced with, we will not be able to fully grasp and appreciate the provision Jesus made at the end of this story. There is so much God wants us to see in this verse. But first, the obvious truth of this passage which most people would never think of other than the fact that they ran out of wine is that the family or the couple hosting the wedding was not rich by any means. How do we know that? They ran out of wine which now was a problem for them. They simply could not have gone out and purchased more wine from the market. If that was the case, they would have done so and we would not be least interested in this event after 2000 years. If they were able to afford more wine, this wedding event would not even be recorded for us by John in his Gospel. They probably spent everything they had on this wedding feast and got as much food and wine they could get in what little money they had. They probably even went into debt to host this wedding feast. This is why the running out of wine in the middle of the feast turned out to be a crisis.

What else can we learn from this? Remember that we are talking about the significance of why Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding. Also remember the very first wedding back in the Garden of Eden, (Genesis 1 and 2) when God created Adam from the dirt of the Earth and breathed into him His own spirit. And then God formed Eve from Adam’s side. He brought them together and they became one flesh. God was not a mere guest at this first wedding, but He was the one who performed this wedding. And what did He give these newlyweds, the very first Man and Wife? He gave them a Garden for their provision and blessed them to be fruitful and multiply. To replenish and subdue all the Earth. That was their wedding gift from God. They did not have to work for their own provision. God blessed them with a garden where everything they ever needed was provided for. But we know how it all turned out later (Genesis 3). They lost the blessing of God because they believed a lie from an enemy. A lie that God was not good enough toward them, that God was keeping them from experiencing all His blessings. You know the story! if not just read Genesis chapters 1-3.

Ever since then people have been struggling for their own provision. More importantly, married couples have been struggling. The number one cause of grief in marriages today is finance. We were never designed to work for our own provision. Man, and his Wife working jobs, toiling all day for their own provisions – this makes up most of the married couples in this fallen world. It doesn’t matter if you are working a high paid job like a doctor or cleaning up toilets for a minimum wage. If you are working for yourself and meeting your own needs, you are bearing the burden of self-provision and that will only cause grief. This is not to suggest quitting your job and doing nothing. Not really! Adam and Eve had a Job to do as well. But their job was to advance the Garden of Eden all over the Earth while they are fruitful. Their job was not so they could have their needs met. Their needs were already met by God. He gave all they would ever need and a lot more in the garden. Yes, all! They just had to enjoy the fruit and be satisfied and plant the seed which was already present in what they just ate. That seed sown would, in turn, produce more and thus extend the garden all throughout the Earth.

Jesus came to this world so he can put an end to this struggle of self-provision. And He started right where the struggle began. In a marriage. His very first miracle was at a wedding. Wine represents joy. Wine is not essential for life. But it is a luxury, it is something that is not really necessary like food or water but a delight. So when this poor couple celebrated their wedding they had some wine. But with all they could afford, soon the wine ran out. This is a picture of marriages in our world, Man and wife trying in their own efforts to enjoy the marriage, but they soon run out of joy because they don’t believe in the God who blesses them and provides for them.

…The mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” (John 2:3 Continued)

When Mary Jesus’ mother came to Him with this concern, we immediately assume that she was asking Him to perform a miracle. I don’t think so! Shocked? Stay with me, please. This will all make sense if you continue reading. It will turn out to be an even greater miracle than we know it by tradition. You are about to see the Savior’s love for us (especially in marriages) in a whole new light.

Remember, we already established that this new couple was someone close to Jesus’ family. And they were not a wealthy family by any means. This is why they simply could not have bought more wine when it ran out, and it turned out to be a crisis in the middle of the feast. Now when Mary, came to Jesus with this concern I don’t think she was expecting a supernatural miracle. She had no idea He was going to perform a miracle to give them more wine. Because there was no precedent for her to even expect such a thing from Jesus. Yes, she knew what the Angel Gabriel told her about her supernatural conception of the Son of God. She was aware of the prophecies about Jesus bringing salvation to mankind. So, she was certainly not ignorant of who He was. But she did not know how Jesus would start His ministry and most certainly was unaware of the miracles he could perform. Up until this point, He was only teaching and beginning to choose some of His disciples. He did not show any signs and wonders yet. So why then did she come to Jesus for help? She came to Jesus expecting help naturally. That is, she came to Him so He could provide some financial aid for the family to purchase more wine so they could get through the feast and save the family from humiliation before the guests. One might say, “How could Mary expect Jesus to provide for them financially, wasn’t Jesus poor too? why would he have any money?”

Now this will be a new wrinkle in a lot of people’s brains. But Jesus was not poor. On the contrary, He was wealthy. This may come as a shock to many of us who have been deceived by religion and tradition. But you may ask, “Doesn’t the Bible say Jesus was poor?” No, it never said that. This is what the Bible says. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) Bible says He “became” poor. It never said He “was” poor. There is a difference in becoming poor and being poor. No, we are not just playing word games. But doesn’t 2 Corinthians 8:9 mean that Jesus became poor by coming to this earth? No, He did not become poor at His birth, but He became poor on the cross when He received the entire mankind’s sin in His body. Until that point, The Father always was with The Son. The only time Jesus was forsaken by the Father was when he bore the punishment of our sins on the cross, that’s when He became poor. Jesus was rich when He lived among us on this earth. We will learn more about this soon in another article. Remember the wise men who came looking for Jesus when He was about 2 years old with gifts? These were not some poor way fair pilgrims carrying some keepsake antiques. Neither were they just three men as tradition tells us (This cannot be found in the Bible). They were a huge caravan looking for the new King of Jews born in Bethlehem according to the prophecies and brought with them some expensive gifts for the child Jesus. We find this in the Gospel according to Matthew chapter 2. These wise men must have quite an influence to have an audience with King Herod. Certainly, a King would not have met with some poor pilgrims. That is just one example to show that Jesus did not live a life of poverty. Now back to Mary’s request about the wine. She was hoping that Jesus would provide the wine but in natural means. She expected Him to pay for the wine.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4)

Now that is probably one of the most controversial statements Jesus made which many find it hard to understand. Because it seems like He was very hesitant to concur with his mother’s request, yet he turned around and provided the wine anyway as we will shortly see. Many scholars wrote vast commentaries to explain this away. We all heard many sermons preached about how God’s time to bless us has not yet come. Religion tells us that God is not ready yet. It tells us to wait some more. Suffer some more. Be poor some more. Be sick some more. Maybe it’s not God’s time to heal you or provide for you. And while we wait for the ‘hour’, it never comes. People are stuck because of this wrong belief and never seem to receive from God. But this is not what Jesus is saying here. Because He obviously provided for them in the very hour when they had the need. He did not tell them to wait. Jesus was talking about something totally different. Mary came to Jesus expecting him to provide wine by paying money. She was only looking at the immediate need, the lack of wine. But Jesus was looking at a much bigger need. In His heart, this was not going to be another simple wedding and the couple would continue to live in this cursed world to provide for their needs and struggle for the rest of their lives sweating and toiling. Remember Jesus came to restore the Blessing that Adam and Eve lost in the garden. He came to restore the blessing of the Lord upon marriages. He came to destroy the curse and lack in people’s lives. He came to pay the price. Not the kind of price Mary was asking Him to pay, so they could have some more wine to finish the feast. But He came to pay the price to restore the Joy of Marriage. He sure paid for that wine which he provided for them. He made a provision for them but His time to pay for the provision has not yet come. Because in Mary’s mind she expected Him to pay in silver or gold, whatever currency he had in his money bag that day. But for what Jesus had in mind for them required Him to pay a much more valuable currency than silver or gold.

In fact, this very statement He made before performing His first miracle applies to every miracle He performed. His hour (to pay the price) has not yet come. Not for the lepers that were cleansed. Not for the multitudes who were fed from just five pieces of bread and two fish. Not for the tired, worn-out and empty fishermen who caught net-breaking, boat-sinking loads of fish just by the mention of His word. In all those miracles, His hour (to pay the price) has not yet come. Yet He provided for them. Not just for them but every miracle in the old testament before Jesus ever set foot on this Earth in human flesh was provided when His people had a need. How was it possible? It was possible through faith. Faith in what? What did they believe? Sinful and unworthy people received from God, whatever they needed in the hour of their need because they believed that One day God will receive the payment from another Man. The promised Messiah, God’s only Son would come and pay the price. Jesus Indeed confirms this right before the last supper in John 13:1 that His hour (to pay the price) had then come.  Which means He was ready to exchange His riches for the sins of this world. My friend, we were bought by a currency which is a lot more valuable than silver or gold. He paid the price with HIS BLOOD. So, when Jesus said to His mother that His hour had not yet come, He was not really discouraging her or denying her request. He was simply reminding her who He was. She came to Him as her son, but Jesus changed her focus and reminded her that He was not just her son but He was “The Son“, The Messiah.

His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:5)

Mary’s focus now shifted from the natural resources of her son to the supernatural resources of the Messiah. She is now ready to draw from heaven’s provision. Now! anything is possible. So, Mary believed that Jesus would pay the price for what she needed that day. Which is why she responded in faith and told the servants to do whatever Jesus would ask of them. She knew she was about to receive a miracle. From that moment, Jesus was no longer a guest, but He became the host of that wedding. Now! It was His responsibility to provide for the feast. Now! They were ready to behold His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. (see John 1:14).

Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” (John 2:6-10)

This is the most overlooked part of this whole passage. People read it but never see the actual miracle. The water sure did turn to wine in Cana, but our understanding of this miracle is still diluted and dull.  Most Christians are so familiar with this passage and they don’t realize the awesomeness of our Lord in this miracle. Prepare for the plain waters of your understanding to be turned to joyful wine, as we analyze the Savior’s first miracle.

There are two aspects to consider in this miracle – “Quantity” and “Quality”. First the “Quantity”. Jesus did not simply fill the glasses of their guests with some wine. Which would still have been a miracle and would still have met their need. But that’s not His style. He is all about abundance. There is a prevalent false doctrine going about in the church today. They say God may meet your needs, but He won’t provide more than what you need. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, that is a lie from the devil. God is El-Shaddai the Almighty One, not El-Cheapo. Jesus picked the biggest containers that were available in that house to perform this miracle. He asked the servant to fill up the purification waterpots with water up to the brim. We see in verse 6 that there were six of these waterpots each measuring up to 20 or 30 gallons in volume. Let’s do some math now. So, when the water turned to wine, they had anywhere from 600 to 900 glasses of wine (1 gallon serves about 30 glasses) in just one of the waterpots. But there were 6 water pots. This means Jesus provided them with at least 3,600 up to 5,400 glasses of wine. I’m sure that this small wedding feast in the hill country of Cana did not need that much wine. He is the God of abundance!

Now here’s the best part, let’s talk about “Quality”. The master of the feast commented that this new and latter wine they just served was “good wine“, meaning the finest of wines of the day. Which only kings and very wealthy folk were able to enjoy. Of course, it was good wine. It came from Jesus, the real Vine. So, what does that translate into? We know how expensive fine wines could be. There are records of some of the best wines in the world that cost anywhere from $7,000 to $55,000 a glass (USD). I think what Jesus provided here was far better than these. But for the sake of wrapping our human minds around this miracle if we can, let’s just take these numbers for now. Depending on the size of the waterpots (20 or 30 gallons each according to John 2:6) and the value of some of the best wines at $7,000 to $55,000 a glass, the total value of the wine Jesus provided for this newly married Man and Wife (in today’s dollar equivalent) was worth anywhere from $25 Million to $50 Million (USD). Let that sink in for minute!!

This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. (John 2:11)

A young man and his soon to be wife in a small Jewish hill country of Cana, were deeply in love with each other. After they were betrothed, he worked hard and toiled day and night to gather up as much as he could for the new life he was about to begin with his bride. But he could only do so much in his own strength. The wedding was at hand, they invited all the guests. They prepared the feast with whatever little they had. But grief, shame, and humiliation were about to show up in this marriage long before they could even begin to experience the joy of it. This is what is happening in marriages all around us today. People are struggling because they are doing life and marriage in their own strength. But, thank God it does not have to end in that manner just as it did not end like that for this bride and groom. Thank God, somebody invited Jesus and thank God, Mary believed that Jesus was not just a guest who consumes but the Host who provides. And surely, He did provide. This wedding feast certainly ended when all the guests left the venue, but their marriage feast just began. Because there was so much of this good wine leftover, all they had to do was just sell it. They made so much money that it was enough for generations and never had to worry about their provision another day of their life. The gift Jesus gave for this Man and Wife was the same gift the first Man and Wife lost back in the garden – The Blessing! This is how Jesus began to manifest His Glory, at a wedding in Cana by turning water into wine. Praise the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ!!

“I pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal Jesus in all His Glory to every person who has read this post and that they would receive from His abundance in any area of lack or struggle in their life. Because Jesus has paid the price. Amen!”