Jesus ‘ first miracle is well-known – the turning of water into wine at a wedding in Cana [John 2:1-12]. Recently, in reading this passage again, I noticed the roles others played at this wedding, how they partnered with Him in the making of this miracle. It’s like Jesus being the head chef, and the meal being the miracle. Jesus knows the recipe and has perfected it. He has kitchen staff who share His heart’s passion, and who help to prepare the meals. He teaches them the things He knows and when they follow His instructions, the perfect meal is made, a miracle.
The ingredients of a miracle I found in John 2:1-12 are:
- Watching for opportunity
Note: Miracles are not a product of what we do, but occur because of who God is. It is our privilege, and a gift from God that we can partner with Him in this. Our partnership with God is born from love.
TEXT (JOHN 2:1-12)
2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”
4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 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. 10 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!”
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.
WATCHING FOR OPPORTUNITY
“2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.””
A couple of points from verse 2-3:
- Mary, Jesus and the disciples were present at the wedding
- Mary noticed when the host ran out of wine
- Mary went to Jesus about the situation
Colossians 4:5-6 and Ephesians 5:15-17 give instruction to walk in wisdom in order to redeem the time (NKJV) or make the most of every opportunity (NIV). They go on to explain that this is a witness for God, but that we must understand His will in order to witness, in order to walk wisely and make the most of every opportunity.
[Colossians 4:5-6] – “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, (make the most of every opportunity) redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”
[Ephesians 5:15-17] – “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, (make the most of every opportunity) redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
An opportunity may arise wherever we are – at home, at church, at work, overseas, anywhere! And, we know that Jesus is always with us, wherever we are [Psalm 139:7-12]. So, what do we do once we see an opportunity? We actively take hold of it, and this action starts by going to Jesus. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of time, of understanding, and of every situation – the introduction and the conclusion, the question and the answer. When two blind men came to Jesus, crying out for mercy, He asked them “What do you want me to do for you?” [Matthew 20:29-34] They said to him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened,” and Jesus did so, not only physically, but spiritually. We need to go to Jesus and acknowledge our situation, or an opportunity in order to see His work done.
Summary: Watching for Opportunity
1. Be present
- Know that opportunities can occur wherever you are in life physically and spiritually.
2. Be aware
- Look for an opportunity to “let Jesus in”, an opportunity for His gospel to be shared.
3. Go to Jesus
- Acknowledge His headship and speak directly with Him. Tell Him what you see, or recognise – it is His revelation.
“4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.””
Doesn’t seem very encouraging, does it? Mary points out a need, and Jesus seems to say, “Well, not my responsibility.” Really? Actually, Jesus asks, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me?” Mary’s answer as she tells the servants to listen and obey Jesus, is faith. She says with her actions, “I saw an opportunity, and I have faith that you will fulfil it.” How could she be sure? Mary understood God’s will. She was not thrown off my Jesus’ words, even His saying that His hour had not come yet. Mary knew God wanted to do something with this opportunity and she demonstrated faith in this moment. [Hebrews 11:1] – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Matthew 15:21-28 tells another story of a gentile woman who demonstrates great faith. There are so many stories of faith recorded in the Bible, and this is just one. This woman had a severely demon-possessed daughter and on seeing Jesus, pursued him. She persisted in asking for mercy though the disciples tried to send her away, and Jesus himself said to her, “It is not good to take the children’s breath and throw it to the little dogs.” She could have been discouraged, or offended, but this woman, in humility and in faith declared knowledge of God’s heart – “…yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” She knew God’s mercy and healing was extended to all, not just Jews. Because of her faith, the miracle occurred – her daughter was healed. Jesus says in verse 28, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.”
In contrast to what happened when Mary and the gentile woman demonstrated faith, Matthew 13:53-57 recounts how Nazareth, Jesus’ hometown rejected him. Verse 58 says, “Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” If we want to partner with Jesus in bringing forth miracles, we must have faith.
OBEDIENCE AND BELIEF
“6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it.”
I grouped obedience and belief together because you won’t obey unless you believe. Imagine being one of these servants, knowingly putting water into a vessel, taking it out, serving it to the master of the feast, a person in authority, then seeing his face glow with delight as he declares the wine better than all those previously served. The master of the feast was in charge of food and drink at the wedding. The bridegroom was responsible for supplies, and Mary, Jesus’ mother, may have been helping with the feast but the master of the feast was the man in charge of getting guests fed and watered (or wined). As a servant bringing a tasting of wine to be served to guests, you would hope the liquid you offered to taste was indeed wine. Perhaps, as supplies ran low, poorer quality, or watered down wine might be offered to guests. To completely run out of wine, and offer only water instead, however, would be a great embarrassment to the host, the bridegroom. Would you willingly draw out water to run past the master of the feast if you didn’t believe Jesus was true?
These servants displayed a complete obedience to Jesus’ word. He said “Fill the waterpots with water,” and they filled them with water – not just with some water, but to the brim. The pots were filled as filled can be and this was no small effort. Each waterpot was twenty to thirty gallons in volume – that’s about 76 – 113 litres per pot, and there were six of them. There was no magic wand, hand movements, booming voice or extravagant show, but Jesus simply said, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” Without question, they took it. Without the obedience of these servants, the miracle would not have been received. These servants, in their willingness to obey and serve, became envoys of Jesus’ first miracle.
[Isaiah 52:7] – “How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!””
Jesus is looking for people with a servant heart who will obey His word. They will be His messengers, sent into the world to testify of who He is and of His coming. They will be given authority by His spirit to bring forth miracles as Christ prepares them.
[John 14:12] – “Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”
PURPOSE OF THE MIRACLE
“9 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. 10 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!” 11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.””
This miracle was not just about saving the host of the wedding from humiliation, but it pointed towards Jesus. Even today, miracles are not just meant for our own gain, but they are also for the glory of God. [Colossians 1:16] – “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.” Miracles are no different. They occur through Jesus, and they are FOR Him. John 2:11 says, “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” The fruit of this miracle was glory given to Jesus and the growing of belief in the hearts of His disciples.
How did this miracle point to Jesus? Apart from His turning water into wine, a miraculous sign to confirm His gospel and authenticate His person, the way in which Jesus executed this miracle pre-empted His salvation.
1. The waterpots of stone, for purification of the Jews
- These were water-filled vessels used in ceremonial cleansing. The Jews would just water from these pots to wash their hands, cups, plates and other utensils before meals as directed by Mosaic law [Mark 7:3-4].
- Washing with water in the Mosaic law also applied to purifying oneself before entering the tabernacle [Exodus 30:17-21], purification for bodily discharge [Leviticus 15], and as a symbol of innocence [Deuteronomy 21:6-7].
- Christ poured out His soul unto death and conquered it so that the abundance of His life and His holiness would overflow to us, to cleanse us in His righteousness before God forever. When we accept Christ, we are filled to overflowing with His Spirit and we too, are given authority to offer cleansing to others through our sharing the gospel and the testimony of Jesus.
[Isaiah 53:12] – “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
2. Delivery of the new wine to the master of the feast
- As discussed earlier, this was the man in charge of organising service of food and drinks to the guests.
- At the wedding of the Lamb, there will be food and drink to satisfy in abundance – all of this free because of the grace of God,
[Isaiah 55:3] – “Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you – the sure mercies of David.”
3. The declaration of a wine better than those previously served
- This was in the context of every other bridegroom putting out the best wine first, and leaving the inferior wine for later, when guests were no longer fully alert, but their senses dulled with drink.
- In contrast, Jesus’ wine, His love and new covenant, are better than the old. It is not just presented when we are in our strength, but is made available to all, even those who are asleep. However, we must be transformed in spirit in in truth if we are to understand His new covenant.
[Matthew 9:17] – “Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
So, if you combine all these “ingredients” together – opportunity, faith, obedience and belief – will a miracle always be made? Yes, a miracle of faith will be born, but an actual miracle of healing, financial break-through, or relationship restoration may not necessarily occur immediately. Why? It’s not our will, but God’s, not our timing, but His. Remember, the head chef is the one creating the miracles, deciding when and where they are served. He knows the best timing, and he has the best plan to get everyone fed with their miracle before shop closes. Revelation 21:4 says, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” In that day, complete justice and complete love will reign and all things will be brought to light. Miracles like one’s healing, or being brought back from the dead will pale in comparison to the wonder and power of the Almighty God, rich in love and rich in mercy. The most important miracle is one that points us towards Him day after day, year after year for all eternity – it is the miracle of faith, through grace, His gift to us [Ephesians 2:8].