Daily Devotional: John 2:1–12

1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Jn 2:1–12.

I don’t believe in the decline of civilization and the universe as signal for the end of all things.

Partially because I felt so scarred by apocalyptic horror stories told to me growing up, relayed to me by older people who had just finished the latest in the Left Behind series. But mostly because, throughout the Bible, it’s really difficult to reconcile that as God’s movement — to let everything just burn to a crisp and then wipe it all up.

It just isn’t God’s habit.

Everyone else in the world might try and lead with the good news before delivering the bad, but it’s certainly not the manner Jesus approaches things. He tends to pile good news on top of as much good news as possible.

Here, in his first of the seven miracles Jesus will perform in John, Jesus really comes onto the scene in earnest. And as there are no major parables in John, Jesus instead tends to act in parable throughout this gospel.

What does this first miracle, then, parabolically teach us about Jesus?

  • Jesus takes what was, on appearance, formed for the ceremonial and uses it to overflow the wine.

The ceremonial and the ritual in our lives do not have power in and of themselves, but, when by faith they’re filled to the brim, Jesus uses it to pour out the wine of his Spirit. You may think you’re “relational” and have transcended things that are “ritual” or “sacrament,” but just note — Jesus hasn’t. He’s appointed signs and symbols like this to change by faith that which seems natural and transform it into something supernatural and joyful.

Sacraments are only empty in power if we let them be.

  • Jesus tends to save the best till now

You may find yourself in your station in life having seen the greatest moves of God. May you were there in Toronto in 1994. Maybe you’ve watched the churches in China explode before your eyes. Perhaps you were there in Redding as gold fell from the sky. Maybe you’ve seen it all, done it all. You’ve drank in the deep wine of the Spirit, and sat in a drunken stupor for days, filled by the love of Jesus.

But just know, if you’re willing, Jesus will gladly bring you a new cup, so you can exclaim just like the MC of this wedding: “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now!”

You just have to be willing to bring out what feels empty and religious and let him fill it anew.

  • Jesus is the Lord of the Wine

Credit Tim Keller for this title of this last one, but just note: You only get to make a first impression once. And tothe world, Jesus makes this first impression — He will save people from shame and embarrassment and not only keep the party going, but bump the party up a few dozen notches. In a very real way, if you want a real party, invite Jesus.

And I’m not talking about the kind of party that leaves you feeling sloppy and horrible the next day. I’m talking about the kind of party where you open up some bottles of adult beverages, crowd around with your family and closest friends, and share lives, share hearts, dance shamelessly to 70’s tunes, laugh endlessly into the night, and smile as you clean it all up the next morning, still feeling gratitude at the company of good people. The Jesus who fills the empty and religious will also fill the joyful connection of humans, and just know — those are his jams. You didn’t leave Jesus behind at church to have your party — if you’re having a real one, I promise you, Jesus will be in your midst there too, making sure everybody’s cup is topped off.

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