John 2: 1-11
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’
‘Woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My hour has not yet come.’
His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from eighty to a hundred and twenty litres.
Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realise where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 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.’
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.
How do you feel about weddings? Some people love them and some can’t stand them. I enjoy them now, but I never used to. Because I didn’t get married until I was 34, I was one of the last of my group of friends to get married and so I generally ended up going to weddings alone and being put at the notorious 'singles table'. That mixed group of people who just didn't fit at any other table with all the couples. You end up spending hours beside people you’ve never met, trying to make polite conversation. Sometimes it’s fun, but other times it can be really hard going.
In Jesus’ day weddings were an even bigger deal than they are today. We think a wedding is a long day, in Jesus time they could last between 3 days and a week. The bride and groom would get married and then instead of heading off to Cancun on Honeymoon, the entire town would all come round and join them for days of non-stop celebrations. Weddings could be pretty wild parties in Jesus day. Nowhere near as civilised as ours today.
So there’s this wedding taking place at Cana, that was a small town about ten miles from where Jesus lived in Nazareth. During the course of the celebrations, a disaster occurs - the wine runs out. This was not good at all. Maybe they had more guests than they anticipated, perhaps they were a poor family and thought they could get away with not buying too much.
In Jewish culture to run out of wine at a wedding was a huge embarrassment. Guests could actually sue the grooms family if they ran out of wine. That’s how big a deal this was. It brought a huge amount of shame and embarrassment and a social stigma. It dishonoured the guests.
When the wine runs out, Mary comes to Jesus and tells him what has happened. Perhaps she has helped organise the wedding, maybe it was a close relative, but before everyone else finds out, she notices what has happened and comes and tells Jesus about the problem.
When things go wrong for you, what’s your first response? When you make a mess of things, when it all falls apart, when you are stressed and anxious and don’t know which way to turn, what’s your immediate response? Do you bring your problem to Jesus or try to sort it out elsewhere?
We read this:
“Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.” (vv 6-7)
Yesterday we started thinking about the principle of capacity and how the limitation in our lives is never on God's capacity to give, but it can often be on our capacity to receive. He is able to do more than we ask or imagine. However, have we created capacity, space, room for Him to do whatever He wants in our lives?
In this story, what was the capacity placed before Jesus? Six stone water jars filled to the brim with water. They were at their maximum capacity.
How much wine did Jesus make? Six stone jars full. If they would have had 20 stone water jars, I believe all 20 would have been filled with new wine. Whatever capacity they brought Him, that’s how much he was able to transform. The limitation was never on Jesus' capacity to change water into wine. Plus, note that it wasn't just the quantity that was great, the quality was exceptional.
We'll look at two more examples of this capacity principle tomorrow, but for now, simply think about this: God’s provision and power in my life is not determined by his capacity to give but it can be limited by my capacity to receive.
How can I intentionally create room/space for God to work in my life today?