The First Miracle
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Title: The First Miracle
Location: Cana of Galilee
Text: John 2:1-10
This morning I want to invite all of you to have a close look at Jesus' first miracle. It’s recorded in John 2:1-11. In the eleventh verse of this chapter, it says, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus.” From this, we know that this was His first miracle. We are told that He turned water into wine at a wedding in the city of Cana, in Galilee.
Most messages, based on this part of the scriptures, are mainly, and rightly so, focused on what Jesus did as a sign of His deity. That deserves much of our attention, but maybe this is not the whole story. Let’s move a little bit away from the focal point of the story to look at another person that was involved; Mary, Jesus’ mother. A glimpse of what Mary did is enough to be evidence for stating that there was a good reason for her being respected throughout church history. As a Baptist, I am not intending to get into a debate about the supernatural aspects of Mary’s life. There’s a lot to say about Mary’s character as a sensible human being. So let’s have a down to earth look at what Mary did at the wedding in Galilee.
Let’s begin our study by reading verses 1 and 2. And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the Marriage.
Many Bible teachers believe that Mary was there because she was related to the bride, the groom or to one of the family members. This is superstition, but it could be true. The Lord Jesus and His disciples were also invited. It is usually said that the event being described took place in the year AD 30, probably in late February or early March. The location is in the city of Cana, in Galilee.
In verse 3, it says, And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
I believe Mary was saying, “This is the time to perform a miracle.” This was a poor family. They just didn’t have enough refreshments to go around. It was very embarrassing for them to run out of wine. The point to be made here is this. When Mary became aware that there was a need at the wedding, she took steps to meet it. Once the need was met, it leads to a new revelation of who Jesus was, and thus the story came to its climax; and His disciples put their faith in Him. Verse 11, reads, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.”
This is Jesus first miracle. Moses first miracle was to turn water into blood. Jesus turned water into wine. Moses gave the law, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. What a contrast!
In verse 4, we read, Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? My hour is not yet come.
His hour did come. The resurrection proved that He was the Son of God and it also proved His virgin birth. That was important to Mary because I am sure that she, at some point, told the disciples and others of the events that surrounded His birth. He was virgin born, but she could not prove it, until He rose from the dead, so until that occurred she lived in a shadow of doubt. Perhaps she thought that if He performed a miracle at the wedding, it would demonstrate who He was and help clear her name.
Then in verse 5, His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
This would be good advice for you and me. We should do what Jesus has commanded us to do through the word of God. Nothing would be wrong with that.
We read in verses 6 and 7, And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water pots with water. And they were filled up to the brim.
The water pots held 20-30 gallons. They were used in ceremonial cleansing, but this was a poor family so they were probably old and chipped. They may have been pushed to the side and covered in hopes that the guests would not notice them.
As we continue with the story, Jesus directs the servants, And he saith unto them, Draw out now and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bear it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew); the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. (John 2:8-10)
Here is something wonderful. He took empty water pots and had them filled with water. As they were ladled out, a miracle took place. When they took the water and served it to the guests, it became wine. In some respects, we are like those water pots. When Jesus wants to use us He will fill us with the water of the word of God. He wants us to ladle it out. When we ladle it out, the water gets to those that it is destined for, it becomes wine, and it is changed by the power and action of the Holy Spirit. We are told, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) The Holy Spirit takes the word of God and performs a miracle in the life of an individual.
Now let’s begin to look at what Mary did.
First, she realized there was a need. How did that happen? Well, the answer is in the first verse. It says Jesus mother was there. Where? At the wedding.
This wedding is a picture of another wedding that is coming. Jesus began His ministry at this wedding and He will end it at another wedding. At the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the Church will be presented to Him as a bride.
Now notice that Mary was there among the people. There were people there from all walks of life. There were people with different levels of understanding, and of knowledge, and even different levels of spirituality. Mary was right there among those people, and so was Jesus; she had a close relationship with Him. The fact that she lived with Jesus did not prevent her being a friend of ordinary people, even the common man on the street. She didn’t isolate herself from people. She was not avoiding ordinary folk as if they had a plague. She had time to be with people and to communicate with them, just as Jesus did. She had time to listen properly and carefully to people. She was even ready to hear those people, who instead of being concerned about their souls, were concerned about being out of wine. However, she did not go with the flow. She was not a faithful adherent of the slogan, “Do in Rome as the Romans do.” She was in the world, but not of the world. She was there to serve, not to conform.
What Mary did was a picture of what a Christian should be in the world. As Christians, we have been warned, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2, KJV) Still, Christians are commanded to do good to all people. In Galatians, it says, As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10, KJV)
As imitators of Christ, we should also be healers. Then comes the question, “What does it take for us to be healers?” If we want to cure the wounds and be a friend of the brokenhearted, we have to learn the art of listening. In James, it says that everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: That is James 1:19.
There is also a second point in the story.
Mary had a firm belief in Christ. It goes without saying, that she was convinced that Jesus could do something special when nobody else was able to do anything. Deep in her heart, she knew Jesus was going to do something decisive. Mary believed that Jesus was going to perform a miracle if needed.
Remember, Mary believed in Jesus’ miracle working power, even though she had not seen any miraculous actions performed by Him. Why was she so confident? What was the reason behind this conviction? During the years, Mary had learned to trust Jesus. She had lived with Jesus for a long time, and through the years, she had learned that she can depend on Jesus and trust Him.
Once again, here is a picture of what a Christian should be. As Christians, we should be messengers of peace and hope, when there is no hope. We should proclaim, the miracle working, revolutionizing power of Christ when the bottom falls out. This is the message I want to share with you this morning. We have to be like Mary. The next time we face a need, let’s be more sensitive. Let us not put the problem on the backburner, but take practical steps to solve it. Let us be as sensitive and as generous as Jesus was. We are saved to serve. Let us come out of our comfort zones and pay attention to the poor, lonely and rejected people. Let us see them as Jesus saw them. Above all, let us not be afraid to tell others of their need for Christ.
Maybe the wine they are already drinking tastes good to them. Maybe they don’t know that there is a much better wine. Let us show them there is. We too can lead others “to taste and see that the Lord is good.” For it says in Psalms 34:8, O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.