ATP Blog #12 The Guest
Have you ever invited a guest to your place, not expecting much, only to have them make a significant contribution? Imagine: the party starts at 7:00 pm. Twenty people are invited from various areas of your life to help you celebrate, some closer to you than others. You have all the supplies set, including food, drinks, and activities. John 2:1-12 describes an interesting event in the life of the one who was declared as the Lamb of God.
Setting “On the third day” describes the timing of the event. Jesus had been declared the Lamb of God by John the Baptist on the South side of the Sea of Galilee, where the Jordan River flowed out towards the Dead Sea. He had then worked His way along the shore towards Bethsaida, a city on the North side of the Sea, where He would encounter some gentlemen that would become His disciples. Now with at least four disciples, Jesus was invited to meet His mom at a wedding in Cana, not far from His hometown of Nazareth. “Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.” Up to this point, Jesus had been a quiet carpenter, and had done no miracles (verse 11), so the invitation was a mere courtesy as someone who probably knew the bride and groom.
Problem “When they ran out of wine.” Wedding celebrations in Israel took 7 days, and you dare not run out of supplies. So, the fact that this wedding ran out of wine was an embarrassment to the person in charge of preparations. It is interesting that Mary, mother of Jesus, would then approach Jesus about the problem. She was not likely responsible for any part of the wedding. It would seem that she had been looking forward to this day for 30 years, when her son would be revealed as the Son of God, and not just the son of a carpenter. Likely being a widow at this time, Mary would have been used to relying on her eldest son for many things. Also, remembering the miraculous events of His birth, Mary would be eager to have Jesus revealed as the long-awaited Messiah.
Sign By calling His mother ‘Woman’ Jesus was not being rude, but was distancing Himself from her, signalling a new relationship as her Messiah rather than her son. “What does your concern have to do with Me?” Jesus asks. He would not be revealing His mission in the way that the people of Israel thought He should, including His mother. Yet, Jesus submitted to His mother’s wishes, helping the servers at the wedding. They filled the six waterpots used for purification (v6), at 25ish gallons apiece, totalling 150 gallons of fresh ‘wine’ for the feast! Jesus and the servants kept things quiet, not letting the master of the feast know where this amazing new wine came from.
Purpose “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” Throughout the gospel of John, we see that the miracles Jesus did were for the dual purpose of helping people, and as a sign of who He is. The only ones who would really benefit from the sign in this case seems to have been His new disciples. No one else understood, even though everyone probably knew Jesus, at least as a carpenter.
Difference-Maker Even when Jesus is not the guest of honour, His presence and actions make a lasting impact. That couple for whom the party was thrown would never forget what had happened. Later in Revelation (3:20), Jesus calls to you desiring to be a guest at your house. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” I challenge you to open the door and invite Him in. Jesus is a guest that makes a lasting impression.