Water to wine

Our church is studying the Gospel of John for the next few months. This past Sunday I taught on the second chapter of the gospel. Not a dull chapter at all. Jesus launches his public ministry by resurrecting a dead wedding reception. The groom was facing serious social embarrassment when the wine ran out; it was his responsibility to make sure everyone had food and wine. Since weddings were entire-town affairs and lasted seven days, hundreds of people were standing around waiting for a new “keg” to be rolled in. Jesus turns a couple of twenty-gallon jugs of water into wine.

Cool story, for sure. But what does it really mean? Jesus condones the use of alcohol? Jesus felt sorry for the poor groom? Jesus wanted to show off his miraculous powers?

Actually, none of these are right. Jesus is here asserting his Messiahship. He is claiming to be the long-awaiting Savior who ushers in the new Kingdom of God. Old Testament writings claimed that at the coming of the final kingdom there would be an abundance of wine. And most of the people at the wedding reception would have known this. The hope of a Messiah was deeply embedded in Jewish culture; the people lived with an anticipation and expectancy for this promised King.

This kingdom is often described as a wedding banquet. So, the message of the wine is that the messianic age has started. God is unveiling his new plan for the salvation of his lost people…and the plan is Jesus. 

So what do you think? What else might this sign reveal? How do you interpret it?

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