A different kind of miracle
No one could accuse Jesus, of promoting a depressing, dreary, unemotional, boring religion – quite the opposite. Because wherever Jesus went, He brought life to those He met (John 10:10). For example, He demonstrated God’s loving grace and how Christians should live (John 15.11). He brought with Him a different kind of peace and a message of hope (John 14:27).
In John 2.1-11, we read about an event that shows God is doing something new and exhilarating as the glorious divinity of Jesus is revealed. Consider how this water into wine miracle is not like other miracles Jesus performed, such as healing.
In his gospel, John wisely presents much of Jesus ministry through symbolism. So, when we consider this water into wine miracle in closer detail, we find various deeper prophetic revelations. Here are a few examples: Jesus showed up at the wedding on the 3rd day of celebrations. He died in the 3rd year of his ministry. And He rose from the grave on the 3rd day. Three is a significant number in the Bible, as it represents the completeness of God in the Trinity.
Then there’s the provision of the wine, which was the responsibility of the bridegroom. Throughout Scripture, Jesus is illustrated as the Bridegroom coming for His bride, which represents His second coming, returning for His true Church. Jesus’ teaching is clear about the new wine, which we find out more about in Luke 5.33-39. The new wine denotes God’s new covenant through Jesus. New wine, the new covenant, must be poured into new wine skins. Jesus is highlighting the Good News of the Gospel, the new life and anointing of God, can’t simply be poured into the old wine skin, which speaks of the old structures and endeavours of holding onto religious, man-made practices or personal preferences. This is a new thing God is doing, and this water into wine miracle goes a long way to establish this.
Another example of this deeper, prophetic message is found in the 6 water pots, which are significant. In the Bible, the number 6 is used prophetically to refer to the imperfection of humanity. These 6 pots were used to hold the water for the Jewish ritual cleansing, as set out by Jewish law, so, by filling the pots to the brim, Jesus is stating this era of the law was now fulfilled.
However, the pots are then filled with the best wine, which symbolically refers to the new covenant through Jesus’ blood, revealing God’s sacrificial plan to perfect the imperfections. With the new wine filling the pots, Jesus is stating that the old was passing away, being replaced with the new, better way through Jesus sacrifice. This heralds the message of God’s Grace: as God the law-giver, becomes God the Father. God the judge, becomes God the lover of human souls.
Significantly, this water into wine sign, points us to Jesus final sign: the shedding of His blood, by which he restores us to right relationship with God. Jesus taking water, the substance of life, and transforming it into wine, represents the celebratory freedom and abundance of life found in Jesus Christ.
We humans all have the ability to perform ordinary, normal activities. But with God, these can be supernaturally transformed into something wonderful. So, just as man filled the pots with water (the ordinary), it was Jesus who transformed the water to wine (the extraordinary).
Signs, like this water into wine miracle, help us find our way and can be helpful, but we greatly miss the point, if we don’t focus on what the sign points to. Thinking back to the miracles performed by God through Moses, the first sign given to Pharoah in Egypt was the turning of water into blood (Exodus 7.20). Then here, near the beginning of Christ’s ministry was this sign of the water turned into wine. Pharoah refused to set the Israelites free, but God offers freedom through Jesus. This shows the stark contrast between the Law and Grace, the Old and the New Covenants. It is made clear, what could not be accomplished by the law, would be accomplished by Jesus’ sacrifice.
Remember, Jesus could live anywhere in the universe, and yet he has chosen your heart. This is His offer to you however, the dignity of choice remains eternally yours.
Heavenly Father, may lives may be transformed, needs be met, and justice prevail as we thank you for the signs in your Word that point us to your grace, and lead us to new life with freedom in Jesus Christ. You have given us reason to rejoice, as we experience your loving kindness, expressed in and through Your Son, amen.