Jesus is a Miracle Worker
There’s more to the world than what our senses detect. What is real includes what we taste, touch, smell, hear, and see. But there’s a part of us our senses don’t identify.
It’s our feelings and emotions. They are beyond the physical aspects of this world. Our emotions are non-physical. If people have two parts to them, the sensorial and the non-physical, then it doesn’t take much imagination to conceive of the whole universe including a non-physical or spiritual aspect.
When discussing miracles, the physical and spiritual aspects of life interact. God is Spirit (Jn 4:24). He’s the God of all creation (both material and spiritual) who is interacting with his creation. He requires of us to physically and emotionally respond to him. That is, we are to obey him with our behavior and to deeply love him within our spirits. Miracles are out of the ordinary divine interventions into the physical world.
Turning Water into Wine
The miracle of turning water into wine has received more criticism than almost any other event described in the New Testament (excluding the resurrection of Jesus) because it appears to be either impossible, purposeless, or an extravagant waste of divine power (Jn 2:1-11). John, Jesus’ closest friend, described this event as Jesus’ first miracle. It was the first of eight miraculous signs that, in John’s mind, identified Jesus as the unique Messiah.
Turning water into wine was not a random act of kindness. It was a deliberate, planned, and purposeful choice on Jesus’ part to inaugurate his ministry using a moment in time when people celebrate the making of a new covenant. It was a redemptive act that illustrated physically what Jesus came to do spiritually.
After Jesus left John the Baptist at the Jordan River, he gathered six new disciples, took the three-day journey to Cana for a wedding, and performed his first miracle. A close examination of John’s description of this miracle event shows that turning water into wine was not impossible for Jesus, was not without significance, and was not a flagrant display of supernatural authority.
A Jewish Wedding
A Jewish wedding often lasted a whole week. The host supplied food, drink, and shelter until the guests left. To run out of wine would have been socially disgraceful. Mary feels some responsibility for the depleted supply of wine, though John doesn’t tell us why. She had seen, at her son’s baptism by John, a manifestation of divine approval (Mt 3:16-17). Mary was excited that Jesus’ messianic ministry had finally begun. While she was facing a serious social problem at this wedding, she might have thought, “what better place for my son to show his divine qualities pubically than at a wedding celebration?”
Her faith in her son was so insightful that she believed he could supernaturally solve this problem. So, she presents the concern to him. Strangely, Jesus respectfully responds to her, but not as his mother. He doesn’t call her mother but woman. The term woman was the respectful way of addressing a female in a public setting. Jesus also used this term when addressing Mary while he hung on the cross (Jn 19:26).
Although Jesus honored his mother publicly he also distanced himself from her authority. He was no longer under her authority but was doing his heavenly Father’s will. He would no longer take directions from his beloved earthly mother (Jn 6:38).
Mary knew her son well. She was aware of his divine nature and purposes. Jesus’ mother quickly humbled herself and relinquished her concerns to her son. She placed faith in him, whom she knew had the power to instantly create wine. Trusting he would save the host from an extremely socially embarrassing situation, she tells the servants to trust in whatever Jesus tells them to do.
As a side note, this story includes a strong reason why we shouldn’t pray to Mary. Mary is not above her son, has no authority over him, and in this case, finds it inappropriate to tell him what to do. She defines her godly relationship with her son as his servant. She isn’t a mediator between other people and God. To the contrary, she displayed by example what every person must do before God.
In this story, she bows out and tells the servants to directly interact with Jesus. Mary is a godly example but not a spiritual mediator. The servants take their direction and place their faith in Jesus–not Mary. Just as Mary did, we are to humble ourselves before Christ and do whatever he tells us to do. Once Jesus’ ministry began, no one was to persuade him as to what he should or shouldn’t do, not even his mother (Peter also made this mistake. See Mt 16:23 ).
Do Whatever He Tells You to Do
Jesus directs the servants to fill six variously sized stone jars with water from a local well. They filled them to the brim with approximately 20 to 30 gallons of water and brought them back to Jesus. Next, he commands them to draw some of the water out of the pots and present it to the table-master of the wedding. This was an act of faith on their part, for the liquid in the pots was still water.
It wasn’t until they acted on faith and obeyed the command of Jesus to draw out the water that it turned into wine. The more they drew out the more wine was present. The wedding festivities and couple were saved.
The physical conversion of water into wine illustrates the primary reason Jesus was incarnated. The focus of his entire ministry and why he died is typified in this miracle. Jesus came to save. He is a Savior. Drawing out the water was a symbol of the Holy Spirit drawing a person to God. The transformation from water to wine equates with the Spirit graciously converting an individual. The servants acting in faith is what God requires of his followers.
And, the joy of the moment illustrates the joy angels in heaven experience as God by grace through faith redeems each sinner. Even those who knew nothing of the water becoming wine benefited from this miracle. It’s interesting to note that only the disciples, Mary, and the servants knew how the water turned into wine. The whole event is a typological picture of the redeeming purposes of God.
A Glimpse into the Purposes of God
Miracles in the Bible provide glimpses of the mighty purposes of God. Turning water into wine revealed Jesus’ desire to meet human needs. He will take care of us no matter what it takes–even if we need a miracle. This miracle shows the relationship between faith and obedience to Jesus’ words. It wasn’t until the servants believed in Jesus and obeyed him that the water turned into wine.
Miracles disclose to limited human minds the inexhaustible power and resources found in Christ. The wine kept flowing until the party ended. None was wasted and too much was not produced. When the guests were satisfied the water stopped transforming. The remaining water was used to purify the hands of the guests and clean party utensils, as Jewish customs demanded.
With this miracle, the disciple’s faith grew. They realized it was more than an amazing event. It was life-changing for them. It was convincing physical evidence that Jesus was the promised Messiah and that God’s spiritual kingdom had come to earth. Jesus is seen by his disciples as having the power to satisfy and save.
John Wesley was once required to pass an examination question on the topic of the miracle at Cana. He answered with this quote, “The water looked at Jesus and blushed” (I. Powell, John’s Wonderful Gospel, page 57). God invaded the physical to reveal the importance of the spiritual. Jesus came into the world to be our Savior (1 Jn 4:14).
This miracle is the first of many works Jesus did during his earthly ministry to testify to the fact that he is the world’s Savior. It made such an impact on John that he remembered and documented it so we would benefit from knowing who are Savior is.