When I read the Gospels, I sometimes find myself surprised by what Jesus does or says in a particular situation. Jesus does what we don’t expect Him to do, and sometimes what we don’t want Him to do. Sometimes He makes us uncomfortable because He breaks the mold we have tried to force Him in. Let’s look at three of these instances.

The first unexpected event has to do with the first miracle Jesus does to begin His public ministry – turning water to wine. He has just called his first disciples (some of the twelve), and they along with Jesus’ mother Mary and His brothers went to a wedding in Cana.

We need to understand that weddings in the culture Jesus is in are very different than what we have in our U.S.A. culture today. On the wedding day, the bride would put on a wedding dress, jewelry and a veil. Her bridesmaids would be with her in her parents house. The groom with his friends and musicians would go to the bride’s house and receive her from her parents. The bride and groom, and all their family and friends would go back to the groom’s house for a wedding feast. That evening after the feast the bride and groom would be taken to their bedroom. The next day the festivities would resume and last for one to two weeks. The honeymoon is at the house and the whole community is invited for a huge party.

In this instance the wedding party has a big problem. The wine has run out.  Jesus’ mother comes to Jesus and tells him about the problem. Jesus is not quick to answer her request for help because He has not yet started His public ministry. Mary tells the servants at the party to do whatever Jesus asks them to do. Jesus tells them to fill up the 6 water pots (20-30 gallons each) with water. When they do Jesus tells them to take some of it to the master of ceremonies. The master of ceremonies receives the cup and an unexpected surprise. It is high quality wine. The M.C. pulls the groom aside and says, “Everybody sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are intoxicated, the inferior, but you have kept the fine wine until now!” (John 2:10).

To me it is unexpected that Jesus would make 120-180 gallons of fine wine for a party. If Jesus were to do that at a party today many of us would say, “Jesus please stop…you are going to enable all these people to sin by getting drunk.” A common arguement is that Jesus wouldn’t turn water to wine today and that no Christian should drink anything because of the culture of alcoholism we have. However, were there not people getting drunk at parties in Jesus’ day? Were the Romans who occupied Israel at the time T-Totallers? The M.C. in John chapter 2, history, and common sense has those answers.

At the same time there are others who will just as wrongly argue that since Jesus made all this water into wine it is okay to indulge yourself in it….that it is okay to get a little tipsy…that it is okay to get your buzz on…that it’s even okay to get a little drunk now and then. That’s just plain foolishness. Jesus doesn’t give us license for anything to excess…not food, drink, sleep, work, or play. Moderation is key.

So why did Jesus turn the water to wine?

  • to display His glory so His disciples would believe in Him (John 2:11).
  • to bring joy to life
  • to honor the request of His mother

Big Time Lessons:

1. The last words recorded of Jesus’ mother Mary, Do whatever He tells you,” should be listened to by all of us.

2. Note that Jesus asks the helpers at the wedding to fill up the water pots. He asks us to do what He has enabled us to do, and He takes care of the rest. There are many things in life that are beyond our abilities. We can simply ask for help in the Name of Jesus, yet there are many things that through His strength we can do.

Are you answering Jesus’ call and following Him?