Friday of Epiphany 2 – John 2:1-11

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

The young woman walked into church on her father’s arm, her smile was radiant. A young man stood in the front of church with an array of their friends on either side of him. They were not Hollywood beautiful, but they were really beautiful, beautiful in the sense of being real people who were about to be married. I have witnessed this scene more than most folks. I am a pastor and my own and my wife’s families are quite large. I have gone to a lot of weddings.

Jesus delights in the joy of the bride and groom in the reading this day. He loves the proud parents, celebrating parties, and the honeymoon too. This is the first miracle which John records for us. He calls it a sign which revealed Jesus’ glory. But unlike many of Jesus’ miracles, the object of the miracle is not so clear. Opening the eyes of a blind man, cleansing a leper, etc., has a clear object who benefits from the miracle, the person healed. But who benefits here? Which problem is solved? Jesus keeps a family from embarrassment and lets the party continue. He doesn’t want this couple, decades later, to have their wedding still remembered as the one in which they ran out of wine.

Embarrassment is not fatal. It is not even a terrible problem, in a rational scale of problems’ severity. But Jesus brings his abundance. John notes how large the water jars are. They hold 20-30 gallons. Jesus makes between 120 and 180 gallons of wine. My friend in the catering business says this would serve about a 1,000 people at a wedding reception today. Jesus provides, over what had already been served, some serious joy to this wedding.

Jesus cares about your joy too. John wrote in another place that “your joy will be complete” (Jn 15:11) and Jesus makes a little detour into the source of that joy in Jn. 16:20-24. There are many who would rob you of joy today, sometimes it is our own sinful self. Jesus is working for your joy today.  

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