Scripture: John 2:1-12
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days.
Jesus performs seven signs throughout the first half of John’s Gospel. These signs are unique to John, and they are present in order to reveal the true nature and person of Jesus. The wedding feast in Cana provides the setting for the first. I could spend way too much time discussing what all is happening symbolically in this story. Instead, though, I’m going to focus on one, and leave a link to a more lengthy commentary at the bottom of the page for those who would like more context and insight.
Christ’s turning water into wine has always been one of my favorite miracle stories. Not only do we get to witness great divine power, but we also get to know a Jesus who’s alright with keeping a good party going. While I was in seminary, I had friends jokingly ask me all the time if I’d learned to do this yet. A person who can instantaneously turn 180 gallons of water into wine would be quite popular. However, despite the jovial mood this story can kindle, one thing about it has always bothered me. I’m disturbed by the divine hesitation. If Christ is capable of abundance, which the volume of wine illustrates, then why is he hesitant to meet the need? I wish I could offer a good answer to that. I could say it wasn’t time for him to reveal himself or maybe he didn’t want an already drunk crowd even more intoxicated. However, I haven’t found an answer that truly satisfies the “why” of Jesus’ hesitation to solve this problem and the greater problems of the world. But what I do know for certain is that Christians often display such a divine hesitation when we shouldn’t. No doubt Christians act in selfless, heroic ways. Some go to West Africa to treat people with Ebola only to come home in need of treatment for Ebola. Yet, in much of my experience, we become too easily overtaken by a sense of divine hesitation. We let our Godly and righteous standing become an excuse for defensiveness rather than an inspiration for proactive compassion. This type of hesitation is a sign that we as Christians have settled for the comfort of “right now” instead of working towards the “not yet” of Christ’s plan of redemption and reconciliation. My question is this: Where can we hesitate less and act more in our communities?
Lord of love, inspire me to be a doer of your word every day of my life. Where I hesitate, give me strength and give me courage. Amen.
Thought for the Day:
Don’t hesitate to be kind, to spread joy, and to love others.
Here’s a link to that commentary if you’d like even more to read: http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=1917