A Sign within a Celebration


Jesus did this (changed water into wine), the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:11)

In John’s gospel, the first of Jesus’ signs is the changing of water into wine at a wedding. It is significant that he is a bit resistant (his mother has to urge him to do it). It is significant that it is at a wedding and is to enhance a celebration. It is significant that the wine is late in the celebration and people have been celebrating for a while and still, this is the best wine they have tasted. People usually save the cheap stuff for the end after everyone is a little tipsy and could care less!

Jesus does this work as a “sign.” John doesn’t have miracles and Jesus doesn’t do miracles in John’s eyes. Jesus actions are signs. Their purpose is not to amaze as an end in itself. The purpose of a sign is to point people through the action to the God who is the source of the act. In John’s gospel there are seven signs – each one adding to the ongoing message that Jesus is the one who God has sent to bring life and light into the world.

The wedding at Cana starts an amazing journey with Jesus. John’s goal is that we will celebrate with Jesus this week. Cry with Jesus when he weeps before raising Lazarus in chapter 11, and each step in between be confronted with an amazing and life-giving truth: Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God, who brings life and light to the world, and as we believe in him, we receive light and life in his name.

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