The miracle of wine from water
No one much likes it when the alcohol runs out, least of all the host. In those days, running out of wine at your wedding was more than a letdown. It was embarrassing to the point of humiliation. Some even say that the party was a reflection on the married life to come; a party that runs out of wine signifies a bitter and disappointing future.
I've come to believe that the miracle here is not so much that Jesus produced 750+ bottles of wine out of thin air, but that he produced abundance from scarcity for the sake of his friend. The real miracle is that Jesus cared what the community had to say about the bridegroom and he cared what the bridegroom thought about himself.
God cares about our reputations, both the way others talk about us and the way we think and talk about ourselves.
Jesus wasn't about to let his friend be cast as stingy, or let the party end in social humiliation. He produced wine from water so that his friend would be seen as generous.
This is the way Jesus begins his ministry in John, which goes a very long way in telling us what Jesus is doing in the fourth Gospel. Jesus is out for our personal and social redemption. In other words, he cares about our relationships with God and one another. And he cares about the relationships that we have with ourselves.
Jesus displays a tenderness and compassion for his friends that he passes on to us. He cares about the problems of ordinary, everyday people, and page by page in this Gospel, he teaches us all how to grow closer to God and one another.
He leaves the wedding and cleanses the temple, restoring the sanctity of holy places, and then talks about being born from above to the religious leader Nicodemus. He talks with a Samaritan woman and heals the son of a royal official. He heals a man who cannot walk and feeds 5,000 people, all the while giving glory to the God who makes us one.
Jesus isn't secretive in this Gospel. Straight up, he says he's come from God and that God has given him his power and exhorts us to be one. He is changing our names as we read, moving us from selfishness to unity.
Originally posted Jan. 20, 2013, at A Constant Stream of Grace. Republished with permission of the author. Find a link to Laura Holck's blog A Constant Stream of Grace at Lutheran Blogs.
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