If you love witnessing a transformation, then John 2 is for you! As Jesus initiates His public ministry, He does so by transforming water into wine, but far more importantly, transforming the way in which people are to think about how we’re made pure before God. In John 2, what we see is; the person and work of Jesus transforms His people.
The story of the water turned to wine is rich and full of cultural depth. Not all of what’s happening in the story is obvious to us. For example, to run out of wine at a wedding would have been deeply shameful for the family. The stone jars that are referenced are jars that are always ceremonially clean and are used for purification. They carry deep meaning for the Jewish people and their understanding. Items like this help us to understand the fullness of what John is trying to teach us about Jesus and His work. On Sunday, we walked through the story in detail, and then finished by drawing a handful of principles from the account. These principles are below and are meant to help us understand the transforming work of God in our lives.
1. We are Confronted with Our Issue of Shame: v.3
In verse 3, the family runs out of wine. To run out of wine during a wedding would have brought incredible shame upon the family. This is reflective of the shame that comes with our sin. Shame is the sense that we’re at odds with God. Shame exists because we have sinned. But in this account, Jesus is going to remove the shame that hangs over this family, instead bringing with it a new hope in Him.
2. We Trust the Timing of God: v.4
Jesus references that “His hour has not yet come.” This is a reference that He will use many times in John and it’s connected to His death on the cross. In this vein of God’s transforming power, we can trust God’s timing; more specifically, God’s perfect timing. The timing of God to change hearts and minds, a situation or circumstance, and even us is always right on time. We can trust God’s timing in His work.
3. We Learn the Wisdom of Obeying Jesus: v.5; 7-8
Jesus’ mom gives the servants instructions to obey her son. The servants do just that. But what would have happened if they hadn’t obeyed? There would have been less water in the jars, and possibly no wine. While part of this question can only be speculated about in response, what we know they would have missed was the personal revelation of Jesus to them and His miraculous work. Have you ever wondered about what you miss when you choose disobedience? Often we think about sin and rebellion, but admittedly, I don’t often think about what else I would be missing. Yet these servants show to us that there is wisdom in obeying Jesus. Will you obey Jesus in all things today?
4. We Celebrate Our Purification in Jesus: v.6-8
This seems to be the emphasis of the account. These stone jars that seem so innocuous help us to understand what Jesus is doing in this moment. These jars, tied to ritual purity and ceremonial cleanness are transformed to be vessels of celebration. There are two critical aspects that Jesus is doing here. One, he is transforming the meaning and understanding of how people are made pure. Instead of ritual and washing, Jesus is introducing us to a new purification; namely His finished work on the cross. Two, given that, our response is to be one of celebration! Do we celebrate what God has done? Are we quick to joyously appreciate and delight in the finished work of Jesus? This is what Jesus is pointing us toward in this moment.
5. We Await the Arrival of the True Bridegroom: v.9-11
In the final verses, we see the bridegroom in the narrative come into view. While he is the one that everyone has come to honor and celebrate, by the end of the narrative, all honor and celebration is bestowed upon Jesus. Further, John will go on to tell us that Jesus is the true Bridegroom. He is the one that we await! Let us await the arrival of the true bridegroom, celebrating His purification of us!