Water into wine and the glory of Christ. Studying John 2:11

In a previous post, I covered the story in John 2 of Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding feast. In this post, I’ll look at the conclusion at that story which discusses the significance of that event. 

“This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” 

Jesus manifested his glory. He displayed his glory. 

In this passage, John uses the word sign instead of miracle. A sign is miraculous but it’s also meant to point to a greater meaning and purpose for why it’s being done. The Gospel of John actually records fewer miracles than any of the other gospels. For the most part, the signs in John’s gospel escalate in magnitude throughout this book. 

He starts with turning water into wine. It escalates to healing people. That escalates to Jesus feeding multitudes and calming storms. The last miracle which Jesus does before his crucifixion is when he raises Lazarus from the dead in chapter 11. 

But this is the first sign. 

Something else that’s important to understand. I keep talking about different things that Mary, or John the Baptist, or the disciples probably would not have understood at the time. I talk about the theological significance of this event in beginning to show Jesus as a replacement of the Old covenant, of the Mosaic Covenant but the disciples who witnessed this miracle likely would not have understood that. 

I don’t want to make it seem as though this event would have been insignificant to the disciples.

The text tells us that this sign manifested the glory of Christ to his disciples. This was a game changer. In seeing Jesus do this, it led the disciples to belief in him. So two major things happen in connection with this sign. We see it as a sign pointing to Jesus’ work of replacing the Old Covenant with a New Covenant, and it was a display of his glory. 

Both of those are important. 

For the disciples, it would have been far more impressive to them to have been there, and saw the water, and tasted the wine, than it is to us to read about it. It was an amazing thing that Jesus did. 

It was a glorious display of Jesus’ power. 

Obviously mere human language doesn’t convey how truly glorious and awe inspiring these scenes would have to be. 

Jesus’ entire ministry points us to his goodness and character, to his divinity and dominion. That he is God on earth, and that he is the Lord who takes away the penalty of our sins.

The glory of Jesus Christ is an idea that we can take for granted. We just attach it to him. “Yes he’s glorious.” But how often do you sit down and think about that? 

What does that word “glory” mean? To our ears, it’s a churchy word. Glory, glorious.

The Hebrew word for glory is כָּבוֹד. Which conveys a sense of weight or heaviness, as well as importance. You don’t just casually look at God’s glory and think “oh that’s nice.” 

It is meant to overwhelm. To cast fear into your heart at this powerful and glorious God. To realize how unworthy we are. And he makes us worthy, he gives us grace. And why? For his own glory. 

 Quoting from Psalm 29:3-4:

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;

the God of glory thunders,

the Lord, over many waters.

4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;

the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

Are you living to bring God glory? To enjoy him? To find your identity in him? 

Jesus revealed his glory. Turning water into wine might not even seem all that impressive compared to the other things that he did during his ministry. But that shows just how glorious the Lord is. Doing so many things throughout the gospels that such an incredible miracle could seem almost underwhelming by the end of his ministry. 

But it wasn’t underwhelming because it was because of this that the disciples believed in Jesus. The mighty work of Christ. 

His signs show the glory of Christ. They show why he is to be worshiped. They show that he is worthy of honor, that he is to be believed.

Jesus turned water into wine. He changed the molecules of water and made them a different substance. 

His miracles authenticate his identity. And the culmination is his death and resurrection. And because that happened, because his other miracles and signs happened, because he shows his power over all of life, our only acceptable response is to come to him in worship. To realize his greatness. To realize that he is Lord. To bow down before him. To trust in him and his word because of his power.

The Lord is glorious beyond comprehension.

And Jesus shows us that in creation. He shows that in his holiness. He shows that in his gospel. Jesus shows that in his ministry and in his power. We see the glory of God in the mighty works that he does.  

The first miracle John records of Jesus points us to his glory. It points us to his wonder. And it points us to his hour, the hour of his death when he took the penalty of our sins for us. We, who are not holy, who are not glorious, were made holy by the glorious Lord who took our unholiness and ingloriousness upon himself. And what was his sign? 

Turning water to wine. 

Jesus turns water into wine. At the Last Supper, on the night before his death, Jesus takes wine and calls it the blood of the new covenant. The next day, he was crucified and it was his literal blood that was shed for sin. 

He provided the wine for the wedding.  The wedding is significant. In Revelation 19, as the book of winds down, it talks of another wedding feast, a greater wedding feast, the marriage supper of the lamb. And at that wedding, Jesus is the groom. In our passage today, Jesus saves the wedding, but it points to the greater wedding feast and our attendance has been secured because Jesus saved humanity. 

And it is because of the blood of that lamb, of Jesus, that he is able to sustain the great wedding feast. The groom supplies the wedding. And Jesus as the groom has provided. And that was given to you at the moment you placed your trust in him.

That his death became your death for you because of his glory. And that no matter what you’ve done, you can be forgiven. Because God is overwhelmingly glorious.

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