There’s always something significant and indicative about how an enterprise begins, and the miracle of the water turned to wine in the wedding at Cana was the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus. So then, not only had the Bible begun with the “wedding” of Adam and Eve so to speak, and not only will it end in the wedding feast of the Lamb and His Bride the Church at Christ’s return, we have sandwiched in between the ministry of ministries beginning also at a wedding recorded in the second chapter of the Gospel of John which like the other gospels was originally titled “According To” John. The mother of Jesus approaches her son to inform him and his disciples, guests at the wedding, that the bride and groom and the master of the feast have run out of wine. This was a huge social embarrassment and not to be lightly dismissed or forgotten by the guests or the community in those days. Still Jesus responds, “Woman” (a better rendering is “Dear Woman” which conveys his affection and respect for his mother) what has that to do with me (or “us”) my hour has not yet come.” Maybe not, but his “minute” had come, or his hour was only minutes away, if we look at what followed. Mary though is not put off by this response but instead prepares the servants for her son’s instructions. She must have been reading more than her son’s words, which psychologists tell us anyway is only about 15% of communication. She knew her son, she knew his facial expressions, and his tones of voice and his body language. After Jesus tells the servants to fill the customary water jugs to the brim, he directs them to carry a sample of the contents to the master of the feast to taste. This in itself required faith on the part of the servants because they could have lost their jobs or positions over bringing mere water for sampling in an urgent situation like that! They trusted and respected Jesus to stick their necks out in that way. What happened then was that the water "blushed" as poet Alexander Pope put it. After tasting the water turned to wine, the master of the feast is so impressed he wants to know why the bridegroom has waited until last to serve the best wine. The customary practice was to serve the best wine first while the guests were discerning enough to appreciate it, and then bring out the cheaper wine when few would know the difference, their senses having been sufficiently dulled by then. This shows us more of our Lord’s way of operating. He saves some of the best surprises until late, encouraging us to remain alert and expectant. In fact the new wine of the Holy Spirit is the opposite of natural wine no matter how expensive or of what quality. Remember the observers at Pentecost at the beginning of the Book of Acts claiming that the assembled believers must have been drunk with “cheap wine” according to one translation. They were implying that there were different kinds of intoxication, a vulgar kind and a more refined kind depending on the person’s station in life and what exactly they were imbibing. But the point I am making is that the new wine of the Holy Spirit age actually SHARPENS the senses and makes us more alert and aware, and more sensitive to the Presence of God. Jesus dispenses his highest quality spiritual wine into our lives often when we least expect it, often late in the feast of life, often toward its conclusion, and in the culmination of the age(s) both individually for us as believers, and collectively for us as a church. He is the bridegroom who saves the best for last, as if to say, “You haven’t seen anything yet, here, try THIS!”
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