So, in Part 1, we looked at the backdrop for the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. There were those who knew who He was and loved Him. There were those who were beginning to understand who He was and followed Him. There were those who sensed who He was and hated Him. Without knowing what you know now, where would you have aligned yourself…?
To continue in chapter two, verse one, “on the third day,” Jesus and His disciples were attending a wedding. Does the phrase, “on the third day” sound remotely familiar to any of you? This day was the beginning of a whole new chapter in Jesus life! This was the start of miracles and blessing and the love of the Father poured out on His creation. This day was unlike any other. This day held a special eternal flavor! It was the public and tangible manifestation of the Godhead housed in human form… the visible, miraculous outpouring of God’s love and mercy and grace on humanity! God wanted His creation whole and blessed and in rich, intimate relationship with Him!
This day was also the foreshadowing of another life-giving… and eternal… “third-day” experience. On that future day, Jesus would become the first fruits of the grave… the only One to conquer death and Hell and restore all that sin had stolen from God, the Father, and His created beings! On that “third day,” Jesus would be raised, incorruptible… never again to suffer death! His death, as the ultimate sacrificial Lamb, superseded the sin offerings of the past. The first, the Law and its inefficiencies, became last. The Last… Jesus and His perfect sacrifice… became First. His resurrection made death a thing of the past. Jesus overcame all that kept mankind from God! It, too, was the beginning of a new chapter in Jesus’ life… His return to His life before flesh… His return to the “right-hand” of the Father… His return to Heaven and the Glory that He left thirty-three years before to pay what we were unwilling and unable to afford so that we could join Him in fellowship with the Father
It’s interesting to note here that His mother, Mary, came to tell Him that the Bride and Groom were out of wine and Jesus responds with a question that makes us wince. He says, “Woman, what has your concern to do with Me? My hour has not yet come,” There is no “Mother,” or “I’m so sorry to hear that! What can I do?” The gracious responses that we would expect from our wonderful Saviour, God’s Son, were not part of the conversation. But Mary knew that what had already happened to her Son had changed Him and that His spiritual purpose had already begun. She knew that His intensity was for His Father, now, and that she would take a backseat to the world and all that God desired for it. But, since she also knew the love of His Father, she was not disturbed.
Once the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus, the fullness of the Godhead now resided in His Body and He could no longer contain the truth of Who He was. He had already wrestled with Satan after a forty-day fast… and won! He had seen one of His disciples, Nathanael, in the spiritual realm before the man was close enough to be seen in the physical realm! When Nathanael then announced that Jesus was the “son of God,” the “King of Israel,” Jesus said, to paraphrase: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Then Jesus told them that they would soon see the angels ascending and descending on Him. It was His way of saying, “Expect miracles!”
And now this new family needed help in a very embarrassing situation. Mary seemed to sense, as a mother does, the bigger picture and simply said, “Whatever He says to do, do it.” So Jesus told the servants to take the six water pots that the family would normally use for “purification” and fill them with water. These twenty to thirty gallon pots normally held the water used for the ceremonial washing of hands before and after eating, which was a Jewish custom. Once they were full, Jesus told the servants to take some of the liquid to the master of the feast, so they did. I’m guessing that they did so with fear and trepidation knowing the origin of the liquid. One was not supposed to drink this substance, one was to use and discard this liquid! Furthermore, this situation was not without its humor! Since the wedding feast lasted seven days, how would the guests wash their hands before and after the rest of the meals?
Anyway, once the master of the feast tasted the wine, he asked the bridegroom why He had changed the custom of using the superior wine at the beginning of the feast and saving the inferior wine for later. I’m sure the bridegroom had no idea where that wonderful wine had come from, but Mary did… the servants did… the disciples did! Maybe the Pharisees did. Would they be happy with Jesus for helping a family in need or unhappy that Jesus was using the ceremonial purification pots for something other than their intended religious purpose?
So we see that the start of Jesus’ ministry held lots of new things! It was the beginning of new thinking… not doing things the way they’d always been done… like introducing the idea that “the first,” or best wine, “shall be last.” It was the beginning of “signs and wonders” when miracles became the “norm.” It was the beginning of God’s glory now manifest in flesh. It was the beginning of a new way of seeing things in the “religious” realm. It was the beginning of God’s Truth being restored and the religious spirits being exposed. Revelation and cleansing of sin, healing and the freedom that God always wanted for His people were on the way. Who, do you think, would oppose this restoration of God’s Divine Will for His creation? Stay tuned for Part 3…