Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding. He could have chosen any number of places to kickstart his public campaign but instead he chose a simple country celebration. That single act, both simple and profound, defined a key element of Jesus’ ministry; his desire to connect with people as they went about the business of living. It was both a statement of intent and an invitation.
By choosing to accept a wedding invitation and attend with his disciples, Jesus was declaring that he had come to be Emmanuel, God with us. His primary goal was not amassing public support in favor of a self serving campaign against Rome. Instead the focal point of his mission on earth was to insert himself into the epicenter of the human cycle of life. He came to rub shoulders with us, to break bread with us, to laugh with us and to cry with us. All of it, the entirety of the human experience, mattered to him then as it does now.
At the wedding feast in Cana, Jesus easily blended into the crowd. He knew the couple who were getting married, might even have been related to them through either one of his parents and he was no doubt comfortable with the guests; hailing familiar faces and catching up on family news.
When the festivities were in full swing his mother found him and drew him aside. Dispensing with any preamble Mary, bluntly, got to the point “They have no wine” she told him, almost as an invitation. She knew who her son was, having experienced first hand the miracle of his birth. She knew he had gone down to the Jordan to be baptized by John, had most likely heard from his disciples the miracle by the river when the Father’s voice from heaven acknowledged him as the Divine Son of God.
No doubt her mother’s heart saw this small crisis as the perfect opportunity to nudge her son into the spotlight so he could announce his role as deliverer of the Jewish nation on a more public stage. Mary, like everyone else in Israel, didn’t quite understand Jesus’ mission. They were all waiting for a conqueror on a white horse, brandishing his unquenchable sword against the brutal oppressors of his people. What they were not expecting was a servant king, carving out a path towards a humiliating public death on a Roman cross.
Though Jesus was able and no doubt willing to help out in the crisis before him, he also understood that his complete, undivided allegiance was to his Heavenly Father’s will. Regardless of what might seem expedient or good, he would not act without a direct signal from his Father. As he later said “the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do”. He was bound, heart and soul, to execute his Heavenly Father’s will and nothing, not even his love for his mother could sway him from this path.
In response to Mary’s abrupt statement and implied request, Jesus gently and respectfully said “woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come” Jesus' response may have seemed rude, even unfeeling but it wasn’t. He used the customary nomenclature to address his mother and then made it clear to her that he would act in accordance to God’s will and God’s timing, not hers. It was an important boundary to set early on in his ministry. Mary needed to understand that, while she was his mother and he loved her, he couldn’t allow her to dictate his mission from the sidelines.
Mary, however, was undeterred. Leaving her son, she went out and told the servants “whatever He says to you, do it” She knew her son could help and she was content to wait on God’s timing for the intervention to take place. It says a lot about Mary’s character that she was willing to acquiesce to her son’s terms while still laying the groundwork for him to succeed when the right time came.
When the time came Jesus went outside and motioned towards six massive stone pots which could hold about 20-30 gallons of liquid a-piece. He directed the servants to fill the water pots with water. They readily complied. He then told them “Draw some out now and take it to the master of the feast” Maybe they hesitated, the Bible doesn’t say, but Mary’s earlier instructions probably went a long way because they did as Jesus told them.
By the time they reached the guests, the water had been turned to wine and when the master of the feast had tasted it he called the bridegroom and told him “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine and when the guests have well drunk then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now”
It was a simple act of kindness. Running out of wine at a wedding was embarrassing, a definite social faux pas but nothing that was earth shattering or life threatening and yet, this small detail mattered to Jesus. Quietly, unobtrusively he supplied the needs of a young couple and their family. It was such a profound way to begin his ministry.
There might be some days when you feel like the details of your life are too small or too ordinary to attract God’s attention. But the same God who came to the rescue of a young couple, in a small village in Galilee, is the same God who notices the triumphs and tragedies that weave through your life. They may seem small in the grand scheme of newsworthy global events but they are not insignificant in the eyes of the Creator of the Universe.
You can take your small needs and your big ones too, to Jesus with the full assurance that he cares and he already has a solution that you haven’t even thought of.