Just as we did for Advent, we will be posting a series of reflections on the upcoming Sunday’s sermon scripture during this season of Epiphany. You may use these devotions as you want – for yourself, with a group or as a family; all at once, or broken up throughout the week. We suggest you start with the Scripture readings before you engage the other pieces. Enjoy!
Water into wine. This story of Jesus’ miracle at a wedding in Cana is so familiar to us that if you just say those three words, the whole story will come to mind. So, what is unique about this story? What can we learn that we have not heard before?
First, this is the only place this story appears, in the gospel of John. John, unlike the other gospels, does not tend to dwell on the miraculous acts of Jesus. We get a few of the greatest hits – a story of feeding of thousands, walking on water, and a healing – but John does not spend a lot of time on miracles. John spends most of the time using words to talk about who Jesus really is, and what Jesus means for the world. So, how did this particular, unusual miracle story find its way into the early part of John?
If John is concerned with telling us who Jesus is – God come to us in human form – this story must also point to that central theme. John uses these miracle stories in very specific ways – to show that Jesus does indeed do powerful things, but moreover to show us it is God’s power working through Jesus. It is not the acts themselves that show God, though, but the purpose behind them. Each of these acts show faith in God and God’s power, and are responding to the needs of people.
Unlike the other miracles, however, turning water into wine was a very personal act. Jesus tells his mother he doesn’t think he should provide this wine out of thin air because it is using the power of God for personal reasons, to help out some friends. He also thinks it isn’t time to reveal his true nature. Mary disagrees; and this is a very important point of this story. Despite all of the divine power he knows he has, Jesus still has things to learn from his mother.
Mary knows that while Jesus is there to save the whole world, the little stuff still matters. Celebrating together, being an engaged guest, providing hospitality – these are the seemingly little things that are part of making the world a good place for all people. She doesn’t want her son to forget that in the big picture.
Jesus doesn’t forget. He makes the wine, as his mother knew he would. He also teaches his disciples how to be faithful, hospitable leaders along the way. The faith makes the acts miraculous. Jesus shows us that we, too, can do miraculous things when we believe that God is the one doing the work. Because God so loved the world, Jesus came to love, to feed, to heal, to comfort, and to call us. Because God so loves us, we can do the work God wants us to do.
- What is something you learned from a parent or another adult that is really important to you? What would be different in your life if you didn’t follow that advice or lesson?
- What is something important you want to tell other people about why following Jesus matters to you? What would be different if you didn’t follow Jesus?
- What is one way you can share that important thing about Jesus with someone else? Would you use words or actions or both?
God, it seems unbelievable that you love us so much that you would come and live among us. You came and lived with all the difficulties and temptations we face as human beings, and You showed us we could live in a new way. You provide food and healing and comfort and we are filled with love that cannot be contained. Help us to not be afraid to follow You and share that love with everyone we meet. For You are with us, always. Amen.