John, the beloved disciple, shared his purpose for writing his Gospel account. He wrote, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31). His presentation of the life of Christ is focused on showing the reader the power and purpose of Jesus. One of the methods he employs to accomplish this task is the inclusion of seven miracles. The following series of blogs will explore the beauty and meaning behind these miracles.
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
Emptiness is defined as
- The state of containing nothing
- Lack of sincerity and contentment
- No value or purpose
We can have an empty soul, home, marriage, or life. Perhaps one of the most detestable things for a person to have before God is an empty religion. Scripture teachings that there are some that have a form of godliness, but deny the power” (2 Tim. 3:5-7). The will of God is that rather we be full. But not just full of everything under the sun. No, God would rather for us to be filled with him.
Miracle at Cana
You know the story of Jesus at a wedding in Cana. During the celebration, they run out of wine, and Jesus’s mother asks Jesus to get more wine. This is where Jesus performs his first miracle as he takes about six water pots, almost 30 gallons each, a total of nearly 120-180 gallons of water, and turns it into wine.
John goes on to say in 2:11, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory.” Two words in the Greek are translated as our English word miracle. The first is “dynamis,” which means power or strength. It sounds familiar to dynamite which we understand as being explosive power. The second word, “semios” which is the word John uses here, means means a “sign.”
So, what do these seven signs say and in at this moment, this particular sign? John says to show God’s glory. We are going to see God’s glory and power. We are getting a glimpse of God’s purpose in sending Jesus. This first miracle will demonstrate all of this.
The water pots
So, what does this miracle teach us about Jesus and the purpose of His coming? This sign shows that we can be filled with the goodness of God. We who were filled with vile things are now filled with the joy of the Lord. How does he demonstrate this? Notice that John includes a key detail about the waterpots, “and there set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews.” This is an important aspect of information John wants to include for us. It also makes this miracle a little disgusting.
In the Jewish law that we find in the Old Testament was high on the distinction between clean and unclean. One of the significant aspects of the law was that uncleanness was unavoidable. One of the traditions the Jews adopted was ritual washing with water. Full body, foot washing, hand washing, and washing the face are all references for Jewish washing from uncleanness. So in reality, the water pots that the people were drinking the wine from were bathtubs or at least wash basins.
Thank the Lord, there is cleansing, but I don’t think that is the single purpose sign in this miracle. Cleansing or purifying of the water pots is only implied and hopeful. Who would want to drink from something where you wash your face and feet? Instead, imagine being a Jew and what these water pots would mean to you. It’s like what we see when we pass by a cross or church. They would have been reminded of their religion. Their faith. And this is what Jesus’ miracle of transforming the water into wine.
You look at the pots, they were full of emptiness. They were filled with water, but the pots themselves represented to many the emptiness of what their religion had propagated. The law made nothing perfect (Heb. 7:19). In those waterpots was about 180 gallons of law, guilt, and filth. But, Jesus turned it into 180 gallons of grace. The water in Jewish law was a symbol of an external ritual. The wine represented to the Jewish mind meant joy and blessing.
The law made nothing perfect. The law didn’t fix anything. It was a temporary covering. It was something to point us toward the salvation that only Jesus Christ could bring. The wine represents the blood of Jesus that was shed for us. Matthew 26:27-29 reads, “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” We are forgiven of our sins by the blood of Jesus. We have moved from an external washing by water to an eternal cleansing and filling by the blood of Jesus.
The sign shows our fellowship with Christ and the ultimate joy of heaven. Matthew continues, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (26:29). We have fellowship with Jesus through the shedding of His blood. Our relationship with God is restored through the work of Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection.
Jesus comes to fill the emptiness that is in our life.
Can you be a room full of people and still be alone? Can you have good health, a full bank account, lots of friends, a busy schedule, a beautiful home, a good job, a great family and still feel empty? Jesus took the empty law and transformed it into something full of life. Returning to John’s narrative telling of this miracle, the last verse says that the disciples believed on Jesus. He filled them with faith. If you have given up, Jesus can fill you faith.
If your life is empty, your faith is empty, Jesus can fill you full. As the wine was a symbol of joy, Christ can fill your life with joy. Jesus’ first miracle is a showing that “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (Jn. 15:11).