a Winemaker

Some people think that Jesus is …the fun-police! Christianity seems full of rules to them, and negative about alcohol or sex.

But it’s more like good-time Jesus, when he turned the water into wine! Whether you believe in miracles, just about everyone loves this famous story, in John, chapter 2, in the Bible. Just like Slim Dusty’s pub with no beer, we have the wedding that runs out of wine.

I’ve taken enough weddings to know organising one is never easy. The catering can be a nightmare. And in the Middle East back then, the reception often lasted a week. And there were no late night bottleshops. You can imagine getting the quantities right was a challenge.

And to run out of grog was a disaster. A big loss of face in an honour-shame culture. Everyone would gossip for years about the groom whose wedding ran dry!

Now without going into too many details, Jesus’ mother asked him to help. She realised the wine had run short. And she had some clue of the power within Jesus. And Jesus agrees to help. So she convinces the servants to do what he says. And he tells them to carry six heavy stone jars to the local well, fill them with water, and bring them back. Amazingly, when the MC tries the contents, the water has turned into Grange Hermitage!

My only other full-time job – before becoming a Minister – was in a bottle shop. So I did the calculations on this once. The amount of wine is equivalent to at least 600 bottles. Using the best price I could find for my favourite wine, that’s over $10,000 worth! More than enough to keep a party going.

This tells us God is no kill-joy. Jesus is not some pale-faced, nightie-wearing, holy man hidden away in a monastery. Jesus rejoices in the good things of the life! Like wine to celebrate! And like marriage. The Bible says God made us male and female. He invented marriage… And the sex that goes with it! He’s all in favour ­– in the wonderful context of a man and woman united for life.

Psalm 104:15 in the Bible says God made “wine that gladdens human hearts”. Jesus is into celebrating with those who’ve got something good to celebrate.

But don’t become a Christian because he promises a good time. There are far better reasons! Because Jesus is a miraculous wine-maker here!

The narrator of this incident says, “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory…“ (John 2:10).

But more than that… if you read carefully, Jesus did this miracle in private! He let the groom take credit for saving the best wine till last. Only the servants and a few disciples knew the truth. Presumably they shared the real story later on.

In other words, Jesus’ glory was revealed in quietly serving others. It was his glory to put others ahead of himself, by saving embarrassment for the groom. And if you know much about Jesus’ life, you’ll know this pattern of service is repeated all the way to his death.

We don’t know the scientific details. But suspending the normal laws of nature, with some special creative act, shows that Jesus has God’s power as Creator.

I know some people are biased against miracles. But if you’re going to believe in God, then it stands to reason he can do miracles. It’s pretty silly to insist he must be unemployed. And I encourage open-minded people to investigate the historical evidence for the life of Christ* ­– including the miracles. There’s more evidence than people often realise for his reputation as a wonder worker.

Sandy Grant is the Senior Minister of St Michael’s Anglican Cathedral, Wollongong

*Try John Dickson’s Is Jesus History? (Dymocks; or Amazon)

Sandy Grant