As we continue our observance of Epiphany, we encourage you to begin each day with our weekly reflection.
Ok, I admit it. I’ve always been bothered by this story.
When I was young, I was disturbed by the fact that Jesus was goaded into a miracle by his mother. He even tries to explain that the time is not right, but that doesn’t stop her. She ignores him and gives instructions to the servants. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered that sometimes you just do what your mother wants because she’s your mom and you love her.
Later on I was confused because creating wine from water was the first miracle of Christ. Wine. I was taught, as many who grow up in the Bible Belt, that drinking alcohol was a sin. So why was Jesus making sure that so many at least slightly intoxicated partygoers could continue their celebration? It kind of went against so many of my assumptions about Jesus. But as I’ve come to know Christ more deeply, I understand not only the freedom we enjoy in Christ, but how much our God loves celebration and community.
Nope, now this story bothers me for an entirely different reason — the main beneficiaries seem to be completely oblivious to the miracle. Did the bride or groom even know there was a shortage of wine? Here they are on the brink of public humiliation. But instead of scorn from the community, they are praised for the quality of wine they did not provide.
And what about the guests? I’m sure the surprise of quality wine so deep into the wedding reception was welcome. Did anyone even explain to them what had happened? It’s seems the only ones who understood what was going on were the servants.
Is this a wasted miracle?
But there, at the end of the narrative, the message cries out to me: “and his disciples believed in him.” Those who had left their homes and their families now began to understand this mysterious rabbi. They had heard John the Baptist proclaim him as the Lamb of God. But it was now that they began to really believe.
And now I’m beginning to think that this is the perfect miracle.
Because life with Jesus is like the difference between water and wine. The presence of Jesus – in very nature God, yet unmistakably human – brings meaning and depth and aroma and color and essence to our lives. His spirit can calm our anxieties and open us up to celebration and joy. And these benefits are available to everyone. Even when we’re unaware of what he’s doing. Even when we don’t give him credit. Even when we doubt.
His goodness is for all. He is the wine at a party that only offers water. Many will experience the benefits, but not comprehend the source. But some will believe.
I want to be the one who believes. I want to not only experience the goodness of this life, but be able to praise the source for the blessings. I want this understanding to change me and shape who I am.
So today may you experience the benefits of the world that Jesus created. May you find joy and peace and celebration. But may you also come to understand the author and creator of everything that we enjoy.
May you come to believe more deeply and fully in Jesus.