One of the most fascinating episodes in the gospels is the wedding feast at Cana. We learn two very interesting lessons from this story. First, Jesus had no intention of performing a miracle. When Mary told Him the wine had run out, He said, “What does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come."
But because Mary asked Him, He changed His plans and turned the water into wine, and saved the party. So remember this the next time you ask your friends at church to pray for you. Make sure you also ask Mary to intercede with her Son on your behalf. Because after all, a good obedient Son always does what His momma asks, right?
The second thing we learn from this story is that Jesus and His friends drank alcohol. Now, for some people that’s no surprise. But for other folks in the Christian world, especially those in the Bible Belt denominations down south, they teach that alcohol consumption is always wrong. In their view, Jesus never drank, which means the wedding feast at Cana story is all about grape juice. The host was about to be humiliated because they ran out of grape juice, and Jesus saved the day by turning water into grape juice.
With all due respect to our faithful friends down south, that’s a bunch of baloney. (And no, they did not serve baloney at the wedding feast.)
Yes, alcohol abuse is a sin. But the drinking of alcoholic beverages is not prohibited by the Bible. If they only served non-alcoholic grape juice at the wedding feast at Cana, it would not have been a big problem when they ran out. Come to think of it, they never would’ve run out in the first place, because I suspect a lot of guests would’ve left right after dinner.
This story in John’s gospel is fairly short. I often wonder what other details John edited out. Jesus brought all twelve of His disciples to the party, and have you ever been to a wedding where the drinks are flowing freely and one table has 13 young men? I suspect that was one of the more boisterous tables in the entire banquet hall.
And John doesn’t really record much of the conversation between Mary and Jesus. When she told Him the wine ran out, I wonder if she looked at the dozen guys at His table—who probably were feeling no pain at that point—and raised her eyebrow slightly, as if to say, “I guess we should’ve seen THAT coming.” Maybe Jesus performed the unplanned miracle because it was His friends who caused the shortage in the first place.
After Jesus changed water into wine and saved the father of the bride from a terrible disgrace, I’m sure he thanked Jesus profusely and said, “How can I ever repay you?” I wonder if Jesus smiled and said, “Wait’ll you get my bill.”
Then when He laughed and told the man He was just kidding, I can imagine Jesus asking, “How’s the food supply? Are you running low on loaves and fishes?”
Only Jesus would’ve gotten that joke, but months later, when He fed 5,000 people, Peter probably turned to Andrew and exclaimed, “Hey, wait a minute! Remember what he said at the wedding feast? Now I get it. That’s funny!”
The fascinating wedding feast at Cana tells us a lot about Jesus. He changed his plans at the request of His mother. His first public miracle was to make sure a joyful party could continue. He and His apostles surely joined in the festivities and had a wonderful time. And it was not grape juice.