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WALK TO JERUSALEM
SOMETHING BETTER AT CANA
Our tour today takes us to a very happy event in the life of Jesus. Not long after He was baptized in the Jordan River, He returned to Galilee. A family wedding was about to take place in Cana, a little town just 6 miles from Nazareth.
In the days of Christ, a Jewish wedding was a much bigger celebration than weddings are today. They typically last 5-7 days. Autumn was the favorite time for them since the harvest was in and everyone could relax from their hard work in the fields.
All the villagers attended, for it was just like a holiday. The guests gave presents to the bride and groom and dressed up for the occasion.
At first, only the bride sat under a large canopy, surrounded by her bridesmaids while everyone sang wedding songs. Soon after, the groom arrived with his friends and the couple sat together. The rabbi from the synagogue and other religious leaders blessed the happy couple. And then the wedding feast really began. It would last into the night and for at least 3 more days.
We don't really know which day of the feast the wine ran out at the wedding in Cana. But it soon came to the notice of Jesus' mother. "As a relative of the [wedding] parties, Mary had assisted in the arrangement for the feast, and she now spoke to Jesus, saying, 'They have no more wine.'" (Desire of Ages, p. 146)
It was a terrible thing to happen at a wedding! If something wasn't done soon, the family would be criticized for not showing proper hospitality. And Mary knew this. So she brought the problem to Jesus. At first, He said, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come" (John 2:4). Jesus spoke very respectfully to His mother. In Aramaic, the word 'woman' that Jesus used in this verse actually meant 'dear woman.' It was a sign of devotion and respect, often used between a parent and a child.
Jesus also knew that Mary hoped He would "reveal Himself as the Messiah and take the throne of Israel" (Desire of Ages, p. 147). Like every other Hebrew, Mary was confused about the true nature of the Messiah's coming. All of Israel longed for a king. But Jesus came to be the Lamb of God, to be "wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities" and "led as a lamb to the slaughter" (Isaiah 53:5,6).
"But though Mary had not a right conception of Christ's mission, she trusted Him implicitly. To this faith Mary responded. It was to honor Mary's trust, and to strengthen the faith of His disciples, that the first miracle was performed" (Desire of Ages, p. 147).
Believing that her son would help in this time
of need, Mary spoke to the servants who were working at a table nearby. She said to them, "Whatever He says to you, do it!" (John 2:5) Nearby were six large stone jars, each one capable of holding 20-30 gallons of water. Jesus instructed the servants to fill each one to the brim. Then He said, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast" (John 2:8). But when the servants did as Jesus said, they discover-ed the water had changed into grape juice. And its flavor far surpassed what everyone had been drinking before!
The master of the feast was surprised when he tasted the richer juice that Jesus had made. And he said, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. But you have saved the good wine until now" (John 2:10).
When we come to Jesus, He always offers us something better than the world can give. "The gifts of Jesus are ever fresh and new" (Desire of Ages, p. 148). If we abide in His presence, He has promised an abundance that will never run dry. The Bible says, "Of His fullness we have all received and grace for grace" (John 1:16).
We receive that fullness through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Through this promised blessing, Jesus miraculously changes us to reflect His character to the world. We are like the earthen vessel used by Christ at the wedding: we are standing empty but ready for the Lord to fill with His holy presence.
The apostle Paul said it like this: "For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us" (2 Corinthians 4:6,7).
As we journey to Jerusalem, let us pray for the power of the Spirit to fill us to the brim every day so God's gospel power will be seen in us.
FOR DEEPER BLESSINGS:
* Read John 2:1-11
* Read Desire of Ages, pp. 144-153