Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:7-11 NRSV)
A party trick?
A demonstration of Jesus’ power and authority?
An emergency miracle to save his friends social standing and dignity, and to keep his mother quiet?
This is, of course, a part of the famous story of the wedding where Jesus turns water into wine. To run out of wine at a wedding would have been a social disgrace: not only evidence of incompetent preparation, but also a sign of lack of respect to the guests. The host at this celebration faced considerable embarrassment.
Jesus, by his miracle saves the day. Not only is the supply of wine restored, but that which is provided is of a better quality than before.
Amongst all the stories about miraculous healings, calming of the storm, feeding multitudes and even of resurrection, what place does this account of the apparent rescue of a social event have?
Here’s the clue: “You have kept the good wine till now.”
The kingdom which Jesus comes to announce will not simply be a replication of our earthly kingdoms, but with different personnel at the head. It will be as different as chalk is from cheese, as tin-plate is from finest silver, or as the finest wine is different from even the good quality every-day variety.
God’s kingdom is one of a different order, and no-one who has tasted this “new wine” will want to return to what was served up before.
Jesus gives us a hint of what can, and will, be.
you give us glimpses
of the gloriously extravagant love
which is the foundation of your kingdom.
Help me to live that kingdom life,
now and always.