Based on John chapter 1 verse 29 to chapter 2 verse 11
Water at a Wedding!
‘Look’, said John as Jesus walked towards him. ‘There’s the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I didn’t know He was the One, but my work of baptising people was to point to Him! You see, God told me that when I saw the Holy Spirit come down and rest upon someone, that person would be the One I was waiting for. I didn’t know it was Jesus until I saw it happen – the Spirit of God came down and rested on Him! He’s the One you’re looking for. He’s the One who’ll baptise with the Holy Spirit – I saw this happen to Jesus, so I can say with absolute certainty that He is the Son of God,’
Next day as John stood with two of his followers, Jesus walked by. ‘Look,’ said John. ‘The Lamb of God!’ At this, the two followers turned and started to follow Jesus. When Jesus looked round and saw them he asked, ‘What do you want?’
‘Teacher,’ they replied, ‘where’re you staying?’
‘Come and see,’ He replied. And they stayed with Him for the rest of the day. (PAUSE)
One of those two followers was a man named names Andrew who had a brother called Simon Peter. As soon as he could Andrew rushed off to find his brother. ‘Guess what?’ he said. ‘We’ve found the Messiah! Come on, come and meet Him.’ So Andrew took Simon to meet Jesus who looked closely at him. ‘You’re names Simon, son of John,’ He said. ‘But you will be called Peter.’
Next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee, and as he prepared to go He found Philip. ‘Come on,’ He said. ‘Come and be my disciple.’ And then, just like Andrew had before, Philip rushed off to find his friend Nathanael. ‘We’ve found the person Moses and all the prophets wrote about long long ago.’ He said, ‘His name’s Jesus, Son of Joseph, from Nazareth!’
‘Nazareth!’ Nathanael answered. ‘Nazareth? Surely nothing good can come from that place?’
‘Come and see for yourself,’ Philip answered, and took Nathanael to Jesus. And as they approached Jesus He looked at Nathanael and said, ‘Now here’s an honest man – a true son of Israel.’
This took Nathanael by surprise. ‘But you don’t know me.’ He replied.
‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip came to you.’ Jesus replied.
This was mind-blowing for Nathanael. How could Jesus have known about him if He wasn’t who Philip had just said He was, and so he spluttered out. ‘T-T- Teacher, you really are the Son of God – the king of Israel!’
Jesus smiled. ‘You believe that just because I told you I saw under the fig tree? Well, you’re going to see far greater things than that!’ He said. ‘One day you’ll see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down upon the Son of Man.’ (PAUSE)
Not long after this Jesus and His close followers, called His disciples, were invited to a wedding celebration in the small village of Cana. Mary, Jesus’ mother, was also there as a guest. Now, in those days wedding feasts could last anything up to a week – so they had to be planned well in advance – so the host didn’t run out of food and wine for his guests. To run out of things would be a great embarrassment to the bridegroom who’d find it hard to live down –a very bad start to your married life! Now, maybe they hadn’t counted on Jesus and His disciples turning up, or maybe they’d just made a terrible mistake! But whatever the cause, the wine supply began to run low and was in danger of running out completely!
And as it ran out, Mary called Jesus to one side for a chat. ‘Son, they’ve run out of wine!’
‘How does that concern you and me?’ He asked. ‘ My time hasn’t come yet.’ (P)
Mary new her son, and she knew that He could help. But Jesus wanted Mary to understand that the power God had given Him wasn’t simply to get His own family out of trouble. It was given to show people who He was and how much God loves them. But instead of getting cross and upset at His reply, Mary understood that she should leave it with Jesus and trust Him to do whatever was best and right. And so turning to the servants she said. ‘Whatever He tells you do, just go ahead and do it.’ And at that, she left.
Now, it was customary in those days for the people at the wedding feast to wash their hands before they ate. To do this properly, special stone jars, each capable of holding anything from 75 litres of water upwards, were made available to the guests. As there were lots of guests at the celebration, there were six of these stone jars standing close by. ‘Fill those jars with water.’ Jesus told the servants. And just as Mary had told them, the servants did as He asked, filling each to the brim.
When the jars had been filled Jesus called one of the servants over and said. ‘Now fill a cup from one of those jars and take it to the master of ceremonies.’
The servant wasn’t at all sure about this – he was going to give the most important person at the celebration – a cup of water! But because Mary had said to do it, and because there wasn’t anything else to serve, the servant dipped the cup into the filled stone jar and took it to the master of ceremonies.
‘Thank you,’ said the man as he took the cup. ‘I was wondering where all the wine had gone!’ (P) The servant didn’t say a word but stood there staring at the man as he put the cup to his lips and began to drink. And as he tasted the liquid, a look of surprise came over his face and then looking first at the servant and then at the contents of the cup, and then at the bridegroom, he called him over for a chat. ‘A word in year friend.’ He called.
When the bridegroom’d come over the master of ceremonies took him to one side. ‘Usually,’ he began. ‘A host will serve the best wine first – when it matters when everyone’s able to appreciate the taste. And then, when most people have had a few drinks and aren’t so able to notice the difference, the host brings out the cheaper wine. But not you! For reasons best known only to yourself you keep the finest wine until now!’
The servant could hardly believe his ears. The water that had been put into the stone jars had become wine! And not just any old wine, but the finest of all wines! And as Jesus’ disciples learned of this, they believed even more strongly that He was the Son of God.