1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
Cosmetic surgery is one of the largest industries in the United States. In fact, the latest reports and statistics indicate that there is a growing global market for cosmetic procedures. One report projects that by 2013 the cosmetic surgery industry will exceed $40 billion in revenues.
So what is actually driving the phenomenal growth of an industry that many thought would never reach the level it has currently attained? The short answer is transformation. Today more than ever people are more conscious about their appearance. The cosmetic surgery industry offers people the opportunity to enhance, alter, or transform the way they look. The use of technology provides people the chance to acquire a more desirable look.
People are also prompted by the transformations of celebrities who have gone from plain to stunning almost overnight. There is also prompting from television programs like “Extreme Makeover,” and other shows that offer ordinary people makeovers designed to demonstrate that transforming our appearance could improve the quality of our lives.
Certainly, everyone at different times and points in their lives desires to improve the quality of their living, but not necessarily at the expense of a medical procedure. For us, we need to know that Jesus is also in the business of changing lives and transforming people. The narrative found in the second chapter in the gospel of John provides us with a window into the transformative power of Jesus.
According to John’s narrative there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Mary, the mother of Jesus, Jesus and his disciples were all in attendance. As the guests were enjoying the festivities and celebrating the happy occasion with the bride and groom they ran out of wine. While this may seem like a small thing, it was a catastrophe for the hosts. The inability to accommodate your guests suggested poor planning or insufficient resources and resulted in social disgrace for the couple. Mary leans over to Jesus and informs Him of the situation. She tells Jesus, “They have no more wine.” Jesus responds by asking Mary, why are you bothering me with this matter? Mary refuses to be deterred and instructs the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. Jesus advised the servants to fill to the brim six stone jars used for purification with water and then give some to the master of the banquet. When the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine he was amazed at how much better it tasted then what had previously been served.
As we reflect on the details in this narrative there are some profound truths that emerge. The presence and intervention of Jesus served not only to avert a social crisis, but also address a need. To be honest, the only reason Jesus was present was because He was invited. I wonder how often do we extend an invitation to Jesus? Imagine if we invited Jesus into our lives, our homes, our marriages and relationships, and even our church, how many crises could be averted and how many needs could be met? The truth is that Jesus does not go where He is not invited. The text does however point out that wherever Jesus is invited crises can be averted and needs met. I want to encourage you and I to start inviting Jesus into every area of our lives and see the difference it makes. Let’s start inviting Jesus into our situations and circumstances no matter how mundane or insignificant they may seem. Let’s ask Jesus to intervene and see if He cannot take some of the pressure off of us and resolve some of the difficulties we face. Let’s extend an invitation to Jesus.
Mary’s willingness to act and get involved provided the impetus for Jesus’ intervention. Her acknowledgement of the fact that something was wrong, “They have no more wine,” helped her to communicate to Jesus the exact nature of the problem. There are times to be optimistic and see the glass as half full. Optimism helps to counteract discouragement and provides the fuel we need to keep going during tough times. There are times to be pessimistic and see the glass as half empty. Pessimism helps to keep both feet on the ground and keeps before us for every positive there is a negative. However, there are also times to be realistic and see things the way they are. We cannot take the appropriate steps to fix something until we first acknowledge that it is broken. The truth is that all people and entities at different times will become broken. The question is do we have the courage to admit when things are broken and need to be fixed.
The fact that Mary brought what could be considered a trivial matter to Jesus and she did so directly helps to answer two questions, what matters should we bring to Jesus and how should we approach Jesus. In terms of the first question, if we follow Mary’s lead we should bring everything to Jesus. Mary teaches us that there is no matter to insignificant or to small for Jesus to handle. In regard to the second question, how we approach Jesus depends on how well we know Him. If we have a personal relationship with Him then we can go directly to Him. If we have a casual or peripheral relationship with Him we may find it more difficult to approach Him. Think about the people in our lives that we are close to and know intimately we are open and willing to share everything no matter how ridiculous it sounds. Others that we do not share the same closeness with we often find it a struggle to engage with them and do not have much to say beyond being cordial. How well do we know Jesus? Do we find it easy or difficult to approach Him?
The fact that Mary was not put off by Jesus’ response to her suggests that she was aware of something that not even Jesus’ disciples knew. Mary knew that wherever Jesus is the potential for transformation exists. When we recognize that the power to change our situation, improve the quality of our lives, or attain better outcomes is before us we are able to buck the odds and face existing challenges because we know we are going to get to better.
And so, Mary instructed the servants to do whatever he tells you. Part of the reason for the success of the cosmetic surgery industry is people’s desire for a quick fix. We want it now and we want it to be a painless as possible. However, we are reminded that lasting and qualitative transformations are a process. There are no quick fixes if we desire to improve the quality of our lives, relationships, finances and yes, even our church. In stead we have to take a series of steps to achieve qualitative outcomes.
Jesus then tells the servants to fill six stone jars to the brim with water. I can only imagine the servant’s thought Jesus was trying to pull a fast one on the hosts and the guests. The interesting thing about their response is they did what Jesus said. In other words they carried out the process and saw it through to its completion. In order to make any transformation complete we must be committed to the process and be willing to stay the course. Problems occur when we abort and deviate from the process. Aborting and deviating will result in an unfinished product.
How Jesus changed the water into wine we do not know and John does not provide that information. What we do know is that whatever Jesus did, He did it supernaturally. Divine transformations happen supernaturally and there is no clear explanation as to how they happen. Judging from the response of the master of the banquet after he sampled it, it would appear that whatever Jesus did the character of the water changed. Literally, what went in as water came out as something radically different. The master of the banquet just wanted to make sure that people could enjoy themselves. Jesus, on the other hand, wanted to make sure people would be fulfilled. Whereas, the wine at the beginning helped the guests to enjoy themselves, the water that was turned into wine helped the guests to become fulfilled. The difference is that enjoyment is transitory, it is short-lived that is why we want more. Fulfillment is total and complete. When we are fulfilled we are thoroughly satisfied.
The bottom line is that wherever Jesus is the potential for change and transformation exists. The change and transformation that Jesus provides will makes us better. It will make us better because it is an inside out job that qualitatively improves our function and ability. In other words, it changes our character and not just our appearance. What difference does it make if we look good, but do not function well? We will leave an indelible impression on all who come in contact with us. The transformative power of Jesus will turn us into men, women, boys and girls who are able to influence and impact the lives of others. We will be able to reach people we never thought we could reach and impact them in ways we never thought we could impact them. Ultimately, God will be glorified because of the change that has taken place within us and when others see what Jesus has done in your life and mine, they too will believe and come to know Jesus as Lord and savior.
As we close consider, it was not until the wine ran out that Jesus got involved. Sometimes we desire and want change in our lives and we call out to Jesus and it seems like He does not answer. The truth is that Jesus is waiting for our wine to run out before He facilitates our transformation. In other words, wine represents whatever we are currently relying on or looking to for our happiness and enjoyment. Once we realize whatever good feelings we get from it are only temporary and give up on it, then our wine will have run out. At that point, we need to invite Jesus in and allow Him to begin to implement His process for transformation that will totally, completely, and thoroughly satisfy us.