The gospel of John tells us the first miracle that our Lord performed. While he and his disciples were at a wedding in Cana, the wedding party ran out of wine (2:1-3). To meet the need, Jesus commanded the servants to fill six stone water pots, typically used for ritual washing, with water and then draw out the contents for the overseer of the wedding (2:6-8). But when the ruler tasted the water, it had become wine; and he declared that it was the best wine that had been served at the wedding (2:9-10). Jesus’ first miracle was summarized thus: “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him” (2:11).
I believe that Jesus allowed me to see this miracle in a new light. I believe that Jesus’ first miracle purposely parallels his last “miracle”. This tale of turning water into wine can teach us about Jesus’ resurrection, the Holy Ghost, and the New Testament experience.
Jesus’ first miracle happened on “the third day”, the same description for the day that Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 24:46, Acts 10:40). The miracle happened in Galilee, where Jesus later ascended into heaven (Matthew 28:16, Luke 24:50-51). The miracle “manifested forth his glory”. In the New Testament the word glory is connected (among other things) with Jesus’ resurrection and ascention: “received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16), “Ought not Christ…to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26), “O Father, glorify thou me…with the glory” (John 17:5), see also 1 Corinthians 15:42-43. The same literary signposts that are used for Jesus’ resurrection are used for the marriage in Cana; so it should be no surprise that there are points about the marriage in Cana that can teach us things about New Testament experience.
It is interesting that Jesus’ first miracle—a miracle that parallels his resurrection—was at a wedding. Jesus started things at a wedding and he finished things with a wedding in mind. The church is called “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Revelation 21:9). Our final salvation is referred to as “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). When Jesus died, was buried, and rose again, it was for the purpose of getting himself and his disciples to a wedding.
To perform the miracle Jesus filled vessels with water. And in the New Testament church, Jesus is still in the business of filling vessels. Our salvation is described as “having this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4:7). God wants to fill our lives so that he can use us to perform a miracle that others will never forget. When the water was turned into wine, Scripture says that the ruler of the feast “knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;)” (John 2:9). Some people, the people who do not realize that we have been filled by the Master, will not know where our spiritual life comes from. But there are other people, people who saw when Jesus had us filled, who will know.
The result of filling the vessels was wine. It is no accident that the New Testament compares the Holy Ghost to wine. Jesus wants us to experience this “new wine” that he is giving to people at the wedding. When the governor of the feast tasted the water made wine, he told the groom, “thou hast kept the good wine until now” (John 2:10). Jesus saves the best till last. It was “in the last days” that God decided to “pour out his Spirit upon all flesh” (Acts 2:17). When someone truly gets a taste of his Spirit, they will declare that it is the best they have ever tasted. And I can’t help but believe that Jesus’ strongest wine will be served during the closing moments of time, for the marriage of the Lamb, when Jesus drinks it new in his kingdom (Matthew 26:29). The new wine Holy Ghost experience is also connected to Jesus’ glory, because that Spirit could only come after Jesus was glorified (John 7:39).
The last thing John says about this miracle is, “his disciples believed on him” (John 2:11). The resurrection is something that we must believe. Jesus experienced everything he did so that we could have the opportunity to believe and be saved. To be at Jesus’ wedding we must believe on him; like Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
We know that Jesus is “the first and the last” (Revelation 1:17). So I find it interesting that Jesus’ first miracle can teach us so much about our walk with the Lord and his resurrection. As amazing as that first “third day miracle” was, I am thankful for the resurrection, that second “third day miracle.