When Jesus shows up at a party, it changes the party.
“They have no more wine.” That’s what Mary said when the wedding party debacle was about to make the groom look like a joke and bring shame to his family. Weddings have a way of bringing things out of people - bridezillas, mother-in-laws, wedding crashers, and creepy-drunk-uncles. The only thing that reveals more about a person than a party is a failure. This had both.
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 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 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.”
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. - John 2:1-11
When Mary tells Jesus that they’ve run out of wine, she’s not trying to annoy Jesus, and she’s certainly not trying to ensure that people are loosened up enough to keep dancing. Wine represents something more than wine. It’s a symbol of joy.
When the Psalmist says that God gave “wine to gladden the heart of man,” he is speaking of the joy that comes from God.
And at this joyous occasion, Mary’s coming to Jesus because the joy’s about to run out.
When the Joy Runs Out
Have you ever had one of those moments when you realize that the wine was running out? Not the wine at the party, but the moment that you saw the inevitable crash and burn coming? It was all about to fall apart. Maybe it was the job that was too good to be true. A diagnosis that came at the worst possible time. A relationship that you thought was good until you found out it wasn’t.
Sometimes the joy runs out.
When we look for joy in the temporary, it always runs out.
It doesn’t matter how good the job, how great the sex, or how life-changing the opportunity, when those things become the source of joy, it won’t last. It might be intoxicating while it lasts, but eventually it runs out.
It always runs out.
But when Jesus shows up at the party, he cares enough for the people at the party to make sure the joy doesn’t run out. And the way he makes sure that joy doesn’t run out is simply by becoming the source of joy. When Jesus is invited to your party, he makes sure to give you a joy that goes beyond the temporary
There’s even more to this miracle, though. In the first-century, there was great shame that would come to the husband and his family if wine ran out at a party. He’d immediately become an embarrassment to his family.
By making more wine, not only does the joy not run out, but shame doesn’t win.
When Jesus shows up at the party, shame doesn’t tell the story.
The moment the groom started to hear rumors about how much wine was left, he probably started to play out the scenario in his head. Joy was coming to a screeching halt and shame was closing in just a quick.
At that point, he’d be coming up with some kind of plan to run - or hide.
Shame does that. Shame makes us all want to hide. It makes it hard to face the reality of the situation. It makes it hard to face anyone at the party. Shame always puts an end to the party. Shame ruins a person’s dignity and his reputation.
But when Jesus shows up, shame doesn’t win.
The party - and the failure - in that moment reveal more about Jesus than it does about anyone else. Jesus doesn’t let shame rob you of your dignity or your joy. Jesus doesn’t let your failure define you and he certainly doesn’t let end the party.