What Is the Context When Jesus Turns Water into Wine?
Jesus turns water into wine while He is attending a wedding in Cana, a village in Galilee, with his mother Mary and his disciples. The wedding host’s supply of wine runs out. Since hospitality is a vital part of the culture, failing to provide enough wine for guests is a serious problem. The host would be ashamed, embarrassed, and even potentially liable legally for the wine shortage.
Concerned about that, Mary goes to Jesus and asks him to intervene. At first, Jesus expresses reluctance, asking Mary, “… why do you involve me?” and telling her that, “My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4). Jesus apparently hadn’t intended to start performing public miracles yet. However, moved by compassion, he decides to go ahead and do so – quietly. Jesus focuses on love first, and because of his love for everyone at the wedding, he chooses to exercise his power to solve the problem.
Jesus begins his 3 ½ year ministry work on Earth with this event, using a wondrous sign to inspire awe that would strengthen his disciples’ faith. Psalm 136:4 proclaims that God “does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever.” The miracles that Jesus performs are signs that show the wonder of who he is as God’s Son. My book Wake Up to Wonder explores how miracles seem extraordinary to us, but for God, they’re simply business as usual. The closer our relationships with God become, the more we can perceive miracles happening. The faith we express in response to God’s work in our lives can lead to miracles. God rewards the faith we show by moving closer to us, and the natural result of God coming closer to us is that we sometimes experience miracles. Miracles are simply messages from God that help us learn something new about his glory.
Turning water into wine was the first sign Jesus used to reveal his glory to the people around him, the Bible says. “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 2:11 reveals.
Jesus was to go on to perform many more miracles during his ministry on Earth that culminated in his Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension into heaven. The following details from when Jesus turns water into wine show how his first miracle connects to his others, and to Jesus’ overall mission as the world’s Savior.