READ: We Are The New Wine - Akande M. Olatunji

WE ARE THE NEW WINE. By Akande Moses Olatunji

Whenever I encounter this text, it causes me to think about what it is that I believe about miracles.

Today, I would ask you to once again enter this familiar story and see what we might find together.

Now, to begin with, it is important to remember that the event of the Wedding at Cana is recorded only in the Gospel of John. More importantly, it is the first public miracle that this gospel records.

Jesus has just been baptized, and called disciples, and now He is attending a very common event with them and His mother: a wedding.

A wedding in those days was a multi-day celebration that would involve the whole community, and wine was very much a part of the celebration.

For when it would run out, it was certainly a signal that the end of the celebration was at hand.

And it was this disturbing news that Jesus’ own mother brought to Him—there was no more wine.

Now, you might ask yourself, “Why does Mary care?”

And perhaps even more curiously, what does she think Jesus can do about it?
And so we witness a kind of odd exchange between Jesus and his mother.

After Mary tells Him there is no more wine, Jesus, in a rather cryptic and short manner, replies to his beloved Mother, “What does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”

Yet despite these words, Jesus goes ahead and remedies the situation by having large jars filled with water, jars that would normally be used only for purification before worship.

He then turns this water into wine, but not just any wine, rather it is the best wine of the entire wedding celebration.

So of all the miracles that Jesus could have performed such as healing the blind or the lame, or even the raising someone from the dead, Jesus’ first miracle as he begins his public ministry is to turn water into wine.

Of all the possible stories of Jesus that our gospel writer could have picked, he highlights this one.

But this is no mere parlor trick or slight of hand.
There is something more going on here.
Not only within the story, but within us.

There is a part of our own sensibilities that struggles with this story and with its miracle.

In this 21st century, it would be easy to simply lay this aside as just a quaint story that has nothing to do with our lives or our sense of reality.

Now up to this point, we have focused on the miracle of water becoming wine, but if this is our only focus, then we miss what is perhaps the most important point of our gospel: in the beginning the jars are empty.

The jars are not simply full of water, waiting for Jesus to turn this water into something else.

There is nothing in the jars. They are dry and parched.
If we are honest with ourselves, we would recognize ourselves in the story.
–We are those empty jars in Cana.
–And there are times in our life when we recognize this truth.
–Perhaps after the breakup of a relationship.
–Or the loss of a loved one.
–Laid off from a job.
–Caught in cycle of an addiction that never quite satisfies.

We spend a lifetime trying to fill these jars with stuff, with careers and possessions and relationships, but in the end there is only one person who can fill our emptiness.

It is the one who created us and who loved us enough to die for us.

It is the living God, our Lord.
A God who not only fills us with life, but miraculously creates us anew.

If Christ was raised from the dead, what is it to God to turn water into wine?

If Christ was raised from the dead, what is it to God to turn you and me from our addictions, our destructive behavior, our lack of love for those around us?

What is it to God to raise us to new life in Him and at the last trumpet raise us all from the dead?

The same God, creator of the universe is still at work.

The same spirit that hovered over the waters of an uncreated world hovers over us now.

–Water into wine.
–Unbelief into faith.
–Death into life.
–Indifference into love.
–Jesus is the Word, the instigator, the change-agent that re-creates creation.

–In God’s image.
–We are the new wine!

Stay blessed.

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