Jesus’ first miracle and the beginning of his ministry began at a wedding in Cana when he turned water into wine (John 2:1-11).
The location of his first miracle is important. He didn’t begin his ministry in Jerusalem where all the important religious leaders were, where more people could see his miracles. He began his ministry in a small village without much clout. This is important because it is a reminder that Jesus came here for man, not for the approval of man. He came for all men, not just the religious leaders or those in power, in fact, he often avoided and rebuked them.
Jesus is at a relative’s wedding with his new disciples when his mom, Mary, tells him that they’ve run out of wine. In those days, running out of wine would have been a big social faux pas and would have disgraced the newly wedded couple for the rest of their lives. Jesus responded, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4).
Before diving into the miracle, notice that Jesus called Mary “woman” rather than “mother”. Some believe this was intentional to emphasize that their relationship had now changed as he began his ministry and stepped into his role as the Messiah.
Although Jesus’ response to Mary was that his time had not yet come, she instructs the servants to do whatever he says and Jesus performs his first public miracle.
“Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.’ So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine…”John 2:6-9
A couple of important things to note, wine was a rabbinical symbol for joy and Jesus used jars that were meant for ceremonial purification.
Regarding Jesus’ first miracle, David Guzik explains:
“This beginning of signs in the Gospel of John is a miracle of conversion, from the old ways of law, ceremony and purification to the new life of Jesus…Moses turned water into blood, showing that the Law results in death (Exodus 7:17-21). But Jesus’ first miracle turned water into wine, showing the gladness and joy of His new work. This acts out what John said in John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
What may seem like a random miracle to us, was actually not random at all. Through Christ, we are brought joy and more importantly, we are purified through his work on the cross and no longer subject to the Law, which results in death.