Twelve months had passed. The young Hebrew couple was about to enter the final stage of the contract established a year ago on the day of their betrothal. Weddings at the time of Jesus would last sometimes for days. They were extremely special, because of the joining of a man and woman with God at the head of them.
As with most rituals in the Bible, there was a certain amount of tradition, and a lot of ceremonial law connected with them. The betrothal would be the first step which required a signed contract by those betrothed and witnesses. If the contract ( ketubah)would require a divorce, so it was as binding as the actual marriage agreement. Sometimes the marriage would be arranged by the parents when their children were young. Usually the engagement would last for twelve months.
The bride would undergo a ceremonial cleansing prior to the wedding and be veiled by her husband as a sign of his love for her inner beauty. Weddings were attended by members of the family, which often amounted to a huge crowd. After the ceremony, performed under a canopy called a chuppa. there would be a reception to celebrate the joining of the newlyweds. Special food would be served along with wine.
So why did Jesus choose a wedding to perform His first miracle? We often hear him refer to Himself as the bridegroom and His followers as the bride. The bride should always be prepared for her groom, since she isn’t sure when He will come for her.
At this wedding in Cana, Jesus’ family was present, so we can assume they were part of the wedding party’s family. Jesus’ disciples also attended the wedding. Mary, Jesus’ mother, would come to tell Him that the wine had run out and He should do something about it. Jesus resisted at first.
“Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” John 2:4-5
Jesus was referring to His divine mission when He said His hour had not yet come. His mother was talking about an immediate need and she knew that Jesus could fill that need. We can see her confidence in the words she speaks to the servants.
By this time, it would’ve been well into the celebration. Jesus told the servants to fill the stone vessels used for ceremonial cleansing water to the brim with water. Somewhere between twenty and thirty gallons of water filled these jars. The servants followed his instructions and we all know that Jesus changed that water into prime wine – wine that was beyond belief.
This miracle was done not to show that Jesus had great magical powers that would fulfill every physical need, but to demonstrate His divinity to His followers.
“This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” John 2:11
This was Jesus’ first miracle. There would be many more. Many came to see and hear this man partly because of His miracles, but His words were so much more than mere miracles. Those words would change hearts and minds forever.
Imagine that newlywed couple. They must’ve been ecstatic to have this special wine served at their wedding, but truly the most special part of that day was having Jesus as a guest.