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Jesus Christ: Party Animal

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 for ceremonial washing, each holding from 20 to 30 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 last.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

— John 2:1-11

I read this biblical passage this morning from an e-mail devotional. I have always loved this story. Why?

Jesus’ mother came straight to him when she heard the wine was gone. We don’t tend to talk about Mary’s role in this, but Mary is the one who took action, and that action was to go to Jesus. Why? Because she cared about the bride, groom, and master of the banquet, all of whom she knew would be embarrassed if the wine ran out.

Jesus said one thing but did another. His initial response was “Mom, it isn’t time yet to start showing myself to the world.” In other words, this wasn’t the time in which he was to reveal himself as the Christ, i.e. the Son of God.

Even with Jesus saying this, though, Mary knew that Jesus would help. I wonder if her mother’s intuition knew that Jesus couldn’t resist the opportunity to help? Because Jesus didn’t say “Okay, fine, I’ll do something.” He said just the opposite, but Mary just knew, to the point of saying to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Why did Jesus perform this miracle? Think about it. It wasn’t a big, dramatic, spectacular miracle. No one’s life was saved. No one was healed. No one was freed from a life of bondage, either mental, physical, or spiritual. All that was at stake was a handful of people would be embarrassed.

This wasn’t a Jesus “Let my people go!” moment; it was more like a “let my people drink wine and have fun!” moment.

Jesus cared so much about the bridal party that he not only turned water to wine so that they wouldn’t be embarrassed, but he interrupted his own timeline. He hadn’t planned to reveal himself yet. But I believe Jesus couldn’t help himself. He had the power to help, and he couldn’t resist the desire to use it.

What I also find fascinating is that only a very small selection of people knew what Jesus did and realized that he was the Son of God. His disciples, of course, as they were probably close at hand when Mary told him they were out of wine. And of course Mary knew.

But who else knew? The servants. Remember them? The people whom Jesus asked to bring him jugs of water? They knew that Jesus had turned the water into wine, because they were the ones who had filled the jugs with water. This is something else I love about this story — Jesus revealed himself not only to his disciples, but also to these lowly servants at a wedding.

I love this because it’s yet another example of Jesus reaching out, first and foremost, to people in society with the least amount of status.

Finally, I love that Jesus loves a good party. This isn’t a popular view, I realize. I think many might even be shocked at the idea that Jesus enjoys a good party. But why else would Jesus perform his very first miracle at a party – a wedding? It’s a great reminder that God encourages us to celebrate the joys in our lives. Don’t ever feel like throwing or going to a party isn’t godly or is too frivolous. Absolutely untrue!

In fact, I’ll go ahead and say it: Jesus himself was a party animal. I mean, think of all the times he went to people’s homes and ate and drank with them. I’d say he wanted people to enjoy their time with him.

So the reasons why I love this story can be boiled down thusly:

1. We get to see Jesus’ mother Mary in action, caring for her friends.

2. We see Jesus interrupting his own timeline to help his friends save face and to do something for his mother.

3. We see Jesus showing just a sliver of the kingdom of God to common people.

4. We see that celebrating a party can, in fact, be an utterly holy thing to do.

Did I leave anything out? What do you love most about Jesus’ first miracle?

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4 thoughts on “Jesus Christ: Party Animal

  1. I just found your blog through your post on the Bloggess today.

    I love this. Thanks for sharing! I love this story too, and never really knew why until you broke it down like this. I think you’re break down also has great application to our lives. We should care for our friends–in good times and bad, small things and major crisis. We should be willing to interrupt our schedule to do God’s work. We should point to God’s kingdom through all our actions, little and big–even if it’s serving drinks at a party. And we shouldn’t become such serious Christians that we forget that God created this incredible world and does want us to enjoy it.

    I teach youth Sunday School, and I’m definitely going to use your breakdown in a lesson soon 🙂

    • Thanks, Sarah! I’m so glad you enjoyed this post and found this blog.

      Your point about being willing to interrupt our schedule to do God’s work is an important one, as well. Jesus’s schedule was more important than anyone else’s has ever been – I mean, his mission was to save the world – yet even he saw an immediate need and took action. That definitely shows a valuable lesson for us as well.

      And I’m beyond thrilled that you’ll use this for your Sunday school lesson! In an age when youth may be driven away from Christ for fear that following him is “boring,” it’s important that we see that Jesus isn’t a boring savior. Far from it.

      Thanks again!

  2. I love this.

    What I love about this slice of Jesus’ life is how it was so casual. Oh … you need more wine? Here ya go. There is no fanfare. There is not angelic choir. It just happened. Much like the miracle of grace we are afforded every single day. 🙂

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