The miracles of Jesus certainly provoke awe and reverence, but they also prompt questions. One such scene is Jesus’s first public miracle at the wedding at Cana (John 2). In this passage, Jesus was at a wedding, and the hosts ran out of wine. After some discussion with his mother, Mary, Jesus astonishes everyone by turning the purification water into wine.
The question I want to consider is, Why did Jesus make so much wine?
John includes details that let us know that Jesus made a lot of wine. In verse 6 we read, “there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.” Jesus, wanting to ensure they were full, instructs the servants to fill up what was lacking in the jars to the brim (v.7).
Then, in verse 8, Jesus instructs them to “draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” The people were amazed. The purification buckets had turned into vintage wine bottles. With the astonishment that attends a surprise party, they celebrate together declaring, This is the good stuff!
How much wine did Jesus make? Six stone jars with 20 to 30 gallons of wine in them total 120 to 180 gallons. Jesus made nearly 1,000 bottles of wine! By all accounts, this is a lot of wine for a wedding of this size.
Furthermore, John tells us this was his first sign in Galilee, and it manifested his glory. This fact prods us along with our question, Why so much wine?
In the Bible wine is a sign of God’s blessing (Ps. 104:15; Prov. 3:10). The widespread abuse of wine does not dilute the biblical testimony that wine in the Bible is primarily positive.
But, there’s more than this.
In many cases, an abundance of wine demonstrates the abundance of God’s blessings. Two passages are particularly helpful here. The first is in Genesis 49 when Jacob is blessing his sons. Jacob comes to Judah and announces that from Judah there will come a very important king (Gen. 49:8-10). Further,
Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk. (Gen. 49:11-12)
These verses are all about abundance. Instead of a drought, there are so many grapes that you can tie your colt up to the best vine. And, one’s clothes could be washed in wine. The blessings are overflowing when this king, the son of Judah comes.
The second passage is in Amos 9. Looking back to the glory days of King David the prophet looks ahead to a time when another son of Judah would come. This anointed would usher in the days of unparalleled, exuberant blessings. His rule will bring about the obedience of the nations and the security of his people.
“In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the LORD who does this. “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,” says the LORD your God.
Amos paints a picture to communicate the blessings of God. The mountains shall drip of sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with it. This passage describes the overflowing abundance of God’s blessings upon his people. Amos, like others (Joel 3:18), promises this day will come.
There in the hours celebrating the new life together of a man and woman whom history has forgotten, is a more excellent celebration: the new life given by God in the new creation. The flowing new wine shows the abundant blessing of Christ and his bride the church.
Then years later, another son of Judah, a son of David would come. He goes to a wedding and manifests his glory through a sign. His first sign uncorks and announces the day of God’s abundant blessings. The prophet, priest, and king of the new creation has arrived. There in the hours of celebrating the new life together of a man and woman whom history has forgotten, is a more excellent celebration: the new life given by God in the new creation. The flowing new wine shows the abundant blessing of Christ and his bride the church.
There’s more to be said about this passage, but certainly not less than this: Jesus made so much wine to show the long-promised age has arrived and the blessings that accompany his kingdom are overflowing.