‘He thus revealed his glory and his disciples put their faith in him’ John 2:11
It’s blue Monday tomorrow, said to be the worst day of the year, Christmas is long past, credit card bills have to be paid, payday is at least a week a day – there’s not much glory on a grey day in January. If someone came and asked us to tell them something really exciting that had happened to us recently, maybe we could think of something that happened at Christmas. Perhaps there is the odd exciting moment at other times, but generally life is fairly humdrum. The weeks come and the weeks go and there is not much to mark the passing of time.
Perhaps something has been lost. Perhaps we have lost the sense of the different, we have lost the sense of the special. Life is humdrum because we have made it so.
This is nothing new. Look at this story of the wedding at Cana in Galilee. Here is a wedding, here is a very special day, a very sacred day, a day that no-one took lightly. Here is a day when Jewish families would have looked for a sense that something special was taking place. Yet the whole thing has become very humdrum.
The customs of the time have reduced the occasion to a gathering where people drink so much that they don’t even notice when poor wine is being served. For people who customarily drank wine with their meals not to notice bad wine must have meant a very large amount had been consumed. They were usually in such a stupor that they didn’t even notice what they were drinking.
Into this situation comes Jesus. The people at the wedding expected it to be an ordinary day. Hadn’t they all been at weddings before? There was no reason to suppose that this one was going to be any different.
Jesus and his disciples had been invited to the wedding, it must have been someone they knew well for all of them to have been invited. You don’t feed thirteen big country men unless you have to, they eat too much. Mary seems to be close to the family, she knows the wine has run out before any of the guests notices.
This wedding is not just an ordinary gathering, it’s an embarrassing one. There are all these people and there’s not even enough for them to drink. Can you imagine the groom’s comment to the bride if they had found out, ”I told your mother not to invite so many”.
This wedding is mundaneness itself. Can you imagine the mutterings there would have been when people became aware that the drink had run out? There would have been no time at all before people began to make their excuses, “got to go now, must see to the cattle,” “got to go now, must get the children to bed.”.
Into this ordinariness, into this mundaneness, into this situation of potential embarrassment, comes Jesus.
His mother comes to him and says, “They have no more wine.” Jesus’ reply is fascinating, “Why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” It would seem that even Jesus himself thinks that this is an ordinary moment.
Mary is having none of it. “Do whatever he tells you.” she says. She knows that something dramatic is going to take place.
Jesus has a sense of humour. The wineskins could have been refilled, but they aren’t. The water jars, the massive containers that the Jews used for their ceremonial washing, are filled with wine. “You want wine, you got it! 150 gallons at least.”
The jars were a reminder of the old religion, the old rites and ceremonies, the old customs, the rituals that had once been filled with life. The old religion has now been riven by factions – the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the priests – and it has become corrupt, the high priest Caiaphas is a prime example of a man whose sole motivation is the retention of power and influence.
The disciples see what happens and they believe. Their old faith is refilled with something that is new and better.
The situation is transformed. Staleness, dullness, ordinariness, everything that is humdrum and mundane, disappear. This wedding party, this everyday occurrence, becomes a moment of glory.
There is a temptation for to say, “That’s all right for them. They lived in different times. They lived very different lives.” There is a temptation to feel that glory is something for another time and another place. We have lost the sense that here we have something tremendous, something that is far greater than all the annoyances and hassles we endure. We need the feeling that what we have something more important than anything else in the world.
If life is to make sense at all there must be glory to be found. There is a need to put aside the dull and the humdrum and the mundane and the ordinary.
Jesus revealed his glory and his disciples put their faith in him.