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 by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty 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 (John 2:3-9 NIV)
In Jewish culture, a wedding was a week long festival. In such festival it would be very embarrassing for the Groom if he ran out of food or wine. In fact this would not just be embarrassing but this is unlawful based on the unwritten laws on hospitality. (This law exists even up until today in the Middle East)
Jesus was brought to a corner by Mary to solve a major dilemma. His solution…Grace over Religion!
There’s so much talk about religion and grace, but for the purpose of my point let me just make this caveat. Religion is important, really important. If you don’t religiously brush your teeth, then their days are numbered. The issue here is what drives your religion?
The water in the six stone jars mentioned in verse 6 are made for ceremonial cleansing before the guests were to start their weeklong buffet. When full, the pots would hold 20 to 30 gallons. Imagine! Jesus turned all that into wine (There were a lot of guests so that would have just been enough for them). Many bible commentators agree that wine was symbolic for God’s grace. What was used for a religious activity, Jesus made use for a source of satisfying a felt need. Jesus gave an abundance of grace!
That first miracle showed the supremacy of grace over religion. It shows the position of religion in light of the grace of God. With a good understanding of His grace that forgave our sins and enabled us to live a blessed life, this will but naturally make us relentlessly, desperately, religiously pursue Him.
So my friend, religiously read your Bible, go to church, attend small groups, volunteer, share the Gospel not as duty, not to call yourself “ceremonially clean,” but do it because you have been made clean and experienced the fullness of His grace. Do it in thanksgiving and in great hunger for the only One that truly satisfies. The only One that won’t run out on you, Jesus Christ.