Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” John 2:6-10 (NRSV)
As most of you know one of my hobbies is producing wine. I started a new batch on Monday so the smell of fermenting grapes is permeating our basement. On top of that, I also made five quarts of sauerkraut on Monday which is also fermenting. Talk about the wonderful aromas that greet me every time I enter our basement door. We will be reading the story of Jesus miracle of turning water into wine. I marvel at how quickly Jesus was able to do this. The wine I started on Monday will not be ready to drink until next fall. Yet, Jesus turned water into wine in mere seconds. Not only that, the wine Jesus produced was outstanding. Last fall I entered three bottles of wine into the amateur wine tasting contest at Valiant Vineyards. One of my bottles received a bronze award. It is interesting that the wine is judged not just on taste but also smell (bouquet) and color. All are important for an outstanding glass of wine. I mention this because one scholar commented that John does not tell us what God’s grace is. Rather, John describes what God’s grace taste like, looks like, smells like, sounds like and feels like. In this first miracle, in Johns gospel, we see (looks like) that God’s grace is overabundant. Between one hundred and twenty and one hundred and eighty gallons of overabundance! That would be between 4,000 and 6,000 four ounce servings of wine. If the wine was entered into a contest the wine would win the gold medal for its color, bouquet and taste for Jesus produces the best. God’s grace is not like some cheap boxed wine but instead like an expensive bottle of wine that is ordered on a special joyous occasion. Speaking of joy. One of the signs of the new age will be an abundance of the finest of wine (see Is. 25:6 & Amos 9:13). Jesus miracle is a reminder that Jesus has come to usher in the new age of joy, feasting and celebration. Every time we gather for worship should be an opportunity to experience the new age. This is especial true when the Lord’s Supper is celebrated. At the table we can see, smell and taste the abundance of God’s grace that comes to us in Jesus Christ. But I wonder if our worship is as joyous as it could be? Do you leave worship filled with joy? If so give God thanks and praise. If not take time to ponder what needs to change so that worship will be a more joyful experience.