“This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” (John 2:11 NKJV).
John the beloved, in his account of the gospel, chose to refer to the miracles, wonders, or supernatural works performed by the Lord Jesus Christ as “signs.” This is very significant!
By choosing the word “signs,” John wanted us to know that every miracle or wonder performed by Christ was pointing to something deeper, higher and greater than themselves. They signified or indicated something more important than the actual miraculous works.
Therefore, if all that you seek for and receive is a miracle from the Lord Jesus, but fail to perceive or receive the revelation of the Lord Jesus that the miracle is intended to unveil and convey to you; you have missed something far greater, deeper and better than the miracle itself.
The next day after the miraculous feeding of five thousand men (besides women and children) with five barley loaves and two small fish, the people sought everywhere for Jesus until they found Him in Capernaum.
Having found Jesus, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” (John 6:25-26 NKJV).
According to the Lord Jesus, although this people received, experienced and enjoyed the miracle He performed, yet they missed what the miracle was intended to reveal to them. They saw the actual miraculous work Jesus performed, but they didn’t see the revelation of Jesus behind it.
Regrettably, many believers today are just like them. All they care about are the miracles and not the spiritual significances behind them!
After His baptism, the first public miracle performed by the Lord Jesus was at a wedding in Cana of Galilee where He miraculously turned water into wine. John puts it this way, “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” (John 2:11 NKJV).
John wanted us to know that this miraculous work of Jesus was actually a sign, the first of Jesus’ signs. As a sign, it was intended to unveil and convey something spiritual and more significant than the actual miracle. The understanding of what Jesus intended to reveal to us about Himself through this miracle is of greater significance than the actual miracle itself.
Therefore, let us look beyond the actual sign to see and understand its spiritual significances.
First, it is very important to understand that the ultimate purpose of every sign or miracle performed by Jesus was for the people to believe in Him and thus receive the eternal life He came into the world to give to all men.
The Scripture states in John 20:
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;
31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (NKJV).
Jesus came into the world primarily to give us life. He clearly states, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV).
What kind of life?
The same life that He has in Himself!
The very life of God the Father!
Jesus said in John 5:
25 “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live.
26 “For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself. (NKJV).
Also in John 17:
1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,
2 “as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.
3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (NKJV).
Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee was symbolic of His ultimate mission in the world. Jesus did not come into the world to fix the inherent faults or weaknesses in “the old or natural life” or in the Old Covenant God established with the Jews (Heb. 7:17-19, 8:7-13).
Rather, Jesus came to give us an entirely “new, supernatural or eternal life” and to establish the New Covenant in the place of the Old Covenant.
The Scripture states in Hebrews 8:
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah–
9 “not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD.
10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
11 “None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.
12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (NKJV).
The first wine that was exhausted or consumed up at the wedding was symbolic of the Old Covenant, the Law, or the life the Jews inherited from their fathers (1 Pet. 1:18, Heb. 7:18).
Just as the first wine could not last till the end of the wedding ceremony or bring the wedding to its consummation, so was the Old Covenant and the life passed down to the Jews. Nobody could attain perfection under the Old Covenant or the Law.
The Law could not bring the people into spiritual union or intimacy with God. They could not become one spirit with the Lord Jesus with their natural, earthly or sinful life inherited from their fathers. Therefore, there was a need for a new and better wine which represents the grace, the New Covenant, and the eternal life which came through Christ Jesus (John 1:17).
The Scripture reveals in Hebrews 7:
18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness,
19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. (NKJV).
After tasting the new wine, the master of the feat at the wedding testified to its superiority or better quality in comparison with the former wine.
He said to the bridegroom, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” (John 2:10 NKJV).
The man was not saying that the first wine was not good, but that the last wine was far better. The Law God gave the Jews through Moses is certainly good, but grace and truth that came through Jesus Christ is far better.
The Scripture testifies, “Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” (Rom. 7:12 NKJV).
The first wine was not set aside because it was not good but because it had been consumed up and thus had served its purpose. Similarly, the Law was not set aside because it was not good, but because it had served its purpose.
What is the purpose of the Law?
Is it to make people holy or perfect? No!
Is it to save or redeem people? No!
Is it to justify people before God? Certainly Not!
What then is the purpose of the Law?
It is to expose sin and man’s utter sinfulness, corruption and bankruptcy!
It is to humble man, stop his boasting, and bring him under condemnation!
It is to restrain man or keep man under guard!
It is to serve as a tutor or guide to bring man to Christ to be justified and saved by faith!
The Scripture amply affirms these truths.
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (NKJV).
7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”
8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.
9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. (NKJV).
19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.
20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.
21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.
22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed.
24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (NKJV).
Beloved, the first wine (the Law) has fulfilled its intended divine purpose. It was not intended to last till the consummation of the wedding; it was only meant to last for a short while. The Law was not intended to be everlasting. It was not intended to give you eternal or everlasting life, which is intimacy with God.
God has prepared an infinitely better wine (grace) for mankind. This is what Jesus came into the world to offer freely to all mankind. Although the Jews enjoyed the miraculous wine (the water made into wine), yet they rejected the new and better covenant and eternal life that Jesus offered them.
Jesus said of them, “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (John 5:40 NKJV).
Sadly, many people today are still ignorantly drinking and getting drunk with the old wine – religious rites, laws, traditions and customs which cannot make them perfect or bring them into spiritual union or intimacy with God.
Friend, the Lord Jesus is inviting you today to come to Him and drink freely the new and supernatural wine He came into the world to offer mankind.
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psa. 34:8 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for offering me grace and truth, in the place of law, through Christ Jesus. Help and teach me Holy Spirit to drink freely and get drunk with grace and truth that only Jesus gives, in Jesus’ name. Amen.