“Everyone serves the good wine first. They bring out the second-rate wine only when the guests are drinking freely. You have kept the good wine for now!!”-John 2:10.
When I was dating my wife at Texas Tech, she made me some tapioca pudding. When she asked if it was any good, I told her “yes babe! Its amazing!” What boyfriend wouldn't say that, right? Yet the next night at work, it happened. My boss asks me, “so, hows the girlfriend situation working out?” I said “Rhiannon is great, yet she made some terrible pudding yesterday.” Folks, my boss busted out laughing. Why? Rhiannon was standing right behind me! We laugh about that story today, but then I was ashamed to look at her for a while back then. I had tried to impress her and frankly, lied about it. If we are honest with ourselves,we have all done something that brings shame on God, our families, etc. Growing up, I used to think that if I repented enough, then maybe my shame would go away. But then I read the wedding story in Cana. Mountains of commentaries have been written at the audacity of Jesus to change water to wine and received responses from the elated (“Jesus drank wine!”) to the shock (“Why would Jesus promote drinking at a wedding?”). Both responses miss the point. Why?
In the ancient world, it was up to the bride and groom to celebrate with the community, sometimes for weeks, that they were getting married. They had to provide the food, they had to provide the drink, etc as a way of saying they were ready to lead and serve as couple before Yahweh and their people. The only problem is, they ran out of wine! Catholic and Protestants alike make a big deal about Mary being the one to report the news, but look at the big picture, this couple is about to commit a shameful act! They want to get married but they can’t even provide for the community?! “The hour” Jesus refers to in this story is His death to cover the sins of many, yet this story means He is about to also take the shame of a couple in His life! He took their shame and made their wedding the best ever! Jesus is the one who takes the shame, not only in kneeling at His cross, but also in things you never thought He would deem as acceptable before Him!
What shame are you hiding today? You may feel like you have nothing left to give, that God can’t possibly accept you. In Christ, He has taken your shame and mine and with Isaiah has said “My delight is in you”-Isaiah 62:4. Want miracles? Look no further than Cana. If God can do that….
John Thomas is a Pastor at Carroll Springs United Methodist Church