Why did Jesus turn water into wine at a private wedding celebration?
It is important ask why Jesus did anything at all.
He was purposeful in all that he did. As he attended the wedding celebration in John 2, and as need presented itself, and as his mother petitioned him to act, and as a few servants witnessed his miraculous power, Jesus acted purposefully.
His purpose in working this miracle was to show his glory. This was the first sign recorded in John’s gospel that pointed to the identity and work of Jesus as the Son of God. So doing something as simple as turning water into wine (simple for Jesus anyway) began to pull the curtain back on who he truly was and what he came to do.
I share in the video this week that I think there are two highly significant images here in this miracle. The first image is that of great blessing when the Messianic age begins. We see this connection in Amos 9 when Amos speaks of the wine flowing down from the mountains. The blessing of that Messianic age is symbolized in the abundance of wine, one of the great crops of Israel. As Jesus provides an abundance of wine at this wedding feast, it is as if he is saying that the time of Messianic blessing is beginning…in him.
Secondly, the image of the wedding feast is quite important to us as Christians. Revelation 19 uses the imagery of a wedding feast to symbolize the joy and celebration involved in the full consummation of the Kingdom of God. When God makes all things right through Christ, the elect of God shall be welcomed to the wedding supper of the Lamb. And, in fact, we won’t just be guests. We will be the honored bride. His church will participate in the celebration for the church is the bride of Christ.
So as Jesus is starting out in his public ministry, he is revealing his glory, which points to his identity as the Messiah and turns our hope to the future marriage supper of the Lamb.
And remember, as Messiah, as the one who would save, he would give his life. In order to purify his bride and make her ready for the marriage supper, he would give his life. So even from the beginning of his ministry, the reality of death and resurrection is in the mind of our Lord.