Teaching the Gospels — The First Days of Ministry 3
On the third day, Jesus and his growing band of disciples get invited to a wedding in Nathanael’s hometown. Whether he wrangled the invite, or whether Mary was involved in the wedding (maybe one of Jesus’ little siblings), or whether the Cana-Nazareth rivalry is set aside for a week of celebration, we can’t be sure. What we can know is that in this closely-knit society, a wedding like this is a major social event. Running out of wine would be an unforgettable disaster. Not only would the young couple never live down such a social blunder, they might even believe their marriage cursed, and never have spiritual peace.
The writer of the Fourth Gospels is writing a sort of mystery story. There are hints, innuendo, and even deliberately placed clues. The writer calls these clues “signs” — as if Jesus is palcing signposts pointing the way to the fullness of his glory. What is that fullness? Where does the mystery climax? Follow the clues.
What are these clues? These signs? Like he told Nathanael, they are moments when heaven and earth are connected — where God’s will is done on earth as in heaven — where the trasnformative power of God’s loving kingdom rule bursts forth to rescue the helpless.
Also intriguing to this situation: we have the one and only biblical command from Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is a simple one, really: “Do whatever he tells you to do.” Pretty great, huh? And according to the author, that command is the key to transformation from water to wine — from the life of the flesh to the new life of the Spirit. Do whatever he tells you — trust Him. Now is the time.
Why does this happen on the “third day”? Is that a hint, too?