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The First Miracle

Based on John 2:1-11

Jesus, his mother and the disciples go to a wedding in Cana. When the wine runs out only a miracle can save the day.

Copyright Gavin Owen 2005

Mary looked at her son Jesus – he was all dressed up in his best clothes, his hair nicely brushed and his beard neatly trimmed. He was such a handsome young man, she thought, and such a good son. Mary's husband Joseph had died a few years ago and Jesus had taken care of her ever since. He had gone out to work every day – he had been a carpenter, just like Joseph – and he had earned as much as they needed to keep a roof over their heads and food on their plates. But now Jesus had stopped being a carpenter, he said that it was time for him to start doing God's work instead. Mary didn't know what he meant and she worried about whether they would have enough money to live on, but she trusted Jesus, she knew that he would never let her down. Today Jesus was doing something else that Joseph would have done if he had been alive; he was taking his mother to a wedding. The bride was a relative, a distant cousin, and Mary wasn't sure that she really felt like going, but it would have been rude to refuse the invitation. So she put on her finest clothes and did her hair and Jesus did the same.

The wedding was in a town called Cana – it was only a few miles from Nazareth, where Mary and Jesus lived, but Mary was too old to walk that far now, so she rode on a donkey and Jesus walked along the dry and dusty road beside her. Mary gazed at Jesus and nodded to herself – she remembered another time when she had ridden on a donkey, years and years ago. They didn't travel alone, Jesus had twelve new friends that he called his disciples and they were all going to the wedding too.

They arrived in Cana in plenty of time for the ceremony and Jesus found Mary a comfortable seat from where she could see everything. Mary thought that it was a lovely wedding – the bride was beautiful and the groom was smart and when the priest had blessed the happy couple everybody shouted for joy. Mary was glad she had come.

After the wedding, all the guests went back to the house for the reception. In those days wedding receptions didn't just last for a few hours, they lasted a few days, sometimes as long as a week. Mary knew that these huge parties were very expensive and took a lot of planning, and she hoped that everything would go well and everyone would enjoy themselves. When Mary and Jesus and his friends arrived at the house, the master of ceremonies, the man in charge of the wedding reception, announced their names – “Mary, the widow of Joseph of Nazareth, her son Jesus and his disciples: Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon, Thaddeus and Judas.”

They took their places at the table and the meal began. The food was delicious – tasty meats, roasted vegetables, juicy fruits and fine wine to drink. It was such a good party that everybody forgot about the time and no-one was sure how long they had been there. Mary glanced around the room – everyone was smiling and laughing, all except for the master of ceremonies, he seemed to be worried, very worried indeed! Mary waved at him and he walked around the table to where she was sitting. “Whatever's the matter?” Mary asked him. “It's the wine,” he told her, “we've run out! The happy couple will be so embarrassed when they find out – everyone will think they were too mean to buy enough wine to last for the whole reception. I don't know what I'm going to do!” He hurried away and Mary turned to Jesus. “Can't you do something?” she pleaded. “It's nothing to do with me, mother” Jesus replied. But Mary gave him a look, that special look that mothers give to their sons when they really want them to do something. Then she called the waiters and said to them “This is my son, listen to him and do whatever he tells you.” Jesus peered around the room. There in the corner were six large jugs used to carry water. “Take those jugs,” Jesus instructed the waiters “and fill them to the top with water.” The waiters did as they were told. When the jugs were full they were very heavy and it took two men to carry each one. “Now,” said Jesus, “fill a cup from one of the jugs and take it to the master of ceremonies.” When the master of ceremonies drank from the cup his eyes opened wide with astonishment – he didn't know what Jesus had done; all he knew was that this was the best wine he had ever tasted. He rushed over to the bridegroom and exclaimed – “Sir! At other weddings the guests are given the best wine first and then when that has run out they are given cheap wine to drink, but this wine is even better than what we have already served, you have saved the best until last! What a generous man you are!”

Over at their table, the disciples stared at each other in wonder. “Did you see that?” hissed Peter, “He turned water into wine!” The others nodded. “You know what this means?” Peter went on, “It's true what his cousin John told us, he really is the Son of God!”

Mary looked at Jesus and smiled and she was still smiling a week later when they got back home to Nazareth. “He might be the Son of God,” she thought to herself, “but he's still my little boy.”