Society has seen the sacredness of this new life model and socialized it contractually for the good of the newly born and society at large. Over the years it has evolved to be a very special symbol of love.
The symbol carries the highest possibility of human endeavour, even if the mountain is not easy to climb. Such a promise of the highest possibility it is perceived as sacred, consequently we generally celebrate it with some type of joyful ritual.
John opens his discussion of Jesus life within a wedding context. You know the story of the miracle of the turning of water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee. John concludes the account with the statement that this was the first of the signs that Jesus did. How neat that he has chosen such a fundamental context of life that speaks of love and new beginnings to inaugurate his mission. For John this was certainly significant. With it comes a very potent message.
Not so long ago the United States passed its law to allow Gay Marriage. The woman clerk in the Kentucky, Rowan County registry office refused to grant a gay couple their marriage certificate, choosing to go to jail rather than comply. She stated that God had made marriage between a man and a woman from the beginning of time and it should not be changed.
We love the sentiment of its permanent and durable nature. But marriage has not always been simply as she has come to understand. It has developed down through the centuries and been practiced in different ways in different cultures and communities.
The Kingdom for Jesus is a growing and dynamic experience of life. It is not a faith of comfort or even one of protection. To many faithful people, they have found life can be volatile and unpredictable. Protection and predictability were very central to the mentality of the Jewish people. Their rituals were prolific and more inclined to bind them to the same old ways, than liberate them. In contrast we could say Jesus gospel is one for liberation.
Cleanliness was vital for Godliness to the Jews. On returning from the market they must always wash. There was no limit to the reasons they found for washing. They believed spiritual contamination was the result of such external causes. By the door were large pots of water that were for such cleansing or purification purposes. When the normal supply of wine ran out, Jesus was hassled by his mother to do something. The result was that Jesus turned the water of purification into wine.
The significance of this miracle is amplified when noting the numerous references to the Jewish race as the vine. Wine was the fruit and symbol of the spirit of the nation
The power of Jesus miracle is amplified with reflection upon his own thinking in his later parable.
“New wine skins are needed for new wine”, lest the old break apart.
The Jewish people had practiced their religion in the same old way for centuries. Jesus began his challenge by indicating his new ways were far superior and the old would never carry safely the ways of the new Kingdom. Jesus message was forever calling people to renewal. The spirit of the Kingdom is dynamic and ever challenging we humans in greater ways of love.
The Kentucky Civic officer thought life stayed the same. She did not realize marriage has been changing down through history era after era. Love is permanent but not necessarily the way successive societies understand it. But you will never grow in spirit if you think life should stay the same. Our journey is for liberation from that which keeps us bound. Ultimately it is to grow in the spirit of Jesus. Maybe we could say that the kingdom is to pickle us in Jesus new wine, for we are to become like him the true vine.