I heard something beautiful in church yesterday as we read the story of Jesus’s first recorded miracle at the wedding in Cana. If you know the story, you know that there was a wine shortage.
Jesus instructed servants to fill those six stone jars with water and they did – to the brim.
The water became wine. Abundant wine. As the pastor called it, “An overabundance of wine to make the heart of mankind glad.”
Except, he said, he has been a pastor long enough, and walked with enough struggling people to know that an overabundance of wine – alcohol – does not bring happiness. It brings trouble.
So what kind of wine was this?
“Then He took a cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’”
The blood of the covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sins.
An overabundance of forgiveness makes the heart of mankind glad.
It’s the cup of forgiveness, not alcohol, that brings happiness to mankind, to marriages, to all relationships.
Pairing the abundance of wine at the wedding feast with an abundance of forgiveness was brilliant.
Jesus’s very first miracle, which on the surface seems to be about averting a faux pas, was actually a foreshadowing of His last and greatest miracle – the pouring out of an overabundance of forgiveness. The pouring out of His blood for our purification.
It’s been way too long since I heard a fresh insight on a Sunday morning and boy was it refreshing. And thrilling.
In describing His actions at the last supper, the pastor said Jesus lifted the cup that was reserved for Elijah and said, “This is the blood of my covenant…”
I had never before heard that Jesus lifted Elijah’s cup. It seems to me Jesus would raise His own cup, the one His Father gave Him to drink. The one from which, He later confessed, He did not want to drink. Even so, “if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
But regardless of whose cup it was, I was thrilled once again. Because I have been to a Seder, and I know that a place is set for Elijah, and I know that the last supper was at Passover, but it hadn’t occurred to me that, because the last supper was a Seder feast, a place would have been set for Elijah.
A new insight, something to ponder and investigate…It was a really good morning.