“This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him.”
The Gospel of John is a narrative of Jesus unveiling His glory through a series of signs, typically accompanied by teachings related to the signs. Jesus is the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Living Water, the Resurrection; He feeds the multitude, gives sight to a blind man, a woman receives eternal life, Lazarus is raised from the dead. At Cana, however, what does Jesus do and what does Jesus teach?
We see a marriage feast, the wine has run out, Jesus turns the water into wine; not just any grade of wine, but good wine – I think it is fair to say that it was excellent wine. I wonder how much a bottle of this wine would bring at a wine auction.
Wine appears again in the Gospels, though it does not explicitly appear in John’s Gospel. While the Bread and Wine of the Last Supper are not explicitly mentioned in John’s Gospel, because of Matthew, Mark and Luke we can visualize their presence in the Upper Room of John Chapter 13. The wine in the cup of the Lord’s Supper is the blood of the New Covenant for the forgiveness of sins. We can also see the wine in the entire Upper Room discourse of John chapters 13 – 17, for all five chapters portray our communion with the Trinity; Christ invites us to partake of the cup of the Trinity in intimate relationship; the Trinity abides in us, we abide in the Trinity, and we abide in each other.
In the Upper Room there are echoes of Melchizedek and Abraham from Genesis Chapter 14. “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)” In Psalm 110:4 is the Messianic declaration, “The LORD has sworn and will not repent, You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Then in Hebrews Chapter 5ff we see that Jesus is the fulfillment of Psalm 110, that Jesus is the Promised One after the order of Melchizedek; we should expect no less than bread and wine from Him.
In Genesis 14 Melchizedek serves bread and wine to Abraham, the one to whom a promise of salvation to all humanity is made; in the Upper Room Jesus Christ serves bread and wine to twelve descendants of Abraham who are also twelve representatives of all humanity as Abraham was, in his time, the one representative of all humanity.
Abraham prospectively, down through centuries, partakes of the body and blood of the Lamb, the Twelve in a prospective immediacy, for the Crucifixion will occur within hours, partake of the bread and wine. In the case of the Twelve the bread and wine become a way of life, celebrated over and over again throughout their lives within an ever-increasing community, an ever-increasing koinonia. With the Twelve the bread and wine become a way of life for Jesus becomes their source of life, daily, hourly, moment by moment; as the Father is Jesus’ source of life the Trinity becomes the source of life for the Twelve, a source of life which they pass on to others, and others to others; someone passed that source of life on to you, someone passed that source of life on to me, we are called to pass that bread and wine on to others. As Jesus is our bread and wine, we are called, in Christ Jesus, to be bread and wine to others.