I have to wonder what the disciples were thinking when they arrived at this wedding. We’re not sure how many of the ultimate twelve are with Jesus at this point, we’ve only seen five mentioned at this point but John doesn’t follow the same “getting the gang together” pattern that the other Gospel writers have so all twelve might be with Jesus at this point. They’re in Cana, which is apparently somewhere northwest of Nazareth, close enough that people know each other. Probably closer than Shelby and Kings Mountain. Now the five disciples we know of at the moment: Peter, Andrew, Phillip, Nathanial, and an unnamed person who was with Andrew when he first saw Jesus who we assume to be John, none of the them are from Nazareth, we have no indication that they know anyone in Cana. So they’ve abandoned their families and jobs if they had them and homes to follow this person they believe is going to be a great teacher and important figure and the first thing he does is bring them to a wedding where they don’t know anybody. Now weddings were community events at this point, there weren’t strict lists of who was invited like we think of so its not that they’re crashing this wedding, but I think it’s a safe bet to assume they only knew each other. Last fall Meghan and I went to one of my sister’s best friend’s weddings, and the people invited were: her family, groom’s family, my family, one other older family from Laurens that were friends with her grandmother, and then the bride and grooms college friends. And that wedding was the moment my quarter-life crisis started, because as I looked around that room I realized that I was one of old people at this wedding. If you took the median age of that group I would be on the side closer to drawing Social Security. I didn’t know these people, I didn’t know the music, I just wanted to go home to my baby, I was old and lame. And so Meghan and I spent the evening talking with the bride’s grandmother (and had a great time) but I think of that when I think of the disciples at this wedding, standing in a group in the corner, afraid the go dance because they don’t know anybody and don’t want to be judged, looking around at a room full of people they don’t know and wondering what in the world they’ve signed up for.
But the good thing about standing in the corner (I’m here to tell those of you who were cool in High School) is that you can see everything that’s going on. And so all of sudden the disciples would have seen some sort of commotion, some sense of panic from the folks keeping the wine reserves stocked. They’d have seen Mary notice something was wrong and go over to Jesus, they’d have seen them go back and forth and Jesus relent. They’d watch as the servants carried these large stone jugs over to the well and fill them with water. They’d see the master of the banquet receive a cup and have known that the jig was up, and then see his eye light up and hear the praise poured out (along with the wine) about what an amazing vintage this was. And then they’d remember what it was they signed up for. They’d remember why they left everything behind to follow this man, because with this man ordinary moments could turn extraordinary in an instant. Since they met this man, their expectations for what was possible had started to shift.
When people meet Jesus their expectations shift. Because when we see God in flesh, how can our thoughts on what’s possible not change. When we see love personified and lived out, how can we not seek it even more. And when we see water turn into wine, how can we not lick out lips at the prospect of what else might happen. Some of us come to this Lenten season at the end of our rope, with no hope left, needing to be reminded of what can happen when Jesus is at work. Some of us need our expectations of what’s possible to shift. My prayer this Lenten season is that we open our hearts to meet Jesus again, and in doing so to finding ourselves transformed.