I began my book, Naked and Not Ashamed, reflecting on the Lord's first miracle. It has always amazed me that Jesus would begin His ministry by turning water into wine. It seems like a poor use of miraculous power. I mean, there were people to heal, poverty to banish, demons to expel.
Well, the only conclusion I can draw is that Jesus wanted to make a statement about life and joy. The couple in the hut needed space and privacy to make love and enjoy one another; the hard-working people of the village needed a break. Without wine, the special treat for the party, none of this could happen.
Of course, people didn't know how to make fortified beverages yet. The naturally fortified drinks they made could get one drunk, of course, but getting drunk was a much more intentional act then. One had to drink a lot more liquid. Also, no one was driving home and putting their own lives and the lives of others in danger.
The main point though is simply about life. There are boundaries to respect if one is a believer. However, within those boundaries is life and joy. Believers are sexual beings and social beings. We work and play, make love and deal with finances. We ought to experience these things with joy and knowledge.
It requires maturity to live life that way. It's much easier to forget about the boundaries or to huddle in a cave, fearful of breaking some unknown commandment. In a way, each of these approaches sins against creation. The sinful, shameless person ignores the sovereignty of God. The legalist ignores life, the gift of God.
In time, Jesus would preach against those who sin and disobey God. First, however He wanted to make a statement against the sin of legalism. So He smiles at the bride and groom and looks at the poor working people of the village. Then He calls the servants and tells them to pour some water into the barrels.
Soon there will be suffering and tears. Today, it's time to have a party.