Soar Like Eagles: The Gospel of John: #2 “Jesus, The Master of Quality” John 2:1-11

05 Jan

c5f6b188dcd185fbe7f76b5ab2474b96This section represents the first miracle Jesus performed, demonstrating His very purpose for coming to earth: to reveal the creative power of God. He had the power to create and produce what was needed to meet man’s need.

This section, which carries through the close of chapter four, has been called “the period of consideration,” because it narrates certain events by means of which Jesus was presented to the public for their consideration and acceptance.

These events or appearances of Jesus were selected as representative, in order that His method of appeal to various classes might be plainly seen, and that the reader might be influenced by at least one of them.

Our text, John 2:1-11, tells of Jesus’ attendance at a wedding where He, too, experienced the tension. Watching what He did at this event tells us a lot about who the Son of Man (1:51) truly is.

This scene, in a way, leaves us up in the air. There are many unanswered questions: What was Mary’s role? What was Nathanael’s relationship to the couple? Who was this couple? Did Jesus know them previously? How?

As an eyewitness, John could have answered all these questions. But he chooses to emphasize Jesus. He is the main character of this wedding feast, the only one that really matters.

Note that Joseph was not mentioned. It is thought by most commentators that he was already dead. Jesus has come to bear all the trials of the world for man. He suffered…

  • the death of a parent ( Matthew 13:53-58).
  • being the child of a one-parent family.
  • having to provide for His mother and half-brothers and sisters.

The first verse sets the time…it has been seven days since the event of John 1:19: “On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee.”

Cana of Galilee was the home of Nathanael (21:2). Jesus was a full participant in this celebration. Marriage was a happy time, a time of joy and laughter—a festive occasion. It was one of the largest social events in a community.

This tells us two things about Jesus: 1. He was a sociable person…He liked people and people liked Him. He enjoyed the company of people. Do not miss the truth that Jesus chose to attend the wedding! Can you imagine Him there? Can you imagine His relaxed smile as He talked with the other guests? Does the Jesus you picture in your mind experience joy? Would He be at home at a wedding celebration? The Jesus of this text certainly was!

  1. Jesus honored marriage by His presence. He demonstrated His approval and honor in two ways: by attending the marriage feast and by meeting the urgent need of the bridegroom.

A Jewish wedding ceremony included three major events:

  1. There was a marriage feast and ceremony, which were held on the same evening
  2. They were conducted through the village streets by the light of flaming torches and with a canopy over their heads. They wore crowns and dressed in their bridal robes for a week…they didn’t go on a honeymoon, but stayed at home, and it was ‘open house’ for 7 days.
  3. The wedding festivities lasted far more than one day; they usually lasted seven days. After the ceremony the young couple were conducted to their new home. There, speeches were made and expressions of goodwill publicly declared. They were treated like kings and queens, and were actually addressed as king and queen.

In a life where there was much poverty and constant hard work, this week of festivity and joy was one of the supreme occasions.  Hospitality was emphasized and the hosts took great care to provide whatever the guests needed.

“Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and His disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is at the wedding, although her role seems to be more than that of a guest. One gets the impression that the couple being married are either friends, or possibly related to Mary, and that she is helping with the arrangements, especially the serving of the food and wine. She seems to be one of the first to know that the wine is running out. She instructs the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do, and they appear willing to take her instructions.

Jesus and His disciples are also at the wedding as invited guests. There seem to be only five disciples at this point: Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and John (if indeed he is the other disciple of John who follows Jesus).

The fact that Mary, Jesus, and His disciples are all invited to this wedding suggests that this wedding is that of someone known to all of them, perhaps a friend or a relative. Well into the festivities, Jesus’ mother becomes aware of a most embarrassing situation—the wine has run out, and there appears to be no solution. Either no more wine is available, or there is no money to buy more wine.

The guests seem unaware of what is happening. If something is not done, all will be embarrassed. It became clear that the wine was running out, which would present quite an embarrassing moment, and the statement in verse 3 seems to be both a statement of fact and a hint of a request.

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Mary feels some sort of responsibility and exercises some authority here. Mary did not tell Jesus what to do; she simply reported the problem.

Her request to Jesus was at once a testimony to her personal confidence in His powers, of a sense of human glory and pride in her Son, and acknowledgment of the social disaster which threatened the young couple.

Of all those present, the mother of our Lord knows Jesus best. She knows better than anyone of the miraculous events surrounding His birth. She knows of John the Baptist’s miraculous birth as well, and of his ministry in which he has identified Jesus as the promised Messiah.

His brief response to Mary has three parts.

  • First, he addresses her as “dear woman” rather than “Mom.” It was a polite title, like “Ma’am,” (cf. Jn 19:26), and yet a definite statement about their relationship. She now must submit to him as Christ rather than leading him as “son.”
  • Then Jesus says, “Why do you involve me?” [lit. “what to me to you”]. This is a common Hebrew idiom, roughly meaning, “What business is that of mine?” Essentially, Jesus is asking Mary to carefully consider their relationship.
  • Finally, he said his hour has not yet come. In other words, “Mary, don’t expect a public proclamation just yet” (cf. Jn 7:6, 9). Jesus’ life was predestined. The events of his incarnation (Gal 4:4) and ministry were meticulously planned AND TIMED so as to lead to Calvary at the right moment. John’s use of the words “hour” and “time” indicate God’s plan for Jesus, especially in his death.

The Greek word for woman (gunai) carries with it no idea of censure from Jesus toward Mary. The same word is used in John 19:26 (when He left her in the care of John) and 20:13. But the use of “gunai” instead of “meter” (Mother) does show Mary that she can no longer exercise maternal authority and not at all in His Messianic work! (It is a difficult but needed lesson for parents to learn when the have to “let go” of their adult children).

His statement literally was: “what is it to me and to thee?” It was as if He asked, “is this the time for a public manifestation of My power and person?”

It is highly significant that we see Jesus having to cope with the strain and stress of belonging to a human family. Part of His being “flesh” was that He experienced life as a son and a brother.

Jesus, at the wedding, was being pulled in different directions by the confusing currents of a family.

We see Him standing between His love and honor for His mother on one side and His devotion to duty on the other. His was the terribly awkward conflict between “good” and “best.” He was forced to balance His mother’s wishes and His Father’s will.

Verse 5 tells us two things:

  1. This mother knew her son.
  2. She knew He could do something, but it would be independent of her. It also shows she was immediately subservient to Him.

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.” (2:6-7).

John explains that these jars were there to provide water for the purifying ceremonies of the Jews. Water was required for two purposes: it was required for cleansing the feet on entry to the house; and it was required for the handwashing.  The combined capacity of the waterpots was about 150 gallons. Reckoning a half pint to a glass, these vessels would contain about 2,400 servings of wine–certainly enough to supply a large number of people for days.

Jesus commands that they be filled with water to the brim. This will indicate (1) a great quantity, and (2) nothing else was “slipped into the punch,” (3) as purification jars, they contained water, not wine. Therefore, there wouldn’t even be any residue of wine in them. In quality and quantity the new-made wine more than satisfied the needs and taste of those who attended the feast.

(John 2:8-10)  “Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, {9} and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside {10} and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.””

These verses explain themselves. This first miracle was not a spectacular event that everybody witnessed. Mary, the disciples, and the servants knew what happened; but nobody else at the feast had any idea that a miracle had taken place.

His first miracle was a quiet event in contrast to His last miracle (cpt. 11), a public event after a funeral. The tablemaster knew nothing of the miracle, and the servants knew the source of the water, but not the power that made the wine.

Notice that Jesus did not touch the pots or the water or pray openly to God for a miracle. He simply willed the change (this feat is nowhere in the Bible duplicated by prophets or apostles).

Some of the “water” was drawn out of the pots and taken to the “headwaiter” who was responsible for three things:

  • Tasting all food and wine to see that it was acceptable
  • keeping order in the party (he would break a glass if someone got unruly)
  • and officiating over the banquet.

This fellow was not privy to Jesus’ assistance. When he drank the water/wine he found it delicious. Its “goodness” was not found in its intoxicating ability but in its taste. In fact, Palestinian wine was significantly watered down. Although a person could become drunk with it, there were far more effective liqueurs. Wine was the normal table drink which accompanied meals.

So good was this wine that the “headwaiter” called the bridegroom and complimented him on his fare. Normally the best is served first, not last.

The Greek word “oinos” means it is real wine, but not necessarily intoxicating wine (there are 13 different Hebrew and Greek words used in the Bible to denote the many different kinds of wines).

Drunkenness was a great disgrace, and they actually drank their wine in a mixture composed of two parts of wine to three parts of water.

The significance of the miracle lay in the result that it produced: “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples pout their faith in him.”

Jesus performed many signs and wonders. This is the first of seven that John chooses to record (v. 11). And it was pretty much a private display for the disciples, as are the other six. John’s seven “signs” are not intended to showcase Jesus’ power but to validate his position as God’s Son.

It marked the beginning of His public ministry; it manifested His glory; it was used to point His disciples to the Divine Son; and it was used to produce faith in His disciples.

We should also note that this being the first miracle declares as false stories about miracles performed by Jesus as an infant or a young child. They are nothing but superstitious fables and ought to be rejected by anyone who believes the Bible!

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Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Gospel of John


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