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Part 5: Wedding at Cana (2:1-12)
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Now we get to move into chapter 2. Three days after Jesus calls Philip He is invited to a wedding. Not just Him, but all His disciples as well. This is a really interesting scene. Here we have Jesus, who has started His public ministry and His mother who was apparently helping with the catering of the party. This probably means that it was the wedding of a relative of Jesus. During this party they had drank all the wine and Mary comes to Jesus and tells Him so. This interchange is quite interesting and kind of comical. Jesus’ response to His mother is – at first glance – pretty typical of a parent/child relationship. The last sentence of Jesus’ response makes the reason for His response clear. “It’s not my time yet.” The WEB translates it this way: “My hour has not yet come.” His appointed hour of revelation was not yet here.
His mother doesn’t even respond to this statement, but immediately turns and orders the servants. Her words are simple and she gives the servants a simple order. Have you ever heard your mom make such a simple command but you couldn’t help but do anything but follow it? Mary does that here giving the servants a command to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. Jesus doesn’t question His mother again but moves on to the task that she appointed to Him. There is a lot of imagery and metaphors in the miracle (Jesus’ first miracle). We start out with the first verse (verse 6).
In this verse we have water pots, large water pots. They held about 20 to 30 gallons of water. These pots are important because they were used for something specific: Purification. These were used for rituals of purification in Judaism. Jesus then tells them to fill the six water pots. After they do so Jesus doesn’t make any loud words or calling to the Father. He just simply says, “Now take some to the host of the party.” The scene shifts from Jesus and the servants to the party. We’re told, here, that the wine that comes out was the best of the day. It’s interesting to consider if we look at this miracle through the last supper we see something interesting happing. These pots, which were used by the Jews in their purification rituals, were useless for such rituals. God comes in and gives his perfect Lamb as sacrifice and the Old Testament Laws are fulfilled.
In this metaphor we can see that man through his attempts to fulfill the Law was utterly useless, but we see the sacrificial of Christ (the wine) is miraculously added to the situation and the best thing happens: We are saved from sin and death. How great is that? After man’s attempts to fulfill the Old Testament (the wine earlier in the party) God miraculously sends down the best. Is there anything better?
John adds on a tag here to let us know that this is the first sign that Jesus gave as a glimpse of His glory. This is important as we see many glimpses of Jesus’ glory in the Gospel of John. In fact in the first half of the book there are seven signs that will be presented to us in order to prove Jesus’ deity and His messianic identity. The final statement of verse 11 is key to the premise of the book. It says, “His disciples believed Him.” This is important, because how would we find out about Him if His disciples didn’t believe Him?
This is His first sign to show us His glory. How great is that? What signs can you think of that Jesus performed?