3-4-12 Study Notes

2:1-2 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. [2] Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.

  • This is said to be the final day in the series of the first seven days since Jesus started His ministry.  The “third day” is a reference to the third day since the call of Nathanael and indicates to us that the wedding was taking place on the 7th day of this series of first days of Jesus’ ministry.
  • The wedding was likely on a Wednesday because that was the day normally required by Jewish law/tradition for the weddings of a virgin.

2:3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”

  • To run out of wine was more than just an inconvenience, it was a major embarrassment. As John MacArthur points out, in this culture and at this time in history it was the groom and his family who were responsible for the cost and setup of the wedding celebration, which could last as long as a week.  It would have caused great angst to run out of wine, and reflected poorly on the groom and his family on a day that was supposed to be dedicated to joy.
  • But there was more than just embarrassment at stake here.  For Morris and MacArthur both point to the fact that “it was possible to take legal action in certain circumstances against a man who had failed to provide the appropriate wedding gift.
  • The wedding feast is a picture the great wedding feast we’ll have when the bride of Christ (the church) is presented to her groom (Christ).  On that day there will be no lack of anything, for we will have abundant joy in Christ.  Wine, as we see later, is a symbol of joy in the Bible, and Christ providing them abundant wine is a foreshadowing of the joy He provides His church during their time on earth, and then later at the consummation of His kingdom (Amos 9:13-15).
  • I don’t know exactly what Jesus had in mind here, but His compassion is certainly what shines through in the act itself.  I’m reminded of why He came, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

2:4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”

  • It should also be noted that the title “woman” here seems irreverent, but is, in fact, a title of respect.  Boice likens it to “lady.”  MacArthur says the title is equivalent to “ma’am.”
  • What MacArthur sees in this statement is significant, it “signaled a major change in their relationship.”  He said the phrase “was a polite, but not intimate, form of address.”  MacArthur sums up the scene well: “The statement, coupled with Jesus’ addressing Mary as “Woman” instead of “Mother”, politely but firmly informed her that what they had in common in their relationship was no longer to be what it had been while He was growing up in Nazareth.  His public ministry had begun, and earthly relationships would not determine His actions. Mary was to relate to Him no longer as her son, but as her Messiah, the Son of God, and her Savoir.”
  • When He says “My hour”, He is referring to His death and glorification (He uses this throughout the gospels).  I think that MacArthur is correct in saying that, “this supports the possibility that Mary was knowingly asking Jesus to reveal Himself at that time.”
  • Jesus answers not the words of a man, but what is in their heart.  So here Jesus seems to be addressing Mary on the basis of the timeline of His ministry, where she had addressed Him on the matter of the wine, therefore it is logical to conclude that He read her to mean something in her heart that was not in her words.

2:5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

  • Boice points out that maybe Mary saw Jesus come to the wedding with disciples – at least 5 of them at this point I think.  As I mention above, she might have been thinking ‘This could be it! This could be His time where He is revealed as the Son of God!’
  • Whatever Mary was thinking, she obviously knew that it would be up to God.  So she simply instructed the servants to obey whatever Christ told them to do.  As R.C. Sproul says, “no one ever received better instructions from anybody in al of history than these servants received from the mother of Christ when she told them to follow Jesus’ orders.”

2:6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.

  • These stone water jars were huge, and were used to wash the hands of the guests as a way to purify themselves before the feast.  MacArthur notes that, “they believed that, unlike earthenware pots, they did not become unclean.”  Sproul notes, they used them “for the simple reason that the water contained in these pots would not become contaminated with bits of dirt (unlike the earthenware pots).”
  • This would have been about 180 gallons of fine wine!  That was more than enough.  So it is with the joy (which is what wine symbolizes, Ps. 104:14,15) with which Christ supplies our needs.  He gives us abundant joy and promises never to leave us hungry.  He doesn’t just give our needs though, so often He overflows our cup!

2:7-8 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. [8] And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.

  • These servants are obedient to exactly what Jesus says, and their obedience marks both Jesus’ personal authority, as well as Mary’s authority as a person involved/tasked with helping with the wedding.
  • The master of the feast would have been like the best man or the emcee.

[9] When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom [10] and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

  • Why did people serve the best first?  Because people would have been too drunk to enjoy the new wine!  But Christ has the best last – I think this is a picture for the fact that heaven will be better than earth, and that it is better and sweeter (more joyful) to be last rather than first.
  • What is interesting to me is how many different things we see metaphorically developing here.  Morris says that “this particular miracle signifies that there is a transforming power associated with Jesus.  He changes the water of Judaism into the wine of Christianity, the water of Christlessness into the wine of the richness and the fullness of eternal life in Christ, the water of the law into the wine of the gospel.”

2:11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

  • Here we see plainly what the goal of the miracle was.  It was to manifest the glory of Jesus – miracles were done for people to believe in Jesus.  This miracle had the result of the disciples believing in Jesus, which leads me to wonder if they were not yet convinced to this point – in fact, sometimes I wonder how long it really takes them to be convinced!  He does so many miracles and yet we see their faith falter.

2:12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.

  • Just imagining the internal family dynamic right now in Jesus’ family blows my mind.  What are the brothers thinking?  What is Mary thinking at this point?  It’s a new day for these men and women, for Jesus has begun His earthly ministry, and from this point forward millions of lives will be changed forever.


How do we teach this to our children?  If you were to tell your children on the way home today that you learned about how Jesus was and is the Word of God, what would you say?

EXAMPLE:  Today we learned about how Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding in Galilee.  Jesus provided so much wine, and it was so good, that the wedding guests were overjoyed.  The wine that Jesus made done by a miracle, and it can symbolize the miracle that He does in our hearts at salvation.  Jesus transforms our hearts from bland (and even dirty) water, into rich, delicious wine.  What is wine?  Wine is a rich, strong juice made from grapes that some adults enjoy.  Wine was a staple of most meals during Jesus’ time.  In the Bible, wine symbolizes joy.  So when Jesus provided the wedding guests with so much wine that they had tons left over, it was a picture of how much joy Jesus provides us when we trust upon Him for salvation.    



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