Summary of passage: Jesus performs the first of his miraculous signs the day after having called Philip and Nathanael. He attends a wedding in Cana still in Galilee. Jesus’ mother told Jesus there was no more wine. Jesus replied his time has not yet come. Still, Jesus told the servants to fill 6 stone water jars with water and hand them to the master of the banquet. The water had been turned into wine. He then goes to Capernaum with his mother, brothers, and disciples and stays for a few days.
3a) The wine ran out. In ancient times, it was custom to feed guests until they were full. To run out of wine would have been a major faux pas. The newly married couple would forever feel shame and be known for what happened at their wedding day. Wine was also a symbol of joy, so the subliminal message would have been “We’re not happy.”
b) Part personal Question. My answer: No. Not to jump the gun and be patient and wait for Jesus to make the first move. That doesn’t mean not to ask. It just means to be patient. Mary looks at Jesus expectantly. We should not expect things from Jesus. All we are is in His grace alone. We must remember that when life doesn’t go our way and we’re tempted to blame God.
4) He performs the miracle anonymously and without pomp. He doesn’t stand up and announce to the whole wedding party: “Hey, everyone! I’m about to turn water into wine. Everyone look at me!” No. Jesus performs miracles with no expectations of acknowledgment or anything in return.
Jesus is showing how he’s better than the Old Covenant if you think of Jesus as the wine and the Old Covenant as the water (See End Notes for more detail on this).
5) Part personal Question. My answer: It seems to indicate that the disciples believed in Jesus when they saw his glory through this first recorded miracle. They believed before but this miracle deepens their faith just like ours is deepened when we see God in our lives. Jesus is building up his men for their important work to come.
Conclusions: Once Jesus decides it’s go time, it’s go time. He doesn’t dilly-dally around and waste time. He knows his time is limited here on earth. This is a great lesson for us all. Do God’s work for your life now. You never know when you’ll be called home.
End Notes: Note Jesus calls Mary “woman” and not mother. There is a shift in their relationship as Jesus embarks on his plan for the world. It’s like when our kids grow up. We’re always parents, but we cut the cord and let our children make their own decisions. This Greek word indicates this change between the two.
These are one of the few recorded words of Mary in the Bible. Note what they are: “Do whatever he tells you.” What wisdom and advice for us today!
Jesus’ “hour” is his destiny of his death on the cross and John pictures Jesus moving towards it (John 7:6,8,30: 8:20).
The 6 stone jars show detail and show how Jesus uses what’s at hand. He uses us right where we are today!
Note how Jesus didn’t just conjure up the water. He uses man to aid him. Like today when we’re called for Jesus’ work. This is very typical in Jesus’ miracles and we’ll see this throughout the book of John. Imagine the servants’ joy. They didn’t do the miracle, but they shared in it’s joy. They were blessed by obedience.
The master of the feast would have been angry if the wine ran out. The servants showed courage in carrying the water to him.
Note how Jesus makes “choice wine”. Jesus makes the best and goes above and beyond expectations. We should expect the best when Jesus is involved.
Note Jesus’ first miracle is a miracle of conversion: water to wine. Old Testament law to New Testament law. Cleansing from the blood of Jesus. Old life to new life. The water is God under the Old Covenant. The wine is Jesus under the New Covenant.
The wine was after the water, from the water, and better from the water–all indicative of Jesus. This first sign points to the redemption of creation from all its trials, allowing the wine of joy to flow fully as the prophets had announced (Isiah 35:1-2; Joel 3;18; Amos 9:13).
John always refers to Jesus’ miracles as “signs”, which speaks to the action not the marvel. There are 7 signs in the book of John (the number of completion), which reveal Jesus’ glory and point to the completion of salvation. The large catch of fish is in the epilogue.
Map of Cana HERE