Empty Cross Ministries
John Chapter 2
John relates the first great sign performed by Jesus to demonstrate His deity, the turning of water into wine. Only God can create from nothing. John identifies 8 miracles in his gospel that constitute “signs” or confirmation of who Jesus is. Each of the 8 miracles were different, no two were alike.
John 2:1-2, “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:” “And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.”
This third day speaks of the third day in Jesus’ gathering of His disciples. It is interesting to note that Jesus’ mother, Jesus, and the disciples would be invited to this type of wedding. This is obviously a Jewish wedding and sometimes they lasted seven to fourteen days. It was a very festive occasion.
These have to be prominent people in the community to have this large of a wedding. The guests as well, would be people who were upper-middle class to upper class as far as financial standing in the community went. Carpenters would fall into that category in those days and so would fishermen who owned their own boats. Both occupations were honorable.
This is not a poverty-stricken group at this wedding. Some would think, why would Jesus waste His time going to such an affair? Marriage the Bible says, is honorable.
This couple was following God’s teaching in getting married. Jesus also loved people and this would show His concern for all things His people on earth are involved in. After Jesus became an adult, there is very little shown in contact with His mother Mary.
Perhaps this wedding was family or close friends. We are not told those details. Possibly, word had already travelled about Jesus’ baptism. At any rate, Jesus and His disciples were invited to this wedding.
The disciples who accompanied Him are the 5 mentioned in chapter 1: Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, Nathanael and the unnamed disciple who was surely John, who also witnessed this miracle.
John 2:3, “And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.”
This tells me that Mary knows that Jesus does miracles. This is the first recorded miracle, but that does not mean that Jesus had not done miracles earlier. I feel sure that when a crisis arose in their neighborhood, Mary had seen Jesus taking care of it.
We know for sure that Mary expects Jesus to do something about this situation.
This seems like such a trivial thing but we must remember that this host will be terribly embarrassed if they run out of wine. Jesus cares for our trivial needs, as well as our great big needs.
Because of a lack of water purification, wine mixed with water was safer to drink than water alone. While the bible condemns drunkenness, it does not necessarily condemn the consumption of wine. (Psalm 104:15, Prov. 20:1).
John 2:4, “Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.”
I do not believe Jesus is harsh to His mother here but it does have the effect of distancing Jesus from His mother and her request. I believe He is saying, “I am not quite ready to launch into the miracles at this time”. It isn’t time yet. There were stages in Jesus’ life on earth.
He had spent a time subject to His mother and Joseph. Now He is thirty years old, the time when Jewish men take on their spiritual responsibilities. He is old enough now and is on His own.
Jesus possibly does not want this miracle at this large gathering at the wedding to thrust Him into His period of popularity. He possibly would rather that would come a short time later from His sermons. Nevertheless, Jesus listens to Mary and has feelings for the host.
Mine hour is not yet come is a phrase constantly referring to Jesus’ death and exaltation. He was on a divine schedule decreed by God before the foundations of the world.
John 2:5, “His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”
This in itself is a giveaway that Mary knows about Jesus’ miraculous ability. Now is no different than then. Miracles in our lives will not come until we are obedient to Jesus.
John 2:6, “And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.”
A firkin is nine gallons. Each one of these water pots had from eighteen to twenty-seven gallons each.
There were somewhere between 108 gallons and 162 gallons of water here. This had to be for a large group of people.
The pots were made of stone because stone was more impervious that earthenware and did not contract uncleanness.
The washings or ablutions had extended to such an extent that they were continuously washing for one reason or the other, and these six firkins of water were standing by for them to carry on these ceremonial washings with.
John 2:7, “Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.”
Just as Mary had said, they did just as Jesus told them to do.
John 2:8, “And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.”
There is quite a bit of spiritual teaching here. The Lord tells us to draw from that well where the water will never grow dry. He is that never ending fountain. We see here that Jesus tells these servants to draw.
Jesus you remember, is Creator God. Fruit of the vine will later symbolize Jesus’ blood in the communion service. We will see that this is not just some ordinary wine, but the best there is.
Again, I say this had to be a prominent wedding, because there is a governor of the feast. By there being over 100 gallons of wine, you know also that this is no small wedding. The servants’ act of faith was to draw.
John 2:9, “When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom.”
This indicates that this governor might be a guest, but I really believe he was handling the wedding. This home had servants and had to have a very large house to accommodate a party of this size. This governor was very impressed with this wine. It was remarkably different and better.
There is another thing we must see in all of this. The servants knew that this wine was a miracle of God, but the world did not. Even those with great authority did not know, but it was revealed to the servants. We must see in this that God reveals to His servants the mysteries, but He does not reveal them to the world.
This bridegroom had been the purchaser of the original wine. The governor wants an explanation of where this superior wine comes from.
Much has been written about the wine Jesus created. Oinos is the New Testament word for the fruit of the vine, but it implies nothing concerning fermentation. Whatever Jesus re-recreates (water), is better than it was and better than man can make it (fermented wine).
John 2:10, “And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.”
This answers the question of whether it was alcoholic or not. It was, because after they had well drunk, their senses would have been dulled and they would have not known one wine from the other. This new wine was not of this world. This is like the best was kept until last with God also.
He first sent His prophets and judges to bring the people to the knowledge of God, but the best was saved to last when He sent His only begotten Son. I believe this whole incident was kept quiet because Jesus was not ready to be exposed as Messiah at that moment.
The servants knew, the disciples knew, Mary knew, and Jesus knew, but I find nowhere in this discourse where the crowd at the party or anyone in authority knew.
John 2:11, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.”
Part of the reason this miracle was done, was so the disciples who had just come with Jesus would know that Jesus could do miracles. It was to build their faith to follow Him. They also know now that their material needs are of no concern; Jesus can supply all their needs.
“Miracles or signs”: John used this word here to refer to significant displays of power that pointed beyond themselves to the deeper divine realities that could be perceived by the eyes of faith. By this word, John emphasized that miracles were not merely displays of power but had significance beyond the mere acts themselves.
John 2:12, “After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.” We have talked in some of the other lessons how they would go to Capernaum and probably stay in Peter’s house while they were there. The area near Capernaum next to the Sea of Galilee is where most of Jesus’ ministry took place. At this point, it seems His brothers in the flesh were with Him, and Mary as well.
The phrase “after this” (or similar wording such as “after these things”), is a frequent connective between narratives in this gospel. John placed this verse here as a transition to explain Jesus’ movement from Cana in Galilee to Capernaum and eventual arrival at Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. Capernaum was on the northwest shore of Galilee about 16 miles northeast of Cana.
In (verses 13-25) John used this section where Jesus cleansed the temple in righteous indignation to reinforce his main theme that He was the promised Messiah and Son of God. In this section, he highlighted 3 attributes of Jesus that confirm His deity:
(1) His passion for reverence (13-17);
(2) His power of resurrection (18-22); and
(3) His perception of reality (23-25).
John 2:13, “And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,”
Passover is not a celebration for the whole world, but is a celebration of remembrance. Passover commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt when the angel of death “passed over” Jewish homes in Egypt whose “doorposts” was sprinkled with blood.
The only people who did not have their first born die were those who put the blood of the lamb over the door posts. The spirit of death passed over all houses that had the blood of the lamb. It did not enter.
Passover remembers that time. The house of Israel is to remember forever. Jesus is of this house; He goes to Jerusalem to remember.
Jesus’ journeying to Jerusalem for the Passover was a standard annual procedure for all every devout Jewish male over 12 years old (Exod. 23:14-17). Jewish pilgrims crowded into Jerusalem for this greatest of Jewish feasts.
John Chapter 2 Questions
1. Where was the marriage Jesus attended?
2. Who was with Him there?
3. What makes us realize Jesus was not from a poverty stricken family?
4. What class of people were carpenters and fishermen?
5. In verse 3, they had no ________.
6. Who told Jesus they were out?
7. How did Jesus answer Mary?
8. Why did Jesus say He didn’t want to be recognized now?
9. At what age do Jewish men take on their spiritual responsibilities?
10. What did Mary say to the servants?
11. What containers did they have to use?
12. How much would each hold?
13. What were these large containers for water doing there at this party?
14. How many gallons of wine would there be?
15. What did Jesus tell the servants to do?
16. Who were they to take the first drink to?
17. Who were the only ones who knew about the water being turned to wine?
18. Who did the governor call to him for an explanation?
19. What makes you know that this juice was alcoholic?
20. Where was this miracle done?
21. Why was it necessary for the disciples to know about the miracles?
22. Where did the group go from the wedding?
23. Whose home did they probably stay in?
24. What celebration was going on in Jerusalem?
25. What does this celebration commemorate?