A. John 1:18, remember that as we study the words and actions of Jesus we are seeing what the unseen God is like. Jesus declares and reveals God to us.
II. 2:1-5, Banking on the Character and Ability of Jesus
A. V1, There was a wedding in Cana, Mary we are told was there already.
1. “It is interesting to notice that Mary is spoken of as the mother of Jesus. The Savior was not famous because He was the Son of the Virgin Mary, but she was well-known because she was the mother of our Lord. The Scriptures always give the pre-eminent place to Christ and not to Mary.” Believers Bible Commentary, pg. 1472
a) Mary’s name is not told to us in this discourse, even though this will be her last recorded words. That’s because, although an honorable and blessed woman, her name is not important in comparison to the revealing of the Savior of mankind. The One name that is important is repeatedly told to us here, the name of Jesus.
B. V2, Being that we are told that Mary was already there and Jesus and his disciples were invited many believe that they were invited because of Mary. Either way, Jesus and His disciples got invite and Jesus went.
1. Some have observed that this is evidence that Jesus was not against celebrations or ceremonies, he could hang. Not only that, some have pointed out that this shows Jesus approval for having a ceremonial wedding since Jesus does not object, but rather ends up doing His first major Messianic sign at this wedding.
2. Application: Is Jesus invited to your wedding? Every wedding we hold as a Christian, would you be ok with Jesus showing up? Jesus accepts invitations to weddings, so we must be careful to make sure He is invited and welcome at them. After all, God created marriage so of course He is going to approve of the celebrating of it.
C. V3, Back then weddings would last seven days, during this time they families of the bride and groom would feast and celebrate while the couple had their honeymoon in a secluded place in the house. At the end of seven days the Bride would finally appear to all the guests.
1. Wine was a symbol of joy, and to run out of it would be a shame on the couple for the rest of their married lives. It would symbolize that the couple no longer had joy at their wedding and were not happy, which would be devastating to their reputations. Culturally, running out of wine was a big deal. Mary must have been related or very close friends with the bride and groom since she takes the care of running out of wine upon herself.
2. Mary banks on the character and ability of Jesus. She doesn’t tell him what to do, she only informs him of the need. She knew her son well, she knew that Jesus was a man of compassion and more than that he was the Son of God, and had the ability to actually do something about the problem. She bank on His character that He would have compassion on the couple and do something about it and she banked on His ability because she believed Him to be the Messiah with miraculous powers.
D. V4, The word for woman here is “Gune” and it means a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow. Can also mean wife. Calling a woman by the name “woman” in our culture sounds disrespectful, but in the Hebrew culture to talk to his mother in this way was respectful and tender. Similar to this would be calling your mother Senora in Spanish, it is a term of respect… typically to that of a married woman.
1. Jesus could have called his mother here by a word that signified a specifically virgin woman, yet he calls her by the word that typically meant a married woman (even if the word usage at times allowed for a woman to still be a virgin). Modern Jews have cited this verse to criticize the idea of perpetual virginity (see John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible in regards to this verse), and I say all the power to them for it. We, as Christians, believe that Mary was only a virgin up until she had Jesus then later knew her husband and had other children as we will see later in this study. The point I am making is Jesus had another word in his vocabulary he could have used to call Mary “woman” if it was still sure in his mind that she was a virgin, instead he used the more vague and respectful word for woman (typically used for married women), which is one more piece of evidence against her perpetual virginity.
2. “What does your concern have to do with Me?” It is possible that Mary was hoping this was the moment she would finally be justified. Her entire life people had thought of her as an adulteress or a fornicator, since she became pregnant with Jesus before she was officially married to Joseph. She knew Jesus could do a miracle, and now that He was sitting there with all His disciples this seemed like a moment for Him to show the world starting with their own relatives, who He was. Jesus does not do miracles for our glory though. He was going to do a miracle, but not in the way Mary wanted, not in a way that would bring her glory.
3. “My hour has not yet come.” The hour Jesus is talking about is the hour of setting up His Kingdom and defeating the enemies of God. This hour though would not come the way Mary and everyone else expected it, instead it would come of crucifixion and resurrection, the hour where Jesus would glorify His Father and the Father would glorify His Son. The hour of triumph for Jesus, and therefore for Mary, had not yet come.
E. V5, Mary tells the servants to obey the words of Jesus. She didn’t argue with her Son, she already knew His compassionate heart and loving nature. Even though His time had not yet come, she expected Jesus to still do something about it… even though she did not demand it.
1. Catholics should take note of the last recorded words of Jesus, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Mary does not encourage people to go through her to get to her son, instead she directs people away from herself and encourages full obedience to the Son directly. Jesus said to come to Him, all those who are weary and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28), Jesus has invited everyone to have equal access to Him… He invites you to come learn from Him directly. Even Mary tells us to go to him, not to her in her last recorded words.
III. V6-10, Willingness, Availability, Obedience, Faith, and Blessing
A. V6, Here we see more evidence that John the Apostle had Gentiles in mind while writing this gospel, he tells us that the reason they had six giant empty water pots had to do with their ceremonial purification practices.
1. “Jesus began this miracle by using what was at hand. He could have supplied more wine any number of ways, but He started with what was there.” –David Guzik, Study Guide for John 2
2. Often times God uses what is available to do a miracle. Jesus is all powerful and could have created the wine out of thin air, yet even in the way Jesus works miracles we have something to learn of the nature of God. He is a God that likes to involve people in His work, and He takes what is available.
3. The Bible speaks of us as vessels, either a vessel for honor or a vessel for dishonor. (2 Timothy 2:20-21) If you find yourself right now a dishonorable vessel and not ready for use we are told we can cleanse ourselves from that, and make ourselves honorable. What makes you dishonorable? Iniquity. The more you practice a lifestyle of sin the harder it is for God to use you. To those who call upon the name of the Lord, depart from iniquity and the Master will sanctify you into a vessel of honor. It only takes a second, but are you willing is the question?
Secondly, are you available? It is not important that you are empty and have nothing to give, what matters is are you available for use or not. The vessels of purification had nothing in them, but they were ready for use. That is the key.
B. V7, Jesus did not give the servants the whole picture. He gave His instructions to the servants one step at a time. Their obedience to His instructions, one step at a time, would determine the amount of blessing and usefulness they would be to the master of the feast. Jesus told them to fill it with water, fill it with purity and that which is untainted and valuable, and He would sanctify it into something more.
1. What a great picture for Christian servants. We serve Christ one step at a time, often not knowing the end result of our service. Our obedience to Christ determines our usefulness and effectiveness to the Master of the Feast, God the Father. Obedience to the words of Christ, to the Word of God, and the blessing that results is a simple concept to grasp yet such a hard one to put into practice. Many times this just comes down to a lack of faith. We don’t understand how filling pots with water is going to do any good, so we don’t bother. These servants were obedient servants and did whatever Jesus told them to do.
2. They filled it up to the brim. Jesus had just told them to fill them up with water, but the servants obeyed to the maximum that they could obey. They went above and beyond what was asked of them to do. If they had only filled the pots half way, there would have only been half as much wine. We can be obedient servants of God and do what Jesus asks of us to do, while at the same time do it lazy and only receive half the blessing.
a) For me I see this in my preparation for studies. The Bible tells me to “be diligent to study to present myself to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 I can obey this verse, and do so with only half of my effort. Yet, if I am lazy in my studies I will only receive half the blessing. Personally, I want to be more of a man who obeys God to the brim, even when He doesn’t ask for that. Ever wonder what life would be like if you completely obeyed God? And not only that if you obeyed Him with all that you were with all of your heart your mind and your soul? Oh, the miracles that we would see. Perhaps the reason we see so few miracles in our age is due to the few amount of people who will obey God, and obey Him to the brim.
C. V8, Jesus gave them the next step, but this step would require faith on their part. The servants knew that they had filled the pots with water and not wine, yet they obeyed the word of Jesus in faith and without questioning.
1. To obey the word of Jesus like this requires faith, the faith of an unquestioning servant.
D. V9, The only ones who knew what had really happened were the servants. The bridegroom was honored and blessed because of the obedience of the servants and their faith, but it was not the servants who did the miracle. Jesus did it through them. As servants of God we must never forget that it was not us who did the miracle, but that it was Jesus who did it and just allowed us to participate.
1. How many times is the world blessed because of God, yet not knowing where that blessing came from. God allows the rain to fall on the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45). This is the heart of God seen through Jesus, bless even if no one knows where that blessing came from.
2. Only the servants knew because it was not the hour for everyone to know who He was. Jesus maintained a certain amount of discretion, while at the same time revealing Himself more to His disciples.
E. V10, The bridegroom is honored, and yet neither the bridegroom nor the master of the feast knew where the wine came from, and yet they find the best wine was saved for last.
1. This to me is part of Jesus’ public endorsement of weddings, He likes to honor the wedding ceremony that is done right and He blesses us with the best there is relationally when we do it His way. Jesus endorsed the Biblical sense of a marriage, between a man and woman as He created it to be.
IV. V11-12 The Disciples Grow in Faith
A. V11, This was the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, where He gave signs to prove who He is, the Messiah. This sign, although perhaps premature, caused greater faith in the disciples. It is not that they didn’t believe, they already did, but their faith grew and grew as they watch Jesus give the signs of who He is.
1. We come to Jesus through faith, but as we walk with God our faith grows as we see more and more how faithful He is to keep His promises and that His ways really are better than our ways.
B. V12, From Cana Jesus goes to Capernaum and brings with him His mother, His brothers, and His disciples.
1. We can use this verse to make a case to Catholics that Mary was not a perpetual virgin, since Jesus has brothers here. The word in Greek here for brothers could include both sexes of siblings, much like the Spanish word “hermanos”. Although “hermanos” is masculine, it leaves the possibility open for sisters in the group as well. Catholic scholars will attempt to argue that these were Jesus’ spiritual brothers, yet that cannot be since His brothers (in the very same context as his blood mother) is here distinguished from that of His disciples. This verse proves, without a doubt, that Jesus had blood siblings and that Mary was not a perpetual virgin.
A. This miracle is an example of the provision of God for our needs, and even at times for our wants. They were not going to die of thirst; the wine was simply a blessing of grace from God.
B. This miracle is an example of God’s endorsement and honoring of Biblical Marriage.
C. It is possible that this miracle hints at the change from the Old Covenant of symbolic cleansing and purification to that of the New Covenant of Jesus blood, which once for all washes away our sins bringing us joy and abundant life through marriage with the Lamb of God. If this was not intended as part of the interpretation of the miracle, which is my personal opinion, then at the very least we can glean this application from it.
1. “Moses turned water into blood, showing that the Law results in death (Exodus 7:17-21). But Jesus’ first miracle turned water into wine, showing the gladness and joy of His new work. This acts out what John said in John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” David Guzik, Study Guide for John 2
a) “We could say that the water is like a relationship with God under the Old Covenant, and the wine is like a relationship with God under the New Covenant.
The wine was after the water, the New Covenant is after the Old Covenant.
The wine was from the water, the New Covenant is from the Old Covenant
The wine was and better than the water; the New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant” –David Guzik, Study Guide for John 2