John 2:1-12 WEDDING AT CANA / JESUS TURNED WATER INTO WINE
Jesus and his mother, Mary, were invited to a wedding in Cana in Galilee. The wedding couple could have been family or family friends. Verse 12 mentions Jesus's brothers were with them as well. Nathaniel was from Cana. The disciples were at the wedding as well. Cana was 4 miles north of Nazareth. In chronological Bible reading, Jesus had been at the Sea of Galilee making "fishers of men" and calling his first disciples. [Mark 1:16-20, Matthew 4:18-22, Luke 5:1-11] Scripture only indicates, "by the sea," but this may have been near Capernaum. It is 16 miles, as a bird flies, and 20 to 25 miles along roads from Capernaum to Cana. John writes, "on the third day," which is immediately following two days of calling his disciples. The travel would have been an entire day! I would imagine that Mary traveled from Nazareth to Cana (Luke 2:39 last indicates the family returned to Nazareth to live) and the two met there, but scripture does not say. She could have been traveling with her son. Jesus should be invited to every wedding! On the third day of His ministry, Jesus reveals His glory, just like He did on the third day after his death on the cross.
When the wine ran out, Mary brought it to Jesus's attention. I see myself in her manners in that I sometimes merely mention something to my husband and expect him to interpret it as "please, will you do this." I suppose I speak in this manner because I do not want to ask or even be forward in telling him to do anything. I am merely hoping that he will do something. It seems so much kinder, but then again, from a man's perspective, sometimes he would rather hear it straight out than be responsible for lack of reading between the lines! Jesus, however, does read between the lines and knows his Mom is suggesting that he has the ability to fix the problem of no wine and replies beginning with "woman." This makes me laugh. He does not call her "mom." One time when my youngest son was coming out of anesthesia after having his wisdom teeth pulled, he called me, "woman" and it makes me laugh every time I think of it. I believe he must have heard his Dad call me that. In today's world, the use of "woman" is similar to a parent saying a child's middle name to indicate seriousness. So Jesus puts Mary in her place and tells her that his hour has not yet come. Not only does he read between the lines that she wants him to perform a miracle, but he reads between the lines that she is anxious for him to begin showing everyone who He is. [Not to diminish the fact that Jesus is God and knows everything!] Mary sure did have a lot of influence on her son because she ignores his comment and instructs the servants to do as Jesus says and He moves forward in his first miracle, although He had just announced His time had not come. The servants must have been standing nearby listening to their conversation for Mary to have spoken directly to them.
When a problem presented, what did Mary do? She told Jesus, the one who could fix the problem, instead of trying to fix it herself. I should do the same when a problem presents itself by going to Jesus in prayer and relying on Him to fix the problem. If a problem is important to me, it is important to Jesus.
I love this glimpse into the relationship between Mary and Jesus. As a man, Jesus would have respected His mother. As God, His mother would have honored Him. I can see this similar to the verses about a husband and a wife. Husbands are to love their wives. Wives are to submit to their husbands. Relationships are a mutual team work.
In Bible times, running out of wine was a social disgrace and hospitality embarrassment. Weddings lasted an entire week and banquets for many guests, often the entire town, were prepared. This took careful planning to accommodate such a large amount of guests over a period of time. This indicates that both Mary and Jesus had compassion and tender hearts. It was also considered an insult to refuse an invitation, so although Jesus had just called his disciples, as a man, He followed custom. This following of custom was the leading up to the first miracle. Jesus can make things happen no matter the path taken.
The reference to "Jewish rites of purification" is ceremonial law for people to wash when they become symbolically unclean by touching objects in everyday life.
Six stone jars, each holding 20 – 30 gallons (in Greek measurements this is about 10 gallons), were filled with water. Jesus told the servants to draw out some of the water and take it to their master and as soon as their master tasted the water, it turned to wine! Jesus did not even wave a finger or speak any words! It sure must have been good wine because the master calls the groom and exclaims that he has kept the good wine until last, rather than traditionally offering the good wine first and then the bad wine when everyone is too drunk to know the difference. Good wine does not mean more alcohol. It is generally known that in Bible times wine had a low alcohol content. It seems that the master is oblivious to the miracle because he gives the groom credit. However, the disciples and servants were a witness to the miracle.
Jesus could have put wine in the jars out of nothing, or filled the jars with water out of nothing, or turned the water into wine without the servants taking some water to their master, so why didn't He? Did Jesus want to test their obedience? Did Jesus want them to see the miracle to be a witness, knowing that the cup was water before handing it to their master and seeing it instantly turned to wine? If the servants did not fill the jars "to the brim" would there have been less wine?
Verse 11 it states that this first miracle made believers out of the disciples, but does not mention it having any effect on anyone else. Most likely the disciples would have been testifying and exclaiming because it is not like them to keep quiet. The disciples had indicated a belief when they began to follow Jesus, but now their belief was growing deeper. As I live my life from beginning to end, each thing I witness of God's glory does the same for me in deepening my faith.
In verse 12, we read that Jesus, Mary, his brothers (in Greek the word can refer to "brothers and sisters" or "siblings"), and his disciples all traveled back to Capernaum. They stayed there a few days. I would think that they needed to rest after all that traveling from beside the Sea of Galilee to Cana and back to Capernaum which is beside the Sea. One whole day's travel by foot, thereafter to attend a week-long wedding, and thereafter a whole day's travel by foot again would have been exhausting. Capernaum was Jesus's home during his ministry in Galilee.