Miracle at Cana
Reading: John 2:1-12
I. We begin three day since Philip and Nathaniel began following Jesus.
A. Jesus had traveled from the area near the Jordan and attended a wedding feast in Cana, which is just north of the town where Jesus grew up.
B. With him were his new disciples (students): John, Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathaniel; as well as his mother, Mary
C. Wedding feasts were big affairs in those days, often lasting a week.
1. Sometime during this feast, the host ran out of wine.
a. We must understand that the Greek word used here is the generic word for any product made from the juice of grapes. The word, by itself, does not indicate the amount of alcohol in the drink. That determination must be made from the context.
2. Mary tells Jesus the situation
a. This is odd because they are guests at the feast. Guests are not normally concerned with provisions.
b. This lends the idea that it was a close friend of Mary and Jesus, perhaps even a relative of theirs, with Mary given charge to help with the feast.
3. In English, Jesus’ response sounds rude, but it is not so in Greek
a. “Woman”: In America we would say “Madam” or “Lady”. It is a formal term of address.
b. “What do I have to do with you?” is more literally translated “What is it to me and you?” In other words, Jesus is saying it is not their wedding feast, so Mary should not be concerned.
c. By saying “My hour has not come,” Jesus is referring to the hour of his death. (John 7:8; 8:20).
(1) Perhaps he is saying he is able to help since it is not yet time for him to leave this earth.
(2) Perhaps he is saying that he doesn’t want to have public notice yet.
4. Mary understood that Jesus had agreed to help because she directs the servants to do whatever Jesus said.
a. Too many assume Mary had asked Jesus to perform a miracle, but such is not in this verse. She only asked Jesus to solve a problem.
b. That Jesus chose to solve the problem with a miracle was his choice.
c. Since verse 11 indicates this is the first miracle of Jesus, there is no reason to assume that Mary knew what Jesus would do in response to her request. For all we know, she might have thought that Jesus would go to the local merchant and he would need servants to help carry the wine back.
II. Jesus directs the servants to fill six stone water pots.
A. The pots were there for the guests to wash their hands - Mark 7:3
B. Each pot held about 20 to 30 gallons of water, for a total quantity of 120 to 180 gallons.
C. After they are filled to the brim, he directs the servants to bring a cup of the water from the pots to the governor of the feast.
1. The governor of the feast would be equivalent to a butler or a head caterer. He is charged with seeing the food and drink is distributed, that the Jewish laws and customs were maintained (i.e. proper mixing of water to wine, no one drinking too much, etc).
2. He is surprised by the quality of the drink. The feast has been going on for several days. Usually the best is laid out at the beginning and the regular items are served after everyone there had had their fill.
3. Obviously a lot of drinking has been going on as the wine bought in advance had already run out.
4. Too often people assume that by “best” the governor is saying the wine is more potent (alcoholic) than the common wines.
a. This is not a necessary conclusion.
b. In an arid country that does not have refrigeration, freshness is prized. Grape juice does not keep well in hot weather.
c. Think about it, Jesus made wonderful, possibly fresh, grape juice (or wine) from 6 pots of water used to wash hands!
D. Notice how unassuming Jesus’ role was in this event.
1. He directed the servants to fill the pots, but it appears he did not touch them.
2. The servant brought the cup to the governor, so Jesus again was uninvolved and he could not have switched the liquid.
3. The governor was unaware of what was going on behind the scenes.
III. Did Jesus approve of drinking alcoholic beverages
A. It cannot be proven from this passage.
B. The word wine can refer to anything from juice to an alcoholic beverage.
C. Jesus made 120 to 180 gallons of this drink after the wedding guests had already drank all that was previously purchased.
1. If it was alcoholic, that much wine would lead any group to become drunk, but drunkenness is forbidden in the Jewish religion.
D. As we said, “best” does not equal potency but quality of taste.
IV. The result of this miracle
A. It manifested (displayed) his glory.
B. His disciples believed in him.
V. From here, Jesus went to Capernaum with his mother, brothers, and his disciples