The First Sign

Posted: November 24, 2014 in John
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John 2:1-12, “The First Sign”

It was simultaneously the strangest and best way for Jesus to launch His ministry.  Whereas the Synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) link the beginning of Jesus’ ministry with His baptism, quite a bit of time seems to pass between Jesus’ baptism by John, along with His wilderness temptation, and the time during which Jesus actually began preaching in Galilee.  Of all the gospel writers, John alone fills in some of the gap of time.

What is strange about this is that we might expect the ministry of the long-awaited Messiah to begin with fireworks of some kind, perhaps with a grand announcement.  Of course an announcement was given at His baptism, but then there was nothing.  There was no preaching tour – no book signing – no grand theological proclamations – nothing that we might normally expect from who was to become a world-changing religious figure.  Instead, we’re told of a single miracle, and one that apparently happened out-of-turn.  It was a miracle performed at a wedding, and it wasn’t even a famous wedding, or one of any national importance for the Jews.  It was held in the non-descript town of Cana, and we don’t even know the names of the bride and groom.  Very strange indeed!

At the same time, what better way for Jesus to reveal His glory than at a celebration?  And it wasn’t any general party or feast; it was a wedding.  The entire church age is progressing to the singular moment of Jesus’ own wedding, between Him and the Church.  From that viewpoint, there could hardly be a better avenue for Jesus’ first miracle!  Jesus first revealed His glory by blessing an earthly wedding; He will reveal His glory later by actually participating in a wedding feast of His own.  On earth, He provided new wine – in heaven, He will once again drink from the fruit of the vine in a glorious renewal of the Communion celebration in the presence of the whole church.

Only a few people knew what really took place that day, but the ones who did were given a lasting impression of the glory and power of Jesus.  They saw the power of the Son of God, and they believed.  Jesus’ miracles are always intended to give birth to faith.  Are we paying attention to the signs that He has given?  Are we glorifying the miracle-Maker?

John 2:1–12
1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.

  1. It all happened “on the third day.”  It begs the question: the 3rd day after what?  After all the events that had come earlier that same week.  Remember that John the Baptist had been questioned by the religious rulers coming from Jerusalem, and he testified that he was not the Christ, but that the Christ was already among them.  The following day, Jesus came to John (we aren’t told if the Pharisee and others were still present), and John testified that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  God had previously told John of a sign that He would give confirming the Messiah’s identity, and Jesus was the one.  The Holy Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove, and remained upon Him, showing that Jesus was not only full of the Holy Spirit, but had the authority to give the Holy Spirit.  The next day, Jesus came back, and John testified to at least two of his own disciples that Jesus was the Lamb of God, and those two (Andrew, and possibly the apostle John) followed Jesus.  We’re not told what happened with the apostle John – he presumably went back and told his brother James, but we are told of Andrew who went to find his brother Simon.  He brought Simon to Jesus, and Jesus have him his new name of Peter.  The day after that, Jesus called Philip to follow Him in faith, and Philip went to his friend Nathanael, and brought him (though skeptical) to Christ.  Once Nathanael spoke with Jesus, all his doubts were removed, and on the basis of a single prophecy, proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God.  Jesus told him there would be far more to come!  (Some of which is about to be seen in this chapter.)
  2. So to follow the apostle John’s timeline, it is the 3rd day after Nathanael believed upon Jesus as a disciple, and the whole group of them have arrived in “Cana of Galilee” for a wedding. [MAP] Depending on where the location of Bethabara/Bethany beyond Jordan may have been, it would have been a several-day journey to travel to Cana (neither proposed location is nearby).  Apparently Jesus and the new disciples left for the wedding as soon as they could.
  3. Nathanael actually seems to have been raised in Cana (Jn 21:2), and the town was not very far at all from Nazareth, which might explain why Mary, Jesus, and the other disciples were invited to the wedding.  Weddings were (as they are today) large affairs, and considering the tiny size of the villages at the time, it’s no wonder that everyone knew everyone else.  Quite a number of townspeople would have been invited to the wedding celebration.
  4. A couple of observations of note…first: Mary is mentioned here, but she is unnamed.  In fact, the gospel of John does not name her at all, though she is seen both here and at the cross.  Perhaps it is an indication that John did not want to draw too much attention to Mary – perhaps it is his way of including her within his own household.  After all, John never names himself in his writing; perhaps he extends the same humble treatment to Mary after being commanded by Jesus to take her into his own home (Jn 19:26-27).  No doubt, Mary is highly honored among the children of God, but she has been given far too much attention over the centuries, and she has been given reverence that belongs to the Lord Jesus alone.
  5. Second, although we don’t want to miss the literal historical event that took place, we can find some spiritual application just in the idea of inviting Jesus to our weddings.  Not just the ceremony itself, but into our actual marriage relationships.  Too many couples have been wed in church, only to have that be the sole time they’ve ever prayed together outside of saying “grace” at the dinner table.  They heard the Bible quoted at their wedding ceremony, but never read it to one another as spouses.  Even between two born-again believers, it’s far too common to go to church on Sunday morning, but leave Jesus out of our marriages by Sunday afternoon.  We need to remember that marriage is a holy covenant, given by God to mankind to celebrate the lifelong commitment and spiritual joining of one man and one woman.  God created it, God defines it, and God knows how to make it work.  Couples that leave Christ out of their marriage are inevitably going to have a difficult time.  Especially if the couple is made of born-again believers…it’s not even logical to leave out Christ in those cases!  Follow the example of the bride and groom in Cana: invite Jesus to your wedding.

3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” 4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

  1. The wedding celebration has been ongoing for some time (we’re not told how long), when trouble hits: “they ran out of wine.”  Weddings could last up to a week in the culture, and depending on the wealth of the family, it would seem inevitable at some point to run out of supplies, especially if a several people show up as last-minute invited guests (as may have been the case with Jesus and His 6 disciples).  Culturally, gifts were expected to be reciprocal, and thus the host (the groom) would be giving the gift of food/drink in general hospitality.  If a guest felt slighted, he could raise a ruckus, and the host could potentially be fined.  For the groom, running out of wine was more than just a bit of awkward embarrassment; it could spell financial trouble.
  2. That’s when Mary gets involved.  Looking at the way she inserts herself into the situation, we might see three main potential objections.  (1) It wasn’t her business.  This was no doubt embarrassing to the groom, but it wasn’t her affair in the first place.  (2) What exactly was it she wanted Jesus to do?  She didn’t even come to Jesus with a specific request in mind, but just told Him the problem.  Jesus had not done miracles in the past (2:11), so what she expected Jesus to do to resolve the issue is unknown.  (3) The whole event seems so minor!  Sure, it was an awkward situation, even a potential financial burden, but why get Jesus involved?  It’s one thing to go to God for healing, but for party supplies?!  This seems to be incredibly low on a list of spiritual priorities.
  3. Before we judge Mary too harshly, there are responses to each objection. (1) This may not have been Mary’s outward business, but she showed that she cared.  There’s no indication that this couple was related to her, or that what happened to them affected her in the slightest, but there’s no doubt she was concerned on their behalf.  She loved them in a very practical way.  (2) She may not have known what Jesus could or would do, but she had faith enough in Jesus to at least present the request to Him.  She didn’t know what the answer would be, but she had faith in the One who had the answers.  (3) The issue may have been minor, but God cares about our minor issues just as much as our major ones.  What parent turns away from his/her child who’s weeping about a broken toy, or lost item?  Moms and Dads care about the little things just as they do the emergencies.  If that’s true with us, how much more with God?  Our Heavenly Father knows all of our needs, wants, and desires.  He won’t ever push us aside as being unimportant.  He wants us to want His involvement in all things, simply because He loves us.  Regarding the wedding in Cana, it may have been a small thing, but keep in mind that Jesus still used it as His first miracle.  It turned out to be far more important than anyone at the time may have credited it!
  4. Regarding Jesus’ response to His mother, be careful not to read back tone into His words.  Many people read verse 4 and are taken aback by the curtness of it all.  Although it might sound somewhat harsh to 21st century Americans, it’s actually not curt in the slightest.  We need to remember that this was a different time, a different culture, and a different context.  His address “Woman” is not name-calling, in John’s gospel, it is Jesus’ (and the culture’s) normal polite way of greeting women.  We might use “Ma’am/Madam” as the equivalent.  Of course, there is another word Jesus could have used to address His mother, and it’s interesting that He does not use it.  It could indicate that now that His ministry is beginning, He is separating Himself somewhat from His mother.  As He indicated at 12 years of age in the Jerusalem temple, He was to be about His Father’s business.  His question seems to reinforce that idea of separation.  Literally, Jesus asks, “What with me and you?” or “What have I to do with you?”  This is a well-used Hebrew idiom that showed a separation of realms.  Demons asked it of Jesus when confronted by Him, and prophets used it when confronted by kings.  Again, Jesus had a different agenda than that of His mother’s, and He politely, but firmly, makes the point.
    1. We cannot push our will upon God.  Within His will, He will give us all that we ask – even far more than we can ask or imagine! (Eph 3:20)  Yet, when God determines to withhold something, it will be withheld.  God is God, and we are not.  If He says “no” to our request, we can trust that He knows what is best.
  5. The reason Jesus gave for His distancing was that His “hour had not come.”  Again, He had His Father’s business to mind, which meant that Jesus had a different agenda and timetable from Mary.  Obviously Jesus was indeed at the beginning of His ministry (as seen through John’s testimony, and the calling of the first disciples), so it’s not that the “hour” of ministry had not arrived.  It was that the hour of a public demonstration of His power had not yet arrived.  There would be time enough for that later on, but for now He did not want to draw too much attention to His power (which is why only a few people knew what He did at the wedding).
    1. That said, we’ve already read to the end and we know that Jesus did follow through with a miracle.  If His hour had not yet come, then why did Jesus do anything at all?   Hold on to that question until vs. 11…that’s when John tells us why Jesus acted in the first place.

5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

  1. Interestingly, there is no answer recorded from Mary to Jesus.  We don’t see her arguing with her Son, nor receiving anything He said as a rebuke.  She doesn’t even turn away and sit down in silence.  Instead, she goes to the servants and privately tells them to be ready to obey Jesus, whatever it was that He might tell them.  She didn’t have a clue what Jesus would say, or do.  Technically, she never had any confirmation from Jesus that He would do anything at all.  But Mary had complete faith that Jesus would act in some way, and she tells the servants to get ready.
  2. That’s faith.  It’s one thing to pray and hope that God might work eventually; it’s another thing to pray and start behaving as if God has already begun working.  That’s what Mary did.  This isn’t presumption on her part; this is faith.  She doesn’t know what her Son will do, but she knows that whatever He does, it would be great, so she prepares herself and others for the result.  When was the last time you so trusted God to act that you responded to Him in faith before you ever saw the actual results?  So many times we pray, and instead of trusting God to act, we pray with the idea that it would be nice if God did something, but we don’t really believe that He will do anything – we’re just commanded to pray, so we do, out of obligation.  That isn’t faith; that’s a vain flapping of our lips.  God is looking for men and women of faithMark 11:23–24, "(23) For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. (24) Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." []  God promises to act when we ask in faith, so have faith!  Trust that God will act, and you act accordingly.
    1. Obviously that doesn’t mean that we can ask for the ridiculous and expect them to be granted.  If you ask God for a million dollars, don’t go spending the money you do have, expecting God to miraculously fill up your checking account! J  It also doesn’t mean that God is obligated to answer every request in the exact way that we want, even if it’s a good request.  Again, God is God & we’re not.  He has His own agenda, will, and timing.  Sometime He grants healings; sometimes He does not.  But we still ask in faith.  In faith, we submit our will to His – in faith, we trust that He knows the end from the beginning – in faith, we know that whatever God does will indeed be good.  When we pray in faith, we’re preparing ourselves to see the work of God in whatever it is that He wills.  (Just like Mary didn’t know what Jesus would do.)
  3. Not only is this a picture of faith, but it’s also a picture of obedience.  Mary told the servants to do whatever it is that Jesus asked of them.  They would see the work of God, but they needed to be willing to obey in order to see it.  What has Jesus said to you? DO it.  Perhaps we sometimes don’t see the answer to our prayers because we’re not willing to obey God in what He said to do about them.  We pray that God would work upon another person who has hurt us, but we’re unwilling to extend forgiveness that Jesus commanded.  We pray for a miracle in our marriage or in our kids, but we don’t want to obey what the Scripture clearly says to us as a husband, wife, mother, or father.  We might even pray that God would save the lost, but we’re unwilling to go out and personally share the gospel, as we’ve been commissioned to do.  Prayer is important, but prayer is not a substitute for obedience.  Take the advice of Mary: “Whatever He says to you to do, do it.

6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

  1. As to the waterpots, the KJV says they were “two or three firkins,” which refers to a historic English method of measuring the volume of wine.  Modern English translations provide the equivalent for us as “twenty or thirty gallons apiece.”  6 pots X 20 or 30 gallons = 120 – 180 gallons.  That’s a lot of water…that’s a lot of wine!  The text is unclear whether or not Jesus transformed all of it in to wine immediately, or if the water became wine as it was poured out into individual glasses (scholars disagree on this point), but no doubt all of it would be available as necessary.  If Jesus did indeed turn all of the water in the pots into wine, there’s surely no way it all could have been consumed by the wedding guests.  Even when considering the length of the ancient Jewish weddings, 120-180 gallons is a lot of wine!  Anything that remained would have served as a constant reminder to the servants of the miracle that was done in their midst, and they would have thought of Jesus every single time.
    1. The size of the pots speaks of the abundance of the grace and blessings we have in Jesus.  We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1:3).  When God gives to us His grace, He’s not stingy.  He doesn’t give just a drop or two at a time, leaving us barely sustained.  No – God gives abundantly!  He grants forgiveness and redemption “according to the riches of His grace which He made abound toward us” (Eph 1:7).  IOW, God doesn’t give pocket change; He gives proportionally to His supply.  How much grace is in the supply of the infinite God?  Infinite!  Unmeasurable!  In Christ, we are bathed in the blessings and grace of God!
  2. Many have read a spiritual meaning into the original use of the waterpots.  The thought is that although the Jews used the pots for outward ritual cleaning, now the true spiritual cleaning and work of God had come.  Their outward rituals were insufficient, and it is only the work of Christ that brings the true cleansing work from God.  It’s a poignant & true picture, but at the end of the day, sometimes a pot is just a pot.  These were the largest containers among the household, and so that’s what Jesus used.  John is simply explaining what these large containers were doing at the house in the first place.  It’s not the use of purification that ought to catch our attention; it’s the size and abundance of what it the pots will hold.
  3. Jesus gives two instructions to the servants, which they obeyed.  Instruction #1: fill the pots. And fill the pots they did – “up to the brim.”  They didn’t know what Jesus was going to do.  These servants likely didn’t know that Jesus was capable of doing anything…this was just one of the other guests at the wedding, in their eyes.  Whatever it was they saw in Jesus, they followed through on His word to the fullest extent.  If they had filled up the pots half-way, they would have only seen half the miracle.  Instead, they filled up the pots to the point that they couldn’t do any more.
    1. We see a similar point made twice in the OT in the ministry of Elisha.  When a widow came to the prophet asking for financial help, Elisha asked her what she had, and was told she had a single jar of oil.  He told her to go borrow more jars and whatever vessels she could find, and then pour out the oil from the original jar into all of the others.  She did so, and the moment she ran out of jars, she ran out of oil.  The number of jars she gathered demonstrated the extent of her faith. (2 Kings 4:1-7)  In contrast, at the end of Elisha’s life, King Joash of Israel came to the prophet for a final word from God.  Elijah told Joash that the Lord commanded him to strike the Syrian army until they were destroyed.  At a symbol, Elisha told Joash to take a single arrow and strike the ground, to which Joash struck the ground three times and then stopped.  Elisha became angry with Joash because Joash had limited himself, and thus limited God’s blessing upon him.  He would only strike Syria three times, but it would not be destroyed. (2 Kings 13:14-19)
    2. How much faith do we have in the Lord?  It will be demonstrated by the extent to which we obey Him.  Do we trust God for an abundance, or for little?  Are we truly prepared to see Him glorify Himself?  Fill your own waterpot to the brim in anticipation!

8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.

  1. Instruction #2: take some of the wine to the master for tasting.  The “master of the feast” was not the host of the party, but someone (perhaps another servant) with the particular responsibility of ensuring everything went according to plan.  In our own culture, larger weddings often have wedding coordinators/planners who might act in a similar sort of role.  They interact with the caterers, florists, etc., so that the actual host does not need to do so.  Jesus told the servants to take some of this new liquid (be it still water at this point, or new wine) to the master of the feast to get approval for the wine to be served.  Jesus was not seeking approval for Himself; this was just the normal process things would need to go through.  The master of the feast surely had been aware that the host had run out of wine, and he would wonder where this new wine had come from.
  2. The servants had been obedient in filling the waterpots; now they were obedient in serving the wine.  They took the wine to the master of the feast, and saw the miracle with their own eyes.  They alone “knew” what had been done.  No one paid attention to the servants, but they were about to pay a lot of attention to the wine – and they didn’t even know the best part about it.  But the servants did.  Because they were serving, they saw the miraculous work of God.
    1. Do you want to see God work?  Get involved and serve the Lord.  Maybe even serve in some background capacity that few people see.  You’ll witness the Lord work in ways you might never have known.  You’ll definitely know Him working in your own heart, and you’ll probably see Him working in myriad of other ways as well. 

10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

  1. Not knowing the origin of the wine, the master of the feast calls attention to the groom and commends him for serving the best wine last.  Then (as today), the best things were served first when palates were fresh and minds were sober.  Hosts would break out the cheaper stuff when their guests had gotten drunk and wouldn’t be able to tell the difference (or at least be willing to complain about it).  This groom had appeared to buck the trend, and serve the very best of the best at the end.  Of course, the groom hadn’t done a thing; it was all the work of Jesus.  When Jesus makes wine, it’s going to be good wine!  God doesn’t make anything second-rate.
  2. BTW – there is no doubt that this would have been real wine served by Jesus.  It was common for the Jews to water down their wine (usually by a ratio of 3-1), diluting the alcohol content somewhat, but the master of the feast would have easily known if the wine was overly watered down.  He definitely would have known if it didn’t have any alcohol at all.  Some have attempted to claim that Jesus made alcohol-free wine, or made some other altered version, and there is simply no indication from the text that Jesus made anything other than wine – really good wine, indeed.  Obviously the fact that Jesus potentially made 180 gallons of the best wine in history for a single party does not endorse drunkenness.  The Bible repeatedly condemns drunkenness as sinful, and the New Testament doesn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement of drinking in general – but we need to be careful not to invent stories of Jesus that might match our own cultural sensitivities.  Nowhere in the Bible (OT or NT) is wine condemned as inherently sinful, but we are commanded to be sober-minded, and to be aware of the outward witness we portray, as well as the weaknesses of others.  If our liberty to drink causes another person to stumble into sin, we need to be mindful and do what’s best for them in love.
    1. This particular miracle is often used by Christians who want to Biblical evidence justifying their liberty to drink.  Interestingly enough, though Jesus surely drank at the wedding, we can say with certainty that He does not drink today.  During the Last Supper, Jesus said that He would not drink of the fruit of the vine until He drunk it with us in the kingdom of God. (Lk 22:18)  Jesus may have been accused of being a winebibber during His earthly ministry, but (in the words of Wiersbe) He is a teetotaler today. J

11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

  1. This was the first “sign” of many to come.  John will describe seven miraculous signs throughout Jesus’ ministry, giving markers of Jesus’ identity, all leading up to the greatest sign of all: the resurrection.  Considering that this particular miracle seemed to be a bit out-of-turn, it was still significant in the life of Jesus.  It was the first of many – a foretaste of what was yet to come.
  2. John reiterates that this was done “in Cana of Galilee.”  He will go on to narrate Jesus’ actions in Jerusalem, but it’s significant that this first sign was not done IN Jerusalem.  It was an ordinary place among ordinary people, using something ordinary & making it extraordinary.  The Son of God was not sent to only the religious elite, or the supposedly important people of the world; He was sent to the ordinary people – people like you and me.  Jesus loved us enough that He came out to the unknown people, that we would see His glory and believe upon Him to be saved.
  3. What was the result of the sign?  Jesus’ “glory” was revealed and “His disciples believed in Him.”  Question: if it wasn’t Jesus’ hour, and if only the servants witnessed the miracle, how exactly did Jesus manifest His glory?  It was certainly manifested among the servants.  Once the disciples learned about it, Jesus’ glory was manifested among them.  Jesus’ glory was manifested among those who believed.  They saw the work of God, and responded in faith.  Just because it wasn’t done in full view of all the wedding guests didn’t mean that God wasn’t working, or that Jesus wasn’t glorifying Himself.  He was at work in ways that most people never knew.  But the servants knew – the disciples knew.  Jesus was glorified immensely in their eyes.
  4. We’re not told anything of the servants beyond the point of their obedience and service, but we are told that the disciples believed.  This isn’t to say that the disciples just now got saved; Chapter 1 already showed us how they came to faith in Jesus.  Andrew knew Jesus as the Messiah (1:41), and Nathanael explicitly called Jesus the “Son of God, the King of Israel.” (1:49)  How this sign served in the lives of the disciples was that it further confirmed and built up their faith.  Now they had even more reason to believe – their faith was strengthened.  Considering that nothing else is said about this miracle, that seems to have been John’s entire point in telling us about it.  It was not Jesus’ hour to reveal Himself to all the world, but it was Jesus’ hour to further reveal Himself to His disciples, and a select few.  This was His time to build up the faith of those who already believed.  Jesus never did miracles to show off.  (This is what the Devil tempted Him with in the wilderness, and what Herod tried to get Jesus to do during His trial.)  Jesus isn’t interested in showing off, and doesn’t have to.  Jesus didn’t need a spectacle.  The point of the miracle wasn’t to save a failing party, or even make a good party better.  It was so the disciples would believe.  When God grants miracles, it’s always about the glory of God.  It’s always about pointing back to Jesus.  It’s about giving birth to faith.
    1. This is what we see repeatedly in the book of Acts.  When Peter and John healed the disabled man at the temple, it was so that all the people around would know that Jesus did it, and come to faith in Christ.  When Paul and Silas were freed from the Philippian prison after God sent a miraculous earthquake, it was so that the Philippian jailer and his family could hear the gospel and be saved.  And the miraculous power of God was not only given in evangelism to help people come to faith; it was also demonstrated within the church to help build up faith.  That’s the whole point of the spiritual gifts, particularly the spoken gifts of prophecy and others.  1 Corinthians 14:12, "Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel." []  When God gives gifts, it’s not to draw attention to the person exercising the gift; it’s to glorify God and build up one another.  A right use of the spiritual gifts will put the attention upon the Lord, and be used to help build the faith of one another in the church.
    2. The real question in this is: how do we respond to the signs that Jesus has given?  How do we respond to the ways that Jesus has revealed Himself to us?  There were only a few people who knew the work of Jesus that day, and it built up their faith.  We’re privy to the same information.  We’ve heard of Jesus’ work at the wedding, and we’ve seen Jesus work in our own lives individually.  Are we responding to His work in faith?  Are we giving His glory through the way we live our lives in response?  The disciples believed.  May we do the same.

12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

  1. John gives a bit of wrap-up to the time in Cana.  Jesus, His family, and His disciples left the town, and went back to Capernaum, where Jesus seemed to live on a regular basis when He was in Galilee.  Apparently He didn’t stay long, and John will show Jesus’ next trip being to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration.
  2. Out of the people listed here, not everyone had faith.  Jesus’ mother obviously believed – she had trusted Jesus to act before she had a clue what He might do.  The disciples believed – their initial faith was confirmed when they knew what Jesus had done.  Jesus’ brothers, on the other hand, did not.  Even by Chapter 7, John tells us that Jesus’ brothers still did not believe in Him.  Eventually at least a couple of His brothers would come to faith, but it seems that may not have happened until after His death and resurrection.  They hung around Jesus – they traveled with Jesus – but they didn’t believe in Jesus.
    1. Just because you’re familiar with Christianity doesn’t mean that you have faith in Christ.  A person can be around the people of God without actually being a child of God for himself.  Don’t mistake proximity for faith.  If you haven’t personally believed upon Jesus to be saved, then you aren’t.  (But you can be!)
  3. BTW – note that Jesus had “brothers.”  Although many denominations (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant alike) teach that Mary was perpetually a virgin, the Bible plainly teaches otherwise.  These were not Jesus’ cousins – there was a different word John could have used if he meant to.  They certainly were not Jesus’ disciples, as John explicitly shows a distinction between them.  There’s no indication that these were step-brothers via a previous marriage of Joseph (who seems to have died by this point).  The natural reading of the Scripture is that these were half-brothers of Jesus, as Mary and Joseph continued to have children, just like every other normal married couple of the day.  Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus, but there was no need for her to remain a virgin beyond that.

It was the first miraculous sign of Jesus, and there would be many more to come.  It may have seemed like an unusual place and an unusual event, simply from the point of view that everything was so normal.  It wasn’t a national feast day – it wasn’t a massive religious gathering.  It was just a simple wedding in a small town, celebrated among friends and family.  Everything was so ordinary, until Jesus did something truly extraordinary.  Only a few people were aware of the real significance, but for those few people, the impact was tremendous.

Mary trusted Jesus to act even before she knew how He would act, or if He was even willing to act.  She had faith enough to take her loving concerns to Jesus, and lay them at His feet.  She had faith beyond that to prepare the servants to act, not knowing what exactly would happen next.  Mary put feet to her faith, and serves as a great example to us all.

The servants didn’t know much about Jesus at first, but certainly learned much about Him afterward!  Without even knowing what was going to happen, they were obedient to the uttermost.  They filled the pots to the very brim, not even realizing that they were expressing an all-encompassing trust in the abundance of God.  And as a result of their obedient service, they were privileged to see the miracle of God in a way that no one else witnessed.

The disciples learned later what had happened, and they were built up in their faith.  They had believed upon Jesus already, but now their faith was confirmed.  They saw the work of God, recognized it as the work of God, and responded in faith.  They believed, which is all that Jesus desired of them.

There were two other groups of people present: the guests, and Jesus’ brothers.  The guests knew nothing, other than the fact that really good wine came out of nowhere.  They enjoyed the benefits of Jesus’ presence, but they had no clue that Jesus was involved.  They left temporarily satisfied, but spiritually unchanged.  Jesus’ brothers seem to have been in a different spot.  Considering that Jesus’ mother and disciples knew what happened, it would only be logical that His brothers were also told of the miracle – only they didn’t believe.  They had the evidence, and they still continued in doubt.  Faith is a choice, and they chose not to believe.

Choose faith!  Choose obedience!  God has worked marvelous ways among us when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and rise from the grave.  We have been given evidence after evidence of the most miraculous of signs, and we are called upon to respond.  We can no longer claim ignorance like the wedding guests; we’ve seen the work of God and now we are faced with a choice.  We can either believe the sign, putting our faith in Christ, or we can choose to shut our minds to the truth.  Choose faith!

For those of us who have, now it’s our turn to choose obedience.  We’ve placed our faith in Christ, now let’s put feet to it.  Let us act as if we actually believe (which we do).  When the Scripture tells us to do something, do it.  When the Holy Spirit leans upon your heart to act, then act.  Don’t believe God for the least He might do; trust Him for the abundance of His blessings. 


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