Jesus’ First Miracle

John 2:1-12

This is the story of the first miracle of Jesus.  It has no parallel in the synoptics, and it stands quite alone giving insight into the way Jesus and His disciples lived that many Christians love to ignore: Jesus drank wine.  (Horror!) Just for fun, compare this passage with Colossians 2:20 ff.

If this blows your mind, then let me quickly sum up this passage for you: Jesus performed His first miracle at Cana, where for the first time His glory and authority was revealed, and His disciples came to believe in Him. OK, faint of heart, see you tomorrow and have a great afternoon!

Those of you who can handle this, let’s have a closer look…

The scene is set: Jesus, His mother (John never says “Mary”) and the disciples were there.  This seems to have been three days after the calling of Phillip.  No reason is given for the reason the wine ran out.  Some have postulated that the attendance of Jesus and the disciples was the cause, but since John says that they had been invited, this seems unlikely.  It would also seem that Mary was well known to the family involved here, since she so quickly took charge of the disaster. When she brings this social catastrophe to Jesus’ attention, His reaction is interesting: literally, “What’s it to me?”  Notice that Mary seems to be aware that Jesus can remedy the situation easily; why else would she pass right over His question and tell the servants to do whatever He says? Jesus statement that His time has not yet come has troubled some commentators who haven’t noticed that In John’s Gospel, John uses this wording to refer to the time of Jesus’ being glorified (by the cross) and not to His performance of miracles, in this case a rather mundane one, if indeed a miracle can ever be called that.

The total capacity of these jars would have been in the range of 120 to 180 gallons. It is worthy of note that Jesus used all of the jars and had them filled up completely; nobody could say that Jesus’ power was limited, nor could they claim that He just slipped some kind of magic fairy dust into them: they were full.

When the servants drew the “water” from the jars and served it to the master of the banquet, the master confirmed that not only was this wine, but it was the “good stuff”.  It can be hilarious reading commentaries about these verses when the commentator goes on and on about how this was “obviously” not really wine but unfermented grape juice.

One of the cardinal rules of interpretation of the Bible is that you must set aside your pre-suppositions, opinions and traditions and let the text speak for itself.  When you are confused or feel that you have come upon a contradiction, there are various things you can do to figure out what the meaning is. Here are two easy ideas: You can usually do a word study and find out what is going on.  In addition, a close examination of the complete context will also aid in determining what the text is teaching.  After this has been done, if the Bible turns out to support your pre-suppositions, opinions and traditions: Marvelous.  But where it doesn’t, your presuppositions, opinions or traditions are wrong. In this case, if you are bound and determined to say that Jesus would never allow the serving of wine, you have two problems to deal with:  First, the Greek word used here is oinos which happens to mean “wine”.  The Greek word for grape juice is tnyx.  Why would John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, make such a writing error? Second, note what the master of the banquet said in verse 10.  Does that even remotely indicate that they were dealing with grape juice?  Does it sound to you like what he would say if the wine was watered down to less than 50% wine?  A better question would be, “Was Jesus trying to get everyone drunk?”  The text does not tell us that Jesus had everyone’s glass refilled, it tells us that the master of the banquet, the only one we know for sure that was aware of the problem got a sample.  We don’t know what the other attendees did after that, or if they even became aware that the wine was gone.  We do know why Jesus performed the miracle, however.

The brand new disciples, who had responded to the testimony of John the Baptist, and then to each other’s saw for the first time that Jesus was more than a man who had been blessed by God: He had a power that no mere mortal possessed, and they put their faith in Him. This would also be the reason for His future miracles; to confirm His true identity and the authority by which He taught.

Yes dear reader, this is the point, and all of the silly business of trying to explain away the wine only draws our attention away from the majesty of our Lord.

Advertisements

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
This entry was posted in Bible and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Jesus’ First Miracle

  1. Steve B says:

    I love this story. Puts a few ‘religious’ people in their place 🙂

    Nobody else commenting on John yet? Must be holidays.

  2. Pingback: Jesus’ First Miracle — The Life Project | Talmidimblogging

  3. Reblogged this on Life Less Ordinary and commented:
    I have always pondered over this!!!

  4. very very interesting indeed!!!

  5. Bette Cox says:

    Abundantly above all we could ask or think. 🙂

  6. AWETHENTIQ says:

    Coming from a prime wine region myself, I find the grape juice theories hilarious. That stuff ferments faster than milk can turn on a sultry summer’s day. Half a metric tonne of wine is a LOT for one wedding. Jesus proved who He was despite His mother’s little bit of nepotism. How did she know He could do it, what had she seen Him do as a kid?

  7. Tom says:

    Thanks, Don. My old pastor from thirty years ago used to spend A LOT of time trying to convince us that all “positive” references to wine in the Bible referred to unfermented grape juice including this passage. But saving the “best” grape juice for last makes little sense. An objective study of the manners and customs of the Israelites and Jews of Bible times reveals fermented wine was a staple. Even Jesus used the analogy of the danger of putting new wine into old skins. Obviously. we know the Bible warns against inebriation.

  8. Everything in moderation and no fear of anything God calls good. Thanks for this, Don.

  9. Pingback: Jesus’ First Miracle | The Life Project | franciscansonthemountains

  10. Well done with a touch of scandal ooo Jesus was a winemaker, never ever doubted it.

  11. T.K.C says:

    … and He will drink it again! probably in a holy sacrament. If the bible says its wine, then it’s wine! Thanks for sharing.
    But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. (Mat 26:29, KJV)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s