Jesus, In Cana of Galilee
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When
the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet
come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each
holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw
some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it
came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine
first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in
Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. Jno. 2:1-11, ESV
Sometimes in Bible reading and study, what really merits attention is overshadowed by some long-standing point of debate or popular interests. The wine
question I will leave for brief comment near the end of this study. The purpose of John’s writing is not to leave us an example of wedding protocol, brewing
options or social drinking. John’s purpose is to report the signs and wonders of Christ, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and
that believing, you may have life in His name,” (Jno. 20:31).
At this feast, there came a time when they ran out of wine. The mother of Jesus told Him of this depletion: “They have no wine!” Jesus first response was,
“what does this have to do with Me?” Then He said, “My hour has not yet come,” showing that Jesus had a plan, it involved timing, and this was not the best
time to begin His miracles.
Nevertheless, His mother persisted by simply telling the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it,” (a statement that, while made in this very specific
setting, has always been a valuable word to give anyone). There were six stone waterpots set aside for “the manner of purification of the Jews,” but Jesus
used them for this purpose, saying to the servants: “Fill the waterpots with water.” They filled them to the brim.
The miracle was performed, and when the liquid was delivered to the master of the feast. When tasted, the master reported to the bridegroom that this was
quality wine (generally brought out first).
“This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifest His glory; and His disciples believed in Him,” (v.11).
The purpose of this divinely directed event (miracle) was not to offer any commentary on alcohol, or give anyone permission to drink or enforce any
prohibition. This event happened and was reported as proof of the divine power Jesus had, thus manifesting His glory and contributing to belief in Him. “..it
leads the attention of the spectator (or reader, -web) away from the deed itself to the divine Doer.” (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953-2001). Vol.
1-2: New Testament commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to John. New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.)
Whether or not this miracle had packed into it, hidden messages, spiritual meanings, etc., individual students and commentators may discuss as they desire.
Primary to this account is really one thing: Jesus did what men couldn’t!
Not just in this event only did His power show forth. In the
other signs written by John, the main operative thought is – He did what men
manifestation of His glory was must not be pushed aside to discuss some detail in the story. Find your instruction about wine throughout the Bible, paying
careful attention to contexts, the confirmed history of non-alcoholic wine, and give special attention to the call to sobriety and the warnings against
intoxication. But don’t read John 2 to build a case for or against wine. Let the power of Jesus takes its’ place in your reading of this. Then, let the power
of Jesus find its’ central place in your heart and your life. If you do the later, all questions about the use of alcohol will find firm resolution. “…and
His disciples believed in Him!”
By Warren E. Berkley
The Front Page
From Expository Files 18.12; December 2011