Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Jesus Turns Water Into Wine

John 2:1-22

“And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.   And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” (John 2:1-5)

Three days after the call of Philip, Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana, that Mary was attending.  When they ran out of wine, Mary told Jesus about the problem.  We have no idea about other things he had done over the years, but she had no doubt about his ability to resolve the problem.  Jesus pointed out that it was not yet time to demonstrate his power, but she told the servers to just do whatever he said. 

“And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.  Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.  And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.” (John 2:6-8)

The Jewish custom for cleansing was to wash out a container, then let it set for several days to allow it to dry and prevent the growth of mold or algae in the porous surfaces of the containers.  There were six large stone water containers sitting there awaiting their turn to be used, each holding two or three firkins of water.  A firkin held about eleven gallons, so these were in effect large water barrels.  Jesus commanded them to fill the pots, then serve it to the guests. 

“When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.” (John 2:9-10)

The water changed into wine and when the Master of Ceremonies tasted it, he was amazed by the quality of the wine.   He stated that normally the best wine was served first because later people would not be as aware of the taste of the wine.   He questioned why they had kept the best for last. 

“This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.  After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.” (John 2:11-12)

This was Jesus’ first public miracle, although apparently He had done others at home that Mary had seen.  This miracle had a tremendous impact on his disciples, greatly increasing their faith.  After the wedding, Jesus, his mother, and his disciples went back to Capernaum for a few days.  It appears that Mark 1;21-36 took place during this period. 

“And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.  And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” (John 2:12-17)

Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.    Because people came from all over the region to worship, and it was difficult bringing the animals and food stuffs for the sacrifices long distances, the priests had begun to allow people to set up stalls and sell sheep, turtle doves, olive oil, meal, and salt for the sacrifices.  Since there were a number of nationalities came, bringing coins from various countries, there were various money changers on hand to convert the money to different currencies. 

Although this offered people a great deal of convenience, Jesus drove them out of the temple, stating that God’s house is not to be used as a place of business.  Later, just before his crucifixion, Jesus would again cleanse the Temple, accusing them of making it a den of thieves.  The priests were charging a fee for allowing people to sell in the temple, and those who sold there were charging more than the going rate because people needed the sacrifices.  Matthew did not become a disciple until Matthew 9. So he would not have remembered this incident, but he did record the one in Matthew 21. 

“ Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

“Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?  But he spake of the temple of his body.” (John 2:18-21)

The Jews challenged Jesus authority to drive the merchants out of the temple and asked him to show a sign that he had such authority.  Jesus said that the sign would be that when they destroued the temple, referring to his own body, he would raise it again the third day.    They assumed he was referring to the building and made fun of him because it had taken them forty six years to rebuild it after Cyrus gave the order as described in Ezra 1:1-2.  “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,  Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”    Legal challenges delayed the work in the days of Ahaseurus, also known as Cambyses, and in the days of Darius and Artaxerxes.  The building was finished in the days of Darius, but it was not fully equipped until later, in the days of Artaxerxes, when Ezra went to teach them the law. 

“When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.” (John 2:22)

After Christ was resurrected the disciples would remember his promise to be raised again on the third day.   Like Matthew, Mark and Luke record only the second incident.  

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