On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.[a] 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 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 10 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.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers[b] and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days (John 2:1-12).
Why A Wedding?
So, where do you start when you want to share your trip to Israel with the world? Maybe you should start with Jesus’s first known miracle and how it is celebrated and remembered today. Maybe you should start at the Wedding of Cana because it was a wedding and Jesus refers to us as His church and His bride. Maybe we should start there because Jesus saved the party and brought forth wine from water. No matter which reason you pick, this is the first post of many dealing with my amazing trip to the Holy Land. These are all pictures I took, except for the wedding photo of Heidi from our wedding day.
In Jesus’s day the weddings were a big deal. There may have been several thousand people at this wedding. Weddings were filled with friends and family. A small wedding would have had 500 in attendence. A large wedding would have had a few thousand people. There was also a cultural responsibility to entertain the guests. So, running out of alcohol was no laughing matter.
Before we get to the alcohol, why a wedding? Why does Jesus’s first known miracle happen here? He didn’t reveal the miracle to everyone there. Or at least it doesn’t seem so. The servants knew. The disciples knew and it appears that his brothers knew. But, the many there including the master of the feast didn’t know.
For a Christian the marriage is a sacred thing. It is a covenant between two people and God. No matter how committed each person is to the relationship God is always infinetely more committed. God brings one man and one woman together as a reflection of Him. Both man and woman were created in the image of God, who is Trinity and is therefore in relation to Himself. As God relates to Himself, so are we who enter into this union. God is infinitely committed to this sacred institution. If you are in a Catholic, Anglican or of Orthodox type of back ground you will hear the word sacrament. Protestant movements will not use the same language but equally believe in it’s importance and the need to only enter into such a relationship with holy reverence and commitment to it.
So, a wedding and joining together of families is not only the family members there, but it is those who have passed from this life and those who will be born in the future. So, the wedding was a great place for Jesus to exibit His sovereign rule and the importance of joining together two families and just how sacred that really is.
This exchange always fascinated me. So, it seems that Jesus’s time hasn’t come yet, but His mother knows He can do this miracle. Jesus and Mary do not seem to be on the same page. If you have to pick who is wrong, since Jesus is sinless, it would be Mary. But, Jesus honors the fifth commandment. It is actually the first one of the ten with a promise for the Jews, “that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you (Exodus 20:12).” So, Jesus seeing that obeying His mother was good, obeyed. It is interesting that Mary thought He would listen to her. It gives us some insight into this relationship. She then turns around and says something profound that we should all live by, “Do whatever he tells you (John 2:5b).”
Obeying your parents is a Godly thing to do. Revealing Himself to the disciples, His brothers and some others was intricate. This was an important moment for all of them. They were also close to Capernaum where Peter was from. Jesus heals Peter’s mother in law there. Capernaum which is a costal town to the Sea of Galilee and it also becomes a hometown type of place for Jesus and much of his ministry was done there. Jesus was able to discern what the Father was doing, and by listening to His mother the right people were beginning to see who He was, before going to Capernaum (John 5:19-20).
Yes, I suppose it is time to address the elephant in the room. I have heard many well meaning people try to say that wine in Jesus’s day was not typical to the wine of our day. I have heard high ranking officials of large denominations known for both their anti-alcohol stances and careful attention to the details of scripture, leave scripture to quote Harvard studies and blah, blah, blah, to tell you wine in Jesus’s day was only 1/14th of what it is now. Their is absolutely no truth to that because of what the scripture actually says about the wine Jesus gave, “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 (John 2:10).”
So, any well meaning teacher who says such things is not properly attending to the detail of the text. The text plainly says that they were out of wine, not grape juice. Not some weak form of cheap substitute, but they were out of wine, and Jesus gave us wine out of the water used for Jewish rites of purification. There were six jars that held twenty to thirty gallons each. Jesus brought out the good stuff!
This doesn’t mean that Jesus is for getting drunk. But, It does seem that a drink is not so bad at least for someone of age who can handle it. But, it does mean that Jesus trusts us to govern ourselves and our own moral and social responsibility.
For the disciples, Jesus’s mother and his brothers it is on to Capernaum.