John 2:1-11

Vss. 1&2 – The wedding, an event lasting seven days or more, was underway on a Tuesday (the third day of the week) a day of no real significance over any other day. God is not restricted by the world’s schedule of festivals, specials days and the like (Colossians 2:16&17).

In 21:2 it is noted that Nathanael came from Cana (cf. 1:45-49). Cana is approximately 12km north of Nazareth. It would appear that Mary was the principle guest from the family of Jesus. Jesus and the disciples were invited, it would appear, because of His mother or because of the their link to Nathanael.

Vss. 3&4 – The supply of wine was exhausted. In other words, the guests had just drained the lowest quality wine available (cf. vs. 10) in the wake of the better wine being served first.

Mary’s concern for the well-being of the couple is summed up in her observation, “They have no wine.” To run out of wine during a public celebration was a catastrophe to be avoided at all costs. “Had the wine actually failed, the occurrence would have been regarded as an insult to those present, and would have banished the host and hostess to practical isolation.”[1]

Her observation/hint is typical of most mothers in their belief of their son’s abilities. Hers was heightened because of what she knew for sure (Luke 2:19&51):

What did she know?

  1. Jesus was of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20).
  2. He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
  3. Jesus would be known as Immanuel, i.e. God with us (Matthew 1:23).
  4. They were to call Him Jesus meaning Saviour (Luke 1:31).
  5. He would occupy the throne of David (Luke 1:32).
  6. He would be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35).
  7. He was to be the salvation of the Lord (Luke 2:30).
  8. A light of revelation to the Gentiles (Luke 2:32).
  9. Her own soul would be pierced (Luke 2:35).

What did He mean by “My hour has not yet come?

Hour = The moment of significance, the reason for His existence. i.e. Calvary (the fulcrum of history). It would therefore appear that Mary’s expectations were not solely based on the salvation mission of her Son but rather upon who He was (John 1:1-4&14; Philippians 2:5-11). Her faith in her Son’s abilities, or who He was, stretched beyond dealing with sin. If He were indeed the Son of God, a King, then the production of wine was well within His abilities.

Note: Jesus asked what that situation had to do with “us”, i.e. Him, his mother and His disciples

Vs. 5 – Mary’s faith was not diminished by Jesus’ seeming unwillingness to be of help. She must have been confident that He would do something otherwise her comment to the servants would have been foolishness.

Or, was she manipulating the situation in pointing the servants towards Jesus so as to ‘pressurize’ Him into action? Could the Son of God be manipulated, or was she confident that He would serve His mother’s interests in seeking to prevent embarrassment that was about to befall the wedding couple? If so, it was not so much manipulation as it was seeking to serve what was important to someone else, in this case, His mother’s desire to see two young peoples’ celebration go well (Philippians 2:1-4).

Vs. 6 – It is interesting that Jesus chooses containers that held water (containing 75-115 litres) for purposes of outer purification. Now that these were empty at best, or half filled with not-so-fresh water at worst, He would use them as holders of new wine (cf. II Timothy 2:20&21). Was He trying to communicate something here? If so, to whom? If he was seeking to teach something or prepare someone for a teaching to come, it would be obvious that His disciples were the intended audience (Luke 8:10a).

Cf.Matthew 9:17 (whitewashed tombs, etc.).

Cf.Matthew 23:25-28 (new wine skins, new wine).

In addition, Jesus may well have been illustrating, to His disciples, the transient nature of the things of this world as opposed to the unending supply and superior quality of that which is from God.

Vss. 7-10 – The result of the waiters’ obedience and Jesus preparedness to honour the established chain of command in such matters, ensured an abundant provision. God will not violate the practices of any culture that do not contradict His Word (Acts 4:19 & 5:29).

Vs. 11 – This verse clearly allows the reader to interpret Jesus’ actions as those of intent. This was not merely a casual miracle to aid a failing party. “This [was the] beginning of His signs.” In doing so, Jesus had moved His disciples beyond their initial, theoretical belief.

What is a sign? – II Corinthians 12:12 teaches that a sign is an attesting miracle. To attest means to
“provide or serve as clear evidence of something’.


[1] Tenney. Merrill C. The Gospel of Belief. Grand Rapids. Eerdmans. 1976. Pg. 83.

Produced by: Adrian Tamblyn-Watts

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