Here is the 5th sermon that I’m preaching from the Gospel of John on Wednesday nights.
JOHN PART 5
THE WEDDING CELEBRATION MIRACLE
John 2:1-11 TNIV – 1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples put their faith in him.
INTRO: Now before we get into tonight’s teaching we need to remember the primary reason that John wrote this Gospel. The specific reason is so that people might believe in Him and by believing, experience newness of life.
John 20:30-31 TNIV – 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
In John’s Gospel he calls the miracles that Jesus performed as signs. What is the purpose of a sign? It is to point and direct information to people. The miracles presented in this book are designed to point people to Jesus, that they might hear the claims and that they might believe. Peter also says that God performed signs through Jesus and that those present knew this.
Acts 2:22 TNIV – 22 “People of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.
Here we are going to look at the first recorded sign given by John, and that is the water turned to wine at the wedding feast.
1. The wedding
Verses 1-2 TNIV – 1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
After Jesus has told the 5 men to follow Him from Chapter one, they become His disciples, or His followers or students. The are following after Jesus. Where is He going to go start delivering His message to the Jews? It is the Jordan River – no. The temple maybe – No. Some Synagogue – No.Jesus takes them to a wedding feast where the message will not be delivered by words, but by action.
You don’t go to a wedding celebration to explain Scripture and get people into a spiritual from of mind to accept the Messiah, you go to celebrate and Party. Now in the Middle Eastern culture, it has always been a custom that the Wedding was more than a ceremony, but a celebration. And this celebration could last up to a week. This tradition comes from the earliest times of Scripture.
Genesis 29:26-27 TNIV – 26 Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. 27 Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work.”
The Westminster Catechism asks the question, “What is the chief end of man? It answers it in two points. To glorify God. To enjoy Him (or celebrate Him) forever.
I think a lesson can be learned from this first miracle, it is that we are to be people of joy and celebration. We have a reasons to celebrate and be joyful. Our sins our washed away. We’ve been given a new nature. We have the ever present help of the Holy Spirit. We have God’s Word. We have each other, bearing one another’s burdens.
Now Jesus was not invited to this wedding celebration because of the miracles he performed. He hasn’t performed any at this time. He wasn’t invited because of His great teachings either. He hasn’t taught a single message yet. He wasn’t invited because of His pedigree. After all, He is from a little small community called Nazareth. We are not for sure why He was at this wedding, or invited too it. All we know is that He and His disciples and Mother was there.
2. The wine.
Verses 3-5 TNIV – 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
A little bit of background information. Like I said earlier the traditional Middle Eastern Wedding took about 7 days of celebration (3 days for poorer families). The bride and groom didn’t go on a honeymoon – the honeymoon came to them. That week would be a time of celebration and rejoicing, singing and dancing, speech-making and gift-giving, and eating and drinking. Now I’ve heard a lot of interpretations of whether this was non-alcoholic wine or wine with alcohol in it and the arguments can get divisive. I’m not here to start this debate concerning this issue. I do know one thing, the alcohol content is much less in their wine than ours. I have studied this issue out, and let me say that if you have questions concerning this, we can talked about it one on one and I can show you some Scripture evidences. But let’s focus on the miracle itself tonight, and not the wine.
They ran out of wine (v. 3a). The wedding celebrations and feasts were prepared for a huge amount of guest. So they would plan out the food and the wine needed. Obviously they planned out wrong because they ran out of wine. This was a huge embarrassment to the Head official or Master of the wedding celebration. In ancient times this type of event was so serious that legal proceedings could be brought by the parties not being satisfied by food and drink.
Mary approaches Jesus concerning the problem (v. 3b). Tradition states here that Joseph is dead, and with Mary being a widow, Jesus had to fulfill certain duties and situations that the husband would normally fulfill. This may be why she approached Jesus concerning this issue. She could have approached Jesus because she knew He was the Messiah and she expected a miracle. This could be true, but Jesus hasn’t performed a miracle yet. The point is, we don’t really know why she approached Jesus, but yet she did.
Jesus’ answer to His mother (v. 4). At first glance, His answer seems rather harsh to us, because he doesn’t call her mother, but woman. I don’t think that Jesus was being harsh and trying to dishonor Mary here. He will also use this term affectionately while He hangs on the cross and He is concerned about her sorrow and welfare.
John 19:26b TNIV – When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”
Jesus declares that His hour has not yet come. Now what is so interesting is that everytime that Jesus used this phrase in the Gospel of John, it is always in reference to His death (7:30; 8:20; 12:23; 16:32; 17:1). Now whether He is referring to His death here or not, I can’t really be sure. I do think that maybe He was saying in effect that the time of His revelation to the nation of Israel as their Messiah is not at this point and time.
Mary gives direction (v. 5). The words that Mary speaks to the servants here is a demonstration of her faith. I don’t know what she expected, but she expected Jesus to do something. She is leaving the problem of the wind in the hands of Jesus. She is not going to worry about it anymore.
What a fantastic principle here: We as well should take our concerns and anxieties to the Lord and not worry about them.
1 Peter 5:7 TNIV – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
3. The miracle.
Verses 6-11 TNIV – 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples put their faith in him.
The six stone water jars (v. 6) In the Mishnah (the oral collection of conversations of the rabbis), an entire section is devoted to the matter of purification. These traditions are very specific in the matter of ceremonial washings. The waterpots were kept by the entrance of the house and each guest would wash their hands as they entered. They weren’t small. They each had a capacity of between 20 to 30 gallons in each of these 6 waterpots. That means there was somewhere between 120 to 160 gallons of water that is about to be changed into wine.
Jesus commands the water pots be filled to the brim (v. 7). Imagine this for just a moment. Mary has just come and told these servants that they are to do whatever Jesus says to them. The very next thing that happens is that Jesus tells them to fill these pots. So they fill them.
Now He gives the ultimate command – draw out of the jars and take some to the master of the banquet. Do you see what Jesus is telling them to do? They are to take this water to the basically master of ceremonies, or in our day, head-waiter. He is the one who arranges the couches, and oversaw that all the needs of the guests were met. It was also his job to taste the food and wine to make sure of its quality. So when they servants did this, I’m sure they were a little confused. Why? Because it is not customary to drink water at a wedding feast in the ancient world. And this is not merely water – it is water coming from water-pots that have been used for people to wash their hands, and perhaps feet.
Notice the master’s response to what he drank (vv. 9-10). It was common practice to serve the best wine and food first at the beginning of the celebration. Then as the guest continued to drink freely, their taste buds would not be so sharp to notice that the cheaper wine had been substituted (by the way, the cheaper wine was often watered-down wine). But the wine which Jesus had produced was the best wine of all. By comparison, it made everything else seem like a cheap substitute.
This was the first sign to reveal Jesus glory (v. 11). Why is this story in the Bible? Is it to teach something about weddings? Or about drinking wine? Or even about miracles? No. The purpose is stated in this verse as well as John 20:30-31 – it is to produce belief.
CONCL: This sign among many prove one thing: That Jesus is who He claims to be. He is the Messiah. He is the Son of God. He is the only remedy for sin. He is the only way to the Father.