The Miracle At Cana
THE MIRACLE AT CANA
John wrote this gospel after all the other gospels had been written and his purpose for writing was to try, once again, to convince people that Jesus was truly the Son of God.
- In fact, John tells us that in John 20:30-31. He says: Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
So, what John does in this book is he gives us a collection of supporting proofs that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Some of those proofs are verbal proofs; or the inspired words of John himself; the testimony of John the Baptizer; and you have the words of some of the Old Testament prophets; and then you have the verbal testimony of Andrew, Peter, and Philip.
So John gives us verbal testimony confirming that Christ is the Son of God but he also gives us physical signs or miracles. In this gospel he gives us 8 miracles that confirm who Jesus is and the first one is found here in chapter 2.
- This miracle in chapter 2 marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and remember the purpose of these signs or miracles is to get people to believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
- And that is my purpose in this lesson today; to reassure you that your faith in Christ is not misplaced; there are many things going on in our world and in our culture that can shake your faith; but I hope that what Jesus does here in these 11 verses will encourage you to stay faithful to Christ no matter what happens.
So, let’s look at this first miracle; let’s begin with the PARTY.
- This isn’t just a party; this is a party that exceeds all other parties; this is a wedding!
- About a year before this there would be a betrothal; and engagement; a legal, binding, covenantal contract that could only be broken by divorce.
- And during that betrothal period the husband to be would be preparing a place for his bride; He would build a house or add an extension to his father’s house; it would be his responsibility to get everything ready.
- And when everything was ready and the house was built; and the house was furnished; and all preparations were made and he had demonstrated that he had what it took to care for bride and to provide for her, the wedding would take place.
And the bridegroom would have the full responsibility for the cost of the wedding.
- It was a great celebration because he had been working hard for a year; and she had been waiting and preparing for this.
- This is the most important event in their lives; not only is it important to the couple getting married; but this will be a time of great celebration for everyone in this small community of Cana!
- Everything about this wedding will be carefully planned; and a wedding celebration might last for days.
- And people would come from the outlying areas; family and friends would all come to this celebration.
Now, look at vs. 2 tells us that Jesus was “invited.”
- I am afraid that not many “invite” Jesus to be at their wedding anymore; if they did perhaps fewer weddings would end in divorce.
But Jesus was “invited” to this wedding and the fact that Jesus attended this wedding and the fact that He performed His first miracle at a wedding emphasizes the sanctity of marriage.
- Weddings matter; Public covenant matters; the ceremony matters; it always has.
- And that means that the marriage covenant is not to be entered into lightly and once entered into it is to be honored and maintained.
In fact, any society that honors marriage; any society that elevates marriage; any society that honors a life-long commitment made and kept between a man and woman, and who rear children in the bond of love; that society will prosper; it will be secure; it will know peace.
- On the other hand, any society that fails to honor marriage as a covenant for life between a man and a women; any society that diminishes marriage; that society is corrupt; is doomed to chaos, turmoil, evil and judgment; and immorality will abound.
- When marriage is not honored as a lifetime commitment the fabric of society is shredded.
- Our Lord honored marriage by attending and doing His first miracle at a wedding.
So, Jesus attends this wedding; and His mother is there and that is no surprise because Mary had lived in Nazareth for several years; and Nazareth is only about 9 miles away and they would have known the people just up the road; possible related to some of them.
So, this wedding celebration is in full swing; everyone is having a wonderful time; but then there is a PROBLEM. In vs. 3 the “wine runs out.”
- And when the wine runs out that is a major catastrophe; this is a colossal, social embarrassment because if there was anything that the bridegroom had spent a year trying to prove is that he could provide for his bride.
- He had to build her a house; he had to prove he could take care of her; her father was handing her over to him; and now this happens; maybe the bridegroom can’t plan; maybe he can’t take care of her; this was a major embarrassment to her family as well as to his.
Now, what about the wine? I think it is interesting that a lot of people do not even see the miracle that takes place; they don’t even see Jesus as the Son of God; what they see in this event is justification to drink! To imbibe alcohol.
- In the world that these people lived in wine was made from all kinds of fruit; mostly grapes.
- And yes, the wine and the juice of any of the fruits that was used was subject to fermentation because there was no refrigeration; so, everything fermented and developed alcohol.
- And they drank a lot of “wine” because drinking water was dangerous because water was not purified; but to drink fermented wine was also dangerous because you could get drunk and that was a sin; and you didn’t want to get sick and you didn’t want to sin so they diluted the wine with water; usually 3 parts water to one part wine; and they did that so they could drink water because it had been purified by the alcohol in the fermented wine; and they could drink the wine because it had been diluted and would not make them drunk.
- So, this “wine” would have been prepared in the normal fashion.
- And besides, the distillation process that is used to make todays alcoholic beverages didn’t exist until 1000 years after this event.
- This “wine” was nothing like what people drink today.
So, they run out of wine at this wedding celebration and that is a catastrophic embarrassment; and in vs. 3 Mary says to Jesus, “They have no wine.”
- Now, why did Mary say this to Jesus? Did she think He would perform a miracle? Was she telling Him to perform a miracle? I don’t think so because as far as we know He had never performed a miracle before this.
- She why does Mary say this.
Well think about it this way. Jesus is somewhere around 30 years old and up to this time if Mary ever had a problem who do you think she turned to?
- He never had a bad idea in His life; He never had a wrong solution to a problem; He never led her a step in the wrong direction; He had a perfect solution to every dilemma.
- He was the most wise, intelligent person that had ever lived or ever will live on earth.
- He was compassionate; kind; loving; He cared about people; He knew the problem; who else would she turn to?
- So, I don’t think she asks for a miracle. I think she simply says to Him, “They have no wine.”
And look at vs. 4 how Jesus responds. Jesus says, “Woman…”
- Why not “mother?” Some say that Jesus is being harsh; rebuking Mary.
- But this is the same word He uses in John 19 from the cross when He says, “Woman, behold your son” and He handed her over to John.
- This isn’t a harsh response; but it isn’t intimate either.
- Why does He call her “woman?”
Because He is telling her that their relationship has changed; He is telling her that they don’t have the same relationship that they have had up until now; It’s over.
- In fact, look at what He says next: “What do I have to do with you?”
She is no longer in a position to act as an authority in His life; she is no longer in a position to tell Him what to do; to make suggestions to Him.
This would be a big change because He has probably done everything she has ever asked Him to do; He did those things out of love; but now she could no longer demand anything of Him; He was to be about His Father’s business.
- And He gave her a preview of this when He was 12 years old when He was in the temple talking to the Jewish officials.
- And here, at this wedding celebration His Father’s business began and His mother’s business ended.
- From here on He was saying, “I don’t do your business; I do My Father’s business.”
- What Jesus is doing is He is distancing Himself from the mother/son relationship that has existed for 30 years; and now she is no longer dealing with her son; but with the Son of God.
- He further confirms a difference in His relationship with Mary in Matthew 12:46.
By the way, what Jesus does here refutes the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching of asking Mary to plead with Jesus for the things you desire because Jesus cannot refuse Mary; Mary is not in a position of authority over Jesus.
Then Jesus says in vs. 4, “My hour has not come.”
- This is the first time we see this statement; but it will be used again several times; and what this is, is a statement that in its fullness looks at the cross, the hour of His death and resurrection.
- And what Jesus is saying to Mary is, “Our relationship is different now because now I am on a divine schedule that has been set by God; that will culminate in My death and everything leads to that; every event, every issue, every circumstance is leading to that final hour.”
And with that Mary bows out and she says to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
And with that Jesus takes care of the problem. Look at vs. 6: Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.
- This water is not for drinking because you didn’t drink water unless it was mixed with a purifier; this water is for purification; for washing their hands; for washing the utensils; for plates; for pans and pots; in Mark 7:3-4 you find that the Jews washed everything.
- This water is for cleansing.
Now, vs. 7: Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.
- If these pots weren’t “filled to the brim” somebody would just say that He added wine to the water.
- But if the water goes all the way to the brim, there’s no room left; that is His point.
You now have people who are completely disinterested parties who are now going to give testimony to this miracle; they don’t have any stake in this issue; they are not trying to prove anything about Jesus one way or another.
Now verse 8: And He (Jesus) said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter.” And they took it to him.
Now, vs. 9: And when the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew) the headwaiter called the bridegroom; 10 and said to Him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then that which is poorer, you have kept the good wine until now.”
- All of this is so understated! Where is the miracle? This is massive!
- How do you get wine? You get it from grapes? Grapes come from a vine. How do you get vines? You get them from seeds.
- How do you get seeds? From other vines.
- How do you make them grow? Sunlight; water; dirt.
- How do you get the wine? Crush, strain.
But in this instance, there are no grapes; no vines; no seeds; no sunlight; no earth; there is no crushing or straining; there is nothing but pots of water.
- Jesus created this wine out of nothing! This is a pretty dramatic deal!
And you have these people who are completely disinterested eyewitnesses of that has just taken place; and they could have come back and said, “This is a lie. It didn’t happen!”; but they didn’t.
- And it became apparent right away this was the best wine ever; because the headwaiter calls the groom right away because he thinks the groom is responsible for this.
So you have this testimony of a creative miracle coming from the mouth of people who have no stake in trying to prove anything about Jesus.
- And verse 11 gives us the final word on all of this: This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
- And that brings us back to John’s purpose for writing this gospel: These things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing have eternal life in His name.”
Now, let me separate you all in three groups. You will be in one of these three groups.
In vs. 11 it says that “His disciples believed in Him.” That is group number one.
Look at John 12:37: Though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.” This is group number 2.
And then there is group number 3. In John 12:42: Nevertheless, many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue, 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
Everyone of us is in one of these three groups; We either believe; or we don’t believe; or we are not willing to pay the price to trust in Christ.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023