The Gospel of John
"Signs and Beliefs" (John 2:1-25)

J. Deering,

John, Chapter 2:1-25 By What Sign (miraculous authority)

The Bible Text in each set of comments:
From the Interlinear Bible, edited and smoothed out for better English

The Marriage in Cana, and the Disciples Believe
Cleansing the Temple, And the Disciples Believe
Many in Jerusalem Believe

John Chapter 2
By What Sign (Miraculous Authority)?

LESSON:  External Beliefs VS The Faith of Abram

The Marriage in Cana: (The Rabbi in the Wedding)
Ref:  Matthew 24:45-51
Ref:  Mark 7:3-4

2:1-2 The Wedding Feast Call
And on the third day A wedding took place in Cana of Galilee 2:2 The mother of Jesus was called there (invited) (there, unusual as it is an adverb to the verb was called out). And, and also, moreover Jesus, and His disciples, went to the wedding

We left Chapter one as Jesus chose His fist disciples and the text reports that those things were done in Bethsaida which is on the Eastern side of the Jordan River, just north of the Sea of Galilee. John tells us that the following events occur on “the third day.” It is not a stretch to travel from Bethsaida to Cana in that time, but also we may be encountering a phrase that points us to an event that points toward the Cross and Resurrection, for Chapter two takes us on that journey. It is important to point out that this particular phrase is used in the Scriptures some 54 times. Many of those instances refer directly to sacrifice and resurrection in both the Old and New Testaments.

The text would seem to point out that Mary had been specifically invited and may have, in fact, already been in Cana for the wedding when Jesus and His Disciples arrive. Cana is about eight and a half miles from Nazareth, Mary’s home. I would seem that Mary and Jesus came to Cana by completely opposite routes.

We should point out that there’s no need to get into a discussion concerning wine or the strength of wine or it’s appropriateness to the situation. John is stating the facts and he uses plain language to describe the event. I say this because so many have lost sight of the important message of this story while they needlessly fight this old battle.

The message of the passage occurs way down at the end of the paragraph in verse 11. Jesus did miracles while he was at the wedding, and while he was in Cana. “His Glory was revealed,” and “His disciples believed on Him” because of them. Just three days earlier Jesus was Baptized by John the Baptist (the Jewish ritual of the cleansing of the High Priest for service), and John the Baptist witnessed the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God upon Jesus, and proclaimed “And I saw, and bare record that this one is The Son of God.” These verses are not about the contents of the miracles at the wedding, but the SOURCE of the miracles – The Very Son of God and the RESULTS of the miracles, the Glory of God was demonstrated and the disciples believed upon His name.


The Faith of Jesus
2:3 The wine came to an end and Jesus’ mother says to Him, “They have no more wine.”

2:4 Jesus says to her, “My hour has not yet come, what do you want from me woman?”

The Faith of Mary
2:5 His mother says to the servants, “Whatever He might say to you, do.”

History tells us that this was no simple problem. The sponsoring family, with the failure of the wine, would have been shunned for running out of wine. We should not trivialize this problem with our modern experience in our own culture. This family would have been socially devastated. The wedding feast would last for up to a week and not having a plentiful supply of a safe drink (don’t drink the water) would have abruptly ended the celebration and feast.

Mary went to Jesus. He’s lived in her family for about thirty years and she knows Him well. She knows who He is, and what He can do. I’m sure that by this time she is no stranger to His abilities to supply a miraculous answer to a legitimate need. His answer seems harsh to us, especially with the “woman” at the end of the sentence. The language of the day brings us an explanation – it is a common sentence form and doesn’t place His mother in the place of His wrath, it’s just the sentence structure of the day, and He is telling His mother that the revealing of His full public ministry should be waiting until He arrives in Jerusalem in a few days – not now.


The Faith of the Servants

2:6 There were six stone water jars laying there, which were used for the Jewish ritual purifications. Each could hold 20 or 30 gallons.
2:7 Jesus says to them, “Fill the jars with water,” And they filled them to the brim.
2:8 He then says to them, “Draw some out now and carry it to the master of the feast.” And they carried it.

The stone water containers were laying together. Perhaps they recently had been emptied as the wedding guests washed their road weary hands and feet. John’s narrative makes it clear that wine was not hidden in upright jars. The Law required the ritual cleaning of the hands and feet before eating. The Lord made many laws that pertained to diet and health. His eye has always been upon them as a people and their physical health was not neglected. Each container held approximately 20-30 gallons. Different translations use different units of measure – but it was a lot of water. Jesus’ command to the servants was to fill these containers with water “to the brim.” They would have stood them up and filled them from other containers carried from the well or the home’s cistern. It’s worth noting that the servants obeyed Jesus’ request and that they did so because Mary, apparently, was in charge. I get the feeling that Mary was there as the “wedding planner,” and was in charge of the wedding function.

Jesus’ next request must have shocked them. “Draw some out, and carry it to the master of the feast.” “Why does he want us to take water to the master?” – but the Jesus’ glory was about to be revealed!

2:9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water – which had become wine – and he did not know where it came from.

2:10 The master of the feast then called for the bridegroom and said to him, “Every man puts out the good wine first and when they have drunk freely the inferior wine is served. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

Imagine the servant’s amazement. They poured out the water into his goblet – and it was wine! The miracle was for the servants to behold. They alone knew that they had filled the containers with water, dipped some of that out into a serving container, brought it to the master, and witnessed (with them still holding the container, it’s never left their hands) the wine flowing into the master’s goblet. Many of us have always missed the fact that the miracle was for the servants – the story is for us, but the miracle was not for the master … but for them! My mind is immediately drawn back to the Old Testament book of Numbers. Chapter after chapter of genealogical lists of long ago forgotten names. People whom the Lord loved – in such a way – as to record their names into the Book, for all of eternity.


The Faith of the Disciples
2:11 This was the first of the signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee,
And His glory was revealed and His disciples believed on Him.

And – Here it is! The “Water-to-wine” miracle was just the first of the miracles that Jesus did during that week in Cana. Who knows how many were profoundly changed when they first saw these miracles – attesting to His Messiahship. We do know that during this week His first disciples first believed on Him.

Each and every miracle during the life and ministry of Our Lord Jesus Christ fulfills prophecies made in the Old Testament attesting to the identity of the coming Messiah. The miracles of Jesus were not just for impressing those who witnessed them. These miracles were performed so that all the world should know that “He is the Christ.”

Cleansing the Temple: (The Rabbi in the Temple)
Ref:  Malachi 3:1-3 (come suddenly to the Temple)
Ref:  Mark 11:12-21 (Fig Tree, Temple, Fig Tree)
Ref:  Matthew 21:12-13
Ref:  Luke 24:6-8

The Perverted Faith of Israel's Leadership
2:12 After this (The miracles at Cana) He (and His mother, His brothers, and His disciples) traveled down into Capernaum, and they did not stay many days.

Stepping back away from this portion of scripture and seeing the Gospel story in a broad view that the 4 Gospels present we should become aware that the plan and purpose of God the Father is to get Jesus to the Cross, and resurrection, so that His great plan of salvation can be accomplished. With this in mind we should then see that Jesus has an itinerary to follow and has specific places and events on that itinerary. Twelve verses earlier we looked at who this “Word” was. We found that He was the expression of God, The very Son of God, the source of enlightenment in this world, the very light of men, and that His name was Jesus. Jesus then traveled to Bethsaida and we were introduced to John the Baptist and through his ministry we were then introduced to Jesus’ first disciples who began to travel with Him.

2:13 The Jewish Passover was near and Jesus traveled up to Jerusalem.

2:14 In the Temple He found those who were selling oxen, sheep, and doves. There were also money-changers sitting in their places. 2:15 Having made a whip of rope cords He drove out them all out from the Temple, both the sheep and the oxen, and He poured out their coins and overturned their tables.

2:16 To those who had been selling doves He said, “Take these things from here and stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandizing.

2:17 (His disciples remembered that it had been written of Him, “The Zeal of Thy House devours Me.”)

2:18 The Jews answered and said to Him, “by what sign do you show us that you have the authority to do these things?” 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” 2:20 The Jews therefore said, “I took Forty-six years to build this temple and in three days you will raise it back up?” 2:21 However, He spoke concerning the temple of His body. 2:22 Therefore, When He was raised up out from “the dead,” the disciples remembered about Him that He had said this, and they believed the scriptures and the words of Jesus that He had spoken.

Many in Jerusalem Believe: (The Rabbi in Jerusalem)

The Mis-Directed Faith of the many
2:23 As He was still in Jerusalem in the Passover feast, many believed into His name, beholding Him and the signs which He did.

2:24 But, for His part, Jesus Himself was not entrusting Himself to them because He knows all men.

2:25 And He had no need that anyone should be testifying concerning man, for He knew what was in man.

Ref:  Romans 4:1-25
The Faith of Abram (Abraham)
- Not by Works - Abraham Believed God, and it was RECKONED to him AS righteousness.

- Not by Works - Faith was RECKONED to Abraham AS righteousness.

- Not because he was a Jew - ... RECKONED to him ... while uncircumcised (a Gentile).

-In Hope against Hope he BELIEVED.

Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and BEING FULLY ASSURED THAT WHAT GOD HAD PROMISED, GOD WAS ABLE TO PERFORM.  THEREFORE also IT (:20-21) was RECKONED to him as righteousness.

Now not for his sake only was it written, that "IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM,"  but for OUR SAKE ALSO, to whom it will be RECKONED, as those who believe in HIM who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, HIM who was delivered up BECAUSE OF OUR TRANSGRESSIONS, AND WAS RAISED BECAUSE OF OUR JUSTIFICATION.

Now FAITH is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.