Jesus' First Miraculous Sign
Comments for Study 3
Key verse: 2:11
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I. Jesus Changes Water to Wine (1-11)
>1. Where was the wedding feast and who was there?
* "On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding." -John 2:1-2
* In this chapter is two separate incidents which necessarily didn't happen at the same time, the purpose that they are recorded together was so that two different characters of Jesus could be displayed. It shows what God likes and dislikes, and his reaction in both cases.
* "On the third day" -from the conversion of the first five disciples and/or after arriving in Galilee, which could have been the same day. This first miracle definitely happened at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry.
* From Jesus going to a wedding we see he did some ordinary things with his ordinary disciples. This wedding could have been the wedding of a friend of all the people involved here. Because of this we don't have to live strict lives of discipline all the time, we can enjoy weddings, etc.
* Genesis. 29:22, Joshua 14:10
* It is interesting that Jesus chose a wedding for the first miracle. Why? From the disciples point of view-their joy; From God's point of view-in Genesis chapter 2 God established marriage, but sinful man has corrupted it. Here Jesus restores and blesses marriages' purpose.
* Jewish weddings last six days and are very joyous.
* "Cana in Galilee" -in the tribe of Asher (Joshua. 19:28) ""Asher's food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king." -Genesis 49:20
* John's parallels to Genesis, which also began with a wedding, the first wedding.
* In the Old Testament all the miracles done through Moses was done out of necessity.
>What problem arose, and why did Jesus' mother tell Jesus about it?
* "When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, 'They have no more wine.'" John 2:3
* Mary wanted Jesus to do something about it, perhaps a miracle.
* Mary knew who Jesus was from the angles message to her at birth (Luke 1:30-33) and with what she saw from Jesus' childhood (Luke 2:52). She could have known what Jesus could do at this time. <Even Moses parents knew he was no ordinary child and they only had him for 3 months. (Hebrews. 11:23)>
* Mary's faith is shown in that she brought her problems and others problems to Jesus in prayer. She brought the problem just as it was.
* It can be assumed that the person being married was a cousin of Jesus or at least a close relative for he and Mary were there. Also, Jesus brought his new disciples, some of whom were perhaps close relatives.
* A shepherd's loving heart and a sense of responsibility is seen in Mary, for although she wasn't directly involved in the wedding she wanted to help.
* A wedding out of wine was a Jewish breach of etiquette.
* Jews used real wine in weddings. Note verse 10, "too much wine". Also John, "no wine".
* Mary was no more than fifty (50) years old by this time for Jews married by the age of twenty (20) in those days and occasionally as young as thirteen (13). Jesus was Mary's oldest and was betrothed to Joseph when the Holy Spirit came on her to conceive Jesus. Jesus began his ministry at around the age of 30. (Luke 3:23) 20 + 30 = 50 years old.
>2. Why do you think Jesus answered his mother in this way? (4)
* "'Dear woman, why do you involve me?' Jesus replied, 'My time has not yet come.'" John 2:4
* It was not God's time for Jesus to reveal who he was.
* Jesus called her "women", not "mother" to show her that he is of God and God is his Father. Jesus is Mary's Lord and Savior. (Luke 1:47)
* Kings did this and so did Jesus.
* Since he started ministry he became independent of Mary. He had a humanly independent ministry. Not only that, but he was no longer a boy, a mere son, he was an independent man, the head of the house and his ministry.
* Yet Jesus also said, "dear" to show her respect. It was custom to call people mother. John said in verses 1 and 2.
* It is recorded that Jesus called Mary this while on the cross where he showed his love for her. (19:26) So overall Jesus called her "women" with love and compassion.
>What does his answer imply?
* Jesus answer implies that God had a set plan and purpose in his life which he already knew about.
* This goes the same for us. God has a plan for each one of his children's life. (7:6-8)
* Jesus did not want to be just a provider of wine
* "my time" -this is when Jesus revealed his and God's glory which is often repeated in John's gospel. (11; 12:23; 17:1; etc.)
* Public revealed as Christ and the Son of God. (Remember why John wrote this gospel account. See 20:31.)
* Until God's time came he would remain private.
>What do we learn about Jesus here?
* Jesus showed no favoritism to Mary just because she was his mother. Jesus reacts to those who live by faith while seeking to do God's will. (Luke 8:20,21)
* God's terms.
>3. How did Mary respond to Jesus?
* "His mother said to the servants, 'Do whatever he tells you.'" -John 2:5
* This could not have been Mary's or Jesus' servants for several reasons. First, they were poor. Second, if they were their servants why would Mary need to tell them this? They wouldn't need to be told, especially in light that Joseph was probably already dead therefore meaning that Jesus would have been the man of the house.
* After praying she waited for God's time and way, but while waiting she was not idle.
* Mary did all she could do.
* Prepare ourselves and others to be prepared to do whatever Jesus asks us to do.
* Mary was not bitter by Jesus' words, nor did she have a negative view point.
* Mary did not give up when she seemed to get no for an answer, although Jesus never really said, "No, I will not do anything."
* What happens when our prayers aren't answered right away? Do we ever doubt? Do we do everything we can do? Do we ever get bitter when we don't receive what we want in the way we want?
* "whatever" -not immoral or unrighteous, but what God asks. Mary did not know how Jesus would do this specifically.
* Verse 5, she had an absolute attitude.
>How did she make an environment in which he could work?
* Mary told the servant to listen and do whatever Jesus said to do by faith and hope.
* Organization and environment making is important for God to work and do a miracle. (Example: feeding of 4,000; he made them sit down. And in the raising of a girl from the dead; he got rid of the unbelievers.
>What can you learn from her?
* The nature of faith, obedience, and the importance of organization in doing the Lord's work.
* A not-giving-up spirit.
* Do what we can do while we wait on the Lord to answer our prayers. Positively waited for a miracle.
* We may not know when God's time is, but we must always be prepared when it comes.
* Bring others and our problems to God in prayer.
* We must not only listen to what Jesus says but what Jesus does not say. Jesus did not say, "I will not do anything."
* Anything is possible for him who believes.
* See a drawing by an unknown author from 1909 depicts Jesus changing water to wine and is now in public domain. The illustration card goes along with a Sunday school teaching series. John 1:14 is cited though the scene is the first miracle. Jesus is facing the servants with six jars at his feet and a seventh in the arms of one of the three servants. Mary behind Jesus is depicted in her standard blue gown. Four apostles are also behind Jesus. The guest to the wedding are seen outside the windows with one holding up an empty glass.
>4. What was the servants contribution to this sign?
* "Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. <Greek two to three metretes (probably about 75 to 115 litres, about 20 to 30 gallons)> Jesus said to the servants, 'Fill the jars with water'; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, 'Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.' They did so," -John 2:6-8
* They obeyed without question and perhaps little understanding in what was about to happen.
* They were the ones who practically made the environment. They did the hands-on work.
* They didn't complain.
* The servants contribution was very important though seemingly small.
* Jesus didn't have to use the servants but because of Mary's faith and their willingness to obey he used them.
* "From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." Ephesians. 4:16
* Division of labor.
>What can we learn from their attitude and their work?
* By obeying Jesus without question, believing his ability to do things, we will reap a reward.
* To respect other servants of God, like they did Mary, when they ask us to obey Jesus and do by faith in Jesus.
* "to the brim" -to be good workers, complete obedience, not half hearted.
* To be humble.
* If we obey Jesus, with a servant attitude we will be a blessing.
* Obstacles they had to overcome in filling the jars:
1. They didn't know who Jesus really was. To them he was only a man.
2. They had to listen to a woman's request who was not of the immediate family. In those days women were low in society.
3. The jars were used for different purposes, to wash feet. So the water already in it was probably dirty.
4. Each jar held 20-30 gallons and the water was outside the city limits so it was not an easy job.
5. The servants should have been looking for wine for their master who was no doubt looking for more wine.
6. To the servants the wine was still water so bringing it to their master was not easy.
* "Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered." Hebrews. 5:8
* "For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." Romans. 5:19
* Overcome human reasoning.
* By concentrating on the problem we can't always solve the problem. Something not necessarily related usually is the answer to the problem. Example: change the world through prayer, fasting, witnessing, and Bible study.
>5. What does the banquet master's comment tell us about this sign? (9,10)
* "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, '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.'" -John 2:9-10
* It was a success more than what even Mary expected for the wine was the best the master of the banquet ever tasted.
* In this miracle nothing tremendous happened so that all who attend would notice.
* They brought the best first while people taste buds were still able to tell.
* The bridegroom isn't recorded in saying anything but he probably took the credit, even though it was Jesus' doing through the faith and effort of the servants and Mary.
* Impartial witness.
>Who knew what happened, and who did not know?
* The master of the banquet and the bridegroom did not.
* Mary, the disciples, and the servants knew. (9b, 11b)
* This tells us about miracles that we don't always realize that they are happening all the time. Even in our life there are things happening that are miracles and we don't know it.
* Blessing comes from prayer, preparation by faith and obedience. Miracles don't just happen. Not for just them but others as well.
>What blessings did all who attended receive?
* All who attended received the wine. Temporary blessings.
* The servants receive the blessing that their labor wasn't in vain and that their obedience wasn't in vain.
* The servants and the disciples received the blessing to know who Jesus is and the miracle he did.
* Mary's prayer and faith was answered.
* Mary's, the servants, and the disciples blessing was greater. It was permanent. It is up to us to chose which we want to receive.
* In this miracle the disciples didn't participate in any way because their faith was not at a point where they could only view God's work.
* Jesus changes troubles into blessings.
>6. What change in our lives does turning water into wine represent? (cf. 2 Co. 5:17)
* "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17
* The change of ones spirit. A born again in the spirit. (3:3)
* There is a great difference in water and wine. Water has no taste, is dull, bland, and common. Wine has great taste, value and rarer than water.
* Many people think the Christian life is tasteless and bland. It is not.
* This work is done by prayer and hard work by faith. This is the difference between a miracle and magic.
>In what respect does this miracle reveal Jesus' glory?
* This shows that Jesus has control of the elements.
* This shows that Jesus is the Son of God.
* The disciples put their faith in him quietly, they didn't misuse the miracle for selfish gain. (11)
* Jesus reveals himself through blessing that he is Christ and Son of God.
* Reveal glory not for self.
II. Jesus Clears the Temple (12-22)
>7. What did the temple mean historically to the people of Israel? (Exodus. 25:22; and 2 Chronicles 7:12-16; Isaiah. 56:7)
* "There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites." Exodus 25:22
* "the Lord appeared to him at night and said: 'I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.'" 2 Chr. 7:12-16
* "these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." Isa. 56:7
1) God meet us there and received our works. (Exo. 25)
2) We offered sacrifices and prayer. (2 Chron., Isa. 56)
>What is our temple at present? (Heb. 9:11-14, 24-26)
* "When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, < Some early manuscripts are to come> he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, < Or from useless rituals> so that we may serve the living God!" Heb. 9:11-14
* "For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself." Heb. 9:24-26
* "But the temple he had spoken of was his body." John 2:21
* We are only because Jesus is in us. The main emphasize is Jesus in the temple. He does both of earlier question.
* Human specially Christ.
>8. Where and when did this second event take place?
* "After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days. When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple..." John 2:12-14a
* Note verse 12 is not necessarily related to verse 13. It could be that there is no time progression here. The reason why they are together is to contrast two sides of Jesus.
* Jesus had a three year ministry so this could have been done twice.
>What did Jesus find in the temple and what did he do about it?
* "In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, 'Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!'" -John 2:14-16
* These people were wrong because they used God for selfish gains. Also they did not know the purpose for the temple.
* We should examine our lives to see if their are things wrong in them and drive them out by Jesus authority and power.
* Before we do something we should address God in prayer.
* Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever.
>9. Why do you think he acted and spoke in this way?
* Jesus' righteous anger and as judge.
* Jesus loved God his Father.
* The temple, place of worship is also a place of prayer and should be quiet.
* Here, Jesus did not seen to be humble and gentle but this is another side of his true character.
* We may see God servants have this character.
>What does he reveal about himself in this?
* Jesus is Lord and owner of the temple.
* This event reveals Jesus' authority.
* This also reveals God's broken heart for the churches.
>10. When the disciples saw Jesus' unexpected action, how did they respond?
* "His disciples remembered that it is written: 'Zeal for your house will consume me.' < Psalm 69:9>" -John 2:17
* The did nothing but view and reflect.
* Zeal for God.
* Righteous judgment.
* Jesus wasn't passive when it came to spiritual truth and righteousness.
* This ended up setting the stage for a clash with the Pharisees and other religious leaders.
>What does this show about their faith? (17)
* "His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me.' < Psalm 69:9>" -John 2:17
* The disciples had an open mind, because of this they were not shocked.
* They thought about God's words when Jesus did things. If they did not understand it in regards to God's words right away they remembered it and later God revealed it to them.
* "for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me." Psalm 69:9
* Because of this they learned more of Jesus.
* When not certain look for God's point of view with prayer and Bible study. If you still can't just wait with an open mind and prayer.
>11. When the Jewish leaders saw Jesus' actions, why did they ask for a sign?
* "Then the Jews demanded of him, 'What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?'" -John 2:18
* This tells us something about miracles. If we look for a miracle and/or demand for a miracle for proof we won't get one. But if we have faith, no matter how small we will see miracles.
>What was their motive?
* Outside they discredited Jesus.
* Inside they were full of jealous pride.
>12. How did Jesus respond to their question?
* "Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.'" -John 2:19
>What did he mean by his answer?
* "The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" But the temple he had spoken of was his body." -John 2:20-21
* He was talking about his body.
>What does he teach about himself?
* Also his mission. He did a miracle to prove who he was. His mission was to die.
* Practically not right away but later.
* Accept and later we will understand.
>13. Read verses 22-25.
* "After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man." -John 2:22-25
>What is the difference in basis between the disciples faith and the faith of others?
* "The Jews replied, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?' But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken. Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. < Or and believed in him> But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man." -John 2:20-24
* The disciples believe the Scriptures and based their understanding of Jesus on that and reflected on that.
* The people saw the miracles and believed in his name but had shallow root in Jesus identity and God's way.
* The disciples hearts were right and the crowds were not as good.
* 23, 25 Believe in man's but not interested because he was realistic on their faith level. Don't overdo and get carried away and dwell on it and make a judgment. Wait and see.