John’s Gospel Chapter 2
E. L. Lovering, Ilfracombe
Subject - IN CANA OF GALILEE. The First Sign. Study Portion - Chapter 2. 1-11 (Quotations from R.V.)
OUTLINE Verse 11, 'This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee'. A note on miracles: Four words used, each expressing a different aspect, viz., 1. Wonders; 2. Signs; 3. Powers; 4. Works.
WONDERS. The external effect produced upon the onlookers; that of astonishment. The word never occurs alone, indicative of the fact that the wonder element is not the essential feature of miracle; its purpose however* is 'to startle men from the dull dream of a sense-bound existence'.
SIGNS. The ethical purpose of miracles - indicating the power and grace of the doer, as Mark 16. 20, 'the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed'. (See also Acts 14. 3 ; John 2. 18 ; Matt. 12. 38 ; Heb. 2. 4).
POWERS. The essential cause of miracles - the mighty works of God. Note that these three words occur together three times in the New Testament: Acts 2. 22 (A.V.) in Peter's sermon, 'Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God by miracles and wonders and signs'; 2 Cor. 12. 12 in Paul's affirmation of apostleship, 'truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, by signs and wonders and mighty works'; 2 Thess. 2. 9 of the antichrist, the lawless one 'whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders'.
Note the different order of words in each reference. Is there any significance in this ?
WORKS. The expression of Deity - the natural outcome of One who is the fulness of the Godhead; His name is Wonderful, Isa. 9. 6.
THE FIRST OF THE SEVEN SIGNS
THE MARRIAGE IN CANA OF GALILEE
1. AN OCCASION OF DIGNITY - an honoured occasion because of a. the guests, ch. 2. 1-2, 'the mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus also was bidden, and his disciples, to the marriage'. His followers - His mother - Himself. Where and when Jesus is present, the occasion is never an ordinary one; b. the gathering, v. 1, a marriage - 'no human relationship is the type of so deep a spiritual mystery, so worthy therefore of the highest honour'.
Marriage has historic reference, Gen. 2. 18, 'And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him (R.V. margin, 'answering to him')'. Woman is never inferior to man but worthy of him. Parabolic significance, John 3. 29; Matt. 9. 15; 22. 1-14; 25. 10; Eph. 5. 25, 'Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it'. Prophetic fulfilment, Rev. 19. 7 ; 21. 2, 9; 22. 17.
2. A SITUATION OF DIFFICULTY, John 2. 3-5. The rebuke of love, vv. 3-4, 'and when the wine failed, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. And Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee ? mine hour is not yet come'. There is nothing severe or harsh in this expression; the same tender word 'Woman' fell from His lips when He uttered from the cross, 'Woman, behold thy son', John 19. 26.
There were, however, limitations even to a mother's apprehension of Him - the natural must give place to the spiritual; cf. Matt. 12. 46-50, 'whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother'.
Verse 4, 'mine hour is not yet come' - that is the supreme hour for which He had come into the world.
(Note 'the hour' in the Gospel. Ch. 7. 30, 'No man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come'. Ch. 8. 20, 'no man took him; because his hour was not yet come'. Ch. 12. 23, 27, 'the hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified'. Ch. 13. 1, 'Jesus knowing that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end'. Ch. 17. 1, 'Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the Son may glorify thee'.)
The Rest of Faith - v. 5, 'His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it'. This was the implicit trust of one who had kept and pondered in her heart all the mystery of His heavenly birth; she had exclaimed at the announcement by the angel 'How shall this be'? Luke 1. 34.
The Response of Obedience - w. 6-8, Note the simple but definite commands - fill - draw - bear, and the ready response. Empty pitchers must be full, ere thirsty people can be filled. 2 Cor. 4. 7, 'we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God and not of ourselves'. The customs and traditional washings of the Jews necessitated these large vessels; cf. on the matter of washing, Matt. 15. 2; 23. 25 ; Mark 7. 2-4; Luke 11. 38.
The Renewal of Joy - w. 9-10. In the economy of grace, God often reverses the customs and practices of men, and keeps the good wine until last. Having drunk deeply and fully of earth's man-made pleasures, many have found satisfaction only in Christ's heavenly joys. He who turned water into wine, might have made bread out of stone, Matt. 4. 4, but spreading a table for others, He is content to hunger and to thirst Himself.
3. A MANIFESTATION OF DEITY - v. 11, 'this beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed on him'. Ch. 20. 31, 'these (signs) are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name'.
His glory : Personal, John 17. 5, 24; Heb. 1. 3.
Creative, Col. 1. 15-16.
Moral, 1 Peter 2. 22; 2 Cor. 5. 21.
Redemptive, Rev. 5. 12.
Resurrection and present, Eph. 1. 19-21.
Future eternal, Rev. 19. 16.
2 Cor. 3. 18, 'But we all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit'.