By Tyson Thorne

June 5, 2019

John 6 Large

This is the fifth day of 20 that John tells us about the life of Jesus and is a continuation of John's initial theme of "The Peaceful First Coming of the Messiah". In verse 43 of the first chapter we learn of Jesus' desire to set out for Galilee. No explanation is given as to why Jesus wanted to head there, but we can surmise it was on the way to Cana, where we find Jesus three days later at the start of chapter two. Jesus' mother and the disciples were all invited to the wedding where the action starts in 2.3.

Jewish wedding feasts of the first century lasted anywhere from a few days to over a week. During that time, food and drink were provided by the grooms parents. It is intended to be a time of joy and celebration, and the only thing that could ruin the event was running out of provisions. In such a case, the new bride and groom would be embarrassed and the guests would feel unwanted. So, when Mary was informed of the dire situation, that the hosts had run out of wine, she went to Jesus. This tells us something important, that Mary knew of Jesus' abilities already. Up to this point Jesus had not performed any public miracles, so he must have done so privately among the family. Mary's confidence in Jesus was complete.

One cannot read this story and not see its very Jewish nature. Much of the New Testament can be read and understood from a Western-European point of view, the differences in culture are not so different. Here, however, it is unmistakably Jewish. Look at Mary, for example. She tells Jesus the situation knowing he can do something about it. More than that, because she brings the problem to him she expects him to do something about it. When Jesus protests, she has none of it. She speaks to the servants, instructing them to do everything her son commands and walks away. Her attitude could be seen as imperial, but I think it shows faith. She knows Jesus, knows he will not deny her request, and leaves the situation in his hands to find the best solution.

That solution has had it's detractors. Many opposed to Christianity have attempted to explain away this miracle, but the text makes such attempts impossible. Jesus had the servants fill six stone (not clay, as some have tried to claim), each holding twenty or thirty gallons, with water. They obeyed and filled each to the very top. Then… nothing. Jesus did not wave his hands as a magician, or speak a spell or cast his energy. He simply instructed the servants to take liquid from the jars to the steward, for the water no longer was and wine remained. Amazing.

The wine that Jesus created proved stronger than any wine previously served (2.10). Again, detractors try to argue otherwise but the text will not allow it. John did a remarkable job of telling the story with enough detail that there is no room for misunderstanding while at the same time keeping it brief. The steward went to the host proclaiming the value of the wine they served now was far superior than the rest. The result was that the event was saved, Jesus revealed his glory to a few and the disciples believed in Jesus.

I've often said that miracles don't change hearts, and they don't. Notice that John does not say that the servants, who knew how the wine came to be, followed Jesus. The purpose of miracles is to prove the messenger is truly from God. The disciples already suspected, based on the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, that Jesus was the Messiah. This miracle confirmed for them the truth and became the foundation for their future faith.

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