Jesus’ Miracle At Cana

“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.”


Why Church Calendar

1.) Recital theology

11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
    and meditate on your mighty deeds.

The Church calendar gives us the means to recite our theology and our History. If familiar with the Church calendar we can become a people who are anchored in our undoubted catholic Christian faith. When we are involved in this recital theology as connected to the calendar we are involved in a kind of catechism.

2.) The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of history.

George Orwell

We want to use the Church Calendar to remind us of our History as a Christian people. And so we spend this time seeking to ground these New Testament texts in the history of God’s people. The purpose is that we will be both theologically and historically grounded.

When we celebrate Advent, for example, we look at the History of God’s people looking forward to the coming of Christ and then we speak of that fulfillment and then we add that we now look forward to a future coming of Christ.

3.) As a Christian people we desire to measure time in a Christian fashion and not as a people who think the measuring of time is neutral. If we will not measure time as Christians we will measure time as non-Christians. Why should we note President’s Day or MLK Day and not mark Epiphany or Advent?

4.) There is no intent to absolutize the Church Calendar. We ourselves do not find ourselves tied to it. We will deviate to address other issues that need to be spoken to but neither do we find ourselves required to ignore a means that can work to help us to ground us in Christian thinking habits.

There is nothing Romantic or mystical in observing the movement of time in Christian terms.

As we turn to the text, we note that the structure of John 2:1-11 is typical of a miracle story: the setting is established (verses 1-2), a need arises (verses 3-5), a miracle addresses that need (verses 6-8), and there is a response to that miracle (verses 9-11).

Preliminary considerations

By way of introduction we note that Cana of Galilee was in territory inhabited by many Gentiles and there he performed his first miracle in the Gospel of John. From the very beginning therefore, Jesus is portrayed as a trans-national figure in the Gospel. His life and work is intended to extend beyond Israel.

Though it sounds rude to our ears, Jesus’ address to his Mother is not curt but an address revealing the respect he has for His mother. The phrase “what concern is that to you and to me?” is a common Semitic expression that implies a sense of disengagement, not active hostility (similar uses occur in 2 Kings 3:13; Hosea 14:8).

13 And Elisha said to the king of Israel, “What have I to do with you?
8 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?

As we consider the core of the passage we would note that it is all about connecting the anticipation of the OT with the inaugurative fulfillment of the age to come as found in Christ then on to the complete realization of the coming Day when sin is removed from the Cosmos and men dwell with God.

I.) Eschatological Movement of OT anticipation to NT inaugurative fulfillment

1.) The reason that this is called “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana” is because it is the first indication, by way of miracle, that Jesus is the embodiment of the glorious age to come that was anticipated in the OT. The Lord Christ gives a miracle here that is a sign that reveals the salvation, abundance, and new life now present in the world through the Lord Christ. Here forward King Emmanuel will continue to demonstrate the presence of the Kingdom with healings, exorcisms, and miracles over nature. Here though is the first sign … a sign at a wedding feast that announces that the promised groom spoken of in the OT has now arrived with Christ in the NT.

Illustration — Bud upon tulip tree

2.) The Old covenant was a ministry of condemnation. The New Covenant is a ministry of life. This first sign Miracles demonstrates that.

Jesus first sign thus shows the difference of emphasis between the two covenants. Whereas Moses, being one of the premier representative of the old covenant that brought condemnation, did exhibit that character of the covenant with the first plague that found the source of life (water) in Egypt being turned to blood. Jesus, as head of the New and better covenant counters this first plague with his first sign that finds him turning water into wine.

Jesus is thus revealed as a better Moses. Whereas Moses’ sign was to the end of leading God’s people out of the bondage of Egypt, Jesus sign was to the end of leading God’s people into the Kingdom. Moses sign was to harden Pharaoh’s heart. Jesus sign was to soften the hearts of his people. (“and His disciples believed in Him”)

3.) The marriage setting serves likewise as a fitting motif because through covenantal history God is a groom to His bride people. The sign of Cana thus indicates the high point of that marriage motif. God in Christ has brought the new and better covenant and with that new and better covenant the marriage between God and His people is at it’s full expression.

So, it is appropriate that this first Sign happens in the context of a wedding feast since in the OT wedding and banquet imagery is used, as we just noted, to symbolize the messianic era (Isaiah 54:4-8; 62:4-5; Matthew 22:1-14; Revelation 19:9).

Isaiah 54

For your Maker is your husband,
    the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
    the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you
    like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
    says your God.

Isaiah 62

You shall no more be termed Forsaken,[a]
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,[b]
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,[c]
    and your land Married;[d]
for the Lord delights in you,
    and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
    so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
    so shall your God rejoice over you.

Revelation 19:9 And the angel said[a] to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

Parable of the Wedding feast in Mt. 22

4.) This beginning of signs is in keeping with Jesus coming as one eating and drinking compared to John The Baptist, who was the greatest prophet of the OT not eating or drinking wine. As Jesus is the one who is the new and better covenant it is fitting that His coming is adorned in merriment and celebration with a beginning signs that finds him turning water into wine.

II.) The Importance of “Hour” and “Wine” Here


1.) This miracle centers on wine because abundant wine is symbolic of God’s presence in the world in the eschatological age (Amos 9:13; Joel 3:18) in the OT.  This will take on even more significance when we look at the phrase the Lord Christ’s references as “that hour.”

Joel 3:18 “And in that day
the mountains shall drip sweet wine,

Amos 9:13 —  “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper
    and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed;
the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
    and all the hills shall flow with it.

So … that day spoken of in the OT has arrived.  The promised Day has arrived in Christ.

2.) The head-waiter made the ironic statement that the good wine had been saved “until now.”  This of course is both literally and symbolically true. It was literally better wine but the Lord Christ as the long promised Messiah in the OT is Himself better than all who had come before.

The real bridegroom who served this superior wine, Jesus, has “now” appeared, ushering into the world God’s abundant goodness and grace in a definitive way.

3.) The comment by the Master to the Bridegroom at the end of the Cana record about the quality of the wine is a double entendre. The obvious meaning is, of course, quite literal, but the underlying motif is covenantal in meaning. In redemptive history the new and better covenant is “the good wine kept until last.”

With Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper he brings forth wine again. This in effect gives us wine bookends of his ministry. Water to wine in His first miracle. Wine in order to show forth the blood of the covenant on the night he was betrayed. In this we see that in Jesus, who is the new and better covenant, we have the one who brings together the joy of the new covenant represented by the water to wine at Cana and the water to blood old covenant plague. As Christ’s younger brethren we drink the wine of Cana at the table because He took upon Himself the wrath of God that should have justly found us all being plagued with the death that the water to blood was to God’s enemies in the Old Covenant. Christ took the curses for the penalty of sin that we might drink the wine of Cana.

And of course we know of the promise that connects the future with all this. The promise that bespeaks the fact that Christ will drink wine with us again in the newness of the Father’s Kingdom.

The Word — “Hour”

A1.) The word “hour” is a technical and theologically rich term in the Fourth Gospel. It is used in two technical senses,

A.) to refer to the era of eschatological fulfillment (e.g., 4:21, 23;  5:25, 28)

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here,

25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live…. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice

B.) Perhaps more importantly it is a technical references to Jesus’ glorification through his passion, death, resurrection, and ascension (7:30; 8:20; 12:23; 13:1; 17:1).

30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.

no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.

Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come…

It is significant though, that at the beginning of his public ministry the Lord Christ is mindful of where all this ministry is going. He understands His task and that He is the Messiah assigned for a particular hour. 


Abundance of Grace

6 Stone Jars 20-30 Gallons
The best of the wine

We see God provides above and beyond the need and that with the very best. Christ is the very best and is given to more than meet our need. He is our salvation, our reconciliation, our redemption. God provides the Son just as Christ provides the wine.

Where else might we go with all this?

Joy … Christ has come. He has brought all that God has promised. There is no reason for us to now be downcast. In Christ the Kingdom has come and we are part of that Kingdom.

Mary mentioned here and at cross. Is there at the beginning and at the end.


7.) Given Mary’s concern for the Wedding problems it is probably the case that this wedding was a family member to Mary and Jesus. If so it would again be fitting that this first sign would be done among his kinsman people serving as a adumbration of what His bringing of the new and better covenant meant for His spiritual kinsman people.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

One thought on “Jesus’ Miracle At Cana”

  1. Grammar:
    Original: “As CHRIST younger brethren we drink the wine of Cana at the table because He took upon Himself the wrath of God that should have justly found us all being plagued with the death that the water to blood was to God’s enemies in the Old Covenant.”
    Edit: “As CHRIST’S younger brethren” Possessive.

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