Christ's first miracle - questions about the marriage-feast at Cana

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by Pergamum, May 30, 2013.

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I am re-studying this first miracle.


    Why does only John mention this first miracle? A first miracle seems noteworthy but is not found in the Synoptics, but only in John who wrote later (seeming to record those things excluded by the other Gospel writers).


    Most Protestant commentaries speak negatively of Mary, but it appears that if Mary did not ask, Jesus would not have done this miracle. It seems to show Jesus' great respect towards Mary. Here is a Catholic's words:

    It does seem that Mary was being considerate in the small things, knowing that her Son had power to help others and trying to bless the wedding couple. Overlooked in most sermons seems to be the faith of Mary here in that this was at the start of Christ's ministry and yet she is fully confident that He can help them.

    If the words, "O Woman, what have I to do with you? My hour has not yet come," are entirely disrespectful, this hardly seems fitting for Jesus (who would highly respect his parents). How negative is this title "woman" anyway?

    Was Mary trying to co-opt Jesus' powers to work her own influence (look at what my son can do for you)?

    How significant are the numbers used in John's Gospel? Is it really important that John mentions the third day and six pots of water? A.W. Pink goes on and on about six being the number of imperfection and seems to make much of these numbers.

    If you were preaching over this text, would your main theme be that Christ blesses a wedding? What other themes would you touch on? Jesus being the anti-type of Moses? Jesus not merely giving us enough, but overflowing blessings? Jesus blessing marital union?

    How would I preach this text in a region where drunkenness is rampant?

    Matthew Henry and Charles Spurgeon speak of the liberality in this miracle and the contrast between Christ and Moses. Here is Spurgeon:

    Spurgeon has many great words on this text here: Wedding at Cana Sermon



    Also, what does it mean that Jesus' hour had not yet come? If it did not come, why did He do the miracle? Did He set aside a divine mandate for the sake of His mother? Did she foul up His plan? What is this hour?


    Any links, answers, quotes, sermons, etc, would be appreciated.
     
  2. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    I don't know that the number of pots is important, but their function certainly was. These pots contained water used for the Jewish rite of purification. The fact that Jesus turned this particular water into wine functions, among other things, as a commentary on the futility of ritual or works as a means of purification. Jesus turned it into wine which could be taken to represent his blood, which is the only true means of purification.
     
  3. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Thanks Bill.
     
  4. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    I've been told that the word could be translated "Dear Lady" but haven't checked it.

    Doubt it. She may have noticed something in her Son's demeanor as he answered her first request that indicated that he would fulfill her implied request.

    The problem with much of biblical numerology is that we are unable to check our deductions. In cases where we can't check and prove our deductions I suggest that we should not make much of such numbers.
     
  5. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    Pergy, Ole Hallesby in 'Prayer' points to Mary as an example of true prayer. She knew him so well that she felt safe leaving her difficulties with him, even through a seeming rebuff.

    Christ in his rebuff makes it plain that he is not simply becoming the instrument of even Mary's will: he must do only the works of His Father. Mary can only trust the matter to him wholly only on these terms. I will pm you the sections from Hallesby -- they are rather long, and I'm concerned about copyright issues posting them, but the book is wonderful.

    Here are some sermons on John I have begun to listen through: Rev. James T. Dennison, Jr. - The Gospel of John (Monergism MP3) -- I would be surprised if he doesn't address in John 2 some of the questions about why John mentions this and the significance of John's mentioning it. It is John in Revelation who speaks of the marriage supper of the Lamb: it seems related that John would highlight this note at the beginning of Christ's ministry.
     
  6. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Thank you, I am reading the PM now. I have always viewed Mary's deportment to be somewhat worthy of example here, she sees a need and feels compassion, she persists with her good request, and submits to Jesus even as she entreats him. And, in the first place, she is confident of His power to help and this is a sign of her faith.
     
  7. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Pergamum
    This may be relevant to the passage:
    Jesus' first miracle was a miracle of creation, not providence, or healing (redemption), reminding us that He is God the Creator.

    A survey of "wine" in the concordance, will show how appropriate and suggestive this first miracle is, in different ways.
     
  8. Vladimir

    Vladimir Puritan Board Freshman

    I remember my study bible to have the following remark: "The word 'woman' in Greek is completely devoid of disrespect".
    Not only that - but her words "do whatever Jesus told them" sound pretty confident that He was going to perform a miracle. They remind me of a magician instructing his assistant to enter a box.
    Someone I know said that this confidence just might show that it was not His first miracle.
     
  9. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    The Bible, I know, says that it was...
    Jn.2:11 "This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him."
     
  10. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    I agree with you, Rev. Buchanan, but I believe the argument that some have presented is that this is merely the first of the seven signs that John chose to highlight, and not necessarily his first miracle altogether.
     
  11. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Thanks Bill. Duly noted. But for the curious, the term is "the beginning" (αρχην) of his signs, and not simply "the first of."

    I think (as I suspect you do also) the other conclusion is a conviction looking for support. A.T.Robertson on the phrase in question:
    This beginning of his signs did Jesus (tautēn epoiēsen archēn tōn sēmeiōn ho Iēsous). Rather, “this Jesus did as a beginning of his signs,” for there is no article between tautēn and archēn. “We have now passed from the ‘witness’ of the Baptist to the ‘witness’ of the works of Jesus” (Bernard).
    The writer's intent seems clearly to have the reader interpret this as Jesus' first miracle of all, an inaugural miracle unto the manifestation of his glory and for the production of faith, "...and his disciples believed in him." Matthew Henry writes, "he wrought this, before the hour, because he foresaw it would confirm the faith of his infant disciples (Joh_2:11), which was the end of all his miracles: so that this was an earnest of the many miracles he would work when his hour was come."

    Furthermore, John represents this miracle almost at the very baptism of Jesus, and just as he has called his first disciples of all. He has not even gone to Jerusalem (Jn.3) for his first truly public exposure (which precedes the opening of his powerful Galilean foray into the spotlight). In the absence of any substantive textual and contextual reason to conclude otherwise, it seems warrantless to conclude that there were other, prior miracles.
     
  12. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    I would agree that the argument is rather weak and as you pointed out, not supported by the text. Perhaps Mary told Jesus about this situation so that he might send one of his disciples to purchase more wine. It seems unlikely that she expected such a miracle at this point, especially in light of other gospel passages that seem to indicate a general doubt regarding Jesus amongst his family members prior to his resurrection.
     
  13. Vladimir

    Vladimir Puritan Board Freshman

    Yup.
    It was no one's intent to establish this as a definite scriptural truth. Just a small thought we entertained during Bible study, which was fairly dismissed by Rev. Buchanan's counter argument.
    You know, I would argue with that. If we remember how He was conceived, how angels appeared to Joseph, and Luke's account of His boyhood, I don't think we could rule out the possibility that Mary expected something extraordinary.
     
  14. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Any thoughts on Jesus' time not yet being come? If the time hadn't come, why did he do the miracle? Because His mother asked? Did he change His plan? What was this "time" anyway that Jesus was waiting for? The beginning of his public ministry?
     
  15. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Matthew Henry
    David Brown
    Brown may well be right. Hendriksen says something similar of John 7:6-10.
     
  16. littlepeople

    littlepeople Puritan Board Freshman

    I think the use of "woman" and "my hour" serve as an opening parenthesis which is closed at John 19:26-27. In my study of this section I came away with this reading of verse 4: "woman what has this to do with you and me (emphasizing the relationship). If you take the parenthesis or bookend idea, then emphasizing the relationship is a way of reminding Mary that she is the woman and he is the seed of the woman. Making sure she did not place her hopes in the miracle he was about to perform, but in the cross to come (John 19)

    John certainly seems to be emphasizing the empty purification jars in a literary sense at least. Purification plays a role in the preceding and following sections of John. There's a bit of irony given verse 26 of the preceding chapter "I baptize in water, [but] among you stands One whom you do not know...." Here Jesus performs a great miracle that no one knows about using the worthless baptismal jars.
     
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