Water Turned Into Wine
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”
4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 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. 10 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!” (John 2:1-10, NKJV)
1:1-2 Invited To A Wedding
In the Jewish culture back then, weddings were no small affair – sometimes lasting a full week, and always lots and lots of people. Bunches of friends and relatives would turn out for the festivities – and often stay right at the house.
This wedding was in Cana of Galilee – about 6 or 8 miles north of Nazareth, and, as we’ll read in John 21, where the apostle Nathanael was from.
Jesus and His disciples are invited to the wedding, and it says that His mother was also there. There has been much speculation regarding whose wedding it was, but if it mattered for us to know, then we certainly would have been told, wouldn’t we?
1:3-4 My Hour Has Not Yet Come
What does Jesus mean, My hour has not yet come? It is mentioned again in chapter 7:
Therefore they sought to take Him, but no one laid a hand on Him because His hour had not yet come. (John 7:30)
And in chapter 8:
These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come. (John 8:20)
But then in chapter 12:
But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. (John 12:23)
And reiterated in chapter 17:
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, (John 17:1)
The hour that Jesus is speaking of was the hour that He would be glorified. Mary very likely wanted to use this opportunity for Jesus to be glorified. No doubt the gossip of her “suspicious” pregnancy thirty years earlier had followed her, haunting her. Maybe her motivation was that if Jesus glorified Himself, she too would be vindicated.
What Have I To Do With You?
But Jesus said, “Woman, what have I to do with you?” It sounds sharp, almost rude. He calls her “woman” instead of “Mom” or “Mother.” This Greek word while inherently respectful is not intimately personal.
Jesus was never prompted by other people’s timetables and schedules. “Yes, Mary, I understand that you want me to be revealed as the Immanuel – the miraculously-born Messiah. The Son of God. But it’s not time yet, and although you’re My earthly mother, I must rather adhere to the timeline of my Heavenly Father.”
Everyone always seems to want Jesus to work with their timeline. His brothers, though unbelieving, tried to get Him to speed things up:
For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For even His brothers did not believe in Him.
Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. (John 7:4-6)
His disciples also had this problem:
Acts 1:6-7 And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His authority
Are you impatient with the Lord’s timing? Of course, you are! We all are! Let us realize that His timing is better than ours. Peter told us,
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
There is a proper time that He knows and you don’t. If you get anxious waiting for it, cast all of that impatience and anxiety on Him.
1:5 Whatever He Says To You, Do It
Perhaps Mary came to the conclusion that while He was refusing to be glorified and exalted at this occasion, there was still the need of wine for the wedding. She says to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
What a different Mary this is than the one that so many in the church revere as holy and divinely influential! So many have been taught that while Jesus is angry and impossible to get through to, Mary is His mom, and therefore able to influence His decisions and should, therefore be a maternal mediator between man and Christ. But Jesus here demonstrates that His divinity is not influenced by any human relationship – not even His mother!
There is so much wrapped up in her statement:
His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:5)
If I had one thing to say to the world today, that’s what it would be: “Whatever Jesus says, do it!”
1:6-10 Water To Wine
The Jewish custom of purification was a ceremonial washing before and after eating. These waterpots were very large; a combined total of 120 to 180 gallons of water.
Jesus tells the servants to fill them with water, and they obeyed; filling them to the top. Then He commands them to draw from the waterpots and bring it to the headwaiter, who was amazed at the quality of the wine; much better that the stuff that had been served first.
Now a lot of people who abuse alcohol have tried to justify their actions by saying, “Look at this – Jesus made wine!” You’re right, He did. He even drank it. He said:
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.” (Matthew 11:18-19)
But there is an incredible difference between Jesus drinking wine and those who drink today.
In the first place, the people drank wine back for the same reason they often do in European countries: because the water is often disgusting.
Consider too that wine was much less potent in those days; being mixed with 2/3 water and 1/3 wine.
Wine is not completely forbidden in Scripture. In fact, Paul told Timothy:
No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. (1 Timothy 5:23)
Why did He have to tell Timothy that? Because Elders, Overseers, and Pastors are forbidden to partake of alcohol: listed both in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Deacons are listed in 1 Timothy 3 as not to be given to much wine.
But is that all the Bible has to say about alcohol? Not even close. Any believer getting drunk is strictly forbidden in Scripture.
Wine is a mocker,
Strong drink is a brawler,
And whoever is led astray by it is not wise. (Proverbs 20:1)
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, (Ephesians 5:18)
Who has woe?
Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions?
Who has complaints?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
Those who linger long at the wine,
Those who go in search of mixed wine.
Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it swirls around smoothly;
At the last it bites like a serpent,
And stings like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange things,
And your heart will utter perverse things.
Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea,
Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying:
“They have struck me, but I was not hurt;
They have beaten me, but I did not feel it.
When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?” (Proverbs 23:29-35)
And possibly the sternest warning of all is found in Galatians 5:
Envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)
The basic message? If you choose to get drunk, don’t use Jesus as your excuse. His Word condemns you for doing so.