There are many new Bible students and disciples of Christ joining the John study this week, so if you need to pause and recap the Intro or John 1, don’t be ashamed! I’d also encourage you to stay engaged with Divinely Interrupted through FB and IG because we’ll reinforce these “nuggets of Truth” we’ve shoveled up from this book throughout the weeks.
It’s time for you to grab onto a heart-changing statement we’ll uncover together and allow that Truth to literally transform how you respond to Jesus. I’m still ruminating on it myself, but it has stirred and re-stirred my heart. I know, I know, you just want me to get on with it and show you. Just FYI: We’re only going to study John 2:1-11 this week because we need to “dig deep and let it steep.”
1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
- This chapter contains Jesus’ first miracle of His ministry. Let’s cozy up and get settled by understanding more about Jewish weddings. Jewish weddings were held in the home and they had many formalities (you can read more here about wedding analogies and how everyone’s invited, but not all will choose to come!) One of the practices was to have a wedding feast—to which many people were invited—and the feast could last up to seven days. Part of the feast included wine (different than today’s variety of wine, but still fermented nonetheless) and it would’ve brought embarrassed shame to that home if the wine had run out. I have choices I made in my life that would certainly fit into that category of “embarrassed shame.” I’m certain you can relate, too.
- Verse 2 tells us Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding (which would’ve taken place in a home). Don’t miss this first Truth of how Jesus was present in the home. Is your home a place where Jesus is invited? Is it a sanctuary of sorts—a refuge or a dwelling of safety and love? You can ignore the laundry (seriously, I have four boys and laundry is endless–just push that to the side for now). Erase the dirty dishes in the sink, the Cheerios on the floor, and the pile of mail on the counter. When you strip all the chores away, what kind of presence does your home offer? We’ll talk about our homes (spiritually speaking) in the John 2:13-25 study, but give that some thought for now. Jesus was in the home of this humble Galilean family and He was about to use his power to save a wedding couple from humiliation. Nothing but His best was good enough for this new couple (Barclay). The same is true for your home, too.
- Verse 3 is where the problem walks down the aisle. Notice what Mary said to Jesus: “They have no more wine.” This is the verse that has rocked the way I approach my prayer life. Mary made a statement to her Savior. She vocalized a pain. She expressed an embarrassment for a family. She declared a problem in the plan. Does it say she freaked out about how the family didn’t plan for enough wine? No. Did she provide a presentation to Jesus on how He might fix this situation or offer scenario planning coupled with contingency options? Nope. Did she sob and cry and get her cray-cray on about how unfair it was? Nu uh. She simply said, “They have no more wine,” and she said it directly to the face of Jesus. Beloved, don’t miss this. This is a life-altering Truth because we can get so wound up and bound up in the issue and the explanation and the “helping” God figure it out that we forfeit our peace. That’s not how it’s meant to be. I have learned so much from Mary’s statement. If you were to make a statement about your life to God right this moment, what would it be?
- I found Jesus’ response a bit odd when He asked Mary why she was involving Him, and He said, “My hour has not yet come.” When things in God’s Word strike me funny, it’s a cue to dig deeper. First, it’s important to know the “woman” address is an enduring and loving term during this time. Secondly, all through the gospel story, Jesus talks about His hour (John 7:6,8; 12:23; 17:1; Matthew 26:18,45; March 14:41). This is referring to the hour of His crucifixion and His death. Jesus knew He came into this world for a singular purpose and task. He viewed His life through the lens of this remarkable purpose and His steady backdrop in this world was eternity (Barclay). Think about this. James 4:14 says, “How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow? For the length of your lives is as uncertain as the morning fog—now you see it; soon it is gone.” Jesus knew His time was short and He measured each moment in the hollow of His hand, just like the seas (Isaiah 40:12). Still yet, He chose to take on a simple, homely occasion like this and display His superabundant grace and compassion.
- After Mary made her statement and Jesus responded. Note what she said to the servants: “Do whatever he tells you.” Another moment of learning for us. Are you ready to surrender that statement about your life you made earlier to Him and say, “I will do whatever you say” (and then go do it)? That’s a say-easy-do-hard action. I know because God and I are wrestling with this right now: the absolute surrendering of my life. Being able to say to God, “Whatever Your will, My God” and not, “My will, but you are still God.” We get it backwards. I get it backwards. You hyper, Type A people out there (I’m writing to myself)…pay attention to this. I know you have strategy in your head that you are notching your life against. It’s time to lay it on the altar and say, “I will do whatever you say. I have a singular purpose and task in this world and it is to point people to You.”
Even when Mary did not understand what Jesus was going to do, even when it seemed that he had refused her request, Mary still believed in him so much that she turned to the serving folk and told them to do whatever Jesus told them to do. Mary had the faith which could trust even when it did not understand. She did not know what Jesus was going to do, but she was quite sure that he would do the right thing.
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
- This is where the word detail of John is seemingly insignificant, yet essential. These were not pots used for drinking, they were for Jewish purification rites. Ritual purity was significant to Jewish people, and we see this behavior especially with the Pharisees who questioned Jesus about His disciples eating without washing their hands in Mark 7:5 (I’d hate to admit how many times that happens in my own household). Of course, they weren’t tying washings to personal hygiene; it related to religious purity. How many stone water jars were there? Six. Oftentimes, numbers have additional meaning in Scripture. Six represents imperfect and unfinished. The Gospel of John is the only gospel that provides us with this numeral detail. John doesn’t just want us to understand the story, but to experience the details of the story to infuse our faith. What does it all mean? Two things:
1. Jesus came to do away with the imperfections of the (ritual) law and to put in place the new wine of the gospel of His grace.
2. He provides super-abundantly. Did the people at the wedding feast require 120-180 gallons of wine, especially toward the end of the feast? That’s a crazy amount—just like the crazy amount of love He shows to you. He confirms this in His word when he says, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
- No need on earth can exhaust the grace of Christ. Just like in John 1 where we talked about the light and never being consumed by the darkness. Whatever spiritual weather this season brings, know that you can:
- Tell Jesus directly;
- Practice daily absolute surrender;
- Receive His super-abundant grace; and,
- Rest in peace because only His best is good enough for you.
P.S. If you’re not receiving these studies via email each week, keep scrolling down and sign-up. Next week’s study will be John 2:12-25 and we’ll study how Jesus searches our human hearts and uses his super-abundant grace to cleanse us.