Lesson 10


The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

2:1 The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus' mother was there. 2:2 Jesus also was invited, with his disciples, to the marriage. 2:3 When the wine ran out, Jesus' Mother said to him, "They have no wine."

2:4 Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come."

2:5 His mother said to the servants, "Whatever he says to you, do it." 2:6 Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Jews' manner of purifying, containing two or three metretes apiece. 2:7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the water pots with water." They filled them up to the brim. 2:8 He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the ruler of the feast." They took it. 2:9 When the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and didn't know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom, 2:10 and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!" 2:11 This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory. His disciples believed in him.


 Today's Lesson

This is a wonderful story of how the grace of God came to a small wedding feast in a remote town. Jesus attends a wedding in Cana of Galilee and His disciples come with Him. Whether it is just the four that have been spoken of so far or whether the disciples were invited or not is not fully explained. In any case, Mary, the mother of Jesus is there and she tells her son that the wine has run out for some reason or the other.

 

I have heard many persons speak and write about the exchange between Mary and Jesus that is given here. Nothing I have read or heard fully explains it to me. She says the wine has run out. He replies, "What has this to do with me?" She tells the servants to do whatever he says. It is not that we cannot understand these things, but as though we are only hearing one side of a telephone conversation. We have a context, a starting point and a result. What the details are exactly cannot be reliably determined.

 

The result of their exchange is the point of the story in this Gospel. Jesus has the servants fill the six water pots full of water. This would have been anywhere between 80 and 100 gallons. He turns the water into wine. And, not just any wine, but fine wine.

 

Why does John tell us this story? It is the first of the signs of Jesus. The Gospel of John is not a book filled with miracles. John chooses those he includes carefully. The impact of this occurrence is the same as the purpose of the whole work. His disciples believed. We too are meant to believe because of this story. What about this story should lead us toward belief in Jesus?

 

First, He displays His creative power over nature. He changed plain water into fine wine. He does this in view of all the people that were there at a public function. Yet, this is a humble wedding in a rural town. No grand production is made. Water is simply changed to wine. God acts and common things become excellent.

 

There is symbolism here as well. Jesus has them fill six stone pots that are meant for ritual purification with water. The number six in Jewish literature represents something being incomplete or unfinished. Seven is the number of perfection. Six, of imperfection. Jesus fills six pots representing ritual and law and changes the contents. He alters not the pots, but what the pots contain. And, He fills them full before He does it. In the same way, the early church taught that Jesus filled up and completed the Law of Moses. He changed it through His life and death.

 

But, more than that, He created fine wine and more than could possibly be used. Jesus provided in abundance. When Jesus feeds the multitude, there is food left over. When Jesus asked the disciples to let down their nets, the haul of fish that filled them almost swamped the boats. When God enters a believer's life, He overfills us and provides for us out of His abundance. God is not a scrimper. He provides more than we need. He gives in abundance.

 

Are you scrimping with God? Are you giving just barely enough of your time and energy to get by? You should know that God is not like us. When He gives of Himself, He gives His all. You have all of His attention, all of His forgiveness, all of His love. When Christ is in your life, you have the fullness of God.

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