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07 The Story; Water to Wine

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Weddings

(NIV ZSB Notes) 2:1 wedding. Celebrations could last an entire week. Jesus’ mother. Also appears in 19:25-27.
(MacArthur Study Bible Notes (ESV)) wedding. Such a wedding celebration in Israel could last for a week. Financial responsibility lay with the groom (vv. 9–10). To run out of wine for the guests would have been an embarrassment to the groom and may have even opened him to a potential lawsuit from the relatives of the bride.

Wine

Wine

(NIV ZSB Notes) 2:3 wine. Not merely grape juice (“too much to drink” in v. 10 refers to becoming intoxicated). Wine in the ancient world was diluted with water to between one-third and one-tenth of its fermented strength. gone. Socially embarrassing (especially in a “shame” culture) for the host and groom (cf. vv. 9-10).

Wine

(MacArthur Study Bible Notes (ESV)) wine. The wine served was subject to fermentation. In the ancient world, however, to quench thirst without inducing drunkenness, wine was diluted with water to between one-third and one-tenth of its strength. Due to the climate and circumstances, even “new wine” fermented quickly and had an inebriating effect if not mixed (). Because of a lack of water purification process, wine mixed with water was also safer to drink than water alone. While the Bible condemns drunkenness, it does not necessarily condemn the consumption of wine (; ; see notes on ).

Symbols

Symbols

(NIV ZSB Notes) Jesus’ response to Mary may imply that (1) he detects symbolism, i.e., the wedding symbolizes the consummation of the Messianic age (e.g., ; ), where wine will flow freely (; ; ; ; ); (2) he is the Messianic bridegroom (; ) who will supply all the “wine” for the Messianic banquet; (3) his mission and its timing must follow the Father’s schedule, not human ones.
(NIV ZSB Notes) The water in the “water jars” used for “ceremonial washing” may represent the old order of Jewish law and custom, which Jesus replaces with something better (see note on v. 4).
(NIV ZSB Notes) Jesus’ wine is superior, as is everything tied to the new, Messianic age Jesus is introducing.
(ESV SB Notes) 2:3 The wedding party's running out of wine may be seen as symbolizing the spiritual barrenness of first-century Judaism, especially against an OT background that viewed wine (but never drunkenness) as a sign of joy and God's blessing (; ; cf. ).
By mentioning earlier that the six jars held 20 or 30 gallons each, the evangelist implies that the amount of wine Jesus would provide was substantial, even extravagant. The question arises, Why did Jesus make so much wine? Possibly he was fulfilling his obligations as a wedding guest. As invited guests Jesus and his disciples were expected to provide wedding gifts. On the other hand, it could have been a symbolic action. In the OT abundant wine (and oil or milk) are signs of the age of fulfilment:
Kruse, C. G. (2003). John: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 4, p. 96). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Jesus is God - Following him is something new (Son of Man 1:51)

Jesus’ conversion of such a large quantity of water into wine would indicate that the long-awaited kingdom of God had arrived. God himself had drawn near in the person and ministry of Jesus, and the fulfilment of the promise of abundant blessings was beginning to be fulfilled.
Kruse, C. G. (2003). John: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 4, p. 97). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.Jesus is God - Following him is something new (Son of Man 1:51)
(ESV SB Notes) 2:11 signs. Miracles that attest to Jesus' identity as Messiah and Son of God and lead unbelievers to faith. John specifies that after this sign, Jesus' disciples believed in him (cf. v. 23). The statement that this was the first of his signs indicates that Jesus did not do any miracles during his childhood or early manhood (contrary to dozens of apocryphal “gospel stories” outside the NT) but lived as an ordinary man with his divine identity hidden (cf. 7:5). In each of the signs that John includes, the emphasis is on the way in which the “sign” reveals Jesus' messianic character (cf. 12:37–40; 20:30–31) and on the exceptional and striking nature of the feat accomplished by Jesus—such as the large quantity and high quality of wine (2:6, 10), the fact that the official's son is healed a long distance away by the sheer power of Jesus' word (4:47, 49-50), the invalid's recovery from a 38-year-long ordeal (5:5), the large quantity of food produced by Jesus (6:13), the man's recovery from lifelong blindness (9:1–2), and the raising of Lazarus after four days in the tomb (11:17, 39). and manifested his glory. This miracle showed the glory of Jesus as the sovereign Creator and ruler of the material universe and also as the merciful God who provides abundantly for his people's needs (cf. 1:14).
(MacArthur Study Bible Notes (ESV)) John relates the first great sign performed by Jesus to demonstrate his deity, the turning of water into wine. Only God can create from nothing. John identifies eight miracles in his Gospel that constitute “signs” or confirmation of who Jesus is. Each of the eight miracles were different; no two were alike (cf. v. 11).
SEE CHART OF MIRACLES in ESVSB
(ESV SB Notes) Changing water into wine2:1–11Healing the official's son4:46–54Healing the invalid5:1–15Feeding the multitude6:5–13Walking on the water*6:16–21Healing the man born blind9:1–7Raising Lazarus11:1–44(MacArthur Study Bible Notes (ESV)) John relates the first great sign performed by Jesus to demonstrate his deity, the turning of water into wine. Only God can create from nothing. John identifies eight miracles in his Gospel that constitute “signs” or confirmation of who Jesus is. Each of the eight miracles were different; no two were alike (cf. v. 11).
(MacArthur Study Bible Notes (ESV)) John relates the first great sign performed by Jesus to demonstrate his deity, the turning of water into wine. Only God can create from nothing. John identifies eight miracles in his Gospel that constitute “signs” or confirmation of who Jesus is. Each of the eight miracles were different; no two were alike (cf. v. 11).
(MacArthur Study Bible Notes (ESV)) My hour has not yet come. The phrase constantly refers to Jesus’ death and exaltation ( 8:20 12:23 27 13:1 17:1). He was on a divine schedule decreed by God before the foundation of the world. Since the prophets characterized the messianic age as a time when wine would flow liberally (; ; ), Jesus was likely referring to the fact that the necessity of the cross must come before the blessings of the millennial age. ------- (ESV SB Notes) At this point in his ministry, because of people's misconceptions about the coming Messiah, Jesus chooses not to reveal himself openly to Israel (though he does perform numerous messianic “signs”; see note on 2:11). Even this miracle is done quietly. Compared to the other Gospels, John places less emphasis on Jesus' public ministry and more emphasis on his private ministry to specific individuals.
(MacArthur Study Bible Notes (ESV)) signs. John used the word “signs” here to refer to significant displays of power that pointed beyond themselves to the deeper divine realities that could be perceived by the eyes of faith. By this word, John emphasized that miracles were not merely displays of power but had a significance beyond the mere acts themselves.
(ESV SB Notes) 1:49 Son of God designates Jesus as the Messiah predicted in the OT (; ; see note on ). King of Israel likewise is an OT designation for the Messiah (e.g., ). The two terms are also found side by side in .
(ESV SB Notes) 1:51 Truly, truly, I say to you is a solemn affirmation stressing the authoritative nature and importance of Jesus' pronouncements. The expression is found 25 times in this Gospel. The two references to “you” here are plural. See heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending recalls the story of Jacob in (see esp. v. 12). Jesus will be a greater way of access to God than the heavenly ladder on which angels traveled between God and Jacob (; cf. ), and wherever Jesus is, that place will become the “New Bethel” where God is revealed. Jesus is not merely “a son of man” (an ordinary male human being), but he repeatedly (over 80 times in the Gospels) calls himself the Son of Man, suggesting the greatest, most notable son of man of all time. “The Son of Man” is thus a messianic title that refers back to the mysterious, human-divine figure of “one like a son of man” in , one who would be given rule over all the nations of the earth forever (cf. ). The Son of Man will be “lifted up” by being crucified (see note on ), will provide divine revelation (6:27), and will act with end-time authority (5:27; 9:39).
Jesus tells the servants to fill six huge jars with water. These are the stone jars which have been used for washing hands and feet, cups and bowls. The number six is just short of the ‘perfect’ number seven. The long years of Jewish legalism—trying to be right with God by careful washing—are now to give way to the joyful wine of the gospel.
When the master of the banquet tastes the water, he discovers an excellent wine. This is a miracle of new creation, although only the servants and the disciples know what Jesus has done. Jesus is always discreet with his miracles because life becomes impossible when people are clamouring for sensational signs of God’s power. But his glory is briefly glimpsed, and his disciples believe in him.
Knowles, A. (2001). The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed., p. 509). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.
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This is Jesus’ first public sign and the key to interpreting it is Jesus’ messianic announcement and abundance. The wedding banquet was an Old Testament symbol of the Messiah’s arrival (cf. ; ), which Jesus often employed (; ). The Old Testament also described this messianic era with the image of an abundance of wine (; ; ). Jewish apocalyptic taught that the wine would give its fruit 10,000 fold (2 Bar. 29:5; see also 1 Enoch 10:19). Therefore Jesus announced himself with powerful eschatological metaphors.
Burge, G. M. (1995). John. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 850). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
Some degree of symbolism can be affirmed here without denigrating the historical character of the event. This is Jesus’ first public sign and the key to interpreting it is Jesus’ messianic announcement and abundance. The wedding banquet was an Old Testament symbol of the Messiah’s arrival (cf. ; ), which Jesus often employed (; ). The Old Testament also described this messianic era with the image of an abundance of wine (; ; ). Jewish apocalyptic taught that the wine would give its fruit 10,000 fold (2 Bar. 29:5; see also 1 Enoch 10:19). Therefore Jesus announced himself with powerful eschatological metaphors.
Burge, G. M. (1995). John. In Evangelical Commentary on the Bible (Vol. 3, p. 850). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
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Where is your joy? (Day 2 of recovering your Joy devo)
The empty stone jars of self effort and religion can know be filled with a joyful, meaningful relationship and walk with Jesus. Jesus came not just to forgive “sins” but to deal with “sin.” He came to take the guilt and shame of sins, but also to break the power of the sin nature that constantly pulls us toward those things. (watchman nee)
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The miracle indeed of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby He made the water into wine, is not marvellous to those who know that it was God’s doing. For He who made wine on that day at the marriage feast, in those six water-pots, which He commanded to be filled with water, the self-same does this every year in vines. For even as that which the servants put into the water-pots was turned into wine by the doing of the Lord, so in like manner also is what the clouds pour forth changed into wine by the doing of the same Lord. But we do not wonder at the latter, because it happens every year: it has lost its marvelousness by its constant recurrence. And yet it suggests a greater consideration than that which was done in the water-pots. For who is there that considers the works of God, whereby this whole world is governed and regulated, who is not amazed and overwhelmed with miracles? If he considers the vigorous power of a single grain of any seed whatever, it is a mighty thing, it inspires him with awe.
Augustine of Hippo. (1888). Lectures or Tractates on the Gospel according to St. John. In P. Schaff (Ed.), J. Gibb & J. Innes (Trans.), St. Augustin: Homilies on the Gospel of John, Homilies on the First Epistle of John, Soliloquies (Vol. 7, p. 57). New York: Christian Literature Company.
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