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John 2 – Joy and Holiness

by Jill

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 2, we encounter Jesus’ first miracle: turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana. This event is not just a testament to His divine power, but also a profound symbol of joy and celebration. Let’s delve into the narrative and explore its significance.

A Wedding in Cana

The setting is a wedding in Cana, a town in Galilee. Jesus, His mother Mary, and His disciples are among the guests. As the celebration progresses, a crisis emerges: the wine runs out. In ancient Jewish culture, running out of wine at a wedding was more than a social faux pas; it was a disaster that could bring shame to the hosts.

Mary’s Request and Jesus’ Response

Mary approaches Jesus with a simple request, “They have no more wine.” Jesus’ reply, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come,” might seem harsh to modern ears. However, the term “woman” was a respectful address akin to “ma’am” or “madam.” It reflects a respectful but clear indication that His divine mission would unfold according to a divine timetable.

Despite this, Mary instructs the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Her unwavering faith sets the stage for the miracle.

The Miracle Unfolds

Jesus instructs the servants to fill six stone water jars, used for ceremonial washing, with water. He then tells them to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. The water had turned into wine—an exquisite one at that. The master of the banquet is astonished, noting that the best wine was saved for last, contrary to the usual practice of serving the best wine first.

Symbolism and Significance

This miracle, the first of Jesus’ public signs, reveals several important truths:

  1. Jesus’ Divinity and Glory: The transformation of water into wine manifested His divine power and glory, leading His disciples to believe in Him.
  2. Joy and Celebration: Wine, often associated with joy in Jewish culture, symbolizes the abundant life Jesus offers. The choice of a wedding for His first miracle underscores the importance of joy, community, and celebration in God’s kingdom.
  3. God’s Generosity: The sheer quantity of wine (120-180 gallons) signifies God’s boundless generosity and His desire to provide abundantly for His people.

A Cleansing of the Temple

Following the wedding, Jesus travels to Jerusalem for the Passover. There, He drives out the money changers and merchants from the temple, declaring, “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” This act underscores His commitment to preserving the sanctity of worship spaces. It also was making some people rich and some people poor which was not the goal of worship and sacrifice.

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