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A display of glory at a marriage (2)

The third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus was also called to the marriage with his followers. Lacking wine, the mother of Jesus speaks to him, “They have no wine” and Jesus speaks to her, “Something for me and you, woman? My hour is not yet arrived.” His mother speaks to the servants, “Whatever he may speak to you, you do it.” Now there were six stone water-jars lying down there from the cleansing of the Jews, each having space for two or three measures. Jesus speaks to the servants, “Fill the water-jars with water” and they fill them up until above full and he speaks to them, “Now draw up and carry to the architriklinos.” So, they carry. But, as the architriklinos tasted the water having become wine and did not know its origin (but the servants who had drawn up the water knew), the architriklinos calls the bridegroom and speaks to him, “Every man puts down first the good wine, and when they may have well drunk, the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and displayed his own glory, and his followers trusted in him. John 2: 1-11 
From last week’s Info, we saw that, at a marriage in Galilee, an invited man, acting in secret, apparently does something which displays his own glory. ‘This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and displayed his own glory, and his followers trusted in him….’

Early on the wine runs out. Jesus’ mother tells Jesus about it. But he replies, “Something for me and for you, woman? ...” This cryptic reply might relate to a key incident at the very beginning of the first book in the Bible – Genesis – written around 1350 BC. Jesus didn’t do “self-seeking”.

The first woman, Eve, was tempted to disobey one simple instruction given to her husband, Adam, by the LORD God. She gave in to temptation for three recorded reasons. The woman wanted what was ‘good for food’, wanted what was ‘a delight to the eyes’ and wanted to become ‘wise’.  For these “self-seeking” reasons they decided to live without the great joy which both had in fellowship with the LORD God who loved them. 
‘If you feel you have no faults, that’s another one.’ (Anon.)
From then on unhappiness, hurt, harm and evil, through self-seeking and self-obsession, are part and parcel of all our lives. We harm and are harmed. 

Faced with “no wine” at this AD 27 marriage, Jesus says, “… My hour is not yet arrived”. But his mother speaks to the servants, “Whatever he may speak to you, you do it.” Jesus must have decided, at that moment, to do something to display ‘his glory’ and “his hour”. ‘The first of his signs’.

First, an AD 27 Galilean ‘measure’ was about 40 litres. The six water-jars therefore could hold around 1,000 of our 75 ml. wine bottles -a seemingly unending (“fill above full”) quantity of the very best wine of great rejoicing. Only part drawn out and used – so a vast quantity remained available. 

Second, the stone water jars were once used for cleansing by the Jews. They’re lying around incapable of giving any cleansing, empty, lifeless, useless, satisfying nobody. Just like religion today. But these are used to give ‘the first of his signs’. A sign that, when Jesus’ “hour” does arrive, cleansing and abundant satisfaction will be the outcome.

Third, “the architriklinos” (mentioned three times) is usually translated ‘the master of the feast’.  But: - arche means ‘beginning’ or ‘first’ (the same as ‘genesis’ the name of the book in which Eve’s three reasons to sin were first recorded); treis means ‘three’; and klino means ‘rest’. The three self-obsessive motivations of Adam and Eve had removed all 'rest' from them and their descendants. Will their offspring now receive 'rest' from their own three self-obsessions? Will that 'rest' come about – in some way - through Jesus when “his hour is … arrived”
‘The ultimate tragedy of man’s self-understanding is that he believes himself to be free, has all the feelings of a free agent, but does not realise that he is a slave to sin and serves the will of the Adversary.’ (Sinclair Ferguson) 
Fourth, this Jesus, who alone made water into wine, remains unseen at the marriage. John writes that the “architriklinos” calls “the bridegroom” to speak about his otherwise-unnoticed generosity. Attention is drawn in that way to the unseen, self-effacing love and work of Jesus. Such generosity does not come from a self-obsessed man. The heavenly bridegroom, unbidden and maligned by others, came from above to restore his bride below to fellowship with the LORD God above, fellowship tragically discarded by Adam and Eve.

A few hours before he gave his life on the cross for others, Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” His glory was his cross; his hour the hour of supreme self-giving.
Sinner Syvret

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