Print this Page

John6 – the first of the signs

And on the third day, a wedding came to be in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. In fact Jesus also was called - and his disciples - into the wedding. 
John, the first-century eye-witness biographer of Jesus, details several miracles of Jesus. Importantly, John specifically calls them “signs”. In doing so he raises the question, “To what does the sign actually point?” The first “sign” is “at Cana of Galilee” – at “a wedding”.

And, lacking wine, the mother of Jesus states towards him, “They have no wine!” And Jesus states to her, “What? To me? And to you, woman? My hour is not yet arrived.” His mother states to the servants, “That something he may state to you, do!”

“The mother of Jesus” saw that they were “lacking wine” despite the fact (see below) that they may already have received some which may well have fallen short on quality. Jesus’ reply to his mother, “What? For me – and for you, woman?”, draws attention away from the wine and towards the “sign”.

He is also reluctant to do anything about the “lacking wine” for another reason: “My hour has not yet arrived”. But will he do a “sign”

In fact six stone water jars were resting there, with reference to the purification of the Judeans, each having space for two or three measures. 

These “six stone water jars” were dormant - “set-in-place there”. They had been used for “purification” – for ritual cleansing from sin. A “measure” (Greek metretas) was around 40 litres. Was this “purification” process like the wine – not the best?

Jesus states to them, “Fill full the water jars with water.” And they filled them until above full.

“Full until above”? Is there a hint here that that this “sign” has to do not so much with “cleansing” down here but, crucially, “above”

And is Jesus signifying a wonderful surfeit of cleansing power so that there will be vastly more than enough for all - not only for “the Jews”

‘The only true forgiveness is that which is offered and extended even before the offender has apologised and sought it.’ (Soren Kierkegaard, philosopher, 1813-1855)
And he states to them, “Right now draw out and bring to the lead steward.” In fact they brought. In fact when the lead steward tasted the water having come to be wine and had not discerned where it is from—but the servants who drew the water had discerned—the lead steward calles the bridegroom and states to him, “Every man sets down first he good wine and, when they may be drunk, the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now.” 

John now focusses (three times) on “the chief steward”.  He was the person there whom today we might call the Maître D’ at a Jersey restaurant – in charge of everything. He was delighted about the quality of “the wine” which he now tasted before serving. But this is more than a miracle. It’s a “sign”. Who does “the chief steward” remind you of? 

This one in charge of everything praises “the bridegroom” for the “wine” which he has now provided. He cannot understand why such wonderful provision was not available to the guests at the outset. “The bridegroom” had kept “the good wine until now”. Earlier, Jesus had made it clear to his mother, “My hour has not yet arrived.”

Well, now. You tell me. What did this “sign” actually signify? Was Jesus going to provide “purification”, cleansing above (“filled full until above”), abundantly available to all, and totally acceptable to the one in charge of everything? 

And is he also going to provide this true wine – not the stuff that gets us “drunk” now and brings regret later – in great quantity as well as quality? The six water jars were “full until above.” More than 900 bottles of 75cl each. Much more than could ever be needed at this Cana “wedding”.

‘The miracles of Jesus are signs of what lies ahead … for the people of God.’ (James T Dennison) 
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory, and his disciples believed into him.

“Revealed his glory”? Not to the wedding party. Not for praise or for show.
Sinner Syvret

Email this newsletter to a friend
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Friend`s name
Friend`s email address *
Your name
Your email address *

Send comment
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Your name *
Your email address *
Your comment *