- A wedding invitation
- Mary’s request
- Purification water and celebratory wine
- The manifestation of Christ’s glory
Cana is a small, insignificant town just north of Nazareth. It has no significant mention in scripture apart from the section of John’s gospel running through chapters 2-4. Cana bookends this smaller section. What might be the significance of John’s double mention of Cana?
John only mentions Mary (never by name twice. Here in chapter 2 at this wedding in Cana and again at the cross in chapter 19. In what ways do these two references serve as bookends to the movement of John’s gospel?
John records the beginning of Jesus’ ministry with a wedding. The wedding theme is filled with meaning. God is frequently described as a bridegroom and Israel as his bride. John describes the great wedding feast in Revelation 22, as God makes his dwelling place with human beings. As Jesus comes on the scene, God is moving and doing new things for Israel and the world. How does a wedding foreshadow what God has planned for his people?
Weddings in the ancient world were not merely between two people. Two families were involved.
More than that, entire communities took part in the festivities, even if certain members of the community disliked the wedding families. Wine was also a very important part of Israelite and Jewish life; it was particularly important to festive occasions. The lack of wine was more than a minor inconvenience; it was a social disgrace. Somehow, Jesus’ mother is involved in this scandal and turns to Jesus. What is Jesus’ initial response and what is its significance? Do you think this initial response distances Jesus from Mary in some way? Explain.
Jesus turns water into wine. Specifically, he turns six large purification jars full of water into wine.
This act is full of symbolism. Surely Jesus could have used other vessels or another method. But he changes purification water into wine. Water is mentioned a number of times throughout John’s gospel and particularly in the section that begins in chapter 2 and ends in chapter 4. Wine is also significant to Jewish culture and worship as well as to John’s theme of the Kingdom Jesus ushers in. Apart from a miracle that displays his power, what does act depict?
In what way is this a sign of the manifestation of Jesus’ glory? What might John be hinting at by identifying this event as taking place “on the third day” (v. 1)?