Sermon Helps:

All of Jesus’ signs occur in the first part of the Gospel, which deals with Jesus’ public ministry to the Jews. In human terms, this ministry turns out to be a failure, as John makes clear in his summary statement in 12:37. While Jesus’ disciples see in his signs a reflection of God’s glory (2:11), the very same signs reveal the hardening of the Jewish leadership in its rejection of Israel’s Messiah (see, e.g., 2:13–22; 9:1–41; 11:1–44). What the two events narrated in John 2 share in common is that they present Jesus as the restorer of Israel. At the Cana wedding, Jesus is the bringer of messianic joy who fills up the depleted resources of Judaism. At the temple clearing, he removes from the center of Jewish worship any activity unworthy of the true worship of God. It is fitting that the insignificant village of Cana in Galilee becomes the site of Jesus’ first sign. For Jesus chose obscurity over fame (Matt. 4:5–7; Luke 4:9–12), and he came not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45). The fact that Cana is also Nathanael’s hometown (21:2) ties 2:1–11 in with the end of John 1 (note that Nathanael is likely one of the disciples who accompanied Jesus to this wedding). The entire event served as a foil for Jesus’ revelation that “his time had not yet come” (2:4; cf. 7:30; 8:20; and the arrival of the “hour” in 12:23, 27; 13:1; 17:1). Nevertheless, Jesus finds a way to meet the need of the hour by performing a miracle “behind the scenes.” Jesus not only turns water into wine; he creates wine of superior quality. This emphasis on the spectacular nature of Jesus’ signs becomes a regular feature of John’s narration. -Andreas J. Kotenberger

Jesus’ response to the implied request in his mother’s words was enigmatic: ‘Dear woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My time has not yet come.’ The NIV’s ‘Dear woman, why do you involve me?’ translates ti emoi kai soi gynai, which rendered literally would read, ‘What [is it] to me and to you, woman?’ Jesus was perhaps questioning the need for either his mother or him to get involved. Maybe the kinship relationship between Jesus’ family and the bridegroom’s family was not close, so the responsibility rested with others. However, where this expression (ti emoi kai soi) is found elsewhere in the NT and in the LXX it always indicates some sort of confrontation or rebuke, and it probably does so here also. Addressing his mother simply as ‘woman’, though abrupt to modern readers’ ears, does not imply lack of affection. Jesus addressed his mother in this way from the cross when making loving provision for her care after his death (19:26). The words ‘my time (h?ra) has not yet come’ include the first of nine references to Jesus’ ‘hour/time’ (4; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27 [2×]; 13:1; 16:32; 17:1), a significant theme in this Gospel. The first three references indicate that Jesus’ hour had not yet come; the last six indicate that it had come. The hour towards which everything moves is the hour of Jesus’ glorification, which takes place through his death, resurrection and exaltation. Bearing this in mind, Jesus’ response to his mother appears to have confronted her with the news that he was now acting only according to his Father’s timetable, with his eyes fixed on the hour to come (even though he went on to fulfill her implied request). -Colin G. Kruse

Each jar held two or three ‘measures’ , each measure the equal of eight or nine (imperial) gallons. The pots together held, roughly, between one hundred and one hundred and fifty gallons. The six water jars were made of stone, because stone, being more impervious than earthenware, did not itself contract uncleanness. They were therefore the more suitable for ceremonial washing. In the context of a wedding feast, perhaps the ritual washing of certain utensils and of guests’ hands is especially in view (cf. Mk. 7:3–4), but if so John sees this as representative of the broader question of the place of all ceremonial washings (cf. 3:25). Their purpose provides a clue to one of the meanings of the story: the water represents the old order of Jewish law and custom, which Jesus was to replace with something better (cf. 1:16).V.7–8. The usual interpretation of these verses is that Jesus, after telling the servants to fill up the six water jars, performed the miracle and then asked the servants to take some of the freshly made wine from the water jars to the ‘master of the banquet’. The sheer quantity of water turned into wine then becomes symbolic of the lavish provision of the new age. But… the verb ‘draw’ (antle?, v. 8) is commonly used for drawing water from a well (cf. 4:7, 15). In other words, the water turned into wine was freshly drawn from the well after the water jars had been filled. The word Now might be taken to support this view. Up to this time the servants had drawn water to fill the vessels used for ceremonial washing; now they are to draw for the feast that symbolizes the messianic banquet. Filling jars with such large capacity to the brim then indicates that the time for ceremonial purification is completely fulfilled; the new order, symbolized by the wine, could not be drawn from jars so intimately connected with merely ceremonial purification. If John has not used the verb loosely (and there is no reason for thinking he has), this latter interpretation prevails. – D.A. Carson