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The Wedding at Cana

by Walt Hasbach

John 2:1-11 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so, they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.


A Wedding Feast takes place in Cana in Galilee.  Jesus’ mother was there, along with Jesus and his brothers.  Accompanying Jesus were His disciples, Peter, Andrew, Philip, and Nathanael. According to John 21:2, Cana was Nathanael's hometown.


Because the entire family of Jesus is present, (except for Joseph, Mary’s husband who we can safely assume has died) it seems to be a “family affair” at some level  Actually, Mary seems to be officially involved in the celebration as a kind of co-hostess since she takes charge of things when the wine planned for the occasion, unexpectedly runs out, indicating either that the crowd was larger than expected or that things became quite festive,


There is no way to know for certain why Jesus chose a wedding in Cana to perform His first miracle.  The fact that after the wedding Jesus’ mother, and brothers travel with Him to Capernaum indicates that Jesus’ whole family was present for the wedding.  Such a connection would explain Jesus’ presence at the wedding but not His decision to perform His first miracle there.

In those days, family honor was of vital importance.  Weddings usually lasted for several days, during which time food and wine is supplied by the bride’s and groom’s families and flowed freely.  To run out of either implied a thoughtless or needy host.  Running out of wine would bring dishonor upon the family name. As a personal favor, Mary turned to her Son for help. The family was about to be shamed in the community, and she knew her Son could do something about it.

Jesus’ earthly ministry had begun at His baptism by John the Baptist.  The wedding occurred over a month later after Jesus had gathered about half of His disciples. Although He had never performed a miracle in public.  Jesus and the rest of the story is well known to everyone.  He miraculously turns six stone vessels, filled initially with water, into the finest wine.


It is interesting that the quality of wine He supplied was superior to anything that had been served thus far and the quality of the wine stunned the host.  The fact that the miracle was performed at a wedding can be significant.  By Jesus providing the wine He was placing His stamp of approval on the marriage agreement, and with His miracle He shows the blessings of love and joy that are inherent in a wedding to all who believe.  Also, Jesus may have chosen this family situation to perform this miracle because it is something everyone in every culture can relate to.  Perhaps that is a lesson He wants us to learn from it.


Right after the wedding, according to John 2:12, Jesus goes to Capernaum and with him are not only his disciples, but also his mother and his brothers.  I think that implies the whole family, including the brothers (and sisters) were not only at the wedding but are now traveling with Jesus.  They go to Capernaum, where Jesus sets up a kind of “residence” or operational center.

Mark 2:1 When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was home.


Mark speaks nothing of Cana, but John mentions it again when Jesus returns from a trip to Judea, where he stirred up a considerable amount of trouble (John 4:44) and needs some place to “lay low.”  He and his disciples go back to Cana.  I think this is important in that it seems to become for Jesus a kind of “safe house” or place of operations when he needs to retreat to Galilee, much like Capernaum.

John 4:46-47 Once more he visited Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water into wine.  And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum.  When this man heard that Jesus had arrived in Galilee from Judea, he went to him and begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death. Verse 4:48 So Jesus said to him, “unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.

Why go back there if the first visit was just for a wedding and had no connection to him?  The irony of the statement of these verse increases with the fact that Jesus had only recently performed a miracle in Cana at the wedding.  Instead of responding in belief, the people wanted more.  


They disregard the person of Christ and focus in on the need for a constant display of miraculous signs.  Asking that Jesus show them miracles so they could believe is one thing but asking for miracles to make their life easier is more a sign of rebelling; not a wanting to trust and believing.  This was the mindset that Jesus was facing into.

In Summary Jesus performed His first miracle at a wedding in Cana.  The feast was a big part of the wedding custom.  It would have been shameful for the host to run out of wine for his guests.  Mary must have been acquainted with the host because she saw it as her responsibility to help with the problem. She also seems to have charge over the servants since she gave them orders to obey Jesus.  Jesus miraculously produced more wine.  He ordered the servants to fill six stone water jars with water. Jesus ordered the servants to take a sample from the jars to the man in charge of the banquet.  The water had been miraculously turned to wine!

It was not just any wine, it was excellent wine.  The lesson from this miracle is more than just turning water to wine.  Jesus used old containers that were used in ceremonial purification.  He filled the containers with something totally new and good.  This was a way for him to introduce the purpose of his ministry.  The Jewish nation was the container by which the Messiah would be poured out to the world.

HISTORY of words and phrases:

by Al Knowlton

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water

temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to

be...Here are some facts about the 1500s: Most people got married in

June because they took their yearly bath in May and still smelled pretty

good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a

bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of

carrying a bouquet when getting married.


Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the

house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons

and men, then the women and finally the children - last of all the

babies. By then the water was so dirty, you could actually lose someone

in it - hence the saying: "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water."


Houses had thatched roofs - thick straw-piled high, with no wood

underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the

dogs, cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When

it rained, it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and

fall off the roof - hence the saying: "It's raining cats and dogs."


There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This

posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings

could really mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and

a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That's how canopy

beds came into existence.


The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt,

hence the saying: "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would

get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on

the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept

adding more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start

slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway -

hence: a "thresh hold."

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that

always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things

to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They

would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold

overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food

in it that had been there for quite a while - hence the rhyme: "Peas

porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old."


Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special.

When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It

was a sign of wealth that a man "could bring home the bacon". They would

cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew

the fat."


Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content

caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning

and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400

years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.


Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of

the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or "upper

crust." Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination

would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking

along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial.

They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the

family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they

would wake up - hence the custom of holding a "wake."


England is old and small and the local folks started running out of

places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the

bones to a bone-house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these

coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the

inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they

thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it

through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell.

Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night ("the 

graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved

by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer." And that's the truth...

(and whoever said that History was boring)?

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