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John 2: Another thought

Over and over again when we read the story of Jesus’ first miracle (The turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana) we clearly see the wonderful power Jesus has over the physical world. In this account John says that He “shows His glory and the disciples believed.” John 2:11 However, the part in the middle, has baffled many. You know the response Mary gives when Jesus says, “What concern is this for you and me. My time has not yet come.” Mary seemingly disregards what Jesus says to her and tells the servants to do as He says.

This raises two questions. The first question: why did Mary tell the servants to do whatever Jesus told them, even after Jesus tells her it is not of their business, and second: why does Jesus go ahead and do it, if His time had not yet come why did He do this miracle and show His glory.

With these two questions rattling around I began asking the Lord during many of my prayer times what does this mean and why are these details in the Bible? I asked the Lord repeatedly that if there was nothing more to it then to please calm my spirit, but if there was more to open my eyes to see. This other viewpoint on this miraculous account began to resonate in my spirit, could this be God’s answer for us?

I propose to you another thought to consider when reading John 2:1-11

1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

4“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.”

5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

6Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

7Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

8Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, 9and 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 10and 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.”

11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. (NIV)

“On the third day”[i] is a small little phrase that carries a key to understanding and unlocking the mysteries underneath this much quoted text. If this third day is simply three days after Jesus collected His first group of disciples then this story has nothing more than historical value; recording the surroundings of Jesus’ first miracle. However these 4 little words set the scene and context for the rest of the passage. “On the third day” is referring to a prophetic time period when Jesus will return for His spotless bride. How can this be? Remember what Peter said in his second letter.

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. “ (2 Peter 3:8)

An invite or a calling?

“Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.” Is the way it is stated in just about every English translation I could find except one, the King James. The King James uses the word “called” not invited.

“… and the mother of Jesus was there: 2And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. “ (KJV)

Look carefully at the wording used here. The mother of Jesus was there and then Jesus and his disciples were called. We know that this was a historical event but is it possible that prophetically this is a wedding between Jesus and His disciples? To be invited is to be a guest but to be called carries a meaning that you are more than a guest you and intimately involved in something and your presence is required; much like a call to duty, a call to action. Was this a summoning of Christ and the believers to the wedding?

Before we go further; I am not advocating that Jesus was married while here on earth. I am merely showing that this may be a prophetic picture of the wedding to come. Through this historical account of Jesus’ first miracle we are also given understanding for the wedding to come, God’s Word is full of this type of message to us clear back to the beginning when God show us the what is required to cover up this sin of Adam and Eve. (Gen. 2-3)

3When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” (NIV)

Why does Mary care that the wine had given out? Was she close to the Bride and Groom? Could this also be a sign to us that the “wine” will give out before that great and glorious wedding between Jesus and the Church? Why would she be concerned that they had run out of wine at all? Perhaps she is telling Jesus of the spiritual condition.

That’s an odd thing to do

4“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.” (NIV)

Could it be that Jesus’ reply to her is not one of, “so what I do not care” but more along the lines of “You are right but the time to pour out my Spirit on all man has not yet come.” Jesus certainly understood far more about His purpose and direction than many of us. It is possible that Jesus’ reply is sort of saying, “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” I wonder if Jesus and Mary had a shared communication with each other much like mothers and children have now where not every word has to be said in order for understanding to happen. Mary was after all His mother and undoubtedly they would have had conversations about the ministry He was about to embark on. If Jesus new His calling it is reasonable to assume he may have talked about it with His mom. Don’t forget that Mary knew how to hear from God too, (as proven is the accounts of Jesus’ birth in the other 3 gospels) and would have taught Jesus how to hear the voice of the Lord while He was growing up. It is highly likely that Mary knew more about Jesus’ ministry before it started than any Gospel writer ever recorded.

5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (NIV)

What a most odd reaction unless Mary understood that Jesus was referring to the fact that His ultimate time had not yet come. Otherwise it seems like she totally disregards Jesus and forces her will on Him. I just don’t think so.

Mary may have understood that by Jesus’ response to her that He was still going to do something, (honoring his mother) though maybe not so the full extent.

Cleansing and Purification

6Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

7Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. (NIV)

It is interesting to note that the jars that Jesus instructs the servants to fill are the jars used for ceremonial washing. Perhaps it is just because they were large jars that could hold liquid, but don’t miss the point Jesus makes here. Those jars held the “old” way for the Jews to clean themselves before eating (in this case a banquet dinner). Jesus takes that old way of cleaning and turns it into the new wine (wine represents the Holy Spirit). The old way was to follow the law and do a ritual washing, the new way (On the Third Day) is to be cleansed by the Spirit.

8Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, 9and 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 10and 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.” (NIV)

When the master of the banquet tastes the wine he turns and addresses the “bridegroom”. We know that on the day of the final wedding Jesus is that Bridegroom. And as said by the headwaiter, He saved the best for last.

11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. (NIV)

In the last verse of this story we are told that by doing this miracle Jesus revealed this glory. It was the revealing of the glory that caused the disciples to believe. Revelation 21:22-27 tells us that the full Glory will be enough to never again have to shut the gates of Jerusalem. Could this miracle be a glimpse of the purification that is to come at the final wedding?

So, what about the other people at the wedding and the servants who witnessed first had this glory revealing miracle? Did they also believe? The fact that only the disciples are mentioned may point to that sad truth that not everyone who sees the Glory will believe.

Matt 22: 14“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” (NIV)

The Third Day

Now look at what Jesus tells Herod he would do on the Third Day, he would complete his work. (Luke 13:32)

32”And He said to them, Go and tell that fox [sly and crafty, skulking and cowardly], Behold, I drive out demons and perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish (complete) My course. “(AMP)

Jesus vows to complete His work “on the third day”, and we know from the book of Revelation what the completed work is. He is coming back for a spotless bride.

Ephesians 5: 26-27 “26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word , 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (NIV)

New Testament Weddings

When reading the Bible I always like to consider the literary style being used. It helps give us clues as to what type of truth the text has. Historical truth would convey the facts such as names dates and so on. Emotional truth may never mention a date or a name but reveal the emotional turmoil of a particular situation. Spiritual truth would then be where an account of an event would be given in a style that would reveal to the reader the Spiritual significance of the event. Jesus uses this style many times when relating parables to His disciples and to the Pharisees.

It should be noted that this wedding at Cana and the turning the water into wine did in fact happen. However, were this recorded for the pure a historic value of Jesus’ first miracle then where are the rest of the details (i.e. name of the bridegroom, third day of what, etc)? Instead like in many of the Parables those details are left out because the true point of the story is the foretelling of the Final Wedding on the third Prophetic day between Jesus and His true Bride (the disciples who believed, from amongst the guest at the wedding).

If we take a look at the four wedding/banquet parables in the Gospels (Luke 14: 15-23, Matt 22:1-14, Matt 25: 1-13, and Luke 14:7-15) we can get a picture why it may be important that the disciples were “called” to the wedding rather than invited.

In the parables in Luke 14:15-23 and Matthew 22:1-14 those who were invited made excuses and did not go to the feast. Thus the master of the feast told his servants to “urge them to come” in other words call them in, compel them to come.

Luke 14 23Then the master said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges and urge and constrain [them] to yield and come in, so that my house may be filled. (AMP)

In Luke 14: 12-15 Jesus tells us whom we are to invite to our wedding banquet. This opens the door to those who are called to come because we are not to invite those whom may be able to repay the favor. This passage also shows us whom He accepts at his banqueting table.

Matt 25: 1-13 further shows us how we need to be ready and waiting for that banquet.

In all of these parables there is no mention of a name or of a real place. They are parables and prophetic pictures of what the Final Wedding will be like. Just as in the real account of the wedding at Cana, these wedding parables highlight for us God’s divine wedding plans for the Bride and Bridegroom. Each story and parable tells us who can come, how they will be made ready, what they have to do to stay ready, and how they must behave upon arrival.

In conclusion looking at the wedding at Cana, and the miracle of turning water into wine from a prophetic, third day view, in conjunction with the parables Jesus tells of the Kingdom wedding, open the story to new light. A deeper understanding of the miracle of water into wine. It seems that YHWH loves to show His people what and how He will do something before He does it.


[i] For more information about the third day you might check out:

Preparation for the third day by Wade Taylor – available via Identity Network http://www.identitynetwork.net/

Third Day Perfection by Wade Taylor – http://forhisglory-2007.blogspot.com

 

 

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