Study 3: A new Order – the Heavenly Groom reveals his glory
Read John 2:1-11
Chapters 2:1-4:54 are organised to convey what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17: ‘the old has gone, the new has come!’ ‘The three chapters present the replacement of the old purifications by the wine of the kingdom of God, the old temple by the new in the risen Lord, an exposition of new birth for new creation, a contrast between the water of Jacob’s well and the living water from Christ, and the worship of Jerusalem and Gerizim with worship “in Spirit and in truth” (Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 166). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.)
Many people have put forward any different ways to understand the changing of water into wine; the most popular – not the correct one – is to justify the abundant use of wine!
- Read John 20:30-31
For what purpose did John set out to write his gospel?
2. Read John 2:11
What was the effect of this miraculous sign?
We must understand from the two verse we just read and discussed that to try to understand the sing of changing water into wine outside of this context would be wrong. What happened in Cana at the wedding must help us to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God: in Him is eternal life.
3. Read John 2:1-2
John states that the water-into-wine sign happened on the “third day”, which is the third day after Jesus declared that Nathaniel would “see the angels of God descending on the Son of Man.” (1:51). Let’s try to get the sequence:
- Day One: The delegation of the Jews visited John and ask him who he was (1:19).
- Day Two: On the next day the Baptiser announce Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God (1:29).
- Day Three: Two of John’s disciples spend the third day with Jesus (1:35). Andrew finds Peter and led him to Jesus (1:41)
- Day Four: Jesus decided to leave for Galilee (1:43), calls Philip to follow him, and Andrew and Peter (with the unnamed disciple – most probably John) accompanied Jesus; Nathaniel came to Christ (1:48-49)
- Day Seven (inclusive – “On the third day”): The wedding at Cana.
Keep in mind that John started his Gospel with creation – Day One of all things. Symbolically then – a week into the new creation – Jesus “revealed his glory, and the disciples put their faint in Him.”
Two major theological themes seem to build into this paragraph:
- The Ordinance of Marriage
- The new use for the ceremonial vessels which held the water for ceremonial washing
4. Read Genesis 2:21-24 and Matthew 19:4-6
Who instituted marriage and when?
What was God’s command to Adam and Eve?
What was our Lord’s understanding of marriage?
The purpose of marriage before the fall was to multiply and to fill the earth. Without the rebellion of our first parents the best form of evangelism was to have lots of children!
5. Do you think it is possible that the “first of his miraculous sings” happened at a wedding without reason? Why/why not?
6. “The new has come”: Christ as Groom is with his church, his bride. How is the purpose of fruitfulness “to fill the earth” now achieved?
“A wedding celebration could last as long as a week, and the financial responsibility lay with the groom (cf. 2:9–10). To run out of supplies would be a dreadful embarrassment in a ‘shame’ culture; there is some evidence it could also lay the groom open to a lawsuit from aggrieved relatives of the bride.” (Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 166). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.)
7. Read John 2:2-3 We don’t know why Mary came to Jesus after the wine ran out. She could have been involved in the catering. It is possible that Joseph had died earlier and that Mary thought that Jesus, the carpenter, could come up with a plan.
Jesus Christ, the Lamb who came to take away the sins of the world, said to his mother, “Why do you involve Me”? How was Mary to understand this remark?
8. Read John 7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27; 13:1; 17:1. What does Jesus mean with the words, “My hour has not yet come?”
9. Read John 2:6
What was the purpose of the jars? Keep in mind what we already learned in last week’s study about ceremonial cleansing.
The main purpose why John included the water-into-wine miracle here is to show that the water which represented the old order of Jewish law and custom, would now be replaced with something better.
Wine in the old Testament was a sign of joy and fulfilment, and was usually used after the harvest was brought in. In more than one instance Old Testament prophets referred to the coming of the Messiah as a time of joy and abundance of wine ( see Jeremiah 31:12; Hosea 14:7; Amos 9:13–14).
Now the Messiah has come! He is the fulfilment of the ceremonial law: the purification water is not needed anymore, even the containers are now used to proclaim the arrival of the Messiah.
10. How much wine did Jesus make that day? Was it really necessary?
11. Read John 2:11 How do you understand the words, “You have save the best till now”? Read Matthew 26:29 and Revelation 19:6-9
- Christ made everything new.
- By believing in the Name of the Groom, his church (his bride) goes into the ends of the earth to “populate” it through evangelism.
- Christ is the end of the old order: purification jars and the water in them are replaced by the best wine, which proclaims the arrival of the Groom