Jesus’ Miracle at Cana – extra ideas

“The Wedding at Cana (2:1-11) John 2:1-11 is the opening event in Jesus’ ministry. In 1:35-51, Jesus gathers his first disciples, and in 2:1-11 he attends a wedding with them (2:2). Jesus’ mother is also in attendance (2:1). This is the first mention of Jesus’ mother in John.

John 2:2 indicates that Jesus “was invited” to the wedding. He is not the host of the wedding feast but a guest like everyone else. Jesus’ ministry thus opens with Jesus as the recipient of a gesture of hospitality. The beginning of his ministry is played out in an intimate, personal, familial setting.

Jesus’ mother is the catalyst for the miracle in this story. When the wine at the wedding feast runs out, Jesus’ mother informs him of this lack.

The conversation between Jesus and his mother is important. When Jesus’ mother speaks to him in 2:3, she asks nothing explicit of him, but Jesus’ response in v. 4 makes clear that her words contain an implied request. She assumes that her son can remove the scarcity.

Jesus’ words to his mother in 2:4 seem harsh to the modern ear: “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His words are not an act of rudeness to his mother, however, but are an important assertion of Jesus’ freedom from all human control. Verse 4 insists that Jesus’ actions will not be dictated by anyone else’s time or will. Not even Jesus’ mother can control what he does or who he will be.

That one should not read 2:4 as rudeness is confirmed by Jesus’ mother’s response in v. 5. Despite Jesus’ seeming rebuff of her, his mother tells the servants with utter confidence that Jesus will do something. His mother is thus a model disciple: she trusts that Jesus will act and allows him to act in freedom.

The miracle that Jesus performs is appropriate to the personal setting of the wedding. Turning water into wine is an act of turning scarcity into abundance, of repaying the initial hospitality offered him. Jesus’ first miracle in John takes place in the presence of friends and family, not in the presence of powers and authorities.

This opening to Jesus’ ministry shows that the miraculous life-giving power of God is at work even (and perhaps, especially) in the intimate daily places of human lives.”
(Women’s Bible Commentary, Carol Newsom & Sharon Ringe eds., John Knox Press, 1992, p.383)

“It is noteworthy that on the general question of Jesus’ relationship with his family, John stands, as it were, between Matthew and Mark, on the one hand, and Luke on the other.

  • Matthew and Mark give the impression of a complete rift,
  • Luke of complete harmony between Jesus and his relatives.
  • John has a more complex picture: Jesus’ mother and brothers at first accompany him as disciples (211-2, 12); later his brothers do not believe in him (7:5); but finally his mother and his aunt are among the few who stand by him at the cross (19:25).

The probability is that, after an early breach, on which Mark and John agree, the relatives of Jesus -— his mother, his brothers, Clopas, and Mary — had by the end of Jesus’ ministry joined the circle of his disciples.

This is suggested not only by the agreement of Luke and John, but also by the tradition of the resurrection appearance to James (1 Cor. 15:7), which most probably presupposes that James was already a follower of his brother.”

‘Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels, Richard Bauckham, Wm.B.Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2002, p.221′

“Khirbet Qana was located about fifteen kilometers from Nazareth. The closeness of the two villages explains the presence of Jesus, his mother, and his brothers. The wine failed, probably because there were more guests than had been expected.

There was standing there some jars each holding two or three measures; a measure was about forty litres, so that each jar held up to one hundred and twenty litres. Jesus had the servants fill the jars with water, but the water then became wine.

The capacity of the jars underscores the sheer size of the miracle. In the context of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, the miracle “signified” that God had accredited Jesus as his emissary, just as he had formerly accredited Moses by the signs which he enabled him to accomplish in the sight of Israel. Jesus is the new Moses (Dt 18:18)….

…The words spoken by the steward of the feast are clearly symbolic. Jesus is the Bridegroom who brings a wine superior to that of Judaism. According to Origen, Cyril of Alexandria, and Ephrem the wine symbolizes the supreme revelation given by God to humanity, given by the Logos himself. The revelation communicated through the law, the prophets, and wisdom was undoubtedly good, but the revelation of Jesus is better still: “The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (Jn 1:17)….

There has been much juggling with the number three in v. 1, and many hypotheses have been offered to explain it. The most probable is that the evangelist wishes to remind the reader of the resurrection, which likewise took place “on the third day.” This first manifestation of glory, which attests to the mission of Jesus, anticipates the decisive manifestation of this glory, namely, his resurrection. The fleeting glory of Cana is an anticipation, in the form of a miracle, of the definitive glory that is slowly brightening like the dawn.”

The Miracles of Jesus and the Theology of Miracles, Rene Latourelle, Paulist Press New York, p.210-11.

The use of the term ‘woman’ (gunai) to refer to his mother sounds harsh, though it is to be remembered that nowhere in the Gospel does John identify her by name.

However, this word is used elsewhere in John (4.21; 8.10) in contexts where Jesus had initiated a relationship with the women concerned, as a result of which they had benefited. Also, it is used twice in conversations with his mother (19.26) and Mary Magdalene (20.13, 15) in very caring contexts.

It is possible that John here specifically identifies Mary, not by name but as Jesus’ mother, and on three occasions, to indicate her relationship with him. As his mother, she knew her son; she may not know what he will do, but she knows that he will do something.

The statement of Jesus, ‘My hour has not yet come’ is also worthy of consideration. It refers either to the miracle that occurs next or to something else, perhaps his death, in which he will be glorified.

However, a reference to his death seems out of place in this context. It is more likely that Jesus was unwilling to appear to respond to the situation as if his mother had offered him with guidance when, in reality, he always followed an agenda set by God.

The Miracles in the Gospels, Keith Warrington, Henderickson Publishers.

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