The First of his Signs

(Isaiah 62:1-5, Psalm 36:5-10, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11).

John 2:1-11

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Jesus’ ministry begins “on the third day.” Our minds inevitably go to Jesus saying, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up… But he was speaking of the temple of his body” (John 2:19, 21). But that is not the only reference to Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection in this week’s text. Note the reference to Jesus’ “hour” which “has not yet come” (vs. 4). This is a concept that comes up several times in John’s Gospel, as one scholar points out:
Jesus, to the Samaritan at the well:
4:21 – “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.”

4:23 – “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.”
Jesus, to the Jews:
5:25 – “Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”

5:28 – “Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice.”
Jesus, to the Judeans:
John 7:6 – Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here.”
John 7:8 – “Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.”
The Evangelist/Narrator:
7:30 – Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.
8:20 – He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. So, with that connection in mind, the water and wine take on a new meaning in light of the cross:

Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him.But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out(John 19:32-34).

 It is true that John the Evangelist refers frequently to glory in his gospel, and in several contexts, but it is in Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection that his most fully reveals his glory:

His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him (John 12:16).

At the beginning of the gospel there is a foreshadowing of the conclusion of the gospel. The cross is ever present. “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” says John the Baptist in John’s Gospel (1:29). And of the blood of The Lamb we can say along with the steward and with believers of all times and places: You have kept the best for last! (cf. vs. 10).
Pastor Ken+