WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 18, 2012
THE WEDDING AT CANA
(The first sign of the MESSIAH)
The, now famous, “wedding at the village of Cana” in Galilee is regarded as the sight of first of the “seven signs, or miracles, of the MESSIAH” that are recorded in the Gospel of John. It was a private miracle, known only to Jesus’ disciples, a few wedding servants and quests, and Mary, the mother of JESUS. Of the four Gospel writers, only the Apostle John was present at this wedding. John, perhaps, uses the word “sign”, instead of “miracle”, so that he might draw away from the spectacle of the event, in order that we may be better able to focus on the significance of the event.
The turning of the water into wine is also the first of any of the 35 miracles of JESUS that are recorded in all of the four Gospels combined. It occurred three days after JESUS’ calling of Philip and Nathanael. JESUS’ disciples, HIS mother, and, HIS brothers were all invited. A wedding feast of this nature would typically last for seven days, and it would begin following the groom’s taking of his bride to his home, or, to his father’s home, for consummation of the marriage.
After all of the wine had been consumed (v. 3), JESUS’ mother, Mary, turned to HIM for help. In verse 4, JESUS’ response, and use of the word “woman” to respond to HIS mother, in those days, was a polite term, even though it may not be for us today. The expression “What have I to do with thee”, also in verse 4, in the Greek, was a common expression that referred to a difference in relations, or realms. It also can be translated, “How does that concern you and me?”, which would seem more likely what JESUS was stating.
According to Jewish custom, the host at a wedding feast always treated the guests with wine, and the guest’s name was mentioned when the wine was poured. The statement spoken by JESUS, “MY time has not yet come” (still in verse 4) may simply mean nothing more than, “It is not MY turn to treat”.
JESUS did “treat”, however, and the water was miraculously turned into the best wine of all. Six large stone water pots were there that were used for regular Jewish ceremonial purposes. Each pot could hold twenty to thirty gallons of water. JESUS instructed the servants to fill the pots with water. After the pots were filled to the brim with water, JESUS told them to dip some out and take it to the master of ceremony. When the master of ceremony tasted the water that had been transformed into wine, he called the bridegroom over and said to him, “Usually the host serves the best wine first, then, when everyone is full and doesn’t care, he brings out the less expensive wines. But you have kept the best until now”.
Some scholars believe that all of this was a clear signal that Mary must now face the fact that her SON JESUS was now committed totally to the will of HIS FATHER GOD, and to the completion of HIS mission here on earth. And although she had given birth to HIM, and raised HIM from a child, she must now submit herself to JESUS as her LORD and SAVIOR, just like all the rest of humanity would have to do, in the process of time. And while she did not completely understand this at the time, she had decided, from that moment on, to trust in HIM completely.
The, significance of this miracle is explained by John, in verse 11 as the initial manifestation of the glory of CHRIST to men here on earth. JESUS’ first miracle of transforming water into wine at a joyful event such as this wedding, was a sign of the joy that HE would bring to all mankind, through a transformation of hearts. HIS ministry would be a “transforming one”, and the transformation that HE would bring, would come by way of the HOLY SPIRIT.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
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