Monday, November 28, 2011

John 2:1-11

1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Key Observation:
The first miracle of Jesus answered a great social need of his mother.

The mother of Jesus is given the honor of designating the beginning of His miracles. John undoubtedly was standing there, watching the whole thing, evidenced by the fact that he gives vivid and personal details. The conversation with his mother is recorded, as are the number of waterpots. The comment of the ruler of the feast is retold, and taken together, indicate that John was probably present. McGee makes a very poignant observation that Mary carried the sullied reputation for all of the life of Jesus concerning her virgin birth. This request by her might be also seen as a plea for vindication: “Show the world that You are who the angels said You are.”

McGee: “Here she is asking Him to do something that will demonstrate who He is to clear her name. He tells her that He is going to do just that—He will clear her name—but that the hour has not yet come. That hour did come! His resurrection proves who He is.” I always took it that Jesus was being told by his mother that the time had come for miracles, that this was an honor she was given from God, but McGee gives some new thoughts to this. I am not sure I agree totally with it; the context seems to demand a current remark to a current situation. Would Jesus refer to His resurrection at such a point? Perhaps He might, but Mary’s question is specifically tailored to the marriage feast, and I do think the answer that Christ gave to his mother must first fit the context.

Mary has some role with the marriage that is not revealed; perhaps she is a relative, or just an interested friend. But we know from her remark: “They have no wine”, she is concerned about their need. Calvin suggests that Mary was trying to get Jesus to give a discourse; McGee suggests that she was directing her son to begin to show Himself through a miracle. I agree with McGee; Calvin seems to be making a-way-out-of-context interpretation here.

I find it interesting that the miracles of God so often seem to use ordinary things which are given miraculous effects. The spit of Jesus was used to heal eyes. The prophet Elisha told Namaan to go wash himself in the Jordan River seven times. Here water, ordinary water, is turned into a fine wine. I think God does the same thing with me. I do not count for very much; others look at me and see someone quite ordinary. But God, filling me with His Spirit, takes “the ordinary” and makes something miraculous from it—someone that can be used by God to effect profound change in others. Do we not all wish to be used like that? Oh, that God might fill us with His Spirit, and put us to His uses.

* Afternote:
I may have happened upon an explanation as to up to a year gap between Chapter One and Chapter Two. Thomas Aquinas: "For three miracles are commemorated on the feast of the Epiphany: the adoration of the Magi, which took place in the first year of the Lord’s birth; secondly, the baptism of Christ, which implies that he was baptized on the same day thirty years later; thirdly, this marriage, which took place on the same day one year later. It follows from this that at least one year elapsed between his baptism and this marriage. In that year the only things recorded to have been done by the Lord are found in the sixth chapter of Matthew: the fasting in the desert, and the temptation by the devil;"

Thus we know we have to have time for the temptation of Jesus, which we know to be at least 40 days. Therefore it is reasonable that several months passed between John 1 and John 2.

St Thomas Aquinas (2010-04-15). Commentary of The Gospel of St John (Kindle Locations 2595-2599). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

Gracious Spirit, Dwell With Me

1. Gracious Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would gracious be;
And with words that help and heal
Would Thy life in mine reveal;
And with actions bold and meek
Would for Christ my Savior speak.

2. Truthful Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would truthful be;
And with wisdom kind and clear
Let Thy life in mine appear;
And with actions brotherly
Speak my Lord's sincerity.

3. Tender Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would tender be;
Shut my heart up like a flower
In temptation's darksome hour,
Open it when shines the sun,
And his love by fragrance own.

4. Mighty Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would mighty be;
Mighty so as to prevail,
Where unaided man must fail;
Ever, by a mighty hope,
Pressing on and bearing up.

5. Holy Spirit, dwell with me!
I myself would holy be;
Separate from sin, I would
Choose and cherish all things good,
And whatever I can be
Give to Him Who gave me Thee!

Lyrics: Thomas Toke Lynch

No comments: