Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here. News Flash: The first 56 volumes are compiled into a book titled, “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible.” More details at the end. Now back to our regular programming.
Thanks for joining us today as we study Jesus Christ’s first miracle when He turned water into wine during the wedding feast at Cana. The story is recorded in only one of the four gospels — John 2:1-11. I will try to explain all the symbolism packed into these 11 verses as we read along.
“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding” (Verse 1-2).
Chronologically, “the third day” refers to after Jesus met the disciple Nathanael, also known as Bartholomew. However, theologically and symbolically, the third day is associated with Christ’s Resurrection — when He came into His glory. Now, as He is about to perform the first miracle of His earthly ministry, Jesus begins to manifest His glory “on the third day,” establishing a miraculous circular connection. Continuing:
"When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’ ‘Woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My hour has not yet come'" (Verse 3-4). It was then (and is now) an embarrassment to run out of wine during weddings, so Mary intervened. And although it sounds like Jesus was being harsh to His mother, Mary, calling her “woman,” back then, the term was a sign of respect.
But most important is when Jesus said, “My hour has not yet come,” proving He knew when, where, why, and how He would be killed. Although His initial response might have indicated He was not yet ready to begin his ministry, Jesus went ahead and showed His divinity, honoring Mary’s request.
In John’s gospel, there is a progression of verses (John 7:6, 8, 30, – 8:20 – 12:23, 27 –13:1 –16:32) moving Jesus toward His “hour” — the time when He willingly sacrifices Himself on the cross. And, in His last “hour” reference praying before being arrested, He said, “‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you’” (John 17:1). Continuing the passage:
“His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you’”(Verse 5). These profound words are the last direct quote from Mother Mary in the New Testament.
Then Jesus swung into action:
“Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’ They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.’” (Verse 6 – 10).
Mary and Jesus saved the wedding celebration, but there is a deeper reason why wine is central to His first miracle. In the Old and New Testament, wine is connected to favorable activities such as blessings, celebrations, harvest, and restoration. But also unfavorable behaviors such as drunkenness. For more details see Vol. 65, “What the Old Testament Says About Wine,” and what the New Testament says in Vol. 66.
In Vol. 66, I quoted my colleague Russ Breault, who has written about the first miracle explaining, “Transformation is the key. Changing water into wine is a metaphor for what Jesus desires to do in the life of every believer. His first miracle reveals the core mission of His ministry – the Gospel message has the power to transform. Jesus later calls it being ‘born again.’” Russ also reemphasizes the real reason for the miracle, which happens to be the last verse:
“What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him” (Verse 11). Furthermore, there is an Old and New Testament connection with the Lord “revealing his glory” when Moses performed his first miraculous sign of Transformation:
“The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs—and they will turn to blood.’ Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in vessels of wood and stone’” (Exodus: 7-19).
God “revealed His glory” to the Israelites through Moses, turning water into blood, the first of the ten plagues that led to the Exodus from Egypt. Second, Jesus turned water into wine at Cana revealing His glory. And third, at the Last Supper when Jesus said the wine is “my blood”:
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, [of wine] and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom’”(Matthew 26:17-29).
Thanks for reading this far, and now you know that the wedding feast at Cana represents a progression of Eternal Glory from the Father to the Son — water to blood, water to wine, wine to blood — and why it was Jesus Christ’s first miracle. Amen to that!
Myra Kahn Adams is a media producer and conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her new book, “Bible Study For Those Who Don’t Read The Bible,” reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. Myra is also Executive Director of SignFromGod.org, a ministry dedicated to Shroud of Turin education. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com or Twitter @MyraKAdams.