Wednesday, February 25, 2009

John 2

I created the above image in Adobe Illustrator CS2

Jesus Changes Water to Wine

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. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."

"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."
His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. [Greek: two to three metretes (probably about 75 to 115 liters)]

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."

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

Jesus Clears the Temple

After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"

His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me." [Psalm 69:9]

Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?"

Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."

The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. [Or, 'and believed in him'] But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.

Verse 3: "And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine."

"On the backgrounds of this miracle J. D. M. Derrett, an expert in Oriental law, points out among other things the strong element of reciprocity about weddings in the Ancient Near East: it was possible in certain circumstances to take legal action against the man who failed to provide an appropriate wedding gift. The bridegroom and family here might have been involved in a financial liability for failing to provide adequately for their guests.

Was Mary asking for a miracle? There is no evidence that Jesus had worked any miracles prior to this (although this amounts to an argument from silence). Some think Mary was only reporting the situation, or (as Calvin thought) asking Jesus to give some godly exhortations to the guests and thus relieve the bridegroom’s embarassment.

But the words, and the reply of Jesus in verse 4, seem to imply more. It is not inconceivable that Mary, who had probably been witness to the events of the preceding days, or at least was aware of them, knew that her son’s public career was beginning. She also knew the supernatural events surrounding his birth, and the prophetic words of the angel, and of Simeon and Anna in the Temple at Jesus’ dedication. In short, she had good reason to believe Jesus to be the Messiah, and now his public ministry had begun. In this kind of context, her request does seem more significant." (from Exegetical Commentary on John 2)

Verse 4: "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come."

"(Jesus’ reply to his mother): According to Liddell-Scott-Jones the vocative is “a term of respect or affection”. It is Jesus’ normal, polite way of addressing women (Matt 15:28, Luke 13:12; in John, 4:21, 8:10, 19:26 and 20:15). But it is unusual for a son to address his mother with this term. The custom in both Hebrew (or Aramaic) and Greek would be for a son to use a qualifying adjective or title.

Is there significance in Jesus’ use here? Most likely. It probably indicates that a new relationship exists between Jesus and his mother once he has embarked on his public ministry. He is no longer or primarily only her son, but the “Son of Man”. This is also suggested by the use of the same term in 19:26 in the scene at the cross, where the Beloved Disciple is “given” to Mary as her “new” son."
"(literally, “What to me and to you, woman?”)"
"The Hebrew expression in the Old Testament had two basic meanings:

(1) When one person was unjustly bothering another, the injured party could say “What to me and to you?” meaning, “What have I done to you that you should do this to me?” Examples: Judges 11:12, 2 Chr 35:21, 1 Kings 17:18.

(2) When someone was asked to get involved in a matter he felt was no business of his, he could say to the one asking him, “What to me and to you?” meaning, “That is your business, how am I involved?” Examples: 2 Kings 3:13, Hosea 14:8.

Meaning (1) implies hostility, meaning (2) merely disengagement. Meaning (2) is almost certainly to be understood here as better fitting the context (although some of the Greek Fathers took the remark as a rebuke to Mary; I feel such a rebuke is unlikely).

In the immediate context the meaning is clearly “It is not yet time for me to act.”

"The word (literally, “hour”; “time”) occurs in the Gospel of John in 2:4, 4:21, 23; 5:25, 28, 29; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27; 13:1; 16:25; and 17:1. It is best seen as a reference to the special period in Jesus’ life when he is to leave this world and return to the Father (13:1); the hour when the Son of man is glorified (17:1). This is accomplished through his suffering, death, resurrection (and ascension—though this is not emphasized by John). 7:30 and 8:20 imply that Jesus’ arrest and death are included. 12:23 and 17:1, referring to the glorification of the Son, imply that the resurrection and ascension are included as part of the “hour”. In 2:4 Jesus’ remark to his mother indicates that the time for this self-manifestation has not yet arrived; his identity as Messiah is not yet to be publicly revealed."
(from Exegetical Commentary on John 2)

Verse 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."

"Significantly, these stone jars held water for Jewish purification rituals. The water of Jewish ritual purification becomes the wine of the new Messianic Age."
"Each of the pots held 2 or 3 metrhtai. A metrhth'" (literally, “measure”) was approximately 9 gallons (39.39 liters); thus each jar held 18-27 gallons (78.8-118.2 liters) and the total volume of liquid involved was 108-162 gallons (472.7-709 liters)!"
"The conversation between Jesus and his mother appears incomplete. Did she persist in her request in spite of his initial refusal? What did she expect Jesus to do? Catholics have often appealed to this passage to support the power of Mary’s intercession. But this is certainly not the point intended by the author of the Gospel as the reason he includes the account in the narrative.

The author gives the point of the story, as far as he is concerned, in 2:11. He tells us what the sign accomplished: through it Jesus revealed his “glory” and his disciples believed in him. Thus, the first sign has the same purpose that all the following signs will have: revelation about the person of Jesus. Scholarly interpretations to the contrary, John does not put primary emphasis on the replacing of the water for Jewish purification, or on the change from water to wine, or even on the resulting wine. John does not focus on Mary and her intercession, nor on why she made the request or whether she pursued it further after Jesus’ initial response. John does not focus on the reaction of the master of the feast or the bridegroom. The primary focus, as for all the Johannine stories, is on Jesus as the One sent by the Father to bring salvation to the world."
(from Exegetical Commentary on John 2)


thekingpin68 said...

'On the backgrounds of this miracle J. D. M. Derrett, an expert in Oriental law, points out among other things the strong element of reciprocity about weddings in the Ancient Near East: it was possible in certain circumstances to take legal action against the man who failed to provide an appropriate wedding gift.58 The bridegroom and family here might have been involved in a financial liability for failing to provide adequately for their guests.'

Funny. And good graphic.

It has been a busy day with compiling my (new) Bibliography items and now I need to call India again for Mumma.


Jeff said...

Thanks, Russ.

Call India again?