At this time Jesus had 6 disciples (Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip and Nathanael). These would serve as the witnesses of Jesus’ first miracle, as He began to reveal Himself as true God, the Son of the Heavenly Father.
As this chapter begins, Jesus had left the place where John the Baptist was baptizing (Bethany beyond Jordan – John 1:28) and had traveled to into Galilee near the town where He grew up. He went to Cana, the hometown of Nathanael (John 21:2), to attend a wedding feast. Cana’s exact location is uncertain, but many believe that it was located a few miles north of Nazareth in Galilee.
We notice that Mary is simply called “the mother of Jesus” in the gospel of John. Her name is never mentioned. See another example of this in John 19:25-27. The text does not say that Mary was invited, only that she was there. Perhaps she was there to assist in the wedding, and that is how she became aware of an embarrassing situation.
What problem arose at the wedding at Cana?
What did Mary expect when she came to Jesus and told Him that there was a shortage of wine?
In verse 4 Jesus addresses his mother as “dear woman.” Some people think that this sounds a bit cold or even disrespectful. When Jesus called her “woman” this was not being rude or disrespectful. Remember that she had come to Him not because He was her son, but because He was her Lord. And now Jesus answered her, not as her son, but as her Lord. This was a simple, informal form of address, the typical way that Jesus addressed women in John’s Gospel. Check out these references:
We need to remember that Jesus is also our Lord. He is our Savior, who has died for us, and we must trust in Him. But He is also our Lord, who is over us, and we must obey Him.
In spite of Jesus’ answer to her, Mary still expected that Jesus would solve the problem. She trusted that He could and would help when the time was right. So she simply instructed the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
And when His time was right, Jesus approached them and told them to fill six huge stone jars, that would each hold 60-100 liters) with water. Where would they get all that water? They could not just turn on the faucet until the jars were full. Not back then! They would need to go to the city well, or the spring, or wherever Cana’s water supply was. Can you imagine what they might say as they make trip after trip to the well carrying heavy buckets or skins filled with water? “What is that rabbi going to do with all this water? Doesn’t He know how hard this is? This doesn’t make any sense!”
Sound familiar? When Jesus tells you to do something, perhaps you might also object that it’s too hard or it doesn’t make any sense. It didn’t make sense to the fishermen, when Jesus told them. “Cast out into the deep water. Throw your net on the right side of the boat.” Didn’t they object, saying, “But Master, we have fished all night and caught nothing!” （Luke5:4;John 21:6）
Which of these things Jesus tells us to do don’t make sense to you, or just seems too hard?
Like Mary, trust in Jesus and do whatever He tells you, because He knows better than us, and because His results are always best.
Jesus provided a very large amount of wine through this miracle (about 450-680 liters). Jesus’ gift of wine was excellent in quality and abundant in quantity. Of course, it could be misused or abused in drunkenness, but it could also be used to provide joy and gladness for a celebration. Psalm 104:14-15 says, “He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate– bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.” Wine is one of God’s gifts, to be received with thanks and used in moderation.
耶稣藉这个神迹为婚礼供应了大量的酒(约450-680升)。耶稣所赐的酒，品质优良，数量充足。当然，它可能会被误用或滥用于醉酒，但它也可以用来供应欢乐和喜悦的庆祝。诗篇104:14-15说，“14 他使草生长给六畜吃，使菜蔬发长供给人用，使人从地里能得食物。15 又得酒能悦人心，得油能润人面，得粮能养人心。”酒是上帝的礼物之一，要带着感谢接受，并适度使用。
But remember that God warns about drinking too much. Ephesians 5:18 says, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
Verse 12 mentions that Jesus went to Capernaum with his mother and brothers. Did Jesus have brothers? Since Jesus was not the son of Joseph and Mary (but of Mary and the Holy Spirit) those brothers were actually younger “half-brothers” (the children of Mary and Joseph). Their names are mentioned in Mark 6:3 – “Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?”
From John 7:5 (“For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”) it is clear that Jesus’ half-brothers did not believe in him at first. Only after the resurrection do we read that Jesus’ brothers were included among the believers (see Acts 1:14). Later, one of the brothers, James, became a leader in the early church, and wrote the epistle of James in the New Testament.
In the time of the New Testament, Jewish believers from all over the world would gather at Jerusalem to observe the Passover, one of the three great Jewish religious festivals. The law required that each worship present a sacrificial animal or bird at the temple. The law also required that each worshiper pay the temple tax, using only the local coins that were acceptable at the temple. Because it would be difficult to travel a long distance with a sacrificial animal, and because people from other countries would need to obtain the local money needed for the temple offering, merchants sold sacrificial animals and changed coins into the local money as a convenience for the worshipers. But there was a problem with these customs.
Nicodemus was a teacher (v. 10), a Pharisee, and a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council. The Sanhedrin had 70 members who were responsible for religious decisions. This was the group that eventually put Jesus on trial (Luke 22:66).
Nicodemus is only mentioned in the Gospel of John. In John 7:50-51 we read that Nicodemus rebuked the Pharisees for condemning Jesus without hearing Him. And after Jesus’ death, Nicodemus donated a gift of spices and helped Joseph of Arimathea bury Jesus (19:39–40).
Although Nicodemus was a teacher of God’s Word in Israel, he did not understand the way of salvation and spiritual life. The main thing that the Scriptures had taught was confusing to this teacher of Israel. Unfortunately, this often seems to be the case today. There are many religious teachers in churches who do not seem to grasp the gospel or how God saves and gives spiritual life. They teach a social gospel, or they teach a way of salvation by works. How can you be a Christian teacher if you do not understand that God saves and gives life through His Spirit?
After Jesus’ interview with Nicodemus, the Lord took his disciples away from Jerusalem and down to the southern portion of the Jordan River, not far from ancient Jericho. There the disciples of Jesus began a baptism ministry (see John 4:2) which became very popular. In fact, the disciples of John the Baptist seem to have become envious that Jesus was gaining more followers than John had, and they complained about it to John.
John’s beautiful reply is recorded in verses 27-36. What were some of the faith-inspired truths that John confessed about Jesus?
In the next lesson we will see how Jesus went to reach the people of Samaria through a woman he met at a well. Please prepare the lesson on John 4 and 5. May the Lord guide your study of his holy word.