The first miracle of Jesus

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

John 2:11

Countless miracles

Miracles are referenced throughout the Old Testament and pertain to the miracles God performed such as during the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt. In the New Testament, the miracles of Jesus are documented throughout the four gospel accounts and comprise a total of 37 miracles. This week’s scripture reading represents the first recorded miracle that Jesus performed and it comes with some notable observations.  First, this event took place at a marriage in Cana of Galilee and Mary, the mother of Jesus was there, along with Jesus and his disciples. Notice that there is no record of Joseph being present at the wedding, perhaps due to his passing which is not recorded in the scriptures.

Water into wine

The wedding must have had some close relations to Mary, Jesus and his disciples since they were all invited but again scripture is silent on whose wedding took place. But then Mary consults with Jesus because the wedding party has run out of wine. Now this clearly infers that she knew he could do something miraculous about it since he would hardly have had a resource for wine available to him on a moment’s notice. But Jesus almost comes across a bit direct with her by stating, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” [John 2:4b] The apostle John notes similar statements in the first ten chapters of his gospel account such as when his brethren chided him to go into Jerusalem to show his disciples the works that he does or when the Jews who sought to take him, but his hour was not yet come.

Impure to pure

Despite this comment from Jesus, Mary was undeterred and instructed the servants of the wedding to do whatever he asked of them. Now comes the interesting part. Jesus instructs them to fill the water pots up with water but wait, these were, “six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews.” [John 2:6] These waterpots were used for ceremonial washing of the hands and were therefore full of not very clean water! Containing two or three firkins each, that was equivalent to about three Hebrew bathtubs. Clearly, there was no sense of purity in this water, it was more for show, and the servants proceeded to fill them up to the brim.

Then without any further discourse, Jesus tells the servants to, “Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.” [John 2:8] Wait, what? Bare unto the most important person in attendance at the feast? Without tasting it to make sure it was even palatable? Could you imagine the poor servants going through this exercise, likely not knowing who Jesus was, and then being told to serve this hand washing water to the governor of the feast? Thereafter, the servants witnessed the reaction of the governor not knowing what was to be the outcome of serving water from wash pots to him, “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,” [John 2:9}

…thou hast kept the good wine until now.

John 2:10

Praise of the Governor

It would be presumably that the servants were wanting to cower and hide at that time for fear of repercussion on them over this travesty of pouring supposed wash water instead of wine. But wait, now we will see the miracle that took place with Jesus from the comments expressed by the ruler of the feast to the bridegroom, “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.” [John 2:10] Herein is the display of the power of Jesus in transforming everyday water into the highest quality wine!

Interestingly, much debate and controversy has surfaced on whether Jesus created wine that contained alcohol, the byproduct produced from fermentation or whether it was wine without alcohol. The comment from the governor tends to indicate the wine was with alcohol (and when men have well drunk) giving the insinuation that wine with alcohol was already being served. Further on this with a bit of digression, most verses in scripture on the prohibition of alcohol pertain to intoxication or drunkenness, drinking to excess. Consider that even Paul instructed Timothy to have a little wine for his stomach ailments (1 Tim. 5:23). But this should not be the point of this miracle since the notable aspect was how Jesus turned ordinary and albeit well used well water into top quality wine, of which the governor took prominent note of in his statement.

…the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Matt. 11:5

John the Baptist doubts

This miracle was really the starting point for many other miracles that Jesus performed during his earthly ministry. Take for example when the imprisoned John the Baptist had a moment of doubt,  “And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” [Matt. 11:3-5] What a statement from Jesus! Blind people seeing, lame people walking, lepers healed, deaf people hearing and dead people coming back to life! This was indeed a summary of all that John the Baptist needed to know about Jesus in demonstration of who he was and that he was who John preached about to the multitudes.

The people’s reaction

Let us look at what transpired as a result of the miracles and healings of Jesus upon the people. It was well documented in the scriptures that, “…when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.”  [John 2:23] Even notable individuals such as a ruler of the Jews called Nicodemus acknowledged the miracles of Jesus, “The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” [John 3:2] Many of the people concluded that Jesus must be the Christ, “And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?” [John 7:31] Even the mistaken and misguided religious leaders called the Pharisees knew that something was very different with this man called Jesus, “Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.” [John 9:16]

But clearly, not everyone believed in him as shown in the scriptures (John 12:37). Some were perhaps amused by Jesus as though he were some traveling side show, “And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.” [Luke 23:8] Despite this, Jesus continued to perform miraculous healings upon people, even those people he had never seen or met but faith prevailed in these cases such as the nobleman’s son (John 4:54), his second miracle. There were also two en masse miracles that took place when Jesus fed thousands of people from just a small portion of food. Upon seeing such a demonstration of his power, this was evident from the reaction of the people, “Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.” {John 6:14]

…we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

John 3:2b

Worthy of worship

In closing off this Bible study, there was little doubt that Jesus exhibited his powers of deity on many occasions as witnessed by thousands. As the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God he had all the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in him (Col. 2:9) and had power over life and death (Rev. 1:18). He was no mere man, he was the God man and his record is there in the scriptures for everyone to see and believe, “The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.” [John 12:17] In conclusion, whether the miracles involved the loaves and the fishes, or the person who had  his leprosy healed or the healing of the Centurion’s servant, it was all through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something worth believing in and placing your faith in him for now and eternity!

Bible Study Questions

  1. Why do you think Jesus took this opportunity to manifest his glory before the people in turning water into wine?
  2. Given that Jesus used what could be considered almost dirty water, does this further prove the miracle that took place?
  3. True or false, the governor of the feast confirmed that the wine served from the miracle was good wine? Hint John 2:10.
  4. Why do you think John the Baptist may have suffered from doubt when he asked his disciple to inquire of Jesus if he was the one that was to come?
  5. In John 9:16, the Pharisees make the mistake of labeling Jesus as what? Hint, starts with the letter S.
  6. From this study, can you name at least three miracles that Jesus did during his earthly ministry?
  7. If this study was helpful for your faith, please consider sharing with someone you care about in your life.

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