Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wedding at Cana first miracle and Wedding supper of the Lamb as last miracle

Jesus' first miracle was the Wedding at Cana. Here it is:

"On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, 1and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him." (John 2:1-11)

It was the first public miracle, yet only a few people knew what had happened. Mary, the disciples, and the servants saw. Mary already knew He is the Messiah. The disciples already suspected He is the Messiah. The servants only knew that something miraculous had happened. So what was the point of the miracle?

I have heard one interpretation that since fermenting wine is a timed process and that there is nothing man can do to hurry it along, Jesus instantly changing the water into wine demonstrates His mastery of time and space. Other interpretations teach that it reveals His glory, that He is the best wine kept back until now, that He pours forth His blood freely, that Mary was showing her humility by leaving the initiative up to Him ("Do whatever he tells you") or that ritual purification jars will no longer be needed because Jesus will wash us clean once for all, etc. They are all plausible and they are all lovely, especially the interpretation where Jesus demonstrates His mastery over time by fermenting wine instantly. But while plausible, none of these interpretations settled my puzzlement over its the inclusion in John.

Why this miracle, especially since John tells us in verse 21:25 that "there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written." Why did the Holy Spirit impress this event onto the writer's mind for inclusion in the bible, when there were so many other miracles and signs to choose from? Because, remember, John said it was a sign. A sign is given to authenticate. So what was being authenticated here?

I was thinking about that today and one possible interpretation came to me. In the bible, wine is used as a symbol of holy joy. Isaiah uses it frequently, alternately showing that wine's absence is a symbol of desolation (Isaiah 24:11). If wine is a symbol of holy joy, and its absence is a symbol of desolation, then Mary's words to Jesus at the beginning of the miracle: "They have no more wine" (John 2:3) takes on new meaning.

Taking focus off the wine itself for a moment, look at the event: a wedding. In Isaiah 25:6-7 we read,

"The LORD of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
         A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
         And refined, aged wine.
And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
         Even the veil which is stretched over all nations."

The preparations made in the gospel for the reception of repentant sinners with God are often in the New Testament shown by the illustration of a feast, as seen above and in Mt. 22:1, "The parable of the Marriage Feast." All peoples are invited to partake of His salvation upon His 'mountain', or, His church, to feast upon the glory to soon come in the form of the holy sacrifice of Jesus and the swallowing of the veil that separates us from God. And we will drink wine, not just any wine, but Isaiah carefully notes, aged wine. As John notes, 'the best wine.' As the bible closes out the last of known human history-yet-to-come, we are promised another wedding-

Marriage of the Lamb
"Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb '" (Rev 19:7-9).

The tribulation is a time when Jesus pours out the winepress of His wrath (Rev 14:9) because they have drunk wine of the passion of their immorality (Rev. 14:8). But for His children He promises the best wine. We have holy joy in this.

We're promised a wedding in Isaiah, Jesus opens His ministry at a wedding in John, and we close out the bible with a wedding in Revelation. Wine is at all times understood to be a central component of the blessed event practically, spiritually, culturally, and symbolically. Compare the miracle at the wedding in Cana with the end times event of the Marriage supper of the Lamb and perhaps we can understand a glimpse of His purpose in this sign that John shares with us. Throughout the bible, the symbolism of weddings have prominence. He and the Apostles continually call the church His bride. Human history closes with a wedding banquet. It is fitting He opened His ministry and performed His first sign at a wedding. It is fitting that He showed His deity through changing water into wine. He IS the wine, and we are His bride. Thank you Jesus! You are saving the best for last!


14 comments:

  1. The best wines takes up to five years to age and to become the best that they can be. At the wedding at Cana, Jesus Christ turned water into excellent wine in little or no time. The wine tasted like it was years old but it wasn't.

    Similarly, the universe appears to be billions of years old. The most distant objects in the universe appear to be billions of years old. An Almighty God doesn't need billions of years to create a universe that appears to be billions of years old.

    A Sovereign and Almighty God also didn't need to leave behind the evidence of how He did it. See Hebrews 11:2

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amen to that Anonymous!! You're the first person I've ever encountered that holds that belief as well. If God could make a fully matured Adam, then He could make a fully matured earth.

    Also-- I'm so excited for the day our Bridgegroom comes to take us to our wedding supper!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Peter, don't go there.

    "Acts 1:7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority." Acts 1:7

    Job 24:1 "Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?

    1 Thessalonians 5:1 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you

    ReplyDelete
  4. The wedding at Canna has always been one of my favorite passages in the Gospels. Like all the events in the Bible many valid spiritual lessons can be drawn from it; I beleive all of the aforementioned interpretations are solid. I would like to add two more.
    There are some Protestant ministers (most notably Jack Van Impe) who belive that christians should eschew all alcohol; that the word wine in the bible should be translated as grape juice. Clearly that can not be the case hear, to make that case one has to either completly ignore the reaction of the headwaiter, or twist his words
    and remove the context of them. God allows the RESPONSIBLE use of wine and other alcoholic beverages, key word being responsible.

    The second point I wish to make is the Catholic take on this event. The actions of Mary should not be over looked in the story. Jesus had not intended on performing a miricale that day "My time has not yet come". But Mary interceeded on the behalf of the host, its important to note her words "What ever he says, do it" while she brought the problem to Jesus she did not perform the miricale she told the servants to follow the instuctions of Jesus. The Catholic view is that as the earthly mother of Jesus She sits above all other saints and angels and has an influence with Jesus. Prayers to Mary do not equate to worship of Mary they are a plea for her to bring our needs to the attention of Jesus, in return Mary reminds us to do what ever he says.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comment. The issue of believers and alcohol has always been debated. I agree with you that a blanket prohibition is incorrect. I do not believe that is explicitly what the NT teaches. However, drunkenness IS prohibited.

      As to your second interpretation, please understand that the Catholic view is completely false. Their view of Mary is unbiblical and a foundation for false doctrines. The Catholic religion itself is a false religion- as false as Islam.

      Mary did not intercede for the people in Cana at that time. If you read the entire sermon in context, or listen to it, I believe you will get the correct understanding of Mary's place in the event. Here is John MacArthur's summary of 'Mary interceding for the people' at Cana with a link to it below. His exposition of the passage is proper.

      "Oh, by the way, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that you don’t want to go to Jesus if you need something, you want to go to Mary to ask Jesus. The whole idea that you go Mary to plead with Jesus because Jesus can’t resist Mary comes from this passage. Can you believe that? Oh by the way, never mind that she was rebuked by Him for asking. This is the only time in the New Testament that Mary ever made any request to Jesus. And He responded by saying, “None of your business.” But this is where the Catholic Church finds the fountain of its Mariolatry, going to Mary to get things from Jesus."

      "Verse 4, after Mary says to Him, “they have no wine,” Jesus said to her, “Woman.” Woman, not mother? It’s not harsh to say “Woman.” Some say it’s kind of the southern expression, “ma’am.” It’s not harsh, but it’s not intimate. It’s not mother. It’s courteous. By the way, it’s the same word that He used on the cross in John 19 when He said to her, “Woman, behold your son,” and handed her over to John. He called her “woman” there as well. Why? Because He is telling her we don’t any longer have the relationship we’ve had up till now. It’s over. She is no longer in a position to act as an authority in His life. She is no longer in a position to tell Him what to do, to make suggestions to Him. This would be a big change because I’m pretty confident that everything she ever asked of Him, everything she ever desired of Him, He gave out of His love. But she could no longer demand anything from Him. She played no role in His ministry."

      ~John MacArthur, The Beginning of Miracles
      http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/43-8/the-beginning-of-miracles

      Delete
    2. A reply as to the significance of Mary and her role in the life of Christ and His church. The New Testament speaks often of Christ fulfilling the Kingdom of David which shall have no end. In the Davidic kingdom, the mother of the king was the queen. She had a unique role in the kingdom for she alone always had access to the king's ear. The people of the kingdom brought their petitions to her and she brought them to the king. I don't think we can discard this as having no relevance to the kingdom God establishes in heaven with Jesus as Kinng and Mary as his Queen. Do you not ask those who you believe to have a strong relationship with their Lord to add their petitions to yours in time of need?

      Secondly, the word translated as "woman" is used in Genesis as well as in Revelations. In both places as well as in the Gospel use at the wedding of Cana and the foot of the cross, we see Christ identifying Mary as the woman of prophecy. Both as the mother of he who defeats Satan and she who gives spiritual birth to the church. If God entrusted His son into the hands of Mary, blessed by all generations through her relationship with her son, who are we to set her aside?

      Delete
    3. We are not setting her aside. We are giving her the same due given any forgiven sinner.

      Jesus did not call her His queen. As a matter of fact Jesus was not a king at that time. e set aside His sovereignty to humble Himself and come as a servant. In Mt 8:20 He said, Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." Does that sound like a king's life and his mother the queen? Look at Phil 2:7, too. If you bestow anything on Mary by virtue of her son in His first incarnation, then it should be humble servitude because that is who Jesus was at that time.
      This is what Jesus said about His mother:

      As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”Luke 11:27-28

      Blessed RATHER. He did not say to exalt His mother, but said RATHER than that, blessed are all who keep His word.

      In addition, in another golden opportunity to exalt his mother again we do not see exaltation, Jesus DIDN'T say, 'Make way for the Queen! He said instead,

      "While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
      Matthew 12:46-50.

      God entrusted His son to Himself, not to Mary. Jesus had an earthly mother and an earthly foster father and brothers and sisters and friends. Period. God put Jesus on earth, not 'entrusting' His son to a woman but entrusting Himself in His own plan for salvation of humankind.

      The strongest exhortation I can make to yo is this verse, 1 Timothy 2:5,

      "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,"

      ONE mediator. Not Mary. Jesus. Rid yourself of your idol in Mary and turn to the only mediator there is, who brings the Gospel of truth, Jesus Christ.

      Delete
    4. Who ever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother...and Mary said, "Be it done unto me according to thy word" Was he not indeed asking his followers to take a close look at his mother, who abided in the will of his father? How can you love the Lord and have such vehemence against his sweet mother? If any soul can show you the way to love the Lord, it is her love. She who is the first and finest example of a Christian. And again, there is but one mediator between God and men, but do you ever ask a friend to pray for you????

      Delete
    5. Jane there is no vehemence here. Mary is a sinner like the rest of us, no more, no less. Your reaction shows just how high you've lifted Mary up. Poke someone's idol and see how they react. That's how you know they have an idol.

      If any soul can show me the way to the Lord is is a Christian filled with the Holy Spirit and the Father who draws them. Mary wasn't even mentioned much ever again shortly after Jesus began His ministry. She falls off the pages of the bible and human history.

      "Be it done unto me according to Your Word." means the same thing all the other saints have said before and since: she was accepting the Lord's work through her. She is a tool and used of the Lord to execute His plan. Just like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, David, the prostitute Rahab, and all the other sinners the Lord used to get to the point of the resurrection and beyond. Mary is the same as you and me. A sinner worshiping at the feet of Jesus.

      Here is something that may help you, if you want to understand the issue from the bible

      Exposing the Idolatry of Mary Worship: What the Bible Says
      http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/90-317

      Delete
    6. No thanks. I pray my Rosary daily and fall more head over heels in love with my Lord, Jesus Christ. Mary is no idol here. Just the shortest way to truly know and love the Lord. You do realize that the Rosary is all scripture.

      Delete
  5. "Oh, by the way, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that you don’t want to go to Jesus if you need something, you want to go to Mary to ask Jesus." This is absolutely false. I'm not sure why Pastor John feels the need to misrepresent. Please do not slander. Please do not manipulate. If your position is the correct one, there is no need to slander.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Anonymous,

      Thank you for your comment. I know it can be upsetting to see how outsiders view your faith. I also know that Mary is beloved by Catholics and to speak against her wounds you.

      However, it is the correct view. One of the saddest things about Catholicism is that it keeps our savior remote from you. You’re encouraged to get to Jesus through tradition, priests, and Mary, and all that is unnecessary because He intercedes for us all the time, and He is working all the time, for His bride.

      Most Catholics are taught, and pardon me if you're one of the few who haven't been taught this, is that she is Co-Redemptrix, and she presents the pleas of the people to Jesus. It is one reason she is so beloved, when unfortunately the affection is misplaced. Jesus should be more beloved than Mary because it is He who actually prays for us.

      Here is some information from Mike Gendron, a man who was Catholic for many, many years but is a born again believer now. He writes about the blasphemy of Mary worship (sadly, it IS blasphemy).

      First is your catechism which teaches "Mary did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation" (CCC, para. 969)

      So you see, by your teaching, John was right, "if you want something go to Mary to ask Jesus". Continuing, Mr Gendron wrote

      "In 1854, Pope Pius IX established the immaculate conception of Mary as an infallible dogma, which states Mary was preserved from inheriting original sin. The dogma encourages Catholics: "to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard."

      The simple fact is that the true faith is much more streamlined that you've been led to believe. Jesus is our savior, intercessor, High Priest, Father, Groom, and so much more. He is love itself, caring for His sheep as tenderly as a father caring for his new born. Jesus said that

      “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

      "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." John 1:17

      And this one is most important. We do not need Mary, we have precious, constant, and loving direct access to Jesus all the time. Don't you want that too?

      For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Ephesians 2:18

      Delete

Visual Exegesis: Full of Eyes' "Members of the Body"

Full of Eyes is a support-based ministry of exegetical art that creates still and moving images intended to point people to the beauty of Go...