The text for this lesson is John 2:1–11.
- Through His first miracle, Jesus revealed Himself to be true God. God uses His Word and physical means—water, bread, and wine—to reveal to me that Jesus is my Savior.
- Law: Like the disciples, I am unsure who Jesus is.
- Gospel: In His Word and Sacraments, Jesus shows me that He is the Savior, as He showed the disciples through His Word and miracles.
- In Jesus’ day, weddings were occasions for great feasts, often lasting several days. Sometimes we forget the true humanity of Jesus, but we see it in His attendance at the wedding at Cana. No doubt He took part in the festivities, enjoying the delicious food and wine and having a wonderful time with His friends. At another time, we see Jesus go off into the wilderness to fast for forty days. And later, we see His great agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and in His Passion. How are these different parts of Jesus’ life typical of our own lives?
- Jesus performed an amazing miracle at the wedding at Cana by changing water into wine. This demonstrated His divine attribute of omnipotence, that is, being all-powerful. How does Jesus use His omnipotence today for our benefit?
- In John 2:10, the master of the feast tells the bridegroom, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine.” Concerning our human nature, of what does this remind us?
- It is commonly said that the wedding at Cana was recorded to demonstrate Jesus’ divinity. This is true but does not tell the whole story. As you will see in the outline provided by your leader, a major part of the book of John is made up of seven signs. (The number 7 often indicates completeness in the Bible.) The miracle at Cana is said in John 2:11 to be the “first of His signs.” That also could be translated as the “chief of His signs” or “source of His signs.” Based on this observation, what can we say about the significance of the sign He performed at Cana? How did this sign function for His disciples? See John 1:50 and 2:11. How does it function for us? See John 20:30–31.
- We have seen above that the purpose of the miracle at Cana—and all the other signs—is to reveal Jesus’ glory and strengthen the faith of His followers. Read Isaiah 25:6 and Amos 9:13, two prophecies related to the expected age of the Messiah. What about Jesus’ miracle at Cana, in particular, revealed His glory and showed that the Messiah had come? Compare Mark 2:22 with this miracle. What do the old wineskins and Jewish purification jars represent? What do the “new wine” and “fresh wineskins” (Mark 2:22) and “the good wine [kept] until now” (John 2:10) represent?
- Read Isaiah 62:5 and Jeremiah 2:2. How do these Old Testament passages describe the relationship between God and His people? Why is a wedding such an appropriate place for Jesus to manifest—to reveal—His glory? How is Jesus described in John 3:29? Who is the bride? See Ephesians 5:25–27.
- When a concept is introduced early on in John’s Gospel and recurs repeatedly throughout, this often leads to a very important point later. Two of these words are hour and glory, both words that appear in John 2:1–11. Read the following passages that mention the hour of Jesus: John 7:30; 12:23–24; 13:1; 17:1. What is Jesus’ hour in these verses? How does this shed light on what Jesus means by His hour in John 2:4?
- We noted above that the first part of John’s Gospel is called the Book of Signs and the second is the Book of Glory. Read John 1:14; 2:11; and 8:54 for references to Jesus’ glory in the first part of John. Then reread John 12:23–24 and 17:1. Why is it significant that the words glory and hour appear together in these verses? Read John 19:2–3, 19. In what way is Jesus portrayed as a king? Why is it so shocking that Jesus’ glory is to be found at the hour of His crucifixion?
- We saw above that Jesus’ signs reveal who He is for the disciples and for us. Yet not everyone got His signs. Often people missed the underlying meaning. Read John 6:26, 34–35. Why were the people seeking Jesus? What was the true meaning of the sign that He had performed (the feeding of the five thousand)? How does focusing solely on the miraculous nature of Jesus’ signs continue to lead people astray today?
- The purification jars mentioned in John 2:6 represent the ceremonies of the Old Testament, while the wine Jesus creates from the water in them is a sign that the New Testament has come. What did the Jews do with those purification jars? What is this suggestive of under the New Testament? According to Ephesians 5:25–27, what does Christ, the Bridegroom, do for His Bride, the Church?
- Wine, light, water, and food are symbols of salvation in John’s writings. When God’s Word is attached to water, it becomes Baptism, a vehicle of salvation—a Means of Grace. When the Word is attached to bread and wine, it becomes the Lord’s Supper, another vehicle of salvation—a Means of Grace. Read John 19:34–35; 1 John 1:7; 5:6–8. What do these passages teach us about the Lord’s appointed Means of Grace?