John 2:5-11 – Jesus’ First Miracle Part II

John 2:5–11 (ESV) — 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.


We have briefly discussed in the last two classes whether we read too much into Jesus words and actions.
Did Jesus really say all that we believe he did in just a few verses?
To help us figure this out, we need to back track just a bit.
• Last week we discussed both why Jesus would have “stiff armed” his mother and why then did He proceed to solve the wine problem anyway.

We need to make a couple of more points on each of these issues.
• And in the process we will both cover the remainder of our verses, but also find that Jesus actually validates our observations about the meaning behind His interactions with Mary and our efforts to look for a deeper meaning behind His actions and words.

With respect to the “stiff arm”:
• Last week we saw that Jesus created a distance between He and Mary because, “everything, even family ties, had to be subordinated to his divine mission. She could no longer view him as other mothers viewed their sons; she must no longer be allowed the prerogatives of motherhood…he, like every other person, must come to him as to the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Neither she nor anyone else dare presume to approach him on an ‘inside track’—a lesson even Peter had to learn” – D.A. Carson.

What is the evidence we have that Mary was presuming upon her relationship with Jesus?
• (1) Mary would have clearly had some expectations about Jesus given her miraculous pregnancy and the words the angel Gabriel spoke to her.
    o Luke 1:28–33 (ESV) — 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
• (2) We know that by asking Jesus for help she figured he might do something.
• (3) She also would have certainly noticed, as we said last week, that Jesus showed up with 5 or 6 strangers.
• (4) And finally, her words in verse 5 convey that, even given Jesus’ rebuke of her, she still knew he would do something.
    o John 2:5 (ESV) — 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
• It can be said then, that given her inside knowledge, she was presuming upon her relationship with Jesus.

And so to demonstrate that we are not over reading the text with respect the reason Jesus gave Mary the “stiff arm”, we can look to Jesus’ words in Mark.
• Mark 3:31–35 (ESV) — 31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
    o In this text, Jesus actually confirms that, with the advent of His Messianic ministry, His relationship with His family has in fact changed dramatically!
    o So Jesus own words provide confirmation of our reading of Jesus response to His mother in John.

Now, with respect to why he went ahead and solved the wine problem even after the rebuke, last week we said:
• (1) It seems possible that Mary was asking Jesus to do something divine or to reveal Himself in some way.
• (2) Jesus was aware of a deeper symbolism in play with the wedding and the wine.
• (3) This event was one of many of Jesus that pointed to and “anticipated the glorification of Jesus on the cross” – D.A. Carson.
• (4) Jesus saw it as an opportunity to reveal Himself as the Messianic Bridegroom to His mother and disciples.
• (5) Jesus chose to “act out a parable” for the benefit of His disciples and mother:
    o So according to John Piper, it as if Jesus is saying, “I will take the purification rituals of Israel and replace them with a decisively new way of purification—namely, with my blood…I will give you an acted out parable of my death and what it will mean.

And, again, to demonstrate that we were not over reading the text, we look to Jesus.
But first, we need to ask for whose benefit the wine miracle was done?
• (1) Clearly, it was for his mother and to assist her catering responsibilities.
• (2) And obviously the wedding party and their guests benefited.
o John 2:10 (ESV) — 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
• (3) However, as we look at verse 11, we see who benefited on a deeper, spiritual level.
    o John 2:11 (ESV) — 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
• So John’s own words make a distinction between Jesus words and actions physical impact (the wedding party) and their spiritual impact (Mary, the disciples and possibly the servants).

So now we can look at Jesus’ own words.
• We will see that Jesus own words demonstrate that he often would do something that had a deeper spiritual impact and meaning specifically for the benefit of His disciples just as we say He did in our text from John.
• Or to put another way, Jesus would do things to purposely deepen the faith of His disciples.

(1) Jesus cursed the fig tree:
• Mark 11:12–14 (ESV) — 12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
• Mark 11:20–25 (ESV) — 20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

(2) Jesus walked on water:
• Matthew 14:22–33 (ESV) — 22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

(3) Jesus calmed a storm:
• Matthew 8:23–27 (ESV) — 23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

(4) Jesus landed the big catch:
• Luke 5:5–11 (ESV) — 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

So I think we can conclude without hesitation that Jesus orchestrated His actions and words to operate not only on a physical level but on a deeper spiritual level.
• And it is clear that he did this on purpose and for the benefit of His disciples.
• As John said, John 20:30 (ESV) — 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;

How can we be sure that His actions and words had a deeper spiritual impact?
• In our text today we see this impact in verse 11.
    o John 2:11 (ESV) — 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
• And in our (4) examples we see it in the following declarations:
    o “Truly you are the Son of God”
    o “What sort of man is this”
    o “Depart from me for I am a sinful man O Lord”

So have we read too much into Jesus’ words and actions?
• It seems to me we absolutely have not.
• And, “Actually, the word that is translated as “miracles” in this verse is the word “signs,” and in John a sign is always something that points to a reality greater than itself. Or, to use another word, we could say that the miracles are also, in addition to being literal events, symbolic” – James Boice.
• So we should be asking ourselves, “Jesus words and actions are symbolic of what?

Now, one final consideration:
What does it mean that the disciples believed?
    o Hadn’t they already believed?
• According to the AYBD the use of “believed” in our text (and elsewhere) is “distinctive”.
• The “use of pisteúein with eis…has the new and strong sense of “believing in” and arises in the context of the church’s mission. Another fairly common sense of pisteúein is “to entrust or commit oneself”.
• So in this since, one could have already believed in Jesus as Savior by faith and yet still also believe or commit oneself to Him anew every day.
    o Or, as John MacArthur describes this distinctive form of belief; the disciples experienced a “confirmation of [their prior] faith”.

Lesson for Us:
Jesus did not waste His words or actions.
• When he did something He intended it to have not only the obvious impact, but to bring home a deeper spiritual truth.
• This is made clear by His own words, the words of John, and the words of His disciples.

Encountering the truths and miracles of Scripture should have an impact on our lives.
• This is why John says, John 20:31 (ESV) — 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
    o If you are an unbeliever and have a seeking heart, you gain a capacity and leading to faith.
    o If you are a believer you gain further confirmation of your faith.

Have you ever had any encounter (just for you) with Scripture or witnessed any events that led you to say to yourself, “Yes, I do believe in Jesus or God or the truth of the Bible or the work of the Holy Spirit, etc.?