John 2:1
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
II.

(1) The third dayi.e., from the last note of time in John 1:43, giving one clear day between the call of Philip and the day of the marriage.

Cana of Galilee has been identified with both Kânet el-Jelîl, or Khurbet Kânet, and Kefr Kenna. The monks of Nazareth and local tradition claim the latter place as the scene of the miracle, but this tradition has not been traced earlier than the seventeenth century, and the best modern authorities do not accept it. (But comp., in support of Kefr Kenna, Zeller in Report of Palestine Exploration Fund, iii. 1869.) Kânet el-Jelîl, on the other hand, is the rendering of the Arabic version, and Sæwulf, as early as A.D. 1103, describes it as the place “where the Lord turned water into wine at the wedding” (Early Travels in Palestine, p. 47). The strength of the argument is in the identity of name in the original, whereas Kenna is quite distinct. Travellers describe it as an obscure, uninhabited village in ruins. They were formerly shown the house where the marriage took place here, and even the water-pots, but these are now shown at the rival Kefr Kenna. The ruins are on the side of a hill looking over the plain of El Buttauf, rather more than six miles to the N. or N.E. of Nazareth, and so answering Saewulf’s description. It is some fifteen or sixteen miles from Tiberias and Capernaum, and six or seven more from Tell-Anihje. (Comp. John 1:28.) The writer knows the place by its common name Cana of Galilee, by which it was distinguished from the Cana of the tribe of Asher, S.E. from Tyre (Joshua 19:28). The mother of Jesus was already there, as a relation or friend, assisting in the preparations.

John

JESUS THE JOY-BRINGER

John 2:1 - John 2:11
.

The exact dating of this first miracle indicates an eye-witness. As Nazareth was some thirty miles distant from the place where John was baptizing, and Cana about four miles from Nazareth, the ‘third day’ is probably reckoned from the day of the calling of Philip. Jesus and His disciples seem to have been invited to the marriage feast later than the other guests, as Mary was already there. She appears to have been closely connected with the family celebrating the feast, as appears from her knowledge of the deficiency in the wine, and her direction to the servants.

The first point, which John makes all but as emphatic as the miracle itself, is the new relation between Mary and Jesus, the lesson she had to learn, and her sweet triumphant trust. Now that she sees her Son surrounded by His disciples, the secret hope which she had nourished silently for so long bursts into flame, and she turns to Him with beautiful faith in His power to help, even in the small present need. What an example her first word to Him sets us all! Like the two sad sisters at Bethany, she is sure that to tell Him of trouble is enough, for that His own heart will impel Him to share, and perchance to relieve it. Let us tell Jesus our wants and leave Him to deal with them as He knows how.

Of course, His addressing her as ‘Woman’ has not the meaning which it would have with us, for the term is one of respect and courtesy, but there is a plain intimation of a new distance in it, which is strengthened by the question, ‘What is there in common between us?’ What in common between a mother and her son! Yes, but she has to learn that the assumption of the position of Messiah in which her mother’s pride so rejoiced, carried necessarily a consequence, the first of the swords which were to pierce that mother’s heart of hers. That her Son should no more call her ‘mother,’ but ‘woman,’ told her that the old days of being subject to her were past for ever, and that the old relation was merged in the new one of Messiah and disciple-a bitter thought, which many a parent has to taste the bitterness of still, when wider outlooks and new sense of a vocation come to their children. Few mothers are able to accept the inevitable as Mary did, Jesus’ ‘hour’ is not to be prescribed to Him, but His own consciousness of the fit time must determine His action. What gave Him the signal that the hour was struck is not told us, nor how soon after that moment it came. But the saying gently but decisively declares His freedom, His infallible accuracy, and certain intervention at the right time. We may think that He delays, but He always helps, ‘and that right early.’

Mary’s sweet humility and strong trust come out wonderfully in her direction to the servants, which is the exact opposite of what might have been expected after the cold douche administered to her eagerness to prompt Jesus. Her faith had laid hold of the little spark of promise in that ‘not yet,’ and had fanned it into a flame. ‘Then He will intervene, and I can leave Him to settle when.’ How firm, though ignorant, must have been the faith which did not falter even at the bitter lesson and the apparent repulse, and how it puts to shame our feebler confidence in our better known Lord, if ever He delays our requests! Mary left all to Jesus; His commands were to be implicitly obeyed. Do we submit to Him in that absolute fashion both as to the time and the manner of His responses to our petitions?

The next point is the actual miracle. It is told with remarkable vividness and equally remarkable reserve. We do not even learn in what precisely it consisted. Was all the water in the vessels turned into wine? Did the change affect only what was drawn out? No answer is possible to these questions. Jesus spoke no word of power, nor put forth His hand. His will silently effected the change on matter. So He manifested forth His glory as Creator and Sustainer, as wielding the divine prerogative of affecting material things by His bare volition.

The reality of the miracle is certified by the jovial remark of the ‘ruler of the feast.’ As Bengel says: ‘The ignorance of the ruler proves the goodness of the wine; the knowledge of the servants, the reality of the miracle.’ His palate, at any rate, was not so dulled as to be unable to tell a good ‘brand’ when he tasted it, nor is there any reason to suppose that Jesus was supplying more wine to a company that had already had more than enough.

The ruler’s words are not meant to apply to the guests at that feast, but are quite general. But this Evangelist is fond of quoting words which have deeper meanings than the speakers dreamed, and with his mystically contemplative eye he sees hints and symbols of the spiritual in very common things. So we are not forcing higher meanings into the ruler’s jest, but catching one intention of John’s quotation of it, when we see in it an unconscious utterance of the great truth that Jesus keeps His best wine till the last. How many poor deluded souls are ever finding that the world does the very opposite, luring men on to be its slaves and victims by brilliant promises and shortlived delights, which sooner or later lose their deceitful lustre and become stale, and often positively bitter! ‘The end of that mirth is heaviness.’ The dreariest thing in all the world is a godless old age, and one of the most beautiful things in all the world is the calm sunset which so often glorifies a godly life that has been full of effort for Jesus, and of sorrows patiently borne as being sent by Him.

‘Full often clad in radiant vest

Deceitfully goes forth the morn,’


but Christ more than keeps His morning’s promises, and Christian experience is steadily progressive, if Christians cling close to Him, and Heaven will supply the transcendent confirmation of the blessed truth that was spoken unawares by the ‘ruler’ at that humble feast.

What effect the miracle produced on others is not told; probably the guests shared the ruler’s ignorance, but its effect on the disciples is that they ‘believed on Him.’ They had ‘believed’ already, or they would not have been disciples {John 1:50}, but their faith was deepened as well as called forth afresh. Our faith ought to be continuously and increasingly responsive to His continuous manifestations of Himself which we can all find in our own experience.

Jesus ‘manifested His glory’ in this first sign. What were the rays of that mild radiance? Surely the chief of them, in addition to the revelation of His sovereignty over matter, to which we have already referred, is that therein He hallowed the sweet sacred joys of marriage and family life, that therein He revealed Himself as looking with sympathetic eye on the ties that bind us together, and on the gladness of our common humanity, that therein He reveals Himself as able and glad to sanctify and elevate our joys and infuse into them a strange new fragrance and power. The ‘water’ of our ordinary lives is changed into ‘wine.’ Jesus became ‘acquainted with grief’ in order that He might impart to every believing and willing soul His own joy, and that by its remaining in us, our joy might be full.John 2:1-2. And the third day — Namely, after Christ’s coming into Galilee, and discoursing there with Nathanael, as related above; there was a marriage in Cana — A town which originally belonged to the tribe of Asher, Joshua 19:28. There were two other towns of the same name, one in the tribe of Ephraim, the other in Cœlo-Syria; and the mother of Jesus was there — It being probably a marriage of a near relation, or an intimate friend of hers. This may be inferred from Mary’s being not only present at the feast, but concerned about supplying the company with wine. As Mary here is spoken of alone, it may be reasonable to conclude that Joseph was now dead, and that he did not live to the time when Jesus entered on his public ministry, especially as he is nowhere mentioned in the gospel history afterward. And both Jesus was called — That is, was invited to the marriage; and his disciples — Namely, the two that had followed him from the banks of Jordan, with Peter, Philip, and Nathanael. And Jesus, not affecting the austerities which became the character and ministry of John the Baptist, freely accepted of the invitation. For he did not come to take away human society, but to sanctify it.2:1-11 It is very desirable when there is a marriage, to have Christ own and bless it. Those that would have Christ with them at their marriage, must invite him by prayer, and he will come. While in this world we sometimes find ourselves in straits, even when we think ourselves in fulness. There was want at a marriage feast. Those who are come to care for the things of the world, must look for trouble, and count upon disappointment. In our addresses to Christ, we must humbly spread our case before him, and then refer ourselves to him to do as he pleases. In Christ's reply to his mother there was no disrespect. He used the same word when speaking to her with affection from the cross; yet it is a standing testimony against the idolatry of after-ages, in giving undue honours to his mother. His hour is come when we know not what to do. Delays of mercy are not denials of prayer. Those that expect Christ's favours, must observe his orders with ready obedience. The way of duty is the way to mercy; and Christ's methods must not be objected against. The beginning of Moses' miracles was turning water into blood, Ex 7:20; the beginning of Christ's miracles was turning water into wine; which may remind us of the difference between the law of Moses and the gospel of Christ. He showed that he improves creature-comforts to all true believers, and make them comforts indeed. And Christ's works are all for use. Has he turned thy water into wine, given thee knowledge and grace? it is to profit withal; therefore draw out now, and use it. It was the best wine. Christ's works commend themselves even to those who know not their Author. What was produced by miracles, always was the best in its kind. Though Christ hereby allows a right use of wine, he does not in the least do away his own caution, which is, that our hearts be not at any time overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, Lu 21:34. Though we need not scruple to feast with our friends on proper occasions, yet every social interview should be so conducted, that we might invite the Redeemer to join with us, if he were now on earth; and all levity, luxury, and excess offend him.And the third day - On the third day after his conversation with Nathanael.

Cana - This was a small town about 15 miles northwest of Tiberias and 6 miles northeast of Nazareth. It is now called Kerr Kenna, is under the government of a Turkish officer, and contains perhaps 300 inhabitants, chiefly Catholics. The natives still pretend to show the place where the water was turned into wine, and even one of the large stone water-pots. "A Greek church," says Professor Hackett ('Illustrations of Scripture,' p. 322), "stands at the entrance of the town, deriving its special sanctity, as I understood, from its being supposed to occupy the site of the house in which the marriage was celebrated to which Jesus and his friends were invited. A priest to whom we were referred as the custodian soon arrived, in obedience to our call, and unlocked the doors of the church. It is a low stone building, pair." "The houses," says Dr. Thomson ('The Land and the Book,' vol. ii. p. 126), "were built of limestone, cut and laid up after the fashion still common in this region, and some of them may have been inhabited within the last fifty years. There are many ancient cisterns about it, and fragments of water-jars in abundance, and both reminded us of the 'beginning of miracles.' Some of my companions gathered bits of these water-jars as mementoes witnesses they could hardly be, for those of the narrative were of 'stone,' while these were baked earth." The place is now quite deserted. Dr. Thomson says: "There is not now a habitable house in the humble village where our blessed Lord sanctioned, by his presence and miraculous assistance, the all-important and world-wide institution of marriage." It was called "Cana of Galilee" to distinguish it from another Cana in the tribe of Ephraim, Joshua 16:9. This was the native place of Nathanael, John 21:2.

The mother of Jesus - Mary. It is not improbable that she was a relative of the family where the marriage took place.

CHAPTER 2

Joh 2:1-12. First Miracle, Water Made Wine—Brief Visit to Capernaum.

1. third day—He would take two days to reach Galilee, and this was the third.

mother there—it being probably some relative's marriage. John never names her [Bengel].John 2:1-11 Christ turneth water into wine in Cana of Galilee.

John 2:12 He goeth to Capernaum.

John 2:13-17 Thence to Jerusalem, where he driveth the buyers and

sellers out of the temple.

John 2:18-22 He giveth his own death and resurrection for a sign.

John 2:23-25 Many believe in him because of his miracles, but he

would not trust himself unto them.

Whether it was the third day after that our Saviour had left the province of Judea or the third day after Philip came to him, or after Peter or Nathanael came to him, is hardly worth the disputing; if it be to be interpreted with relation to John 1:43, (which speaks of the day following), it must be the third day after Simon came to Christ, there happened to be a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Some reckon three cities of this name; one in the lot of Manasseh, another in the lot of Ephraim, another in rite lot of Asher. This Cana is concluded by most interpreters to be the same mentioned, Joshua 19:28, which was in the tribe of Asher, which was in Galilee: some others say, it was another Cana, near to Capernaum. At this wedding feast was the virgin Mary, our Lord’s mother; and it is probable that the persons for whose marriage the feast was solemnized were some of the virgin’s kindred or near relations. Some think, from the virgin’s taking notice of the want of wine, that it was a family where she had either a constant charge, or the charge for that day.

And the third day there was a marriage,.... Either from the second testimony bore by John the Baptist concerning Christ, and from the call of Simon Peter, which seem to be of the same date; see John 1:35, or from Christ's coming into Galilee; or from the conversation he had with Nathanael; from either of which the date is taken, it matters not; the first is as agreeable and plain, as any. There is much dispute, and many rules with the Jews about the times, and days of marriage:

"a virgin, (they say (z),) marries on the fourth day (of the week), and a widow on the fifth, because the sanhedrim sit in the cities twice in the week, on the second, and on the fifth days; so that if there is any dispute about virginity, he (the husband) may come betimes to the sanhedrim.''

This was a law that obtained since the times of Ezra; for it is said (a),

"before the order of Ezra, a woman might be married on any day;''

but in after times, feast days, and sabbath days, were particularly excepted. One of their canons is (b).

"they do not marry women on a feast day, neither virgins, nor widows:''

The reason of it was, that they might not mix one joy with another; and lest a man should leave the joy of the feast, for the joy of his wife. The account Maimonides (c) gives of these several things is this;

"it is lawful to espouse on any common day, even on the ninth of Ab, whether in the day, or in the night; but they do not marry wives neither on the evening of the sabbath, nor on the first of the week: the decree is, lest the sabbath should be profaned by preparing the feast; for the bridegroom is employed about the feast: and there is no need to say, that it is unlawful to marry a wife on the sabbath day; and even on the common day of a feast they do not marry wives, as we have explained; because they do not mix one joy with another, as it is said in Genesis 29:27, "fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also": but on the rest of the days it is lawful to marry a wife, any day a man pleases; for he must be employed in the marriage feast three days before the marriage. A place in which the sanhedrim do not sit, but on the second and fifth days only, a virgin is married on the fourth day; that if there is any objection to her virginity, he (her husband) may come betimes to the sanhedrim: and it is a custom of the wise men, that he that marries one that has been married, he may marry her on the fifth day, that so he may rejoice with her on the fifth day, and on the evening of the sabbath, (i.e. the sixth,) and on the sabbath day, and may go forth to his work on the first day.''

But elsewhere it is said (d), that

"now they are used to marry on the "sixth day of the week".''

Yea (e), that

"it is lawful to marry, and to make the feast on the sabbath day.''

But whether this marriage was of a virgin, or a widow, cannot be known; nor with certainty can it be said on what day of the week it was: if that day was a sabbath day on which the disciples abode with Christ, as Dr. Lightfoot conjectures, then it must be on the first day that Christ went into Galilee, and found Philip, and conversed with Nathanael; and if this third day is reckoned from John's second testimony, it must be on a Tuesday, the third day of the week; but if from Christ's going into Galilee, then it must be on a Wednesday, the fourth day of the week, the day fixed by the Jewish canon for the marriage of a virgin. This marriage was

in Cana of Galilee. The Syriac and Persic versions, read, in "Kotne, a city of Galilee"; and which, in the Jewish map, is called "Katna" in "Galilee", and is placed in the tribe of Zebulun, which was in Galilee, and not far from Nazareth; and bids fair to be the same place with this; though it is more generally thought (f), that Cana, in the tribe of Asher, mentioned in Joshua 19:28, which was also in Galilee, is here meant; and is so called to distinguish it from another Kanah, in the tribe of Ephraim, Joshua 16:8. Josephus (g) speaks of a town, or village, of Galilee, called Cana, which was a day's march from it to Tiberias, and seems to be the same place: and another Jewish writer (h) says,

continued...

And {1} the {a} third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:

(1) Christ, declaring openly in an assembly by a notable miracle that he has power over the nature of things to feed man's body, leads the minds of all men to consider his spiritual and saving strength and power.

(a) After the talk which he had with Nathanael, or after his departure from John, or after he came into Galilee.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 2:1. Τρίτῃ] is, with Origen, c. Cels. vi. 30, to be reckoned from the last-named day, John 1:44, not from the coming to Cana (Ewald), which has not yet been alluded to. Thus we have in all six days from John 1:19, not seven (see on John 1:41), in which number Luthardt would find this symbolic meaning: “It is a Sabbath, as it were, which Jesus here is keeping.”

By τῆς Γαλιλαίας the village of Cana (now not Kafar kenna, as Hengstenberg and Godet still think, but Kana el-Jelîl: see Robinson, III. p. 443; Ritter, XVI. 753 ff.), about three hours N.W. from Nazareth, is distinguished from another Cana; for in John 2:11; John 4:46; John 21:2, τῆς Γαλιλαίας is also added, and hence it must be taken as a standing descriptive addition, as if belonging to the name (like our “Freiburg im Breisgau” and the like), and not here as a mere allusion to the arrival in Galilee (B. Crusius). The other Cana lay in the tribe of Asher, Joshua 19:28 (S.E. from Tyre; comp. Robinson, III. 657), and though also to be considered as belonging to Galilee, was yet so near to Phoenicia, that the designation of our Cana as Κ. τῆς Γαλιλαίας, in distinction from the other, is justified on geographical grounds. Ewald distinguishes our Cana from the Kanath lying east of the river district, but the name (קְנַת, Numbers 32:42, 1 Chronicles 2:23; and Bertheau on the word; Κανάθ LXX., Κανάθα Josephus) does not correspond.

καὶ ἦν ἡ μήτηρ, κ.τ.λ.] Mary was already there when Jesus and His disciples arrived in Cana, no doubt arranging and helping (see John 2:3; John 2:5) in the friend’s house where the wedding was to take place. That shortly before the baptism of Jesus she had come to live at Cana (Ewald), but soon after removed thence to Capernaum (John 2:12), is without specific intimation both here and in John 4:46. That Joseph was not there with her, is in keeping with his entire disappearance (equally unaccountable as it is) from the Gospel narrative after Luke 2:41 ff. It is usually assumed, though without proof (see John 6:42), that he was already dead.John 2:1. As usual John specifies time and place and circumstance. The time was τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τρίτῃ. The Greeks reckoned σήμερον, αὔριον, τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ. So Luke 13:32, ἰάσεις επιτελῶ σήμερον καὶ αὔριον, καὶ τῇ τρίτη τελειοῦμαι. The “third day” was therefore what we call “the day after to-morrow”. From what point is this third day calculated? From John 1:41 or John 1:44? Probably the latter. Naturally one refers this exact specification of time to the circumstance that the writer was present. The place was ἐν Κανᾷ τῆς Γαλιλαίας, “of Galilee” to distinguish it from another Cana, as in all countries the same name is borne by more than one place (Newcastle; Tarbet; Cleveland, Ohio, and Cleveland, N.Y.; Freiburg). This other Cana, however, was not the Cana of Joshua 19:28 in the tribe of Asher (Weiss, Holtzmann); but more probably Cana in Judaea (cf. Henderson’s Palestine, p. 152; Josephus, Antiq., xiii., 15, 1; and Lightfoot’s Disq. Chorog. Johan. praemissa). Opinion is now in favour of identifying “Cana” with Kefr Kenna, five miles north-east of Nazareth on the road to the Sea of Galilee. Robinson (Researches, iii., 108 and ii., 346) identified it with Khurbet Kâna, three hours north of Nazareth, because ruins there were pointed out to him as bearing the name Kâna el Jelil, Cana of Galilee. Dr. Zeller, however, who resided at Nazareth, declares that Khurbet Kâna is not known to the natives as Kâna el Jelil. Major Conder (Tent Work, i., 153), although not decided in favour of Kefr Kenna, shows that the alteration in the form of the name can be accounted for, and that its position is in its favour (Henderson’s Palestine, 151–3).—γάμος ἐγένετο, a marriage took place. Jewish marriage customs are fully described in Trumbull’s Studies in Oriental Social Life.—καὶ ἦν ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐκεῖ. This is noticed to account for the invitation given to Jesus and His disciples. Joseph is not mentioned, probably because already dead. Certainly he was dead before the crucifixion.Chap. John 2:1-11. The Testimony of the First Sign

1. the third day] From the calling of Philip (John 1:43), the last date given, making a week in all; the first week, perhaps in contrast to the last week (John 12:1).

Cana of Galilee] To distinguish it from Cana of Asher (Joshua 19:28). This Cana is not mentioned in O.T.; it was the home of Nathanael (John 21:2), and is now generally identified with Kânet el-Jelîl, about six miles N. of Nazareth.

was there] Staying as a friend or relation of the family; she speaks to the servants as if she were quite at home in the house (John 2:5). Joseph has disappeared: the inference (not quite certain) is that in the interval between Luke 2:51 and this marriage—about 17 years—he had died.John 2:1. Τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τρίτῃ) On the third day after the promise given, ch. John 1:51. Now is exhibited a specimen [of its fulfilment]. [Between that day, on which Nathanael teas gained over, and the celebration of the marriage-feast, one day intervened; on which some disciples, as it is reasonable to suppose, joined those previously made.—V. g. Nor was this portion of time too limited for accomplishing the journey from Bethabara (Bethany?) to Galilee (and especially to Cana).—Harm., p. 159.]—γάμος, the marriage-feast) Christ does not abolish human society but sanctifies it. Thirst can be assuaged even by water; but at a marriage-feast the Lord gives wine: [on an occasion] independent of marriage there would have been no case of need. The great graciousness of the Lord [is herein exhibited]: He takes part in a marriage-feast at the earliest period [of His ministry], whilst He is alluring [in a winning manner] disciples, being afterwards about to proceed by more severe ways leading to the cross, [both methods alike at the last] eventuating in glory.—ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, the mother of Jesus) John never calls her by the name Mary; but takes the name for granted as known from the other evangelists: comp. note on ch. John 6:67, John 7:42, John 21:2.—ἐκεῖ, there) as a relative or intimate friend.Verse 1-ch. 3:2-4. The testimony of signs to the glory of the Word made flesh. Verses 1-12. -

(1) The first sign, the beginning of signs, Mastery over the old creation. Sign of love and power. The description of the preceding narrative, given in ver. 11, is the true key to it. It is impressive on several accounts. Christ had not yet given any "sign" of the invisible and eternal glory which the evangelist in his prologue had claimed for him. He had not in his own person "manifested" the unique majesty of his will, nor revealed the direction in which the power he wielded would most freely move. John, by this statement,

(1) puts down a positive disclaimer of the whole cycle of portents which, when he wrote, had begun to hover in romantic and exaggerated fashion around the infancy and minority of Jesus.

(2) He shows that his purpose is to bring back from forgetfulness the primary and most impressive events which did in reality characterize the earliest ministry of Christ.

(3) He emphasizes the scene of some of these manifestations as restricted to a spot which, however difficult actually to identify, was nevertheless in Galilee, in which prophecy had foretold a great manifestation of Divine light.

(4) He lays stress on the fact that the prime object of it was to convey to his disciples, to men who knew that he was the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lamb of God, something of the power which he had for meeting any emergency that might arise. He did not seek to promote, nor did he succeed in exciting, the village wonder at a magical entertainment; nor did the bridegroom, nor the governor of the feast, nor so far as we know even Mary herself, fully apprehend in the event what "the disciples" saw. These disciples were probably acting the part of the διακονοί. They were admitted to a great sign of superhuman power. They believed on him. This is all we are told of the effect of the "sign."

(5) The entire originality of the sign, one for which the previous narrative and prologue do not in the least prepare us, is one of the continual surprises of this Gospel. The introductory notes of this great symphony are such that we might be disposed to conjecture beforehand that One who is the Logos made flesh, whose glory is that of an only begotten Son of God, who is the predestined Baptizer with the Holy Ghost, who is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, and the Link and Ladder between heaven and earth, the predicted Messiah and Son of Man, will with Divine aloofness scarce touch with his feet this common earth. Human homes and love and festal rejoicings are so immeasurably beneath him that he can neither augment their earthly exhilaration nor take part in such carnal and mundane considerations. Such ideas may have crowded the imagination of the sons of Zebedee, of Philip too and of Nathanael. Already they may have been losing in a maze of mystery the Divine humanity, the intense and tender sympathy of Jesus with our everyday life, the profound interest felt in our earthly career. They may have needed to be taught some great lesson of the blending of the sacred with the secular, of the water of purification with the true, strong, fragrant wine of the kingdom. They may have needed, at this moment, the prosaic return to ordinary life over which their new Lord would preside, and from which he would never stand aloof.

(6) All this is, moreover, highly accentuated by the peculiar character of this sign. It was a creative act. The idea that it was merely a hastening by his will of the natural processes by which water is always being transformed into wine by the vine, seems contradicted by the fact that the vine does not transform water into wine, but combines with the water other substances, cunningly and wondrously mixing with it the organic compounds which it subtracts from the air and soil, and which are necessary for the purpose. Water which has become wine is not transubstantiated into wine. The water is still there; but there are added to it other elements and compounds. The lesson is undoubtedly taught that he who performed this prodigy called certain elements and forces into being by the simple flat of his will. Evolutionary hastening of natural processes do not in the least apply. If that took place which the disciples (John among them) saw and handled and tasted, then we have an undeniable act of creation. There was then no other antecedent to this new category of existence except the will of Christ. This is the obvious intention of the historian. Other explanations are offered. The rationalistic hypothesis of a quiet and pious fraud on the part of Mary is too gross for belief. The mere magic, or sleight of hand, is so utterly foreign to the narrative that, though Renan seems to favour it, the entire place assigned to the "miracle" renders it utterly inconceivable. Some have gone so far as to say that the interesting discourse of Jesus during the repast inclined the guests to believe that, though their thirst had been quenched with pure water, it was veritable and precious wine. This Reuss call un surcroit d'absurdite. To suppose, with Ewald and Lange, that it was a miracle upon the minds of the guests, who believed they had drunk wine, when in reality they had only tasted water, is, as Weiss admits, another form of the natural explanation. Why, moreover, should the didactic energy of Jesus not more frequently have produced a like impression? The hypothesis of Strauss is far more rational, viz. that we have here the mythopoeic tendency at full work. Seeing that Moses sweetened the bitter waters, and transformed the Nile into blood, and that Elijah multiplied the oil in the widow's cruse, so Strauss contended that the Messiah must have done the like, and that this "miracle of luxury" is one of the glorifying myths by which Jesus is supposed to have transformed the water of Jewish ceremonial into the wine of the kingdom of grace. This theory is refuted by the enormous difficulty of finding any party in the Church, or of discovering any tendency in the Christian community or outside in the Hellenic schools, which could have evolved such an event - so capable of being misinterpreted - and that too out of a moral consciousness diametrically opposed to such an idea of Messiah. Certainly a vastly preponderating element of the gospel is clean contrary to such an idea of the Christ. Apart from there being some historic fact underlying the story, it seems incredible that it should have been invented by Christian, or Gnostic, or Hebrew tradition. The same may be said of Baur's hypothesis and of Keim's,

(1) that the pseudo-John invented the miracle to embody the idea of contrast between the disciples of John the Baptist and of Christ; or

(2) that the saying of Jesus, "Shall the children of the bridechamber fast while the Bridegroom is with them?" needed embodiment in some concrete fact; or that of Reuss, who supposes that the author, having invented a series of imaginary interviews, and testimonies, must need cap them with a miracle. Thoma sees in the representation the evangelist's sublimation of the banquet in the house of Levi, under the form of the Wisdom or Logos festival of Proverbs 9. and Ecclus. 1:16-18 and Proverbs 24:1-25. The Logos is here the symposiarch, and the feast corresponds with the bridal festival of the Apocalypse. Several hypotheses have been fashioned, in order to explain the forgery of the narrative, and they are quite as numerous as the attempted solutions by orthodox expositors of the purpose or significance of the miracle. It is perfectly gratuitous and arbitrary on the part of Baur to condemn the narrative because he could not find support for it in the synoptic Gospels. We have seen (see Introduction) that each evangelist, and especially Matthew and Luke, had separate access to a group of facts and sayings peculiar to himself, and nearly as numerous and memorable as those which characterize the Fourth Gospel. Baumgarten-Crusius is wrong in placing this event at the lowest point of the series of miracles of this Gospel. It is necessary to complete the view which the evangelist formed of the miraculous power of Christ, for him to demonstrate authority over the matter (ὕλη) of the created universe. In ch. 6. he illustrates Christ's relation to the forces of nature, when the Lord hushed the storm and walked on the sea; in ch. 21, by narrating a miraculous draught of fishes, he exhibits the Lord's control over the animate creation; and in other instances, the like mastery over the human body, over its diseases, necessities, and death (see ch. 4. 5, 6, 11.). If the other evangelists have passed it by, we must remember that they ignore the entire period of our Lord's activity which intervened between the temptation and the imprisonment of John the Baptist. The disciple to whom Jesus on the cross entrusted the care of his mother might have special reasons for recording almost the only scene in which that mother played any part. The most impressive circumstance is that the disciples of John, who had learned his stern denunciation of sin and his call to repentance, were to be taught that the highest life was not to be secured by abjuring marriage, and throwing a tragic gloom over human life, but by hallowing and consecrating the home, the source and nurse of the natural life. Christ first purifies the home, then the temple, then the individual. Verse 1. - On the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Should the supposed discovery of Bethabara or Bethany beyond Jordan, at a spot a short distance south of the Lake of Gennesareth, be verified, then there is no difficulty in accepting the view of Baur as to the identity of the "third day," reckoning it as the morrow of the day on which Nathanael was called to be a disciple. The first day mentioned would be John 1:29; the second day, John 1:35; and the third identical with the day mentioned in John 1:43, 45. There would be time for the rapid journey from the Jordan to Cana. But if the third day be interpreted more naturally, as the third after the day mentioned in John 1:44-51, time is given for the journey from the traditional site near Jericho to either of the sites which claim to be the scene of this earliest miracle. It is a march of twenty hours, which would occupy two or three days. Moreover, as wedding feasts often occupied in Palestine seven or even fourteen days (Genesis 29:27; Judges 14:15; Tobit 8:19 Tobit 9:4 Tobit 10:1), the festivities may have been advanced, and some explanation be thus given of the exhaustion of the supply of wine. Consequently, there are several justifications and explanations of that which is condemned by Baur and others as an unhistorical element. It' the first day was that on which John bore his testimony before the Sanhedrin; the second, John 1:29; the third, John 1:35; the fourth, John 1:43, 45; - the day of the wedding at Cana would be the seventh, and thus a sacred week, corresponding with the solemn week that terminated with Easter Day, would be seen to have found place in the earliest periods of the ministry. The mother of Jesus was there. Since Nathanael of Cana was summoned as a friend, and since the first group of the disciples were familiar with each other and him, the inference is that the bride or bridegroom was an intimate friend of the entire party. Weiss claims the reference to the little town of Cana "as another of those recollections, which testify indubitably to the historical character of the Gospel" ('Life of Christ,' vol. 1. p. 377). The presence of the mother of the Lord at Cana makes it also probable that she had, after the death of Joseph, removed from Nazareth to Cana. This is confirmed by the casual remark in Mark 6:3 that his sisters only were still resident in their former home. Moreover, it would explain the return of Jesus from the scene of his baptism to his temporary home (but see ver. 12). The traditional Kefr Kenneh is situated on rising ground four miles and a half northeast of Nazareth, and the remains of a Greek church are still to be seen there. The site is not inconsistent with the conditions. We may suppose it to be called "of Galilee" to distinguish it from a Cana in Peraea mentioned by Josephus ('Vita,' 16:1); but more probably from the Kanah in the tribe of Asher, mentioned in Joshua 19:28. The situation of this town in Phoenicia may have been so far from Galilee proper as to have rendered the expression desirable. Dr. Robinson believed that he had hit more certainly upon the site by finding a small village bearing the name Cana el Djelil, or Khurbet Kana, which lies some seven miles northeast from Nazareth beyond Sepphoris. The adjunct, el Djelil, suggested the preservation of the old designation drawn from this very narrative. This identification was accepted by Ritter and Meyer; Stanley considered it very doubtful, and so do Westcott ('Comm.,' in loc.) and Dr. Selah Merrill, in 'Pict. Palestine,' 2, pp. 59-63. The more recent investigations of the Palest. Expl. Society have led once more to the recognition of the traditional site, independently maintained by Hengstenberg, Godet, Moulton, and others. Its site is picturesque, and resembles the position of many Italian towns perched on the slope of a low hill at the head of valleys forming roadways to the coast and to the lake. Its Greek name, Cana, meaning "a reed," was probably derived from the reeds which grow in the marshy plain below it (compare Cannae, Canossa, Cannes. So Hugh Macmillan). The third day

Reckoning from the last day mentioned (John 1:43).

A marriage (γάμος)

Or marriage festival, including a series of entertainments, and therefore often found in the plural. See on Matthew 22:2.

Cana of Galilee

To distinguish it from Cana in Coelo-Syria.

Mother of Jesus

Her name is never mentioned by John.

Was there

When Jesus arrived. Probably as an intimate friend of the family, assisting in the preparations.

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