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Summary: Jesus can quench our thirst for real, lasting joy.

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In every wedding ceremony, there is always at least one mistake. A young couple, very much in love, was getting married. Marilyn, the wife to be, was very nervous about the big occasion and so the pastor chose a Scripture verse that he felt would be a great encouragement to her. The verse was 1 John 4:18, which says: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Rather unwisely, the pastor asked the best man to read it during the ceremony. The best man wasn’t very familiar with the Bible and didn’t know the difference between the Gospel of John and First John. The time came for him to read the verse. He introduced his reading by saying that the pastor felt this was a very apt verse for Marilyn. But instead of reading 1 John 4:18, he read John 4:18, which says, “You have had five husbands and the one that you now have is not your husband.”

“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee” (v. 1a).

Chapters 1 and 2 recount the first week of Jesus’ public ministry:

• Day 1: John the Baptist testifies concerning Jesus (1:19-28).

• Day 2: John the Baptist’s encounter with Jesus (1:29-34; “the next day”).

• Day 3: John the Baptist refers two of his disciples to Jesus (1:35-39; “the next day”).

• Day 4: Andrew introduces his brother Peter to Jesus (1:40-42).

• Day 5: Philip and Nathanael follow Jesus (1:43-51; “the next day”).

• Day 6: No information is given.

• Day 7: Jesus attends the wedding at Cana (2:1-11; “on the third day”).

Jewish weddings:

• Jewish weddings were important and joyful occasions in the lives of the bride and the groom and their extended families, and the entire community joined in the celebration.

• On the eve of the wedding day, the bride was brought from her father’s home to that of her husband in joyful procession. Veiled by a bridal veil and surrounded by bridesmaids, she was led by “the friends of the bridegroom” and the “children of the bridechamber.”

• Upon arrival, the bride was led to her husband, and the couple was crowned with garlands. This was followed by the signing of the marriage contract.

• After the marriage supper, which could last up to a full day, the “friends of the bridegroom” led the pair to the bridal chamber.

“Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding” (v. 1b-2).

Why were they there?

• Application: To have a marriage as God intended, Jesus must be present (spiritually).

• That Jesus, his mother, and his disciples were all invited to the same wedding suggests the wedding was for a relative or close family friend. (Cana was a short distance from Nazareth.)

• Perhaps Mary had some responsibility for the organization of the catering. This could explain her attempt to deal with the shortage of wine.

“When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine’” (v. 3).

What about wine? Why was running out of wine such a big problem?

• Scripture portrays wine both as a blessing and as a symbol of violence, corruption, or wickedness (cf. Proverbs).

• In Palestine of Jesus’ day, three kinds of wine were in use: fermented wines, which were usually mixed in the proportion of two or three parts of water to one of wine; new wine, made of grape juice (similar to cider, not fermented); and wines in which, by boiling the unfermented grape juice, the process of fermentation had been stopped and the formation of alcohol prevented.

• Undiluted wine, about the strength of wine today, was viewed as “strong drink,” and was viewed with much more disapproval.

• Passages such as Matthew 11:19 clearly suggest that Jesus drank fermented wine; Mark 14:25 implies the same. Moreover, the latter passage intimates that wine will be drunk in heaven.

• It must be remembered that wine was the common beverage at meals in that culture. Drinking water was often impure.

• Neither Christ’s teaching nor His example can be used to advocate total abstinence from alcohol. Rather, proper use of wine must be distinguished from excessive consumption.

• Some may judge total abstinence to be expedient for personal or local reasons (cf. Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians 6:12), but should not insist that this is the only biblical option.

• In the closely knit communities of Jesus’ day, running out of wine would never be forgotten and would haunt the newly married couple all their lives.

“‘Dear woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My time has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you’” (vv. 4-5).

Why did Jesus called his mother “woman”?

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