The Miracles of Jesus
One of younger sister in Christ told me she thought it would be neat to hear some lessons on the miracles of Jesus. So, over the next few lessons on Sunday morning, we will do that very thing. Just about a month ago we did overview of His miracles, but these lessons will be more detailed about specific miracles He did. No matter how many times I read through the miracles that Jesus did, they never cease to amaze me and make me think how powerful our God is. Our first miracle begins with Jesus’ first miracle in:
John 2:1 On the
third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was
there. 2 Now both Jesus and
His disciples were invited to the wedding.
3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to
Him, "They have no wine." 4
Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My
hour has not yet come." 5
His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it." 6 Now there were set there six
waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews,
containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece.
7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with
water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, "Draw some
out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took
it. 9 When the master
of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it
came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the
feast called the bridegroom. 10
And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine,
and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept
the good wine until now!" 11
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of
Now that we have read it, let’s break it down.
John 2:1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.
“On the third day” refers to the 3rd day after Jesus met
Nathaniel. Only the Gospel of John mentions this place called
John 2:3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." 4 Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come."
To run out of wine would have been an embarrassing moment for this family and especially for the host of the wedding. It was the host’s job to make sure everything was taken care of, and that there was plenty of wine and food. Mary was concerned when the wine ran out, so she told Jesus about it knowing He would be able to help. Since Mary was concerned about this, it gives us another hint that this family was her friend or relative. It is believed that Mary’s husband was dead now, and she was used to relying on Jesus. We need to remember that Mary has not seen Jesus perform a miracle yet, but she knows who He is.
When Jesus responds to her as “woman,” some have thought Jesus was being rude to His mother. However, this was a common expression that they used, which was not rude at all. In fact, Jesus used this same expression to His mother while He was hanging on the cross:
John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!"
When Jesus said, “My hour has not yet come,” there are two possibilities of what He meant. First, He could be saying, it is not time for me to work a miracle right now to fix this problem. Second, He could be referring to His death in the sense that when He works His first miracle, it would set into motion the events that would eventually lead to His death on the cross. The expression “My hour has not yet come,” is used to describe His death as it is many other passages (John 7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27; 13:1; 17:1).
John 2:5 His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it." 6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it.
Mary had complete confidence in Jesus’ ability to fix this problem with the wine. These water pots varied in size because they were made by hand. This is why it says they would hold 20 to 30 gallons a piece. Next, Jesus has them fill these water pots to the brim. Notice, He did not touch the water pots and by having them filled to the brim, it would make it impossible to pour something else in. This would show that a real miracle was taking place. Then the servants took some of this liquid from the water pot and gave it to the master of the feast.
John 2:9 When the
master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know
where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master
of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And
he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and
when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine
until now!" 11 This beginning of
signs Jesus did in Cana of
The master of the feast would taste the new wine before it was served to the guests. He did this to make sure the wine tasted good. When He tasted this water that was turned to wine, He was impressed with the quality of its taste. We can imagine how shocked these servants were who saw this miracle take place and then saw how much the master of the feast liked the wine. He calls for the bridegroom to find out why he has provided the best wine toward the end of the wedding feast. The custom was to bring out the best wine in the beginning and then the inferior wine after everyone had already had their fill. Of course the bridegroom would have been speechless because he knew he had not provided this wine. This first miracle was just the beginning of miracles that Jesus would perform that would reveal His glory as the Son of God. This miracle also caused His disciples to believe in Him.
We cannot leave this section of Scripture without discussing the question, did Jesus turn the water into fermented wine? The obvious answer is no, but those who want to find justification for social drinking will say, “Yes He did.”
There was fermented wine available during that time period, but when people drank the fermented wine, they rarely drank it as it was. Plato said,
“Wine was always drunk diluted, and to drink it unmixed was looked on as barbarism” (Living Soberly, Righteously And Godly p. 20).
Other sources suggest that they would mix six part water with one part wine. It was not uncommon for people to mix their wine with water or milk.
In our current English dictionaries the word “wine” is usually defined as fermented juice. However, if we look in older dictionaries, they will also show that it can mean unfermented juice as well. In the Bible, the word “wine” can mean fermented such as in:
Genesis 9:20 And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. 21 Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.
Genesis 19:30 Then
Lot went up out of Zoar and dwelt in the mountains, and his two daughters were
with him; for he was afraid to dwell in Zoar. And he and his two daughters
dwelt in a cave. 31 Now the
firstborn said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is no
man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth. 32 "Come, let us make our
father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve the lineage
of our father." 33 So
they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay
with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose. 34 It happened on the next day
that the firstborn said to the younger, "Indeed I lay with my father last
night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go in and lie
with him, that we may preserve the lineage of our father." 35 Then they made their father
drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did
not know when she lay down or when she arose.
36 Thus both the daughters of
There is no doubt that both of the instances involved intoxicating wine. We can also see when it is not intoxicating:
Isaiah 16:10 Gladness is taken away, And joy from the plentiful field; In the vineyards there will be no singing, Nor will there be shouting; No treaders will tread out wine in the presses; I have made their shouting cease.
Isaiah 65:8 Thus says the LORD: "As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, 'Do not destroy it, For a blessing is in it,' So will I do for My servants' sake, That I may not destroy them all.
Joel 2:24 … And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.
Obviously the wine being treaded is talking about the juice coming out of the grape and Isaiah refers to the juice inside the cluster of grapes as being wine. So, we have to consider the context to decide if the wine is fermented or unfermented.
Those who argue this was fermented wine at the wedding, suggest the ruler of the feast was saying the tradition was to get the people drunk on the most intoxicating wine first. Then the water downed wine should be brought out because the guest will be too drunk to notice. However, that is not what is meant by the phrase “well drunk”. It simply means the guests were full of the good wine, so it is acceptable to bring out the inferior. Now, if we say that these guests were already drunk, and that Jesus made the strongest wine yet; then we have Jesus providing a way for these people to become more drunk with the 120 to 180 gallons of wine He made.
When you think about this, it becomes obvious that Jesus did not make fermented wine that would cause these people to become more drunk. The reason we know this is because there are many Scriptures that warn against the use of strong drink:
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
Proverbs 21:17 … He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.
Proverbs 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty …
Proverbs 23:31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; 32 At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things. 34 Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: 35 "They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?"
1 Corinthians 6:10 nor
thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will
Ephesians 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
These few verses are enough to show that Jesus would not have made fermented wine. However, I want to make one last point that will prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Everyone agrees that Jesus was a man without sin (Heb. 4:15). If Jesus turned the water into fermented wine that would make people drunk, then He would have been guilty of sin.
Habakkuk 2:15 “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, Pressing him to your bottle, Even to make him drunk, That you may look on his nakedness!
R.C. Foster wrote the following in regards to the Lord’s
If Jesus made intoxicating wine here, then this is the only time He ever used His power to furnish to man that which is destructive of his nature and powers. Why, then, gratuitously accuse Jesus of this when it is not even hinted in the record? The Greek word oinos (wine) does not necessarily mean intoxicating wine. The wine of the miracle had a delightful flavor which excelled anything the ruler had experienced, judging by his emphatic comment.
So, when the master of the feast said it was the best wine, he did not mean the most intoxicating, he meant it was the best tasting. The first juice that comes out the grapes is the sweetest and best tasting, which is what Jesus had created with His miracle. Remember John said this:
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did
in Cana of
Again, I ask the question, do you think that Jesus would use intoxicating wine to manifest His glory. I think not!
Others have suggested the first century people did not have a way of preserving the grape juice without it fermenting. However, this is not true. There were at least three different ways they could do this.
The first method was to boil the grapes down to a thick mixture called defrutum. They would use this to put on their bread and they would add water to it for a drink.
The second method was to use wool or a similar material to filter the particles including the yeast from the grape juice (Isa. 25:6). This would prevent it from fermenting. Pliny a first century Roman author said:
“For all the sick, the wine is most useful when its forces have been broken by the strainer.”
Pliny teaches us that they used this filtered juice for those who were sick, which means that Paul was most likely recommending unfermented wine for Timothy’s sickness (1 Tim. 5:23).
The third method was to put the wine in a sealed container and put into a pond or a well which would keep it from fermenting. The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary describes it this way,
“If you wish to have grape juice all year, put grape juice in an amphora and seal the cork with pith; sink it in a fishpond. After 30 days, take it out. It will be grape juice for a whole year.”
All this evidence proves that they were able to preserve their grape juice in the first century. I have also shown from the Scriptures that Jesus did not create fermented wine with His miracle. Therefore this great miracle was not used to show that social drinking was acceptable, and it was not even used to show Jesus’ blessing of the marriage. Again, John makes it clear that the miracle was done to manifest the glory of Jesus. The guest being happy, and this wedding feast turning out to be a hit were byproducts of primary reason for the miracle of water to wine.
So, let us stand in awe of the first miracle that Jesus did and see it as beginning of His miracles and not read into things that were not intended such as justification for social drinking.