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Philip and Nathanael Follow Jesus

First Miracle at Cana













Philip and Nathanael Follow Jesus




Bill's Starting Point  | Quotes & NotesCommentary Texts  |  Textual Notes  |  Cross References

Not in this book
Not in this book
Not in this book
1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
C: 2nd Sunday After Epiphany (Common, Catholic, Episcopal)

Quotes & Notes

  • Mary seems to have no doubt that Jesus will intervene and is uncertain only about the manner of intervention.

  • Raymond E. Brown, Anchor Bible, Vol. John I-XII, p.100
  • As "woman" Mary symbolizes the believing church (cf. Rev. 12:1-6)

  • Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary, p. 712
  • Though the evangelist accepts the reality of the miracle, it has for him a further, symbolic significance, pointing toward what Jesus is to accomplish on the cross.  There the old order will be replaced by the new.  This what the changing of the water into wine symbolizes.  The real, final epiphany is the cross.

  • Reginald H. Fuller, Preaching the Lectionary, p. 451
  • These words [whatsoever he saith unto you, do it] perfectly surrender the matter to him, with blended submission and faith;  which probably hastened the arrival, or at least the fulness of the hour, and completed the possibility of the miracle.

  • D.D. Whedon, Commentary on the Gospels, Vol. Luke-John, p. 243
  • John Wesley's Notes:
    And the third day-After he had said this.

    In Cana of Galilee-There were two other towns of the same name, one in the tribe of Ephraim, the other in Caelosyria

  • Treasury of Scripture Knowledge:

    * A.M. 4034. A.D. 30. the third. Joh 1:43
    * a marriage. Ge 1:27; 2:18-25; Ps 128:1-4; Pr 18:22; 19:14; 31:10-12 Eph 5:30-33; 1Ti 4:1-3; Heb 13:4
    * Cana. Joh 4:46; 21:2; Jos 19:28
    * Kanah.

  • Adam Clarke's Commentary:

      Cana of Galilee] This was a small city in the tribe of Asher, Jos 19:28, and by saying this was Cana of Galilee, the evangelist distinguishes it from another Cana, which was in the tribe of Ephraim, in the Samaritan country. See Jos 16:8; 17:9.

    Some suppose that the third day, mentioned here, refers to the third day of the marriage feast: such feasts lasting among the Jews seven days. See Jg 14:12,17,18, and Bishop Pearce.

    The mother of Jesus was there] Some of the ancients have thought that this was the marriage of John the evangelist, who is supposed to have been a near relative of our Lord. See the sketch of his life prefixed to these notes.

  • Family Bible Notes:

    The third day; after the events recorded in the last chapter. Cana of Galilee; a town west of the sea of Galilee, a few miles north of Nazareth; so called to distinguish it from Cana, near Sidon.

  • 1599 Geneva Bible Notes:
    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.

  • People's New Testament Commentary:

         And the third day. After the conversation with Nathanael. Immediately after it he departed into Galilee (Joh 1:43).

    A marriage in Cana. The site of Cana is not certainly known. Dr. Robinson, Giekie and other authorities place it at a ruin now called Kana, twelve miles north of Nazareth.

    The mother of Jesus was there. Reasons are suggested from the narrative that follows for believing that Mary was related to the family. As Joseph is never mentioned as living after Jesus entered upon his ministry, he is supposed to have died before this time.

  • Robertson's Word Pictures:
    The third day (ti hmeri ti triti). "On the day the third" (locative case), from the start to Galilee when Philip was found (Joh 1:43), seven days since Joh 1:19. There was a marriage (gamos egeneto). "A wedding (or marriage festival) took place." See on Mt 22:8. In Cana of Galilee (en Kana ts Galilaias). This town, the home of Nathanael (Jos 21:2), is only mentioned again in Joh 4:46 as the home of the nobleman. There was a Cana in Coele-Syria. It is usually located at Kefr Kenna (3 1/2 miles from Nazareth), though Ain Kana and Khirbet Kana are also possible. Bernard thinks that it was probably on Wednesday afternoon the fourth day of the week (usual day for marriage of virgins), when the party of Jesus arrived. And the mother of Jesus was there (kai n h mtr tou Isou ekei). When they arrived. John does not mention her name, probably because already well known in the Synoptics. Probably Joseph was already dead. Mary may have been kin to the family where the wedding took place, an intimate friend clearly.

  • Albert Barnes' Commentary:

      And the third day. On the third day after his conversation with Nathanael.

    Cana. This was a small town about 15 miles north-west of Tiberias and 6 miles north-east of Nazareth. It is now called Kefr Kenna, is under the government of a Turkish officer, and contains perhaps three hundred 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, wretchedly neglected and out of repair."

    "The houses," says Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. 2. 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 (ibid.) 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, Jos 16:9. This was the native place of Nathanael, Joh 21:2.

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

    {a} "Cana of Galilee" Jos 19:28; Joh 4:46


  • Jamieson-Faussett Brown:

    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].

  • Spurgeon Commentary:

    Marriage was thus honored. Jesus would not have his people despise social joys and duties.

  • William Burkitt's Notes:

    The former part of this chapter acquaints us with the first miracle which our Saviour wrought, in turning water into wine; the occasion of it was, his being invited to a marriage-feast.

    Here note, 1. That whenever our Saviour was invited to a public entertainment, he never refused the invitation, but constantly went; not so much for the pleasure of eating, as for the opportunity of conversing and doing good, which was meat and drink unto him.

    Note, 2. What honour Christ put upon the ordinance of marrige; he honours it with his presence and first miracle. Some think it was St. John that was now the bridegroom; others, that it was some near relation of the virgin mother's; but whoever it might be, doubtless Christ's design was rather to put honour upon the ordinance than upon the person. How bold is the church of Rome in spitting upon the face of this ordinance, by denying its lawfulness to the ministers of religion! When the apostle affirms that marriage is honourable among all. Heb 13:4. Neither the prophets of the Old Testament, nor the apostles of the New, (St. Peter himself not excepted,) did abhor the marriage-bed, or judge themselves too pure for an institution of their Maker.

    Note, 3. That it is an ancient and laudable institution, that the rites of marriage should not want a solemn celebration. Feasting with friends upon such an occasion is both lawful and commendable, provided the rules of sobriety and charity, modesty and decency, be observed, and no sinful liberty assumed. But it must be said, that feasting in general, and marriage-feasts in particular, are some of those lawful things which are difficultly managed without sin.

    Note, 4. That our Saviour's working a miracle when he was at the marriage-feast, should teach us, by his example, that in our cheerful and free times, when we indulge a little more than ordinary to mirth amongst our friends, we should still be mindful of God's honour and glory, and lay hold upon an occasion of doing all the good we can.

    Note lastly, As Christ was personally invited to, and bodily present at this marriage-feast when here on earth; so he will not refuse now in heaven to be spiritually present at his people's marriages. They want his presence with them upon that great occasion, they desire and seek it; he is acquainted with it, and invited to it, whoever is neglected; and where Christ is made acquainted with the match, he will certainly make one at the marriage. Happy is that wedding where Christ and his friends (as here) are the invited, expected, and enjoyed guests.

  • Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary:

      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.

  • The Fourfold Gospel:

    And the third day. From the calling of Philip (Joh 1:43). The days enumerated in John's first two chapters constitute a week, and may perhaps be intended as a contrast to the last week of Christ's ministry (Joh 12:1). It took two days to journey from the Jordan to Cana.

    There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. In Palestine the marriage ceremony usually began at twilight. The feast after the marriage was at the home of the bridegroom, and was sometimes prolonged for several days (Ge 29:27; Jg 14:12); but in this case it seems likely that poverty limited the wedding feast to one day. The site of Cana is disputed. From the eighth century a place called Kefr-Kenna (village of Cana), lying a little over three miles northeast of Nazareth, has been regarded as John's Cana of Galilee. But recently some ruins called Khurbet-Cana, twelve miles north of Nazareth, which doubtfully are said to have retained the name of Kana-el-Jilil (Cana of Galilee), have been preferred by some as the true site. In our judgment Kefr-Kenna has the stronger claim. It is situated on a westward slope of a hill, with a copious and unfailing spring adjoining it on the southwest.

    The mother of Jesus. John never called our Lord's mother by her name. He assumes that she is known to his readers. This is one of the many points tending to show the supplemental character of John's Gospel. He avoids repeating what is found in the first three Gospels.



Word Study

  • Unto the servants (toiß diakonoiß). See on Matthew 20:26 for this word  (our "deacon," but not that sense here). Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it (Hoti an legh umin poihsate). Indefinite relative sentence (oti an and present active subjunctive, general statement) with aorist active imperative of poiew for instant execution. Mary took comfort in the "not yet" (oupw) and recognized the right of Jesus as Messiah to independence of her, but  evidently expected him to carry out her suggestion ultimately as he did. This mother knew her Son. 

  • Robertson's Word Pictures
  • DO
    • POIEO signifies (a) to make, (b) to do, i.e., to adopt a way of expressing by act the thoughts and feelings.  It stands for a number of such acts, chiefly to make, produce, create, cause.

    • W.E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 322
    • Greek Dictionary

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Bill's Starting Point

The First Rule for Obtaining a Miracle

"His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."
John 2:5

  • Do whatever God says.
    • Servants
    • Obedience
    • Miracles
  • Are you following the instructions God is giving you?
  • Rich symbolism:  Third Day, Water, Wine, Servants, Wedding, Feast
  • Replacement theme & Book of Signs (see Anchor Bible)
  • Sermon on the Mount concludes:  "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."




Updated:   Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 03:52 AM



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