Water in Wine

John 2:1-5  And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 

On the third day after Jesus left Jordan to start His ministry, He attended a marriage feast that sometimes lasted a week. Cana of Galilee was located on a low hill on the side of a rich upland plain, about eleven kilometres north of Nazareth. Called “Cana of Galilee” to distinguish it from Cana of Asher. It is not known how many disciples Jesus had during this first week of His ministry.

When they – the wedding party – ran out of wine (new/good wine = sweet juice) Mary offered Jesus’ service to help create grape juice. ‘Wine’ is used of both fermented and unfermented drink in Scripture. It speaks of the juice of grapes as ‘wine’ while it is still on the cluster (Isa. 65:8) and calls it ‘new wine’ when it is just pressed out of the grapes. It is blasphemous to say that Jesus would have made a wine containing alcohol, He was without sin (1Pet. 2:21-22; Heb. 4:15) and He would not have transgressed Habakkuk 2:15 that says “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink.”

Jesus answered His mother: “Woman…” not a name of disrespect, but one of respect, like our Madam (Matt. 15:28; John 4:21; 19:26; 20:15), “what have I to do with thee?” What have I to do with you in this matter? My time for working a miracle is not fully come. It is sad to see that the first miracle that was chosen for Christ – not chosen by Him – as one that so many people use today to justify the use of alcohol. The Word of God is very clear on the subject of being sober, which is a command to obey, not a request (1Th. 5:6,8; Tit. 2:2,4,6; 1Pet. 1:13, 5:8) and clear on not to drink (Pro. 23:21; 1Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7).

The Son of God and of Man

John 1:49-51  Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believe thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. 

The second New Testament prophecy fulfilled in John – thou shall see greater things than these – Nathaniel did see many greater works when he saw all the works of Christ for over three years. John 1:51 is to be fulfilled in the eternal kingdom of Jesus on earth when angels will ascend and descend in a more literal way than now (Matt. 13:41-43; 24:31).

Verily, verily means Surely, surely or Amen, amen. So used for emphasis, and only by Him who is the truth (John 14:6). Always used singly elsewhere: in the Old Testament only 16 times; 30 times in Matthew; 15 times in Mark; and 8 times in Luke and only by Christ.

The Son of man is used 88 times of Christ in the New Testament and once in Daniel 7:13 where it was predicted that He would come as the Son of man. It always has the definite article when used of Christ, but not when used of ordinary men. He, Jesus, is God’s Man to redeem mankind. He is God’s answer to satan to guarantee his defeat and restore man’s original dominion.

Calling of Philip and Nathanael

John 1:43-48  The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and find Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip find Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence know thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou was under the fig tree, I saw thee. 

Philip was one of the twelve apostles (Matt. 10:3; Mar. 3:18; Lk. 6:14; Acts 1:13), a brother of Nathanael, who brings him also to Jesus. Nathanael (means gift of God) is Bartholomew, which is a patronymic of Nathaniel, also one of the twelve.

The question he asked “can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” was because they were expecting the Messiah from Bethlehem, and not Nazareth. Never a better person came from any place on earth than Jesus Christ!

Jesus knew Nathanael’s heart through the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge (John 3:34; 1Cor. 12:4-11) and said that he was an Israelite in whom is no guile – he was without deceit.

Christ’s statement of seeing him by the Spirit before He could see him with His eyes convinced Nathaniel of Christ’s Sonship.

Calling of the First Disciples

John 1:35-42  Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek you? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwell thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first finds his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. 

Two of John the Baptist’s disciples, the one was Andrew (Peter’s brother), the other probably John the Apostle, as he never mentions himself in this book. They looked upon (Jesus) the Greek word emblepo, which means to look with fixed eyes upon or look intently as they heard John the Baptist say: “Behold the Lamb of God!” A symbol of Christ used thirty-two times in the Bible.

Andrew and John asked Jesus “Rabbi, (which means Master) where dwell thou?” Jesus told them, “Come and see.” So, they came and saw where He stayed and stayed with Him for that day because it was already the tenth hour – 4 pm.

‘found the Messias’ Finding Jesus changes one’s life (2Cor. 5:17-18). Messias is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew Mashiyach, meaning anointed (John 4:25; 1Sam. 2:10, 35; Psa. 2:2; Dan. 9:25-26). The equivalent of mashiyach in the Greek is Christos, used of Jesus 569 times in the New Testament.

‘Cephas’ is the Aramaic word for stone (1Cor. 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Gal. 2:9). And ‘stone’ is the Greek word petros which means little stone, rock and 161 other places translated “Peter”. This shows how Jesus could judge a man at the first look. He knew Peter to be firm and strong in soul, and hard and unyielding in purpose.

Behold, the Lamb of God

John 1:29-34  The next day John see Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptize with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. 

John the Baptist saw Christ and proclaimed “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” This is the first New Testament prophecy fulfilled in John. Lamb of God is a symbol of Christ, mentioned thirty-two times (Isa. 53:7; John 1:36; Acts 8:32; 1Pet. 1:19; Rev. 5:6-13; 6:1, 16; 7:9-17; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1-10; 15:3; Rev. 17:14; 19:7-9; 21:9-27; 22:1-3). The Greek word for taketh away is airo, which means to bear in the sense of removing sin; doing away with the guilt and punishment (1Pet. 2:24; Psa. 103:12; 1Jn. 3:5). The Greek word for sin is hamartia, which means missing the mark; always in a moral sense – a sin, whether by omission or commission, in thought, word, or deed. Christ came to teach men how to shoot straight – to hit the moral bull’s eye every time (Tit. 2:11-14; 1Jn. 2:1-2, 29; 3:9; 5:1-4, 5:18).

‘For he was before me’ – Christ lived before John as the second person of the Trinity “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” Micah 5:2 (See also Isa. 9:6-7; Heb. 1:8; Rev. 1:8.) John did not know Jesus, but he did know the Father who sent Jesus (v33). The Greek word for manifest is phaneroo, which means to bring to light. Here, it means to introduce the Messiah to Israel (John 1:11; Matt. 15:24).

John bare record, the Greek word martureo means bearing witness. There was seven witnesses to the Messiah: The Father (John 5:30-38; 8:13-18); the Son (John 5:17-27; 8:14; 18:37); the Holy Spirit (John 15:26; 16:13-15); the written Word (John 1:45; 5:38, 46); Divine works (John 5:17, 36; 10:25; 14:11; 15:24); John the Baptist (John 1:7,32-34; 5:33-35); and the Disciples (John 15:27; 19:35; 21:24).

The Greek word for abode is meno which means abide, dwell, remain. Occurs 41 times in John and only 12 times in the other gospels.

‘He that sent me’ is a clear reference to the Trinity. The Son he did not know; the Father he did know; and the Spirit he saw coming from the Father upon the Son (Matt. 3:16-17; Lk.3:22). The Greek word for see is eidon which means to see; not only the mere act of looking but the actual perception of the object. Thus, not only have the Father and Son been seen with human eyes as separate and distinct persons at the same time and place (Dan. 7:9-14; Acts 7:55; Rev. 5:7; 7:10), but the Holy Spirit as a separate person from both the Father and the Son has been seen.

‘Spirit descending, and remaining on him’ is a fulfilment of Isaiah 11:2; 42:1; 61:1 and recorded in Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1:10 and Luke 3:22. Christ is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Lk. 3:16; 24:49; John 7:37-39; 15:16-17, 26; Acts 1:4-8; 11:16).

Baptism

John 1:25-28  And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptize thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there stand one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. 

Jews were accustomed to making converts by ceremonial cleansing, but never without an order from the Sanhedrin or before three magistrates or doctors of the law. They, therefore, felt jealous of John, who not only baptized without Jewish authority but baptized Jews contrary to the practice of the Pharisees.

John’s reason for baptizing was that the Messiah should be made manifest (known) to Israel (John 1:26-31).  There are seven baptisms in Scripture: John’s baptism in water to introduce Christ to Israel (Matt. 3:1-17; Mark 1:1-45; Lk. 3:1-38; 7:29-30; John 1:31-33; 3:23-26; 10:40; Acts1:5; 11:16; 19:3); Christ’s baptism in water (John 3:22; 4:1-2) which announced the beginning of His three year ministry and showed His purpose as the one without sin that will clean the world with water (washing in the Word) and by shedding His blood at His crucifixion (1Jn 5:7-8); Baptism in suffering (Lk. 12:50); Baptism in the cloud and in the sea (1Cor. 10:2) refers to Moses and the nation Israel going through the Red Sea that was a type of the washing that we have to go through for salvation as we are called out of the bondage of sin (Egypt); and the last three that is relevant and necessary for today’s Christians:  Baptism into Christ and into His body (Rom. 6:3-7; 1Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12) at repentance and the new birth; Christian baptism in water (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38-41; 8:12-16, 36-38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16; 1Cor. 1:13-17; 1Pet. 3:21) this is for testifying of dying to one’s old nature after being reborn; Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11, 14; 20:22-23; Mark 1:810:38-39; Lk. 3:16; John 1:33; 7:37-39; Acts 1:5; 11:16; 19:2-3) which is the enduement of power for service.

The Holy Spirit is the agent to baptize into Christ and into His body; Christ is the agent to baptize in the Holy Spirit, and the minister is the agent to baptize into water (Matt. 28:19).

The Testimony of John the Baptist

John 1:19-24  And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What say thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 

John the Baptist was not the Christ, Elijah, or anyone else who had lived in the past. He was the natural son of Zacharias and Elizabeth (Lk. 1:24, 1:57). He came in the spirit and power of Elijah to do for Israel before the first coming, what Elijah will do before the second coming (Mal. 4:5-6; Lk. 1:17). This explains Matthew 11:14 and 17:10-13.

He was the prophet that Moses predicted would come (Deu. 18:15-18; Acts 3:22-23; 7:37).

‘I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias’ is the first Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in the gospel of John.

Malachi 3:1 predicted of John “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.”

Grace for Grace

John 1:15-18  John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that come after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. 

Christ was in existence before John, but after John in public earthly ministry (Matt. 3:11; Lk. 3:17; John 1:31-33) “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” Micah 5:2 (See also Isa. 9:6-7; Heb. 1:8; Rev. 1:8.)

The Greek word for fullness is pleroma which means abundance, completeness. All needs and lawful wants are promised by the gospel (2Cor. 1:20; Mat. 7:7-11; 17:20; 21:22; Mark 9:23; 11:22-24; John 14:12-17; 15:7, 16; 16:23-26).

Grace upon grace means full grace, according to our needs and wants (Heb. 4:14-16; 10:19-38; Jas. 1:5-8).

The law that condemns in the moral life, and only typifies in the religious life is the law of Moses. First of 13 times Moses is mentioned in John (John 1:17, 45; 3:14; 5:45-46; 6:32; 7:19-23; 8:5; 9:28-29). Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ – this does not mean that there was no law before Moses, or no grace and truth before Jesus Christ. The law itself is truth, and the New Testament is law. There are 1,050 commands in the New Testament. The idea here is that the fullness of grace came by Jesus Christ. One can get today in fullness what men received only in part in Old Testament times.

The Greek word for seen is horao which means to see with the eyes and also see with the mind. That it means here to comprehend fully or understand is clear from the fact that many men have seen God with the eyes (Gen. 18:2, 33; 32:24-30; Exo. 24:10; 33:11; Jos. 5:13; Isa. 6:1-13; Ezek. 1:26-28; Dan. 7:9-14; 10:5-6; Acts 7:56-59; Rev. 4:2-5; 5:1-7). The verse could read, “No man has ever comprehended or experienced God at any time in all His fulness, save the only begotten Son . . . . He hath declared Him.” That Christ is the first to experience God in the fullness of the Holy Spirit is clear from John 3:34; Acts 10:38; Isaiah 11:1-2; 61:1-2 and Luke 4:16-18.

The Greek word for declared is exegeomai which means revealed, expounded; where we get our word exegesis.

Believe on His Name

John 1:12-14  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 

The gospel benefits only the individual (Mar. 16:16; John 3:16; 6:37) – as many as received him – and to them did He delegated power; the liberty and right to use power. It is the liberty and right for every man to be saved if he wills (1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17) for they that believe on His name (Acts 2:21; 3:16; 4:12).

The Greek word for born is gennao which means a bringing forth. A word used of people who are adopted into the family of God (John 3:3; 1Jn. 2:29; 3:9; 5:1, 5:18). It does not mean in either of these uses that a new body, soul, and spirit have come into existence, as when used of Christ who is the only begotten Son of God and the first begotten of Mary (John 1:14, 18; 3:16). Not of blood, that is, not by right of natural descent from man. Not by right of the flesh merely to escape punishment. Not by right of man’s theories and religions, but of God who took man’s place to save him (John 3:16; Rom. 3:20-30; 2Cor. 5:14-21).

Christ was made flesh, not spirit; but man, not God; and earthly, not heavenly. This made Him God’s Son, for sonship in connection with Jesus Christ always refers to humanity, never to deity (Lk. 1:35; Acts 13:33).

Jesus is and was and always will be the only begotten Son of God (John 1:14,18; 3:16, 18; 1Jn. 4:9). Men never will be begotten or born in the same sense as Jesus was (Matt. 1:18-25; Lk. 1:34-35), for their sonship is on a different basis – that of adoption, not an actual begetting and coming into existence (Rom. 8:15; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5).

Full of the grace by which we are saved and not an excuse to continue in sin (Rom. 6:1-3; Heb. 10:26-31) and the truth which is the Gospel – the life of Jesus Christ that was set as an example for us to live accordingly (1Pet. 2:21-23).

To Bear Witness

John 1:6-11  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which light every man that come into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 

This John refers to John the Baptist, used 20 times in this gospel and never by the title ‘Baptist’ as in the other gospels; he is not to be confused with John the Apostle who is the author of this gospel as well as 1,2,3 John and Revelation. John the Baptist was not the light but came to witness of the Light – the true Light that is Jesus Christ the Messiah (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-46) so that men can believe through Him (John 14:6) and be reconciled with the Father.

Jesus Christ became flesh – He came into the world – the same world (earth) He created (Col. 1:15-17) and they (people) knew Him not – most people chose not to have a relationship with God and when Christ came, He did not come as they would have preferred: as a king and to set them free from earthy rulers, but instead He came as a pauper and came to free us of sin, so the people rejected Him. Even His own nation, the Jews (or Israel) through whom He could demonstrate to other nations what God purposed for mankind.