John 2 Bible Study

Commentary Bible study of John chapter 2

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JOHN 2:1-7 BIBLE STUDY

John 2:8-11 Bible Study: Master of the Feast
John 2:12 Bible Study: Jesus’ Brothers
John 2:13 Bible Study: Passover
John 2:14-17 Bible Study: Jesus Cleanses the Temple
John 2:18-25 Bible Study: Destroy This Temple
JOHN 2:1-5  1 On the third day, a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 And Jesus also was invited, even His disciples, to the wedding. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” 4 Jesus said to her, “What have I to do with you, woman? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

To what does the “third day” (John 2:1) refer?
It refers to three days from the end of the previous “chapter.” When originally written, the Gospel of John and the other books of the Bible were not marked with chapter or verse numbers. That was done much later to make it easier to locate passages.

Where is “Cana” (John 2:1)?
Cana is in the region of Galilee, about 12 miles (19 kilometers) west of the Sea of Galilee (photo) and about 15 miles (24 kilometers) east of the Mediterranean Sea.

Why do you think Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding?
Mary is probably one of the people organizing the wedding.

What clues are there?
Mary tells the servants what to do. She knows the wine has run out even before the master of the wedding feast does (see Master of the Feast), is concerned about it, and is trying to resolve the problem.

Why would running out of wine be a problem?
In those days, wine was the only drink other than water. Running out of wine at a wedding feast would be like a wedding reception today running out of all drinks except tap water, and Jewish wedding feasts back then went on for seven days.

Why would Mary be helping to run the wedding feast in the first place?
It’s probably the wedding of a relative, hence the invitation to Jesus as well, and it was customary for the disciples of a rabbi to go everywhere he went.

Did Jesus praise Mary for telling Him that the wine has run out?
No, He rebuked her, and while γuναι (gynay), the original Greek word for “woman” (John 2:4) isn’t derogatory, the fact that Jesus addresses His mother with this term is also significant.

Jesus must have called her, “mother” growing up. Why does He now call her, “woman”?
Since His ministry had started, Jesus was differentiating Himself - God the Son - from her, a human vessel through whom God chose to come into the world (see Birth of Jesus).

If His ministry had started, why did Jesus say, “My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4)?
The term, “my hour” refers not to His ministry but to his final confrontation with the Jewish leaders that will lead to the cross. The timing of that confrontation had to be precise and Jesus knew that His miracles would draw the attention of the Jewish leaders. We will read other references to His time not yet coming until Jesus declares, “the hour has come” in John chapter 12.

What did Mary say after hearing from Jesus?
“Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:5)

What else does the Bible quote Mary as having said after this?
Nothing. These are the final words that God, the author of the Bible, chose to quote from Mary. So anyone who believes in or prays to Mary for guidance should heed her and do what Jesus, whom the Bible refers to as the Word of God (see John 1), says to do.

JOHN 2:6-7  6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone for the purification of the Jews, each able to hold two or three metretes. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

What do you think about the description of the waterpots?
They are not described simply as “some” waterpots. There are “six” of them. They are made of “stone.” And they can hold “two or three metretes (John 2:6), using the ancient measurement for the amount of liquid. Such precision in number, composition and volume is evidence of the Gospels being eyewitness accounts.

How much were “two or three metretes”?
2 metretes = 78.8 liters = 20.8 US gallons = 17.3 imperial (UK) gallons.
3 metretes = 118.2 liters = 31.2 US gallons = 26.0 imperial (UK) gallons.

What is meant by “for the purification of the Jews” (John 2:6)?
To be ceremonially clean, the Jews had to wash not just their hands before a meal, but their hands and the dishes after every course of the meal. They also had to wash their feet for the reasons mentioned earlier (see John the Baptist), hence the need for such large waterpots.

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