Let’s not get ‘out of order’ (John 2:1-12)

John 2:1-12 

            Let’s get the timing right

The introductory phrase ‘on the third day’ (John 2:1) looks straightforward enough until we recall that four – not just two – consecutive preceding days have already been deliberately brought to our attention (‘the next day’ of John 1:29, 35, 43, that follow the first day implied in John 1:19-28, of course). A simple explanation could be that those first four days occurred in Judea down south, that the journey up north to Galilee took two days of travel, and the wedding commenced the day after the arrival there of ‘Jesus … with his disciples’ (John 2:2).

However, John, the last of the Gospel authors was fully aware that the phrase ‘the third day’ was by then a well established term enshrined in the creed of Christians worldwide for the resurrection of Jesus, quoted by Paul once (1 Corinthians 15:4), Mark twice (Mark 9:31; 10:34), Matthew thrice (Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19), and Luke six times (Luke 9:22; 13:32; 18:33; 24:7, 46; Acts 10:40). Also when John’s third day is added to his previous four, this ‘first of his signs’ (of the seven miracles of Jesus narrated in this Gospel) is deliberately shown by the writer as a work expressing resurrection life in a context of sabbath (seventh day) rest (Genesis 2:2).

            Then let’s put the main actors in the drama ‘in right order’

Let’s number the chief characters like this: Jesus [1], his mother [2] and the servants etc [3].

[] ‘When the wine ran out, the mother [2] of Jesus said to him [1], “They [3] have no wine”’ (John 2:3).
[] ‘Jesus [1] said to her [2], “What does this have to do with me [1] and you [2]? My hour [of departure, as throughout John’s Gospel] has not yet come”’ (John 2:4 Greek).

[] Realising her mistake in acting as a mediator, ‘[h]is mother [2] said to the servants [3], “Do whatever he [1] tells you [3](John 2:5).

And the outcome, as the saying goes, is history! It was not the ‘hour’ for his departure; it was his ‘hour’ to ‘manifest … his glory. And his disciples believed in him’ (John 2:11). And there are still times when someone [3] asks us [2] to intercede with the Lord [1] when again he would reply, ‘What’s that got to do with me-[1]-and-you-[2]? Tell them to do what I [1] command them [3].’ It can boost one’s ego to feel needed, but in some instances – maybe most cases? – we should first ask: ‘And what has the Lord said to you about this situation?’

            And ‘keep topped up with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18 Greek)

Several practical steps had to be taken. Six very large stone jars stood nearby. No doubt some of the water they contained had already been used by these servants to wash the feet and hands of the bridal party and their guests. First they need to be refilled ‘to the brim’ (John 2:7), then a sample drawn off to be tasted by the master of ceremonies, for him to sanction a liberal sharing of the vintage wine with all present. John will later quote Jesus’ own deciphering of the drama – that ‘out of [the believer’s] heart will flow … living water’ (John 7:37-39), namely ‘the Spirit’ – provided, of course, we ‘keep topped up in spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18 Greek).

  • So, let’s keep ourselves in good working order!
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