Sunday School 03 18 2012




Diary of Juanita Bynum II


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“Water Turned to Wine” 

Lesson Text: John 2:1-12


Background Scripture: John 2:1-12


Devotional Reading: John 17:1-5


John 2:1-12

1And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:

2And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

3And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

4Jesus 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.

6And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

7Jesus 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.

9When 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,

10And 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.

11This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.



To List the major points of the account of Jesus’ turning water into wine.

To explain the “sign” value of Jesus’ turning water into wine.

To tell what it means to believe on Jesus today.



    If you have been in, or to different weddings you know that there are wide differences in scale and cost. Some brides spend thousands of dollars on their dresses. The bill for wedding receptions can run tens of thousands of dollars. Videographers, flowers, decorations, programs, musicians, facility rental, limousines, and many other things can produce a staggering overall cost.

    At the other end of the scale, some weddings are very simple and cost very little. One thing all weddings have in common, however, is the participants’ desire for the event to be memorable. Everyone wants the wedding to create memories, but not the kind that end up on the funny video shows. We do not want someone to step on the bride’s dress or trip on the way up the steps. We do not want the veil to catch fire from a candle or a member of the wedding party to show up intoxicated. We want positive, beautiful memories of this important event.

    Today’s lesson tells the story of one of the first events in the public ministry of Jesus: a miracle that took place at a wedding. Here Jesus both revealed himself as the miracle-working Son of God and saved the wedding host from potential embarrassment. That it was a wedding to remember is verified by our discussion of it some 2,000 years later.


Time:  A.D. 26


Author: John


Recipients: Mankind

    The Gospel of John does not speak of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, but the author clearly presents Nazareth as the place Jesus grew up, His hometown (see John 1:45, 46; 18:5-7; 19:19). Nazareth was a village in the northern half of Palestine, an area referred to as Galilee. Nazareth was in the hill country of southern Galilee, roughly equidistant from the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean coast. Nearby was another Galilean village named Cana, about eight miles north of Nazareth. There were many Gentiles who lived in the Galilean region (see Matthew 4:15), so the Jews in this area tended to have their own villages.

    Although John gives no details, it is likely that there were strong family ties between Nazareth and Cana. Men from Nazareth might marry women from Cana and vice versa. This may explain why Jesus, His mother, and His disciples attended a wedding in Cana. This could have been the wedding of a relative or a family friend. They were not crashing the party, nor were they invited so that Jesus could perform miracles. He was there as a guest, and there were no expectations on Him other than His participation in the celebration.

    Some Christians are troubled that this story involves wine, an alcoholic beverage. We must understand two things in this regard. First, the contention that this was some type of unfermented grape juice with zero alcohol content cannot be supported by what we know of the ancient world. Wine was a common beverage for the people of that day. Good wine (meaning non-vinegary) would have been the normal, expected beverage to be served at a wedding celebration.

    But, second, we must understand that the people of Jesus’ day normally drank wine diluted with water. This was both an economy measure (to stretch the supply) and a health measure (to provide a moderate antiseptic for the water supply). Undiluted wine may have had an alcohol content of 10 or 11 percent. The diluted wine of Jesus’ day would have had an alcohol content of 2 or 3 percent. While it was possible for heavy consumers to become intoxicated, the wedding guests who had two cups of wine per hour would have felt little effect from the alcohol. 


JESUS THE GUEST (John 2:1,2)

1. Who was invited to the wedding in Cana (John 2:1,2)?

    We are told that “the mother of Jesus” (Mary) was invited to this wedding. If there is a family connection with this wedding (which is likely), Mary may be one of the aunts or cousins helping with the wedding festivities. This would be a village-wide event, with a couple hundred people in attendance. To provide food and refreshments necessitates many helpers. The author says nothing about the wedding ceremony or the identity of the bride or groom because our story is concerned with the festivities of this celebration. 

    We are also told that Jesus and His disciples are personally invited to this wedding (v. 2). There are at least five disciples in the group by this time: Andrew (John 1:40), Simon Peter (1:42), Philip (1:43), Nathanael (1:49), and the unnamed disciple that many assume to be John (1:40). 

    Our Lord was not a recluse, as was John the Baptist (Matt. 11:16-19). He accepted invitations to social events. Jesus entered into the normal experiences of life and sanctified them by His presence. Wise is that couple who invite Jesus to their wedding!  


JESUS THE SON (John 2:3-5)

2. What happened during the course of the celebration (v. 3)? 

    In the course of the celebration, the unexpected happens: the guests have consumed all the wine on hand. Whether this reflects poor planning or more guests than anticipated, we do not know. 

    This situation may seem like a minor thing to us. But in Jesus’ day, this is a deeply embarrassing failure. Forever after the hosts will be known as “the stingy people who ran out of wine at their wedding.” Some of this is based on a social obligation to have abundant food and drink at a wedding feast. It is not a place or time to economize.  

    There is no easy solution. Taking a cart to the city, buying the wine, bringing it back to Cana, and preparing it can easily take half a day—far too long to keep everyone happy and save face. 

    Jesus’ mother, perhaps one who is helping with the catering, decides to take matters into her own hands. She simply turns to her son and presentsthe dire situation to Him. She makes no demands, but we can pick up the unspoken expectation in her voice: “We need your help.” 

What Do You Think?  

    What was a time when you tried to bring Jesus into a situation in a way that may not have been appropriate? How did you grow spiritually through this experience? 

Talking Points for Your Discussion

- A situation that involved poor planning on your part

- A situation that involved poor planning on the part of someone else

- A situation that involved the unforeseeable 

3. What did Jesus mean by responding to his mother, “Woman, what have I to do with thee” (v. 4a) 

    Why did Mary approach Jesus about the problem? Did she actually expect Him to do something special to meet the need? Certainly she knew who He was even though she did not declare this wonderful truth to others. 

    Mary did not tell Jesus what to do; she simply reported the problem. (Compare the message of Mary and Martha to Jesus, when Lazarus was sick-John 11:3.) Jesus’ reply seems a bit abrupt, and even harsh, but such is not the case. “Woman” was a polite way to address her (John 19:26; 20:13), and His statement merely means, “Why are you getting Me involved in this matter?” He was making it clear to His mother that He was no longer under her supervision (it is likely that Joseph was dead), but that from now on, He would be doing what the Father wanted Him to do. There had been a hint of this some years before (Luke 2:40-52).         


4. What did Jesus mean by his statement, “Mine hour is yet to come” (v. 4b)?


   At this point, John introduced one of the key elements of his record, the idea of “the hour.”  Jesus lived on a “heavenly timetable,” marked out for Him by the Father. (See John 7:30; 8:20; 12:23; 13:1; 17:1.) As you study John’s gospel, you will observe how this concept of “the hour” is developed. 

5. What evidence do we see of Mary’s faith in Jesus (v. 5)? 

    Mary’s words to the servants (“whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”) reveal that she was willing to let her Son do whatever He pleased, and that she trusted Him to do what was right. It would be wise for all of us to obey what she said!  It is worth noting that it was Jesus who took command and solved the problem; and that Mary pointed, not to herself, but to Jesus.     

What Do You Think?

    What was a time when someone advised you to do what Jesus said? How did things turn out?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

- Regarding lifestyle choices

- Regarding financial stewardship

- Regarding taking risks for the kingdom of God


JESUS THE HOST (John 2:6-12)

6. What common item did Jesus use to solve the dilemma of this household (v. 6)?

    A firkin is an old English measure equal to about 9 or 10 gallons, so these stone jars hold roughly 20 to 30 gallons apiece. Imagine a jar that can contain the volume of five or six plastic five-gallon water jugs that are used in water coolers! 

    The observant Jews of Jesus’ day use limestone jars for ceremonial washing purposes (v. 6). They believe that natural stone is not subject to being “unclean” because of contact with Gentiles or nonkosher food. Such jars are manufactured in many places in Judea and Galilee at this time because limestone is abundant, easily worked, and durable. 

    The waterpots of stone have nothing to do with the wedding celebration. They are not used as wine containers. They are the property of the Jewish householder for the use of his family. Jesus used a common household item to solve the problem faced by this family.   

What Do You Think?   

     Thinking of the water pots, what are some things in your possession that you need to make available for use in the service of the Lord? How will you do so? 

Talking Points for Your Discussion

- Home

- Car

- Unique skills 

7. How did Jesus use these common “waterpots” (vs. 7,8)?

    Jesus asks the servants to fill the waterpots with water. We can well imagine the confusion of the servants at this point. They have filled the pots (“up to the brim”) as directed and have no reason to think they contain anything but water.  

    Yet Jesus asks them to fill a small container from one of the jars and take it to the governor of the feast. This person is not the groom, as the next verse shows. Rather, he is the hired person in charge of catering the wedding festivities. This command of Jesus undoubtedly makes little sense to the servants, for they do not see why the head man would care to taste the purification water. We can expect that they begin to realize a miracle has taken place when they draw the water, though, for the aroma of fine wine is there. 

8. What was the response of the Master of Banquet when he sampled the new wine (vs. 9,10)? 

    We are not told whether the bridegroom is aware of the wine crisis or not. It may be something the caterer is trying to manage on his own. But that ruler of the feast is perplexed. Not knowing anything of Jesus or the water pots, he assumes that the groom has been keeping a stash of wine hidden from him, perhaps several wineskins in a storage area. So he questions the groom along these lines, pointing out that it is customary to begin the celebration with good wine and end with cheaper stuff.  

    The quality of the new wine was so superior that the man in charge of the banquet highly praised it, and, without a doubt, the groom’s family basked in the glory of the compliments.    

What Do You Think?  

    In what ways has Jesus taken the ordinary and made it extraordinary in your life or church? 

Talking Points for Your Discussion 

- Teaching skills

- Mercy and compassion

- Leadership skills

- Interpersonal skills

9. What was the significance of Jesus’ first miracle (v. 11)?

    Our Lord’s first miracle was not a spectacular event that everybody witnessed.  Mary, the disciples, and the servants knew what had happened, but no body else at the feast had any idea that a miracle had taken place.   

    Yet, Jesus’ action is more than a miracle to help a family friend out of a tight spot. The miracle also did something for His disciples. It was a miracle with a purpose: to reveal the divinity and power of Jesus, to show His glory (compare John 3:2). The result is that His disciples believed on him. This gave them a stronger foundation for their faith. Though miracles alone are insufficient evidence for declaring Jesus to be the Son of God (2 Thess. 2:9,10), the cumulative effect of miracle after miracle should certainly convince them of His deity. The disciples had to begin somewhere, and over the months, their faith deepened as they got to know Jesus better.  



1.God’s presence should be revealed even in social settings (John 2:1,2).

2.Always seek wise counsel (v. 3).

3.Our faith is tested in difficult times (vs. 4,5).

4.Do not discard the common or ordinary from your life, God uses all things (vs. 6-8).

5.Others don’t have to know, …give God the glory! (vs. 9-12). 



Signs of the Messiah 

    The changing of water into wine is the first miracle recorded by John. The immediate result of this first sign is the faith of the disciples, the core group of men that Jesus was preparing to lead the church after His departure. Later, John (one of those early disciples) explained that there were many other signs. John had chosen only certain ones to reveal aspects of Jesus’ divinity (see John 20:30). 

    There are connections between the miraculous signs in the Gospel of John that the reader will notice. Throughout the section of John’s Gospel that deals with Jesus’ signs, a miracle is always a sign that points beyond the event of the miracle to a greater truth. These signs still serve as markers for our faith in Jesus as the Son of God. 


    Father God, You provide us necessary food and drink on a daily basis. You provide signs and reasons for our faith. And You provide the means of our salvation through Your Son, the spotless lamb. Thank You. We pray in the name of the one in whom we believe, Jesus our Savior; Amen. 


    Believe on Jesus.


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