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Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Lexegete™ | Year C | St. Luke

Second Sunday after Epiphany | January 17, 2010 (Lectionary 2)

Isaiah 62:1-5

Psalm 36:5-10 (8)

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

John 2:1-11

Prayer of the Day

Lord God, source of every blessing, you showed forth your glory and led many to faith by the works of your Son, who brought gladness and salvation to his people. Transform us by the Spirit of his love, that we may find our life together in him, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia. Jesus re- | vealed his glory,
and his disciples be- | lieved in him. Alleluia. (John 2:11)

1a. CONTEXT: John 2:1-11

The fourth evangelist provides two bold assertions about the historic Jesus in the first chapter of his Gospel. The first is that He is the "unique" Son, a distinct title which expresses Jesus' filial sense of His Father's presence and which provides the energizing force of Jesus' whole life. The second and closely related assertion is that out of this unique relationship there comes a consciousness of Jesus' messianic vocation.

The fourth evangelist then goes on to relate the story of the turning of water into wine found in no other Gospel. The evangelist describes it as the first of his signs (semeion) which not only revealed the glory of his unique relationship, it also had the effect of evoking the faith of the disciples. The miracles or signs, as understood in this Gospel, are not merely signals that the Kingdom of God is at hand as they are in the Synoptic Gospels, but also clear indication that he by whom the signs are wrought is the Son of God equal to God himself.
A great number of scholars and readers of this account have raised the question whether the story is the report of an actual occurrence. The sheer quantity of wine produced toward the end of a wedding feast (120-plus gallons by one estimate) make it appear doubtful. No parallel is found in the Synoptic Gospels, but there are non-biblical stories similar in content. The Greek God Dionysius, for example, was not only the discoverer of the vine, but he was also the cause of the miraculous transformation of water into wine.

C.J. Wright of Manchester, England, once suggested that what is essential to hold in mind is the evangelist's main intention. He was endeavoring to express the transformation which the life of Jesus had achieved in His disciples and friends. Thus we can envision a possible process. The author had heard tell of a certain wedding which Jesus once attended, in which he shared, and to which occasion he added joy and completeness. He had also in mind many of the familiar sayings of Jesus such as "keeping the good wine until the end, " "the new wine in old bottles."

The evangelist had also reflected upon the meaning of the old wine of Judaism which had served well. He remembered,too, that Jesus never sought to destroy but to fulfill. Thus from out of this process eventuates the story in its present vivid narrative form. Throughout the process the author's overmastering desire is to express the unseen spiritual and moral reality manifest in Jesus. Yet it may also be that we have a real story. What is essential to comprehend is not that is simply telling us of things that Jesus once did in Palestine, but of things which he continues to do today. Wherever Jesus comes into life there comes a new quality which is ever turning water into wine.

1b. Text: John 2:1-11


2. ANALYSIS: John 2:1-11

1Καὶ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τρίτῃ γάμος ἐγένετο ἐν Κανὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας, καὶ ἦν ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐκεῖ:
2ἐκλήθη δὲ καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν γάμον.
3καὶ ὑστερήσαντος οἴνου λέγει ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ πρὸς αὐτόν, Οἶνον οὐκ ἔχουσιν.
4[καὶ] λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου. 5λέγει ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ τοῖς διακόνοις, Ο τι ἂν λέγῃ ὑμῖν ποιήσατε.
6ἦσαν δὲ ἐκεῖ λίθιναι ὑδρίαι ἓξ κατὰ τὸν καθαρισμὸν τῶν Ἰουδαίων κείμεναι, χωροῦσαι ἀνὰ μετρητὰς δύο ἢ τρεῖς.
7λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Γεμίσατε τὰς ὑδρίας ὕδατος. καὶ ἐγέμισαν αὐτὰς ἕως ἄνω.
8καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Ἀντλήσατε νῦν καὶ φέρετε τῷ ἀρχιτρικλίνῳ: οἱ δὲ ἤνεγκαν.
9ὡς δὲ ἐγεύσατο ὁ ἀρχιτρίκλινος τὸ ὕδωρ οἶνον γεγενημένον, καὶ οὐκ ᾔδει πόθεν ἐστίν, οἱ δὲ διάκονοι ᾔδεισαν οἱ ἠντληκότες τὸ ὕδωρ, φωνεῖ τὸν νυμφίον ὁ ἀρχιτρίκλινος
10καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ, Πᾶς ἄνθρωπος πρῶτον τὸν καλὸν οἶνον τίθησιν, καὶ ὅταν μεθυσθῶσιν τὸν ἐλάσσω: σὺ τετήρηκας τὸν καλὸν οἶνον ἕως ἄρτι.
11Ταύτην ἐποίησεν ἀρχὴν τῶν σημείων ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐν Κανὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἐφανέρωσεν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ.

Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 26th edition
© 1979, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart;

The Greek New Testament, 3rd edition
© 1975, United Bible Societies, London


John 2:1-11 - The Wedding at Cana

2:1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.
3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. [*]
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.
8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.
9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
[*] 2:6 Greek two or three measures (metrētas); a metrētēs was about 10 gallons or 35 liters

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles

2:1 - gamos - A marriage feast was a notable event. It lasted seven days, with new guests arriving each day.

Jn. 2:1 - hei meiter tou Ieisou - The mother of Jesus is never named in this Gospel.

It was Jesus' mother who brought the information that there was no more wine. To a Jewish feast wine is essential. "Without wine," said the Rabbis," there is no joy." The evangelists does not seek to fix blame. He is not interested in why the wine has given out.

Jn. 2:4 - ti emoi kai soi, gynai - There appears to be no coldness or disrespect suggested in these words. "What have I to do with you," is an ordinary conversational phrase. William Barclay suggests that Jesus was only telling his mother to leave things to him, that he had his own way to deal with the situation.

Jn. 2:4 - oupo ekei hei hora mou - The hour of Jesus here refers to his death on the cross and his exaltation. The hour when we may expect to see the divine glory manifested in the creative activity of the Son of God has not yet come, though anticipations of it may be seen. Jesus interpreted his life not in terms of a succession of opportunities, but in terms of God's eternal purpose.

Jn. 2:6 - de ekei lithinai huoriai - There were six stone waterpots. It is conceivable, but by no means provable, that the number six is symbolic. Six being less by one than seven, the Jewish number of completeness and perfection, would indicate that the Jewish dispensation dominated by law is imperfect and must give way.

Jn 2:9f. - architriklino.... "When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Every one serves the good wine first; and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now." (AN INCL. LANGUAGE ) - There is no real evidence that this was a custom. But it does provide an unforgettable way to stress what wants to emphasize, that the new faith based on the eschatological event is better than anything that went before it.

3. STRATEGY: John 2:1-11

The fundamental preaching task is to come to grips with a particular text as text in order that the text as Word can grasp the living of the one to whom it is addressed. Hence, the preacher's strategy must be controlled by the intention of the evangelist. The evangelist saw the miracle of the turning of the water into wine as a sign of the manifestation of God's power and presence and thus as a call to believe in the Son who holds a unique relationship to the Father.

A miracle always points beyond itself, and the effort of the preacher should be to understand but not to try to explain. Paul Tillich warned against ever applying the term miracle or mystery to something that ceases to be a mystery after it has been revealed. The ability of the Christ to respond to human need is always greater than our capacity to describe it.

The fourth evangelist has a very pronounced way of dealing with miracles or "signs." He never avoids them. Quite the opposite, he sketches them in the most bold way he can. The miracles are central and the evangelist gathers around the miracle stories all which is characteristic of the master's teachings. While there is no reason to finally believe that the author does not take them literally, he does not place the emphasis there. uses the miracles as evidence, very refreshing to his own thoughts, of Christ's continuous capacity to work related but far more extraordinary spiritual miracles.

Arthur Gossip reminds us that the point of the Cana story is to illustrate the way in which "our Lord enters people's troubles; how unbelievably he suffices in every difficulty; and above all, how he enriches things for us. What water is to wine, what the embarassing insufficiency was to the relief he wrought for his host, so is any other life compared to the fulness, color, adventure and achievement that he gives.
The preacher is always well advised to reflect upon and share his or her own experience and those reported by friends, which testify to the adequacy of Christ. Helpful, too, is a careful reading of the biographies of Christians who have made a career of trusting, such as George Mueller.

That contemporary saint, Corrie Ten Boom, who learned even in one of Hitler's concentration camps what it means to trust, wrote: "Often I have heard people say, 'How good God is! We prayed that it would not rain for our church picnic, and look at this lovely weather!' Yes, God is good when he sends good weather. But God is also good when he allowed my sister, Betsie, to starve to death before my eyes in a German concentration camp. I remember on one occasion when I was very discouraged there. Everything around us was dark, and there was darkness in my heart. I remember telling Betsie that I thought God had forgotten us. 'No,Corrie,' said Betsie, 'He has not forgotten us. Remember His Word: For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him.' " Corrie concludes, there is an ocean of God's love available--there is plenty for everyone. May God grant never to doubt that victorious love, whatever the circumstances."

Lexegete: John Stadtlander, ThD †


Juel, Donald. LUKE-ACTS: THE PROMISE OF HISTORY. Atlanta: Knox, 1983.

Ten Boom, Corrie. THE HIDING PLACE. Waco,TX: Word, 1973.


Hymns reflecting the situation and message of this text include the following:


Others which might fit with the exegetical STRATEGY above include:


And, for Holy Communion, the following are suggested:


Confession of Peter • January 18, 2010

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Day of Service

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins

Acts 4:8-13

Psalm 18:1-6, 16-19 (2, 3)

1 Corinthians 10:1-5

Matthew 16:13-19

Prayer of the Day

Almighty God, you inspired Simon Peter to confess Jesus as the Messiah and Son of the living God. Keep your church firm on the rock of this faith, so that in unity and peace it may proclaim one truth and follow one Lord, your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea | and Samaria,

and to the ends | of the earth. Alleluia. (Acts 1:8)


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