But it also contains some of the stories that are most iconic from Jesus' ministry. The second chapter contains the Wedding at Cana and the Cleansing of the Temple, which I feel like anyone who attended Sunday School as a child remembers, no matter what their faith life may have been like after that point.
2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
Two things strike me about this story. Aside from it being the first 'sign' or miracle of Jesus, I mean.
First, there are many groups of Christians who are teetotal. They don't drink at all, condemn it, etc. Which is fine for them. If you don't want to drink, for whatever reason, then by all means do not drink. There is limited health benefit from certain kinds of alcohol (or so I am told) and there are a lot of bad effects of alcohol. But these denominations generally go back to the Bible for their reasoning as to why alcohol is bad. And it's true that the Bible decries drunkenness. Yet here we have an example of Jesus, not only drinking wine, but making sure that there was more of it. And some good stuff too, if the master of ceremonies is to be believed.
We have later (in the timeline) example of Jesus drinking wine with his disciples. I know the argument that the wine at the time was not as strong, etc. etc. but the fact remains that the Bible does not condemn alcohol in and of itself. It condemns excess and drunkenness.
For most people a glass of wine, or even a cocktail, is not a big deal. They're not going to get drunk off of it. Certainly there are some people for whom that one drink is the pebble that starts the avalanche, and obviously those people should not be encouraged to have 'just one'. But I can't see that that has anything to do with a general prohibition on alcohol.
Second, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, but John never refers to Mary as *Mary*, does he? It's always 'woman'. Which feels so disrespectful to me. But I've heard that the actual word used in these instances translates better as 'madam' or 'ma'am', which is more respectful but still something rather weird to call your mother in this instance. Like I wouldn't ever respond to my mother asking me for something by saying, 'Ma'am, how is this my problem?'
I'd say 'Yes ma'am', because I was not raised in a barn.
I always feel like this exchange is missing something because it goes from Jesus saying, 'Not my department' to Mary (unnamed though she is) telling the servants to help Jesus get the party rolling.
I feel like we're missing the part where Mary grabs him by the ear and tells him that he is not too big to be taken over her knee.
Then she walks away, smiling, telling the servants to just go be dears and help Jesus out, he's gonna take care of this whole thing.
And how did Mary know he could do something about it anyway? Did he have a habit of turning water into milk as a child? Inquiring minds want to know.
I mean we have the Infancy Gospels (which aren't canon) that tells us that Jesus performed miracles even as a child. But without those, her assumption that Jesus could take care of this seems kind of strange.
9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
I feel like this is supposed to be a message about how Christianity is not the 'inferior' wine. Because the bridegroom is typically a symbol of Jesus (the Bride being the Chuch) and so the good wine would be the New Convenant while the original wine (one assumes it was good wine since it makes no sense otherwise as a historical story) is the Old Covenant and Mosaic Law.
And then we have the Cleansing of the Temple.
13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”
Okay. So, in the first place, this is not Jesus' first trip to the Temple at Jerusalem. At the very least, he was there once as a child (the story of Jesus getting 'lost' in the Temple). And I'm certain that he was *aware* of this stuff going on. It's not like he went there, was shocked, and overcome with righteous anger.
Righteous anger? Sure, sure. I can see that. But I feel like he went in with it. That this was, not just a cleansing, but a demonstration. A specific, thought out act.
This also brings up the question of the church stores that some churches have. If Jesus was peeved about these people doing business in the Temple, what would he think of the stores? Selling religious items, of course, Bibles and books and whatnots (and I know that they're there to raise money for the church and operating expenses, don't get me wrong here) but then so were the people in the Temple. You couldn't sacrifice without the proper animal and the Temple only took money that didn't have the Emperor's face on it (since the Emperor was considered a god/demi-god and that doesn't mesh well with monotheism).
19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
Now it must be remembered that the Gospels were all written well after Jesus' death and resurrection, so there's a lot of stuff that is included in hindsight, as it were. Like this. The whole 'temple of his body' bit. I assume, at the time that this was said, nobody thought he was talking about rising from the dead.
Who's to say that the disciples didn't take him literally? After all, man turned water into wine. Maybe they believed that he really could put the Temple back together if it got physically destroyed. It's only in retrospect, with Jesus dead that the thoughts turn to a different kind of Messiah-ship. After all, the Jewish people (at least some of them) were expecting a Messiah. A King David kind of Messiah who would give them back the land that God had promised them. A warrior-king-priest.
Jesus wound up not being exactly who they thought they were looking for.
23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.
I'm going to be honest, I'm not really sure what is trying to be said here. Jesus didn't commit himself to these people who believed in him because...they were people? But so are his disciples. What does 'commit himself' mean in this context? He 'had no need that anyone should testify of man'? But they wouldn't be testifying of *man*, they'd be testifying of him.
Really. I don't get this part. There're no notes for it in my Bible or on the Biblegateway site. So.
Thoughts? Guesses? Suppositions?
Probably no dirty limericks. I can't see how they'd apply, really.