Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

Jesus Turns Water into Wine

John 2:1-11

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Jesus Raises Jairus' Daughter from the Dead (Mark 5:21-42)

Opening Prayer

The Timing of this Story in Jesus' Ministry (John 1)
    What events had already happened in Jesus' ministry?
      Luke 3:21-22 = He was anointed with the Spirit and called by the Father (Baptism)
      Luke 3:23a = About 30 years old (Num 4:3 - age priests began serving in temple)
      Luke 4:1-2a = Went into the desert, fasted for 40 days and was tempted by Satan

      John 1:29-31 = John pointed out Jesus as the one he was preparing Israel for
      John 1:35-37 = Andrew & John began following Jesus the next day
      John 1:41-42 = Andrew brought brother Simon to Jesus, Jesus named him Rock
      John 1:43 = Next day went to Galilee, Met & called Philip
      John 1:45, 49 = Philip found Nathanael and brought him to Jesus

    What did Jesus promise to Nathanael after his confession of faith?
      John 1:50 = You shall see greater things...
    What is the next story of Jesus' ministry and why did it happen?
      John 2:11 = Miracle at Cana; To reveal His glory, to build His disciples' faith
    How long had these disciples been with Him before He revealed His glory at Cana?
      John 2:1-2 = It was on the third day
    What other time did Jesus reveal His glory to His disciples on the third day?
      John 20:1, 19-20 = Appeared to disciples in room the day of His resurrection

    Did the "disciples" at Cana include all of Jesus' select 12? = 12 apostles, many disciples
      Luke 6:12-13, 17, 20 = Apptd 12 apostles before Sermon on Mount (1+ yr later)
    Which were likely included?
      John 1:40-41, 43-45 = Andrew, Simon, John (James?), Philip, Nathanael

The Location of this Story (John 2:1)
    What big city did Jesus chose to first reveal His glory?
      John 2:1 = Cana, small Galilee town, 4 miles NE of Nazareth
    Why didn't Jesus focus His ministry in big cities with big people?
      Luke 4:43 = Jesus was sent to ordinary people in ordinary places
    How did Cana and Nazareth feel about each other? = John 21:2 - Nathanael from Cana
      John 1:46 = Didn't believe anything good could come from Nazareth (rival town?)
    Did anything else of significance happen in Cana?
      John 4:46-54 = Jesus healed official's dying son remotely, 2nd miraculous sign

The Wedding (John 2:1)
    Why did Jesus and His disciples go to Cana? = Wedding day ended the betrothal period
      John 2:1-2 = They were invited to a wedding, Jesus celebrates with us
      Wedding days were on Wednesday if bride was a virgin, Thursday if a widow.
    On a wedding day, the bridegroom was escorted by his friends to the home of the bride.
      Matthew 9:15 = Jesus, the bridegroom, was with His guests
    The bride's friends went out to meet bridegroom and guide the way with lamps or torches.
      Matthew 25:1-13 = Parable of bride's friends being always ready for bridegroom
    Bride in wedding dress & veil joined group in parade thru town to bridegroom's home.
      Jeremiah 7:34 = Parade was celebration, singing, dancing, threw grain (fruitful)
    Bride was given away with blessing from father or responsible relative.
      Genesis 24:59-60 = Rebekah was sent to Isaac with blessing by family

The Wedding Feast (John 2:2)
    Wedding feast included all relatives, neighbors and friends.
      Genesis 29:22 = Laban gave a feast for Jacob with all the people of the place
    Guests were seated by the groom in order of importance
      Luke 14:7-11 = Jesus' parable of humbling yourself, don't take place of honor
    Meals were as elaborate as family could afford, disgraceful not to have enough for all
      Matthew 22:1-4 = King prepared wedding banquet for son, oxen & cattle
    Wedding festival would last days, up to a week
      Judges 14:10-12 = Samson's wedding festival lasted seven days

The Beverage (John 2:3)
    What crisis arose at this wedding in Cana?
      John 2:3 = They ran out of wine - a major embarrassment and disgrace
    What beverages did the people of Israel have besides water?
      Exodus 3:8 = Milk and honey - probably regular honey, not grape honey
    Liked fresh grape juice, but only in season = No refrigerators or canning technology
      Made grape honey by boiling grape juice into a syrup, used to sweeten & flavor
    Water added to pulp from pressed grapes & allowed to ferment
      Matthew 27:48 = Made a very poor grade of wine or vinegar

    Most juice allowed to ferment to make safe for storage and later drinking
      Took full fresh goatskin, sewed up cuts, filled with juice, hung up
      Some would sew skin with hair inside for distinctive flavor (to them), done today
    Fresh skins used to allow expansion from fermenting process
      Matthew 9:17 = Never used old skins, they would burst from fermentation
    Fermented wine was stored in amphorae, large pointed jugs
      When ready to drink, wine poured into kraters (large bowls) and mixed with water
        Typically 3 parts water to 1 part wine, up to 8:1, 10:1 or even 20:1
      Mixed wine poured from kraters into kylix (cups) for drinking
    Only drunkards & barbarians drank wine straight or in 1:1 mix, called strong drink
      Leviticus 10:8-9 = Priests not to drink wine or strong drink before entering temple

Jesus Is Asked to Help (John 2:3-4)
    Who became concerned about the problem and to whom did she turn?
      John 2:3 = Jesus' mother felt bad for host and asked her son to help
      Womens quarters were near wine storage; Mary would learn of shortage before Jesus
    Was Mary asking for a miracle?
      Mark 3:20-21, 31-35 = No, she just looked to her responsible oldest son for help
    How did Jesus reply that pointed out how Mary's request could be misunderstood?
      John 2:4 = Told Mary it wasn't in her place to tell Him what to do

    Was Jesus' reply to Mary harsh? = Only other time Mary is mentioned in John:
      John 19:25-27 = Polite woman doesn't translate well, Madam or lady inadequate
    Was Jesus saying it wasn't time for Him to start doing miracles?
      John 7:30-31 = Wasn't yet Jesus' time, even though He had done lots of miracles
    What is referred to as Jesus' hour?
      John 12:23, 27 = Jesus glorified thru crucifixion, resurrection & ascension

    Who was Jesus saying was in control of the times for Him to be glorified?
      Matthew 24:36 = No one knows the time or plan but God the Father
    How would you paraphrase Jesus' response in today's language?
      John 2:4 = "You don't understand what's going on; I'll handle this my own way"
      Craig S. Keener: "Once I begin doing miracles, I begin the road to the cross."

Jesus Helps (John 2:5-6)
    What does Mary say to show that although she doesn't understand Jesus, she trusts Him?
      John 2:5 = She tells the servant to do whatever He tells them to do
    Did Jesus take the empty amphorae to make His miracle wine?
      John 2:6 = No, He found 6 stone water jars; Clay pots could become unclean
    Was there any chance that these jars had wine residue to mix with Jesus' water?
      Mark 7:1-4 = No, the jars were specifically used for ceremonial cleansing
    What are two points that are made by the number and sizes of the jars?
      Mark 7:5 = Tradition defined how much water per person -> how many guests
      John 6:8-13 = Jesus fills our needs beyond our expectations

The Best for Last (John 2:7-10)
    How elaborate were the procedures that Jesus performed to turn water into wine?
      John 2:7-8 = Just had jars filled with water and had it served
    How did Jesus' wine stand up in a "Folgers" blind taste test?
      John 2:9-10 = The best man claimed this was the best wine, obviously real wine
    What does this show us about God?
      Luke 11:11-13 = God gives us the best gifts, salvation & the Holy Spirit
    What gifts should we as Christians ask for?
      1 Corinthians 12:31 = Eagerly desire the greater gifts

The Best Wine From Jesus (John 2:10)
    What feast did Jesus leave for us to remember the best food and best wine?
      Matthew 26:26-28 = His body and blood in the Lord's Supper
    What promise did Jesus give us with this miraculous bread and wine?
      John 6:51-56 = Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life
    When was this life-giving water and blood given to us?
      John 19:34 = Water and blood flowed from Jesus' pierced side after crucifixion

The First Miracle (John 2:11)
    What was Moses' first miracle to save God's people from bondage?
      Exodus 7:20 = Changed water in Nile River to blood
    What was the purpose of Moses' miracles?
      Exodus 7:17 = By this you will know that I am the Lord
    What was the purpose of Jesus' miracles?
      John 20:30-31 = That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1997 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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