05.05.02 Jn. 2:1-11 The First Miracle in Cana

Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 08, 2016  -  Comments Off on 05.05.02 Jn. 2:1-11 The First Miracle in Cana

05.05.02 Jn. 2:1-11 The First Miracle in Cana




On the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and 2 Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding as well. 3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother told Him, “They don’t have any wine.”

4 What has this concern of yours to do with Me, woman?” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.”

5 “Do whatever He tells you,” His mother told the servants.

6 Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained 20 or 30 gallons.

7 “Fill the jars with water,” Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim. 8 Then He said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the chief servant.” And they did.

9 When the chief servant tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it came from—though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom 10 and told him, “Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people have drunk freely, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.”

11 Jesus performed this first sign in Cana of Galilee. He displayed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.


People have always loved weddings, and in ancient times the wedding was rather unique – and in some ways – like a game. As the evening sun set upon the horizon, the bridegroom and his friends went to the bride’s home to “steal her away.” She anticipated his coming and was prepared to meet him with her bridesmaids, but wasn’t exactly sure when to expect him. Both bride and bridegroom were then carried off on the shoulders of young men while others carried torches, played flutes and drums, sang and danced in the streets, as they went to the appointed place of the wedding. Bride and groom were treated as they were a king and queen – a profound image in a culture of economic slavery.  The celebration is one of the most joyful events in Jewish life, because a new family was established and God was honored for the creation of new life.

05.05.02a (3)


“On the third day a wedding.”  In Judaism, the days of the week do not have names, but rather, are numbered. Weddings were held on the third day of the week because, at the time of Creation, that was the day God twice said that “it is good.”[1] Since the day begins at sunset, the wedding occurred Monday after sunset which is the beginning of the third day and went far into the night.[2]  Maidens were married on the third day of the week, and widows on the sixth day.[3] So the wedding at Cana was clearly for a young maiden.[4]  Families of wealth could afford an ample supply of wine that would last seven days – the length of wedding celebrations among the proverbial “rich and famous.”[5]   However, among the poor, weddings were no more than three days, if that. The fact that this family ran out of their beverage of choice, is indicative of their economic status – poor. In addition, among the common people, the host did not provide wedding garments for the guests.  Only the very wealthy and those of high rank could afford to provide wedding garments to all their guests.[6]

It was the custom for the host (the bridegroom or the father of the bridegroom) to employ a toastmaster for the wedding feast to insure that all the needs were met for the guests, and especially for the bride and groom.  Therefore, when the wine was all consumed, it was a social tragedy and a supreme insult for him. Such an error on the part of the toastmaster would not only haunt him but also the newlyweds for the rest of their lives.  It was a problem beyond modern comprehension. The fact that they did run out of wine underscores the probability that the wedding party was a poor Jewish family. This gross embarrassment was averted when Jesus changed the water into wine with the taste of aged mellowing.[7]


05.05.02.A. TWO RITUAL STONE WATER VESSELS. Stone vessels were considered ritually pure, as opposed to vessels made of clay (Mishnah: Kelim 10:11; Parah 3:2). They were made of a limestone block that was turned on a primitive lathe. These vessels each have a capacity of eight and one-half gallons.[8] Photograph by the author.


Cana of Galilee.”  It was in this obscure village of Cana where Jesus performed His first miracle.  Not before crowds in a splendid amphitheater, but before a few peasant farming families who worked hard, who struggled to keep afloat under Roman oppression, and who were about to have an ordinary wedding – or so they thought. If a son of Mary and Joseph was getting married, then the wedding would have occurred in Nazareth. If a daughter was getting married, the wedding would have been at the bridegroom’s home – which in this case, was in Cana. The identity of the wedding couple may never be known, but scholars are comfortable with the assessment that one individual of the bridal couple, most likely the daughter, was closely related to Mary and Joseph.

On a side note, since the seventeenth century, the village of Cana that is adjacent to and just north of Nazareth has claimed to be the traditional site of the miracle.  In fact, the local church contains two vessels said to be of the biblical wedding.  However, this village was established solely for tourists and has no biblical, historical, or archaeological significance.  In fact, recently archaeologists identified the actual site of the Khirbet Kana ruins about ten kilometers north of Nazareth. Excavations there have revealed a first century occupation and local Arabs for centuries have called it the Cana of Galilee.

What has this concern of yours to do with Me, woman?”  To modern readers this hardly seems like a statement that Jesus would make, especially when Hebrew law and the cultural hospitality demanded respect for parents.   It seems very unkind and harsh, but in the Aramaic language, it did not convey that negative emotion.

The word woman, or gunai, is a word of endearment and great respect, so much so that emperor Augustus addressed Queen Cleopatra of Egypt by the same word gunai.[9] Jesus used it again when he hung dying on the cross and said, “Woman, behold your Son.”  Another translation could be, “What have I and you to do with that?”  Or, “Never mind; don’t be worried.”[10] Yet, as previously stated, English translations do not convey the emotion of the common Aramaic phrase (mal li velak), that is perfectly consistent with the most delicate courtesy and feelings of consideration.


05.05.02.Q1 Why did Mary ask Jesus to resolve the crisis at the wedding (Jn. 2:1-11)?

When Mary asked Jesus to do something about the crisis, He said that His commands come from His Father in heaven, not her. That sounds rather harsh in modern English. This was followed by His statement, “My hour has not yet come,” which can also be translated as “I must wait for the right opportunity.”[11] Nonetheless, He did as she requested, not out of obedience, but for her honor.  He was in His thirties and the parent-son relationship still had to be cherished. Therefore, Jesus performed His first miracle, changing water into wine, which would later symbolize His life – bringing joy to life. But the fact that Mary asked Jesus to resolve a serious problem presents the question of why – why did she ask?

The only reason Mary could have asked Him to do anything was because she was an important figure in the wedding party – someone in her immediate family was getting married. Because weddings were times of great celebration, the entire extended families of Mary and Joseph were probably there. One tradition says that the reason she asked Jesus for help was because the bride was either her sister or daughter.[12] Another tradition says the bridegroom was Alphaeus and the bride was Mary, a sister of the Virgin Mary.[13] Note that at times parents did name two or more children with the same first name.

However, some scholars have suggested that it is too much of an assumption to consider Mary as a member of the wedding party because such an opinion cannot be sustained by an exegetical study – and they are correct! However, from a cultural perspective, it is almost certain that she was a member of the wedding party.  If Mary was a guest, it would have been most inconsiderate of her to make this request and cause further embarrassment to the host.  There are several reasons why she asked Jesus to do “something,” meaning, to perform a miracle of some kind.  Consider these –

  1. She certainly did not forget the angel that told her of her pregnancy. No one would forget that event – and she wondered about it for three decades. But now she knew that He was past the age of 30 and His ministry would soon begin.
  1. It was Mary, when told she would conceive and bear a child (Lk. 1:46-56; 04.03.05), who once magnified her Lord when she proclaimed “My soul proclaims the greatness of our Lord.”
  1. Who, but a mother would have known her son better than anyone else, especially if He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and she gave Him birth while still a virgin?
  1. She knew of Zechariah and Elizabeth and their miracle son, John, who by now had been preaching in the less populated areas north of the Dead Sea.
  1. She remembered the words of Simeon who, when he held the infant Jesus, thanked God for the opportunity to see the salvation of God for all people (Lk. 2:25-35; 04.04.04).
  1. She reflected upon the words of Anna, a prophetess in the temple.
  1. She remembered the magi and the trip to Egypt so Herod would not kill her son, and possibly herself and Joseph too.
  1. What was it like to raise a perfect sinless child? Mary and Joseph, as well as their relatives and neighbors, were most certainly aware of the unusual character of Jesus as He grew into manhood.
  1. She knew her Son already had five disciples and was a popular teacher. She probably questioned that if some Hebrew prophets performed miracles, would her son do likewise?


With all these incredible thoughts and experiences she knew there was something profoundly different about her Jesus. So why not ask Him to do something? She most certainly did not know of His divinity, but she knew her Hebrew Bible well enough to understand that since the prophets of olden times performed miracles, maybe her Jesus, who was now past the age of 30, could do something the wine situation. Especially since this was a socially desperate situation.

This miracle must have had a special effect upon His siblings[14] who most certainly were wondering what kind of brother they had.  Yet in spite of His incredible teachings, the fact that He had five disciples at this point, and the incredible miracle He performed, yet they had no respect or honor for Him (Mk. 6:4).

“Jewish purification” Orthodox Jews observed the ceremonial washing of hands prior to eating.  The washing of hands (2 Kg. 3:11) meant washing the forearms from the elbows to the finger tips prior to eating with prayers of thankfulness.[15] So serious was the matter of hand washing, that those who failed to wash properly were said to be subject to the attack or influence of a demon named Shibta.[16] Because most Christians have never observed ritualistic ordinances as this one, the significance of ceremonial washing is difficult for them to understand.

At the wedding, the vessels were present so the attendees could to wash their hands in ritually-pure water before eating.  Vessels of clay pottery were considered to be ritually impure because of the possibility of dung being in the clay. The fact that there were six stone jars indicates that this was a huge wedding – with many guests not only from the small village of Cana, but nearby Nazareth as well.

Since the stone vessels were for water to be used in ritual washing, why did Jesus use them for His miracle?  The answer is that there were probably no other vessels available that would have contained the sufficient amount of wine needed for the large crowd.  Furthermore, since the miracle occurred in ritually pure vessels, in Jewish eyes that was a positive reflection upon His miracle.

“The chief servant.”  The chief servant (Gk. architriklinos) was not a slave, but the master of the banquet; either the headwaiter or a guest who served as the steward or host.[17] Since this was a multi-day event, he presided over the series of evening meals that were an integral part of the lengthy wedding feast.  It was his responsibility to insure that the entire feast was properly conducted, assign seats for family and guests, and maintain a lively spirit throughout the celebration.[18]   As the chief steward, he tasted the wine before it was served to the guests.[19] He was also responsible to insure that no one had too much to drink, as intoxication would have been an insult to him and the wedding couple.[20] Whether for religious or civil occasions, there was always plenty of food, wine, pomp, and speeches as the order of the day.  The master scheduled everything in its due time for the host.[21] But his reputation as the master of the banquet was largely determined by how well he mixed wines. The Talmud recorded that a Rabbi Rava excelled in this art and had established a renowned reputation for being the best wine mixer.[22]

“Fine wine . . . the inferior (wine).”  Wines were normally consumed within three to four years of the grape harvest, with the best wines aging ten to sixteen years.[23] The best wines were presented first to the guests of honor in the beginning of the feast, with the lesser quality consumed near the end of the festival.   To acquire the best taste, it was common practice to mix wines, especially in the royal courts.[24] The wine Jesus produced was of such excellent quality that it did not have to be mixed with other wines.  Since new wine had a potent effect the Talmud forbade giving it to a Jewish servant.[25] This is a very interesting reflection upon the quality of wine. What Jesus produced apparently had the full flavor of fine aged wine, not the fresh potency of new wine. The Bible says that the Jews related wine with the joy of life (Ps. 104:15), which is why the Second Temple Period sages said,                                                         

One in whose house wine does not flow like water is not blessed.

Babylonian Talmud, Eruvin 65a


Obviously, if the prevailing opinion was that a house without wine was not blessed, imagine what running out of wine at life’s most important occasion, a wedding, would have been like.  A huge social embarrassment!  To insure that no one drank too much of the beverage, the rabbis insisted that it be diluted with water, but they disagreed on the ratio of wine to water. Note the following:

  1. According to one source in the Babylonian Talmud, wines were normally diluted with two parts water to one part wine, but a mixture that consisted of three parts water and one part wine could not be considered wine.[26]
  2. The ancient writer Pliny said it was diluted eight parts water to one part wine.[27]
  3. Jason of Cyrene, who authored 2 Maccabees from an extended narrative, said,

For just as it is harmful to drink wine alone, or, again, to drink water alone, while wine mixed with water is sweet and delicious and enhances one’s enjoyment, so also the style of the story delights the ears of those who read the work.

2 Maccabees 15:39[28]

  1. Two writers of the Mishnah said that wine diluted with two to four parts water and the mixture was known as mazug.[29] Furthermore, they said this was a normal practice. It would have been nearly impossible to become intoxicated with this diluted beverage.


The point being that wine was seldom consumed without first diluting it with water. This was done for two reasons:

  1. To decrease the opportunity for abuse and intoxication. A constant concern was the abuse of a blessing to the point it would become a curse, namely, drunkenness. Judaism, as well as the church, has always condemned drunkenness. Clement made this comment concerning Jesus:

For if He made water [into] wine at the marriage, He did not give permission to get drunk.

Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor[30]

  1. To kill the bacteria in water that had been stored in cisterns for long periods of time. By the end of a long hot dry summer with no rain, the water that was stored in cisterns generally had some bacteria or other microbes that could cause stomach problems. The small alcohol content of the wine made the water safe to drink.


To honor the command, “You should be holy,” even rabbis were forbidden from entering the temple, blessing a congregation, or rendering a legal-religious decision if they were even slightly under the influence of wine. Because wine “gladdens the heart” (Ps. 104:15), it was the symbol of joy, along with love, marriage, and repentance.  Jesus performed his first miracle that was symbolic of a wedding. His last miracle was also symbolic of a wedding.  His miracle at Cana is in sharp contrast to the first miracle of Moses, where water in the Nile turned into blood and suggests that the Old Covenant symbolized judgment.[31]  The Cana miracle was clearly symbolic of the contrast between the Old and New Covenants.  But could there have been another purpose for the miracle at Cana?

Jesus performed this first (miraculous) sign.” John clearly indicated the miracle at Cana was the first in the ministry of Jesus.  The Greek word for sign is semeia which John used to point the readers toward Jesus. Whereas Jesus used the miracles to reveal His glory; to reflect upon past prophets (as in the healing of Jairus’ daughter), John used the word semeia to point specifically to Jesus.

Miracles were designed to authenticate the message and messenger of God (Acts 2:22). In the Old Testament, miracles were generally punitive, whereas those of Jesus were redemptive.  The Jews were persuaded by miracles, which were signs of the continuation of God in their midst, but the Greeks were persuaded by logic and reason (1 Cor. 1:22).  It is interesting that Jesus did not come primarily as a miracle-worker, but He came to reveal the Father and to preach that the Kingdom of God was about to come to those who placed their faith in Him. Three times John discretely used the number seven. As previously stated, John presented seven “I am” statements,[32] seven discourses,[33] and seven signs or miracles,[34] about Jesus.

The Hebraic meaning of “seven” was very significant to his first century audience.  It represented completeness and wholeness, while the number three represented emphasis.  Whenever something was said in the most important manner possible, it was said three times. Since John used the number seven as a figure of speech, it is obvious that there were many more signs, discourses, and “I am” statements. Cana was the first miracle sign.

To underscore His divine authority, Jesus did not choose the fresh fruit of the vine, but common water and changed that into the finest wine.  Water has always been an essence of life, especially in the semi-arid and arid climate zones of Israel.  It is interesting that the first miracle was not the restoration of life to a dead person or the healing of a crippled, deaf, or mute person, but changing water into wine and creating joy.  It had been more than three decades since reports spread throughout the land of His unusual birth; three decades since the shepherds and angels rejoiced.  Now this Man of divine birth began to disclose God’s compassion, power, and the message of the Kingdom of God.

 05.05.02e (2)


05.05.02.Q2 What is the significance of the first miracle (Jn. 2:1-11)? 

All too often study of the first miracle is focused on the turning of the water into wine, rather than the fact that Jesus was at a wedding and the wine, symbolic of joy, was at a wedding feast. The new wine portrays the coming of the messianic kingdom – Jesus is the Messiah of Israel who will bring the Messianic Kingdom into reality.  His kingdom is often portrayed in terms of a banquet or wedding feast.[35] How appropriate then, that His first miracle is to bring joy to a wedding feast – the focus of His entire ministry. As a whole, Judaism with its many sects and multiple regulations had essentially become a dead religion.  It needed life and joy; it needed a “spiritual wine.” Jesus is that wine.

  1. The miracle captured people’s attention in a greater manner than did the preaching and teaching He had done until this point. The fact that He had five disciples is indicative that He was a well-respected teacher.
  1. The miracle emphasized the fact that He came to bring joy to life – joy that would be revealed within the Kingdom of God.
  1. This miracle was the first of many, that coupled with His message, revealed the Father as Jesus preached the good news that the Kingdom of God was about to come to those who placed their faith in Him.


05.05.02.Q3 Did the wine that Jesus created contain alcohol (Jn. 2:1-11)?

There is no biblical passage that commands total abstinence from alcohol, but there are abundant passages that declare drunkenness to be a sin.[36] This writer has come to the conclusion that today this question is usually asked by those who wish to justify their abuse of alcohol, or desire to argue against this church doctrine. Both issues actually point to other problems.  However, to respond to the straight forward question – both the Greek and Hebrew languages have a word that means grape juice and another word that means fermented drink made from grapes. In this passage, the Greek word oinos (3631) for wine originated from the Greek oy-nos, which clearly means fermented wine.[37] There is no question that the miracle wine had alcohol. The Bible does not condemn drinking wine, but it highly condemns drunkenness and the lifestyle associated with it (see commentary below on “Choice wine … cheaper wine”).[38]  Wine was a common beverage at this time in a manner similar to what a soft drink might be to North America today.


05.05.02.Q4 What is the difference between wine and strong drink (Jn. 2:1-11)?

Due to the hot climate, any kind of natural juice spoils quickly. For that reason, grape juice was fermented into wine, so it had a long shelf life and could be used as a medicine, beverage, and for religious rites.  As previously stated, both Greek and Hebrew have distinct words for fermented wine and grape juice. A complete study of wine is beyond the scope of this study, but a brief overview is presented.[39]  The word wine is basically used in three ways as follows.

  1. The word new wine is fresh grape juice. It is used 38 times in the Old Testament.[40] But it too can be fermented, as evidenced by Hosea 4:11 that says both “old wine” and “new wine” (Gk. gleukos 1098)[41] take away understanding. Obviously virgin grape juice would not do that. Another example is that on the day of Pentecost, the crowds said that the people were filled with “new wine” (Acts 2:13), which obviously implies they were under the Holy Spirit influence. This suggests new wine has some alcohol content.
  2. The word wine is simply fermented grape juice that has a natural alcoholic content and is found 141 times in the Hebrew Bible.
  3. The phrase strong drink is used 23 times and refers to an intoxicating beverage with a higher alcohol content than wine. It was made by adding dried fruit (i.e., raisins, dates, figs, barley, pomegranates, dates, or even honey) to fermenting grapes.[42] The dried fruit, with its natural sugar content, spiked the alcohol level of the brew resulting in a “strong drink.” This wine is the “mocker” and “brawler” of Proverbs 20:11, but was to be given to those who are dying (Prov. 31:6). In modern times, this would be associated with liquor.


On a side note, in light of the ancient custom of drinking wine, today’s commercially produced wine has higher alcohol content when consumed than did its ancient counterpart. While it may not be as strong as the “strong drink” of the first century, it isn’t far from it. On occasion, a spice wine with honey and pepper or a palm wine was created. Beer came from Media and Babylon and barley wine was imported from Egypt.[43]  However, most Jews observed the rabbinic rules and consumed only their local wines. Jesus made pure wine of the best quality; anything inferior would not have been a divine miracle.[44]


05.05.02.Q5 Could Jesus have quietly have demonstrated His superiority over the Greek god Dionysos?

A question to ponder is whether Jesus silently demonstrated His divinity and power over the Greek god Dionysus. The miracle was obviously significant to the Jews, and their Greek neighbors certainly heard about it.  In fact, some Gentile friends and neighbors most certainly attended the event and witnessed the miracle. Jesus demonstrated that He had greater power than Dionysius, the Greek god of joy and wine. In fact, this writer believes that most, if not all of John’s recorded miracles were demonstrations of power over Greek and Roman deities.

The first miracle has two symbolic significances.

  1. As stated previously, the first miracle by Moses was to turn water into blood (Ex. 7:20). In that historic case, Moses was the administrator of death and wrath (2 Cor. 3:6-9), but in this case, Jesus was the administrator of joy in life because He is the true vine that brings gladness to the heart (Ps. 104:15). While Moses is shown here in contrast to Jesus, in other places he is shown as a “type” of Christ,[45] as when he sweetened the bitter waters (Ex. 15:25), a feat duplicated by Elijah (2 Kg. 2:19-22).[46] The first miracle had a symbolic message that was quickly recognized by the rabbis. It placed Jesus as One who was more holy than Moses, and that was a dilemma they could not accept.
  1. A second symbolic significance is that it also reflects upon the thin and watery elements of the Jewish faith (Heb. 7:18) that was about to be transformed into a richer and joyous higher faith. In essence, the Old Testament Israelite religion was symbolized by water; and only in the “type and shadow” could it point to Jesus who is the true vine (Jn. 15:1). The second symbolic significance was probably not observed until after His resurrection.


According to a Greek legend, on certain annual occasions, namely January 5 and 6, the god of Sepphoris, Dionysius, produced wine in a miraculous manner.[47] The proverbial “wine, women, and song” were considered among life’s greatest pleasures by the Greeks and Romans.  No image portrays this better than the god Dionysos.  Since Nazareth and Cana were both short distances from Sepphoris, there is no doubt that the news of the miracle soon reached the Gentile city.



05.05.02.B. FLOOR MOSAIC OF THE GOD DIONYSOS (LEFT) PRESENTING GRAPES AND WINE. A 3rd century Roman mosaic of Dionysos is generally depicted as a young man who feverishly enjoys wine, women, and song. No image portrays the Greek life, as well as the Herodian dynasty, more than Dionysos. Courtesy of the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park, Kato Paphos, Cyprus.


In the Greek city of Sepphoris, located only three miles from Nazareth and a few more from Cana, the Greek god Dionysus was worshiped. According to ancient authors like Pliny, Dionysus was the god of wine and happiness.[48]   However, the Greeks understood very well that their idol could not change water into wine.  This is significant since the gospel of John was written for a Greek audience.   The Cana miracle not only had profound theological implications for the Jews, but also led the Gentiles to take notice of the superior deity, just as Moses had done centuries earlier.[49]

On a final note, the Apocryphal gospels, written in the second century and later, record miracles that Jesus supposedly performed in his childhood and early adulthood.[50] These so-called miracles range from modified portions of authentic miracles found in the New Testament to outlandish fantasies. All of them are in serious conflict with the Bible, even though the authors claimed apostolic authorship. There are dozens of them, if not more. These writings can be categorized as the false teachers that Jesus warned would come.[51]


05.05.02.Q6  Where was Joseph, the legal father of Jesus?

It is often presumed that by this time Joseph had died, since there is no mention of him after the temple episode when Jesus was twelve years old.   This would naturally lead to the question as to why Jesus did not raise His own father from the grave.  The only possible answer may be that Joseph died before the ministry of Jesus began, during which time He performed His miracles. As Jesus said previously, “My hour has not yet come.” Since the Father in heaven ordained the time of Jesus’ ministry, He could not perform any miracles prior to then. The siblings of Jesus naturally felt great sorrow at the passing of their father.  But once they witnessed Jesus performing miracles, they probably could not understand why He did not raise their own father back to life.

However, some have argued against this opinion indicating that Joseph may have been alive as noted in John 6:42.

They were saying, “Isn’t this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can He now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 

John 6:42


In this conversation, the people refer to the parents of Jesus as if they are still alive and know them personally. But that is a modern interpretation.  In biblical times, a son was referred to by his father’s name throughout the son’s lifetime, and many years after the father’s passing. For example, John ben David (John, son of David) would be known by that name until his dying day, even if David died fifty years earlier.


[1]. The custom of numbering the days of the week, instead of giving them names, continued in the early church and is recorded (A.D. 100-110) in a text known as the Didache (8:1); Throckmorton, Gospel Parallels. 45; Funderburk “Calendar.” 3:320.


[2]. Funderburk, “Calendar.” 3:320.


[3]. Geikie, The Life and Works of Christ. 1:473.


[4]. For further study on first century weddings, see Geikie, The Life and Works of Christ. 1:471-79.


[5]. Gen. 29:27; Judg. 14:15; Tobit 9:12; 10:1.


[6]. Vine, “Garment.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:261, and “Marriage, Marry.” 2:394-95. See video 09.03.04.V1 by Messianic Rabbi John Fischer who discusses first century wedding imagery, and video 14.02.05.V2 by Professor John Metzger who discusses the Passover, the Last Supper and its implications to the Messianic Banquet.


[7]. Tenney, “John.” 9:42. xx.

[8]. Josephus, Antiquities 8.2.9


[9]. Barclay, “John.” 1:98; Vine, “Woman.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:681.


[10]. Howard, “St. John: Introduction and Exegesis.” 8:491.

[11]. Lockyer, All the Miracles of the Bible. 161.

[12]. Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. 114; Barclay, “John.” 1:96-97.


[13]. Geikie, The Life and Words. 1:582. Volumes could be written on the various legends that surround the life of Jesus. However, these two traditions are listed because one of them has a real possibility of being historically accurate. In addition, while it was not common, at times a family did have two children with the same name.


[14]. The word “siblings” is used here with the understanding that they were the natural children of Mary and Joseph and, in effect, not full siblings in the normal sense of the word.

[15]. 1 Sam. 9:13; Mt. 15:35; Lk. 22:17.


[16]. Barclay, “Mark.” 165.


[17]. Barclay, “John.” 1:99; Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 75-76.


[18]. Freeman, The New Manners and Customs. 513.

[19]. Howard, “St. John: Introduction and Exegesis.” 8:493.

[20]. Freeman, The New Manners and Customs. 513.

[21]. Manser, The Saying of Jesus. 37.

[22]. Babylonian Talmud, Baba Metzia 60a.

[23]. Dayagi-Mendels, Drink and be Merry. 33.

[24]. Dayagi-Mendels, Drink and be Merry. 54-55.

[25]. Babylonian Talmud, Kedushim 22a.

[26]. Babylonian Talmud, Pesahim 108b; Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 77a; Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 618-20.

[27]. Pliny. Natural History 14.6.54.


[28]. First and 2nd Maccabees belong to a classification of extra-biblical books known as the Apocrypha. These two literary works are deemed highly reliable historically. See 02.02.03 “Apocrypha” for more information.


[29]. Mishnah, Niddah 2:7; Mishnah, Baba Metzia 3:27; Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 619.

[30]. Thomas, The Golden Treasury of Patristic Quotations: From 50 – 750 A.D. 84. Insert mine.

[31]. For a study of Jewish covenants from a messianic Jewish perspective, see Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology.

[32]. The Seven “I AM’s”: Bread of Life (Jn. 6:35, 41, 48, 51): Light of the World (Jn. 8:12); Door of the Sheep (Jn. 10:7, 9); Good Shepherd (Jn. 10:11, 14); Resurrection and the Life (Jn. 11:25); the Way, the Truth, the Life (Jn. 14:6) and the True Vine (Jn. 15:1, 5).

[33]. The Seven Discourses: new birth (Jn. 3:1-21); Works of God (Jn. 5:19-47); Bread of Life (Jn. 6:26-58); Water of Life (Jn. 7:11-52): Light of the World (Jn. 8:12-59); Good Shepherd (Jn. 10:22-39) and Upper Room Discourse (Jn. 131-17:26).

[34].  The Seven Signs: Water into Wine (Jn. 2:1-2); Healing the Nobleman’s Son (Jn. 4:46-54); Healing the Paralytic (Jn. 5:1-17); Feeding the 5,000 (Jn. 6:1-14); Calming the Storm (Jn. 6:15-21); Healing Man Born Blind (Jn. 9:1-14) and Resurrection of Lazarus (Jn. 11:17-45).

[35]. Mt. 8:11; 22:1-4; Lk. 13:29; 14:15-24; Rev. 19:7-9.


[36]. Hab. 2:15; Lk. 21:34; Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:18; etc.


[37]. Vine, “Wine.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:677.


[38]. Fruchtenbaum, Life of the Messiah. Tape 4, Side A; Pilch, The Cultural Dictionary of the Bible. 54-55.


[39]. For an excellent study on wine, see Norman L. Geisler. “A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking.” Bibliotheca Sacra. 139:553 (Jan-Mar. 1982) 46-56.


[40]. e.g., Gen. 27:28; Joel 2:24; Mic. 6:5.


[41]. Vine, “Wine.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:678.


[42].  Pilch, The Cultural Dictionary of the Bible. 54-55.


[43]. Pentecost, The Words and Works of Jesus Christ. 309.

[44]. Dayagi-Mendels, Drink and be Merry. 55.

[45]. See Appendix 3.


[46]. According to some Messianic scholars, shortly after this event, although probably not related to this event, Rabbi Yokamen ben Zikai terminated the practice of bitter waters as a test for determining the guilt of an adulteress.  Source:  Fischer, The Gospels in Their Jewish Context. (Lecture on CD/MP3). Week 9, Session 2.


[47]. Major, Manson, and Wright, The Mission and Message of Jesus. 726.

[48]. Pliny, Natural History 2.231; 31.16.

[49]. Idols are not mentioned in the gospels because these statues to pagan deities were not permitted within Jewish communities. They were, however, prominent in Gentile communities within the Jewish regions and are mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. Vine, “Idols.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:317.


[50]. Similarly, the Egyptian Coptic Church has many traditions about Jesus performing miracles as a young child when He was in Egypt (cf. Mt. 3:13-15).


[51]. Two examples are: 1) Ron Charles, who has gathered scores of fanciful legends and myths, mostly written between the sixth and sixteenth centuries, in his book titled, The Search: A Historian’s Search for Historical Jesus. (Self-Published, 2007). 2) Nicholas Notovich, whose book,  The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ. Trans. (Virchand R. Gandhi, Dover Pub.) is a so-called historical account of when Jesus went to Asia to study between the ages 13 and 29.


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