Starting to look at “signs” in the Gospel of John, seven signs that John has chosen and arranged in such a way to point us to Jesus as Messiah, the Holy One of Israel, that we might believe on him in a right way and have the life to the fullest which He promises. And, so we will start with the first sign along the way, which appears at a wedding in Cana.
This is the first sign in John, but it’s even the first miracle. Of all of Jesus’s miracles, the first one is turning water into wine. It’s not raising the dead, not healing the blind, walking on water, or casting out a demon. The first miracle Jesus does is turning the water to wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. So yes, it’s a wedding party, but we can also say it’s Jesus’s coming out party. Jesus is going public now. He’s going to start doing the stuff here in Cana of Galilee, and the way he starts is very intriguing. I hope you like this story as much as I do, because I might be here for a while…
“On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 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 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.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” John 2:1-11 ESV
What a great story!! It begins like this – On the third day…it’s the third day. What does it mean that it’s the third day? It means it’s Tuesday. Sunday’s the first day, Monday’s the second day, Tuesday is the third day. In ancient Israel, Tuesday was the day to get married. It’s wedding day. In modern America, Saturday is the day to get married. But in ancient Israel, as well as Israel to this day, Tuesday is the day to get married.
Why do they get married on Tuesday? This is scriptural. In the ancient creation account in Genesis 1, we go through the six days of creation, God goes through each day and declares it good. We see the phrase and God saw that it was good repeated over and over again. He blesses every day and calls it good. But on the third day, God calls it good twice. Twice during the creation episode of the third day, God pronounces it good. He says good twice about the third day, “Aah, that’s an auspicious day, it’s doubly blessed from God, we might as well get married on a Tuesday.” That’s how that got started.
So on the third day, there was a wedding. Because of course that’s when you do the weddings, on the third day. On the other hand, John knows very well that his readers, reading a gospel of Jesus Christ, won’t associate the phrase on the third day with the Jewish wedding day. No, John knows his readers, and he knows that his readers will associate the phrase on the third day with something else altogether. When you read a gospel of Jesus Christ and see the phrase on the third day, you’re not thinking “Hey, that’s the day the Jews get married.” That’s not what you’re thinking. When you (we) read that phrase, on the third day, we are thinking that’s the day Jesus rose from the dead!! And that’s exactly what John wants you to think. He is an artist. He’s not just a theologian, but he’s an artist. He’s an artistic theologian, and he wants you to get that. He wants you to connect what’s about to happen at this wedding in Cana with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Five paragraphs in, I’m not out of the first phrase yet. Told you I would be here for a while…