Sabbath, March 7, 2009
“Here is a lesson for the disciples of Christ through all time, not to exclude themselves from society, renouncing all social communion and seeking a strict seclusion from their fellow beings. In order to reach all classes, we must meet them where they are; for they will seldom seek us of their own accord. Not alone from the pulpit are the hearts of men and women touched by divine truth. Christ awakened their interest by going among them as one who desired their good. He sought them at their daily avocations and manifested an unfeigned interest in their temporal affairs. He carried His instructions into the household of the people, bringing whole families in their own homes under the influence of His divine presence….” –My Life Today, p. 186.
A PROBLEM AT THE WEDDING
1. After calling the first disciples in Judea and Galilee, where did Jesus go?
John 2:1, 2 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
“The parties were relatives of Joseph and Mary. Christ knew of this family gathering, and that many influential persons would be brought together there, so, in company with His newly made disciples, He made His way to Cana….
“He had joined the mixed assembly of a festal gathering, and, while no shadow of worldly levity marred His conduct, He had sanctioned the social gathering with His presence.” –My Life Today, p. 186.
2. What unexpected situation arose during the celebration? Why do you think Jesus’ mother told Him about this?
John 2:3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
“As Mary had heard the disciples’ testimony in regard to Jesus, she had been gladdened with the assurance that her long-cherished hopes were not in vain…. As she saw the many glances bent upon Jesus, she longed to have Him prove to the company that He was really the Honored of God. She hoped there might be opportunity for Him to work a miracle before them….
“As a relative of the parties, Mary had assisted in the arrangements for the feast, and she now spoke to Jesus, saying, ‘They have no wine.’ These words were a suggestion that He might supply their need.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 145.
3. How did Jesus answer His mother’s implied request? What governs Jesus’ response to such requests, both spoken and unspoken?
John 2:4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
“This answer, abrupt as it seems to us, expressed no coldness or discourtesy. The Saviour’s form of address to His mother was in accordance with Oriental custom. It was used toward persons to whom it was desired to show respect. Every act of Christ’s earthly life was in harmony with the precept He Himself had given, ‘Honor thy father and thy mother.’ Exodus 20:12. On the cross, in His last act of tenderness toward His mother, Jesus again addressed her in the same way, as He committed her to the care of His best-loved disciple. Both at the marriage feast and upon the cross, the love expressed in tone and look and manner interpreted His words.…
“The words, ‘Mine hour is not yet come,’ point to the fact that every act of Christ’s life on earth was in fulfillment of the plan that had existed from the days of eternity. Before He came to earth, the plan lay out before Him, perfect in all its details. But as He walked among men, He was guided, step by step, by the Father’s will. He did not hesitate to act at the appointed time. With the same submission He waited until the time had come.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 146, 147.
4. How was His answer to His mother to be understood? Considering that, during Jesus’ ministry, He answered the petitions of many different people, what would we expect in this case?
John 2:5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
“In saying to Mary that His hour had not yet come, Jesus was replying to her unspoken thought–to the expectation she cherished in common with her people. She hoped that He would reveal Himself as the Messiah, and take the throne of Israel. But the time had not come. Not as a King, but as ‘a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief,’ had Jesus accepted the lot of humanity.
“But though Mary had not a right conception of Christ’s mission, she trusted Him implicitly. To this faith Jesus responded. It was to honor Mary’s trust, and to strengthen the faith of His disciples, that the first miracle was performed. The disciples were to encounter many and great temptations to unbelief.… The Saviour’s early miracles strengthened the disciples to stand against this opposition.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 147, 148.
HOW GOD WORKS
5. What did Jesus instruct the servants to do? What was the meaning of this miracle?
John 2:6, 7 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
“The gift of Christ to the marriage feast was a symbol. The water represented baptism into His death; the wine, the shedding of His blood for the sins of the world. The water to fill the jars was brought by human hands, but the word of Christ alone could impart to it life-giving virtue. So with the rites which point to the Saviour’s death. It is only by the power of Christ, working through faith, that they have efficacy to nourish the soul.…
“At the first feast He attended with His disciples, Jesus gave them the cup that symbolized His work for their salvation. At the last supper He gave it again, in the institution of that sacred rite by which His death was to be shown forth ‘till He come.’ 1 Corinthians 11:26.” –The Desire of Ages, pp, 148, 149.
6. Did Jesus explain or call attention to the miracle that He performed? What do you think the reason was for this?
John 2:8-10 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
“The wine which Christ provided for the feast, and that which He gave to the disciples as a symbol of His own blood, was the pure juice of the grape. To this the prophet Isaiah refers when he speaks of the new wine ‘in the cluster,’ and says, ‘Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it.’ Isaiah 65:8.
“It was Christ who in the Old Testament gave the warning to Israel, ‘Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.’ Proverbs 20:1. And He Himself provided no such beverage. Satan tempts men to indulgence that will becloud reason and benumb the spiritual perceptions, but Christ teaches us to bring the lower nature into subjection. His whole life was an example of self-denial. In order to break the power of appetite, He suffered in our behalf the severest test that humanity could endure. It was Christ who directed that John the Baptist should drink neither wine nor strong drink. It was He who enjoined similar abstinence upon the wife of Manoah. And He pronounced a curse upon the man who should put the bottle to his neighbor’s lips. Christ did not contradict His own teaching. The unfermented wine which He provided for the wedding guests was a wholesome and refreshing drink. Its effect was to bring the taste into harmony with a healthful appetite.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 149.
REASONS FOR JESUS’ MIRACLES
7. How might it be explained that Jesus refused to change a stone into bread in the wilderness, but here He changed water into wine?
John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
“Jesus did not begin His ministry by some great work before the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem. At a household gathering in a little Galilean village His power was put forth to add to the joy of a wedding feast. Thus He showed His sympathy with men, and His desire to minister to their happiness.…
“The news of the miracle spread through all that region, and was carried to Jerusalem. With new interest the priests and elders searched the prophecies pointing to Christ’s coming. There was eager desire to learn the mission of this new teacher, who appeared among the people in so unassuming a manner.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 144, 150.
“The example of Christ in linking Himself with the interests of humanity should be followed by all who preach His word, and by all who have received the gospel of His grace.… We should not seclude ourselves from others. In order to reach all classes, we must meet them where they are.… There is another field of labor, humbler, it may be, but fully as promising. It is found in the home of the lowly, and in the mansion of the great; at the hospitable board, and in gatherings for innocent social enjoyment.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 152.
“Jesus rebuked intemperance, self-indulgence, and folly; yet He was social in His nature. He accepted invitations to dine with the learned and noble, as well as the poor and afflicted…. He gave no license to scenes of dissipation and revelry, yet innocent happiness was pleasing to Him. A Jewish marriage was a solemn and impressive occasion, the pleasure and joy of which were not displeasing to the Son of man.” –My Life Today, p. 186.
“As disciples of Christ we shall not mingle with the world from a mere love of pleasure, to unite with them in folly. Such associations can result only in harm. We should never give sanction to sin by our words or our deeds, our silence or our presence. Wherever we go, we are to carry Jesus with us, and to reveal to others the preciousness of our Saviour.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 152.