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OneBook: The Gospel of John

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  1. Introduction

    Welcome to the OneBook Daily-Weekly
  2. Week One - Jesus Changes Water into Wine and Clears the Temple Courts
    Week One: Introduction
  3. Week One: Day One - Wedding Faux Pas
  4. Week One: Day Two - Saving The Best for Last
  5. Week One: Day Three - Trailing Clouds of Glory
  6. Week One: Day Four - Temple Tantrum
  7. Week One: Day Five - A Temple Raised in Record Time
  8. Week One: Gathering
  9. Week Two - Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
    Week Two: Introduction
  10. Week Two: Day One - Night Vision
  11. Week Two: Day Two - Twice Born
  12. Week Two: Day Three - Lifted Up
  13. Week Two: Day Four - Love's Gift
  14. Week Two: Day Five - Final Verdict
  15. Week Two: Gathering
  16. Week Three - Jesus Talks with a Samaritan Woman
    Week Three: Introduction
  17. Week Three: Day One - Oh, Well
  18. Week Three: Day Two - Thirst Quencher
  19. Week Three: Day Three - All Will Be Revealed
  20. Week Three: Day Four - Food for Thought
  21. Week Three: Day Five - The Test of Testimony
  22. Week Three: Gathering
  23. Week Four - Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
    Week Four: Introduction
  24. Week Four: Day One - Born Blind
  25. Week Four: Day Two - Holy Spit!
  26. Week Four: Day Three - Prophet and Loss
  27. Week Four: Day Four - Passing the Buck
  28. Week Four: Day Five - Redeemer to the Rescue
  29. Week Four: Gathering
  30. Week Five - The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
    Week Five: Introduction
  31. Week Five: Day One - Sheep-Stealing
  32. Week Five: Day Two - Calling Them by Name
  33. Week Five: Day Three - Abandon Doubt, All Ye Who Enter Here
  34. Week Five: Day Four - The Owner Versus the Hired Hand
  35. Week Five: Day Five - Other Sheep Not of This Fold
  36. Week Five: Gathering
  37. Week Six - Lazarus Raised from the Dead
    Week Six: Introduction
  38. Week Six: Day One - A Dire Situation
  39. Week Six: Day Two - Martha Confronts Jesus
  40. Week Six: Day Three - Mary, Did You Know?
  41. Week Six: Day Four - An Heir-Raising Incident
  42. Week Six: Day Five - The Plot Thickens and Sickens
  43. Week Six: Gathering
  44. Week Seven - Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
    Week Seven: Introduction
  45. Week Seven: Day One - A Prophetic Anointing
  46. Week Seven: Day Two - When Love Comes to Town
  47. Week Seven: Day Three - The Greeks Come Calling
  48. Week Seven: Day Four - A Voice from on High
  49. Week Seven: Day Five - Crowd Control
  50. Week Seven: Gathering
  51. Week Eight - The Last Supper
    Week Eight: Introduction
  52. Week Eight: Day One - Prime Time
  53. Week Eight: Day Two - Peter Puts His Foot in His Mouth
  54. Week Eight: Day Three - The Imitation of Christ
  55. Week Eight: Day Four - "Lord, Is It I?"
  56. Week Eight: Day Five - Simon Says
  57. Week Eight: Gathering
  58. Week Nine - Farewell Discourse
    Week Nine: Introduction
  59. Week Nine: Day One - The Genuine Divine Vine
  60. Week Nine: Day Two - The Love Command
  61. Week Nine: Day Three - Hate Crimes
  62. Week Nine: Day Four - The Advocate
  63. Week Nine: Day Five - Unbearable Truths
  64. Week Nine: Gathering
  65. Week Ten - The Death of Jesus
    Week Ten: Introduction
  66. Week Ten: Day One - The King and the Governor
  67. Week Ten: Day Two - The Son of Abba and the Son of God
  68. Week Ten : Day Three - No King but Caesar
  69. Week Ten: Day Four - The Title and the Robe
  70. Week Ten: Day Five - The Last Will and Testament of the King
  71. Week Ten: Gathering
  72. Week Eleven - Jesus' Resurrection and Appearances
    Week Eleven: Introduction
  73. Week Eleven: Day One - Tomb Raiders
  74. Week Eleven: Day Two - Mary, Mary Extraordinary
  75. Week Eleven: Day Three - The First Sunday Night Appearance
  76. Week Eleven: Day Four - Just Another Sunday Night, Until...
  77. Week Eleven: Day Five - The Purpose of This Good News
  78. Week Eleven: Gathering
  79. Week Twelve - Jesus' Appearance by the Sea of Galilee
    Week Twelve: Introduction
  80. Week Twelve: Day One - Let's Go Fishing
  81. Week Twelve: Day Two - The Light Dawns
  82. Week Twelve: Day Three - Breakfast by the Sea
  83. Week Twelve: Day Four - Do You Really Love Me?
  84. Week Twelve: Day Five - Don't Look Back
  85. Week Twelve: Gathering
Lesson 3 of 85
In Progress

Week One: Day One – Wedding Faux Pas

John 2:1–5 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Understanding the Word. While scholars have debated which Cana might be referred to in John 2, it seems reasonably clear that it is the Cana that is about four miles from Nazareth, called Kefer Qana. It is possible that our Evangelist calls it “Cana in Galilee” to distinguish it from the Qana in Lebanon near Tyre. In any case, it was a small village, and the fact that Jesus’ mother is there suggests it was near Nazareth and there may have been some family connections to the bride or bridegroom. A few background points will help in the understanding of this story.

Jewish weddings in Jesus’ era went on for several days, and so it is not a surprise that the catering may have run out of one item or another. It would seem we join the story near the end of the wedding celebrations, long past the point in time when the best wine would have been served, which was at the beginning of the celebration, not near its end. The reason for this, of course, was that people had a more discriminating palette before, rather than after, the wine dulled their sense. Wine in Jesus’ day was defi- nitely alcoholic, involving fermented grape juice, though we cannot be sure of what sort of percentage of alcohol it would have had (ranging from a possible low of 2 percent to a high of 12–13 percent). To be sure, no toast- master at a Jewish wedding would ever have said, “Why did you save the best grape juice until last?” The issue was real wine, and more to the point, wine that was not watered down. The normal practice was to water down the wine the further the celebrations went, to prevent complete inebriation. And so, of course, the best-tasting wine, rather than the watered-down sort, would be served first.

We are told that Jesus’ mother is a wedding guest, but Jesus and some of his disciples were wedding guests as well. Jesus’ mother in this gospel is never named, never called Mary. For the Evangelist her whole importance is in her relationship to Jesus. Here, and in John 19, she is simply identified as the mother of Jesus. It is true that the only reason anybody shows up in these stories in the gospel is because they have come across Jesus’ path at some point, but Jesus’ mother is a special case.

Acting like a good worrying mother, not wanting something to spoil the wedding party, she informs Jesus that they have no more wine. This state- ment, which implies a request—namely, “Do something about it!”—also implies that Mary knew Jesus could do something, something miraculous. Even though this is the first miracle story in this gospel, it implies that there had been other miracles beforehand, miracles known to Mary. The fact that the miracle at the wedding feast is the first sign miracle in this gospel has more to do with the Evangelist’s theological schema. He will present a crescendo of the miraculous beginning with turning water into wine and finishing in John 11 with the raising of a man from death who has been in the grave four days. Jesus’ response to his mother is somewhat shocking—it is abrupt, and almost seems like a rebuke. It literally reads “Woman, what to me and to you? My hour has not yet come.” This brief Greek phrase likely means something like “What’s that got to do with us?” (We are only invited guests, not hosts.) Notice that Jesus distances himself from his mother’s authority, which is probably why he calls her “woman,” which is surprising. In this gospel, Jesus must follow the dictates of his heavenly Father, not his earthly mother. But Jesus then gives a reason for his response—“my hour has not yet come.” The hour referred to is not just any hour, but what we might call prime time. Later in this gospel, it refers to the time for Jesus to fully reveal himself to the world by dying on the cross.

Undaunted, Mary, who apparently will not take no for an answer, even from Jesus, tells the servants—“Do whatever he tells you.” Apparently she does not take his rather brusque response as a definite no.


  1. What sort of relationship between Jesus and his mother does this story depict?
  2. Why has the wedding party run out of wine?
  3. What does Jesus mean by “my hour”?