In Cana, Jesus and his Disciples Were Invited to a Wedding Feast… And What Else?…
Jesus and his disciples, who at this point were Nathaniel, Philip, Andrew and Simon Peter, had arrived in Cana from the baptismal ministry of John the Baptist in Beth-abara. The best information from the Gospels tell us that this was either a Tuesday or a Wednesday.
Jewish wedding feasts usually could last 2-3 days, even longer for wealthier families and their guests, in Galilee. From the text, we learn that if this feast started on a Wednesday, they must have ran out of wine, by late the next day, Thursday.
What follows then, is that Mary the mother of Jesus, must have had some connection in helping organize the wedding feast. This is implied by her presenting the shortage of wine to Jesus, and his subsequent response.
Despite the initial reluctance of Jesus, he complied with his mother’s wishes, and gave express commands as to what occurred next… the conversion of water into wine…
As the Gospel of John relates, as recorded by John the Elder, this “good wine,” made a distinct impression upon the Governor, or Maitre D’, of the feast. Hence, this feast must have then lasted into the next day, Friday.
After all, there was plenty of really good wine, the Jesus the Nazarene brand, to drink!
By that time however, the talk and interest had shifted from the bride and groom to the singular miracle that Jesus had performed. There was an adequate number of witnesses to this event, which had been instigated by Mary and perhaps other members, of the family of Jesus present.
The feast probably ended by noon, and with the Sabbath coming on, at the 6 o’clock hour that evening, preparations had to be made for the observance of the Sabbath. Accommodations, which had already been made for the wedding guests, such as for Mary and her family, plus Jesus and his disciples, would have no doubt been extended into the Sabbath Day; so, many of the guests stayed on.
Cana was a village of about a hundred people. The wedding feast must have brought an equal number of guests into the village that week. Hence, for the Sabbath Day observance whether at a designated synagogue, or a house set apart for this service, it must have been somewhat of a “full” house.
Jesus was already regarded, thanks to John the Baptist, whom everyone practically in Galilee had heard of, as Beth-abara was not that far away, as a teacher or rabbi. As a rabbi, Jesus already had at least four disciples with him. His disciple Nathaniel was at this point, the most outspoken of the disciples, saying among other things, when told of Jesus being from Nazareth: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” In addition, Nathaniel had already witnessed some supernatural discernment, or gift of prophecy, from Jesus in an esoteric reference of Nathaniel when being seen under a “fig tree.” This fig tree reference was of arcane origin attributed to that of a future Kingdom of God presided by a King out of David, where everyone would live blissfully in a Golden Age of having sufficiency with their very own fig tree and their very own vine of grapes.
Nathaniel must had been a student of this esoteric reference and was familiar with it, as his response to Jesus was just that arcane knowledge referred to that, in declaring, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel” (john 1:49).
Nathaniel quite coincidentally, was also a denizen of Cana. It may have well been that the family of Nathaniel had accommodated Jesus, Mary, and family and fellow-disciples for this wedding feast. For sure, being vocal as he was initially, Nathaniel must have talked about Jesus somewhat to family and friends.
The “water into wine” miracle must have really fueled this fire….
By the time that the Sabbath service had rolled around, people wanted to hear something from Jesus… as a rabbi or teacher, and now,…a miracle worker…
This is all rather speculative on my part, that Jesus first started his public teaching ministry,… in Cana.
However though, with the lack of information available, yet what is known about the times and customs in which Jesus lived in and practiced, in which it can certainly be implied that his ministry did start here in Cana, with the background circumstances and dynamics in play.
We read in the Gospels, that at some period in this time frame, following the 40-day fast of Jesus and his Temptations in the Wilderness, that Jesus returned to Beth-abara, and was seen and testified to of John the Baptist, and Jesus started to draw disciples to him nearly immediately.
We read in corresponding passages in Luke, that Jesus started to teach…so much so, that a “fame of him throughout all the region” sprang up, as a result of Jesus “teaching in their synagogues” (Luke 4:14-15).
Since this ALL had to start somewhere… Cana seems pretty logical… with what evidence we have, if we can be allowed to conjecture. It is not out of the realm of possibility…
Jesus Teaching, Preaching, in Cana…
No matter what, at this point, was Jesus concerned any longer about whether “his hour had come yet,” or whether, he was “ready.” The miracle at the Wedding Feast had already propelled his faith for what now, would lie ahead. Jesus would accept any invitation to speak…And speak, he would…
The format of Jesus’ remarks that Sabbath Day, may well have started with the recognition of the Wedding Feast event, and the sacred obligation, or mitzvah, of marriage as given by God. This would have been a very interesting introduction, as marriage and its sanctity, was not at that time, regarded all that highly…
Indeed, the institution of marriage had fallen on relative “hard times.”
The last Prophet before John the Baptist, Malachi, had remarked on this as well, before the “silence from Heaven” occurred, termed the “Inter-Testamental Period,” in which God did not officially speak the “living” or “anointed” Word of God through “his servants, the prophets.” This interim period of “silence from heaven,” lasted… for four hundred years!
It wasn’t until that “the word of Gold came unto John the Baptist…in the Wilderness” (Luke 3:2), that God ended his silence…
You see, John the Baptist was a prophet. God was going to speak once again, through the Baptist. This is how this works… when there is a Prophet, then the Word of God will come to this individual, become a singular burden on his heart, which the Rabbis called, a “massa,” and this burden of speaking the Words of the Lord, will send forth this prophet on his mission to do so!…
This would then, end, this four hundred years of silence, which the Prophet Amos had already prophesied of before, in his time, as a “famine of the Hearing of the Word of the Lord.”
I am writing about this “famine” in my new book. It is a very interesting topic I think. I have already referred to this, in these blogs, with my very first blog entry which you can read some more about this “famine” business here:
Once my book, Volume 3 of “Living in the ‘End Times'” is finished, with this topic included, then you can read and understand what all this about and what we have to look forward to… You see, there has been more than one famine… for the hearing of God’s Word…
But I digress…
It was important that Jesus and John the Baptist take up, in some respects, where the Prophet Malachi had left off. Jesus and John were provided a transition of teaching that was pertinent four centuries earlier, which apparently was even more pertinent and relevant in First Century Palestine and Judea. Hence, they “bridged” the 400-year gap by building upon what had been God’s Word then, and establishing once again, to deliver what was to be… God’s Word NOW at that time!
Hence, when Malachi prophesied “that the Priest’s lips should preserve knowledge, and (that the people should) seek the Law from his mouth,” as ordained by God, that instead however…, these Priests “have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” in “departing out of the way,” and “causing many to stumble at the law,” that Jesus jumped all over this theme in pointing this out… right in his first public teaching… “that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case, enter the Kingdom of God” (Matthew 5:20).
Jesus probably also added a couple of examples that he referred to later as well, as compiled in what is called his Sermon on the Mount. This “Sermon on the Mount,” from the Gospel of Matthew, is an extended discourse and composition of what may have been initially preached, as bits and pieces, from isolated discourses.
Gifted preachers know exactly what I am talking about here, as they too repeat certain isolated bits of same or similar information, into a standard frame of discourse in their preaching. After all, Jesus usually spoke to altogether different audiences in his ministry, and needed to say the same things to his hearers as they had not heard them before, or were hearing Jesus for the first time.
Part of this same material in Matthew, is listed in the Gospel of Luke, in being duplicated somewhat in an abbreviated and different manner. As revered Bible expositor and exegete J. Gresham Machen noted, “it is altogether probable that Jesus treated frequently the same subjects on different occasions,” and, when in different venues. (The New Testament: An Introduction to its Literature and History, J. Gresham Machen, p. 196.)
In these examples that Jesus added, Jesus contrasted the Laws of the Kingdom of God with the laws as promoted by the Pharisees. This gave Jesus a brief popularity and acceptance as his hearers agreed with his premises in pointing out the obvious discrepancies and hypocrisy of those in charge of sacred knowledge. This later brought effective persecution from the Pharisees and like religionists in Jerusalem and elsewhere, where they gathered particularly when spying on the words and activities of Jesus.
This will conclude Part One of this short series.
Stay tuned for Part Two, of Jesus “first” teaching and preaching in Cana…
Thanks for reading.
Copyrighted. Joseph Spickard, 2016. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this intellectual property without prior permission from the author is prohibited.