Gospel of John Sunday School | Week 7

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Notes from John 2:1-12

The word that John uses for “sign” in his gospel is sémeion. This word is different than “miracle” or “wonder.” It is a certain type of miracle; it is confirming, corroborating, or authenticating in nature. There is a purpose that goes beyond the wow! factor. This is the particular purpose of John recording these supernatural parts of Jesus’ ministry. More pointedly, this is the exact reason why Jesus performed these signs.

The phrase turning water into wine has become synonymous with the miraculous, probably even more so than healing the sick and raising the dead. Why is that? Why is something that is seemingly so insignificant, relatively so mundane given priority status in the general lexicon of idioms?

Perhaps, like the disciples’ words in chapter one, those who use the phrase are speaking better than they know. For it was indeed Jesus’ first miracle and display of His control of the very substance that makes up our physical reality and natural laws (2:11). He was also meeting a real need of those around Him (2:3).

But this sign was more than just a demonstration of His power. John purposefully includes some very specific setting details. The six stone pots for the customary Jewish purification (2:6) are not coincidental inclusions. Jesus’ command to fill these pots, then supernaturally producing wine is the attestation to the purpose of the miracle. Jesus is creating something better than what was present before (2:10). The first wine was good, but the new wine is better. More importantly the law was good, but Jesus is better. He is the completion of the Torah. He is the real figure that all the shadows in the law, prophets, and writings point towards.

For today, we see the abundance of the provision that we inherit. Like Mary, we just want something to fix a problem. God still responds to the faithful by providing more than we could ask or even dream for. This may still very well happen as material needs are met, but it certainly has happened in a more remarkable fashion through the undeserving level of grace and mercy that He pours out on those who believe in His Son.

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