Jesus' First Miracle

(Fall 26 A.D. Timeline)
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This timeline begins with Jesus back in Bethabara near the end of October in 26 A.D. He has journeyed back to the place where he was baptized after overcoming every trial and temptation the devil could throw at him in a forty-day period. Several events will occur, however, before he performs his first recorded miracle at a wedding celebration in Cana.

In Bethabara, John the Baptist sees Jesus walking toward him and first proclaims, "Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). The next day, when two of his disciples (John and Andrew) are with him, the Baptist again verbally identifies the Messiah as the true Passover lamb (verses 35 - 37, Revelation 5:6). The two disciples talk with Jesus and spend the rest of the day with him.

Andrew soon tells his brother Simon (Peter) that he has found the Messiah (John 1:42). Peter and Jesus then meet for the first time recorded in Scripture (verse 42). The day after their meeting two more men, Philip and Nathanael, make an initial contact (verses 43 - 51).

Miracles in the Old Testament
Why did Jesus train disciples in pairs?
Which of the apostles were brothers?

Christ and at least five of his disciples soon travel to Cana to attend a wedding ceremony and the celebration that follows (John 2:1 - 2). What occurs during the celebration in Cana will be the catalyst for Jesus' first public miracle!


Marriage Feast at Cana
Marriage Feast at Cana
Hieronymus Bosch

While Jesus enjoyed the wedding party in Cana, the wine served to guests runs out. He is informed of this situation by his mother Mary, who gently presses him to do something about it. He initially seems to reject her appeal because his time to reveal himself has not yet arrived (John 2:4).

Jesus then, however, tells servants to fill six large stone vessels (used for Jewish purification purposes) with water. This is in preparation for his first recorded miracle that only the gospel of John will write about.

Jesus then asks some servants to draw out some of the liquid in the vessels and give it to the "master of the feast" (John 2:8) who is the person responsible for overseeing the festivities. The celebration master, after drinking what was handed to him, is astonished and amazed!

Unaware that Jesus had performed a miracle (John 2:9), the celebration master exclaims to the bridegroom, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when the guests have drunk freely, then he serves the inferior wine. But you have kept the good wine until now" (John 2:10, HBFV).

The principle delineated by the feast master is easy to understand. Those attending a wedding party are first served the choicest and most expensive wine the celebration is able to offer. The guests, after imbibing some quality alcoholic beverages, are then offered wine that is inferior (which was cheaper and more plentiful) when they are less likely to notice (or care about) the difference!

We can draw the following reasonable conclusions regarding the celebration in Cana from the involvement of both Mary (John 2:3 - 5) and the feast master (verses 9 - 10). Whatever amount of quality wine was available was quickly consumed by the many folks who came to the celebration (Jesus brought at least five of his disciples, the Lord's four half-brothers and two half-sisters likely attended as well, etc.).

Additionally, we can conclude that the celebration did not have near enough cheap wine (or had none at all) to serve all the guests later in the festivities, as the feast master had only tasted the quality libation the celebration offered. He certainly was sober enough to tell, rather quickly, the difference between quality and cheap alcohol!

It also needs to be stated that it seems unlikely that the wedding celebration ran out of wine because the host was poor and could not afford much of it. The host not only had the means to afford servants (John 2:5, 9) but also lived in a home big enough for all the guests plus enough space to store six large stone vessels.

The question now becomes how much quality wine did Jesus create for his first recorded Biblical miracle (John 2:11)? Commentaries vary regarding the total amount used to "reveal His glory" (John 2:11).

The Biblical commentary "New Manners and Customs of Bible Times" states that 120 gallons (about 454 liters) of water became wine. Though this seems like a large amount, it would have been necessary given the number of people attending the celebrations.

Other reference works, like the Bible Knowledge Commentary, mention the amount of wine Jesus produced could have been as high as 180 gallons (about 681 liters)!

The first public miracle of Jesus, in spite of what some detractors might believe, was not encouraging drunkenness by provided excessive amounts of alcohol. He was merely providing, through miraculous means, the quantity of wine that was actually needed given the size, and other factors, of the wedding party.

Jesus, after performing his first miracle in Cana, travels with his family and his disciples to Capernaum. He does not spend much time, however, in the city (John 2:12). He will soon travel to Jerusalem to keep the first Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread of his ministry (John 2:13) in early 27 A.D.

NEXT TIMELINE IN SERIES
Travel to Jerusalem
for Feast of Tabernacles

Additional Study Materials
Did the Lord drink wine?
What is the purpose of evil miracles?
Why did John the Baptist doubt Jesus?
Are wedding rings in the Bible?

References
Appointed Times of Jesus the Messiah
Bible Knowledge Commentary
Harmony of the Gospels in Modern English
New Manners and Customs


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