Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 2:11

This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
New American Standard Version
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Adam Clarke Commentary

This beginning of miracles - It was probably the first he ever wrought: - at any rate, it was the first he wrought after his baptism, and the first he wrought publicly.

His glory - His supreme Divinity: John 1:14.

His disciples believed on him - Were more abundantly confirmed in their faith, that he was either the promised Messiah, or a most extraordinary prophet, in the fullest intercourse with the ever blessed God.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 2:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

This beginning of miracles - This his first public miracle. This is declared by the sacred writer to be a “miracle” - that is, an exertion of divine power, producing a change of the substance of water into wine, which no human power could do.

Manifested forth - Showed; exhibited.

His glory - His power, and proper character as the Messiah; showed that he had divine power, and that God had certainly commissioned him. This is shown to be a real miracle by the following considerations:

1.Real water was placed in the vessels. This the servants believed, and there was no possibility of deception.

2.The water was placed where it was not customary to keep wine. It could not be pretended that it was merely a mixture of water and wine.

3.It was judged to be wine without knowing whence it came. There was no agreement between Jesus and the governor of the feast to impose on the guests.

4.It was a change which nothing but divine power could effect. He that can change water into a substance like the juice of the grape must be clothed with divine power.

Believed on him - This does not mean that they did not believe on him beforehand, but that their faith was confirmed or strengthened. They saw a miracle, and it satisfied them that he was the Messiah. “Before this” they “believed” on the testimony of John, and from conversation with Jesus John 1:35-51; now they saw that he was invested with almighty power, and their faith was established.

From this narrative we may learn:

1. That marriage is honorable, and that Jesus, if sought, will not refuse his presence and blessing on such an occasion.

2. On such an occasion the presence and approbation of Christ should be sought. No compact formed on earth is more important; none enters so deeply into our comfort in this world; perhaps none will so much affect our destiny in the world to come. It should be entered into, then, in the fear of God.

3. On all such occasions, our conduct should be such that the presence of Jesus would be no interruption or disturbance. He is holy. He is always present in every place; and on all festival occasions our deportment should be such as that we should welcome the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. “That is not a proper stale of feeling or employment which would be interrupted by the presence of the Saviour.”

4. Jesus delighted to do good. In the very beginning of his ministry he worked a miracle to show his benevolence. This was the appropriate commencement of a life in which he was to go about doing good. He seized every opportunity of doing it; and at a marriage feast, as well as among the sick and poor, he showed the character which he always sustained - that of a benefactor of mankind.

5. An argument cannot be drawn from this instance in favor of intemperate drinking. There is no evidence that any who were present on that occasion drank too freely.

6. Nor can an argument be drawn from this case in favor even of drinking wine such as we have. The common wine of Judea was the pure juice of the grape, without any mixture of alcohol, and was harmless. It was the common drink of the people, and did not tend to produce intoxication. “Our” wines are a “mixture” of the juice of the grape and of brandy, and often of infusions of various substances to give it color and taste, and the appearance of wine. Those wines are little less injurious than brandy, and the habit of drinking them should be classed with the drinking of all other liquid fires.

The following table will show the danger of drinking the “wines” that are in common use:

d WineAlcohol Content


d Brandy has fifty-three parts and 39 hundredths in a hundred of alcohol, or5339 percent


d Rum5368 percent


d Whisky Scotch..5432 percent


d Holland Gin.5160 percent


d Port Wine, highest kind583 percent


d Port Wine, lowest kind140 percent


d Madeira, highest kind2942 percent


d Madeira, lowest kind934 percent


d Lisbon894 percent


d Malaga726 percent


d Red Champagne130 percent


d White280 percent


d Currant Wine2025 percent



It follows that a man who drinks two glasses of most of the wines used has taken as much alcohol as if he had taken one glass of brandy or whisky, and why should he not as well drink the alcohol in the brandy as in the wine? What difference can it make in morals? What difference in its effects on his system? The experience of the world has shown that water, pure water, is the most wholesome, safe, and invigorating drink for man.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

John 2:11

This beginning of miracles

The miracles of Christ

Miracles are not only a proof but a part of revelation, and carry their own weight of truth quite independent of their testimony to the authority of the whole.
Christ’s miracles

I. IDENTIFY THE GOD OF NATURE WITH THE CHRIST OF THE GOSPEL, and show that the Word was God, and that all things were made by Him. Believers in Christ do not need their witness, but should follow up their teaching, and study in nature the wisdom and power and goodness of Christ.

II. ILLUSTRATE THE WIDE BENEFICENCE OF THE GOSPEL. They would have been equally cogent as proofs of His Divine authority if there had been no element of mercy in them; and it is humiliating to reflect that had they been miracles of judgment the people would have been more willing to listen to His words. As it was, they were the outcome of the wealth of compassion that filled His heart, and teach us something of the present range of His love.

III. PROVE THE ILLIMITABLE POWER BY WHICH EVERY GOSPEL PURPOSE WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED. The words, the promise, and the power that performs are eternally linked together. No power, therefore, can prevent the accomplishment of the great purposes of salvation. All fears, then, should be banished. There is no danger that the miracles of Christ do not prove to be under His control.


The miracles of nature

Men cry out for signs, but we may see miracles enough every day. I read that Aaron’s rod budded, and I am astonished. But last spring I saw a cause of greater astonishment--thousands of bare rods budding and blooming blossoms in the hedges. I saw no one do it, and yet the trees were being daily clothed with thicker foliage. Was not that wonderful? I read that the manna came down daily from heaven to the wilderness, and I am amazed. But I see a cause of greater amazement every year: I see your bread coming, not down from heaven, but up from the earth, a much more unlikely place, every day in the spring. Is not that wonderful? I read that Elijah, hiding by the brook Cherith, was daily fed by two carnivorous ravens, and I am filled with wonder. But there is a cause of much greater wonderment in the fact that millions upon millions are daily fed with abundance of bread and meat, without a single raven under God’s sun to cater for them. I read that Jesus Christ multiplied the loaves and fishes, and that the fragments that remained filled twelve baskets full--there was more at the end of the meal than at the beginning. But thisyear I witnessed a greater miracle: I saw the barley and the wheat increasing, “some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold”; and the loaves and the fishes, notwithstanding the enormous consumption, are more numerous to-day than they have ever been before. Nature is a standing miracle. (J. C. Jones, D. D.)

The beginning of miracles

There are five reasons why this should be the first.

1. As marriage was the first institution ordained by God, so at a marriage was Christ’s first miracle.

2. As Christ had showed Himself miraculous a little while ago by a fast, so He cloth now by an extraordinary provision at a feast. When He would not makes stones bread, it was not because He could not.

3. He would not make stones into bread to satisfy Satan, but He was willing to turn water into wine to show forth His glory.

4. The first miracle wrought in the world by man was transformation Exodus 7:9), and the first miracle wrought by the Son of Man was of the same nature.

5. The first time you hear of John the Baptist, you hear of his strict diet, and so the first time you hear of Christ in His public ministry, you hear of Him at a marriage feast. (Lightfoot.)

This miracle cannot but have a representative character. We may observe

I. ITS ESSENTIAL CHARACTER. A sign of sovereign power wrought on inorganic nature, not on a living body.

II. ITS CIRCUMSTANTIAL CHARACTER. The change of the simpler to the richer element. In this respect it may be contrasted with the first public miracle of Moses, which commences the record of Old Testament miracles.


1. The answer of love to faith.

2. Ministering to human joy in one of its simplest and most natural forms (cf. Matthew 11:18-19)

In each respect the character of the sign answers to the general character of Christ as

1. A new creation.

2. A transfiguration of the ceremonial law into a spiritual gospel.

3. An ennobling of the whole life. In addition, notice that the scene of the sign--a marriage feast--is that under which the accomplishment of Christ’s work is most characteristically prefigured (John 3:29; Matthew 22:2; Mat_25:1; Revelation 19:7; Rev_21:2). (Bishop Westcott.)

The water made wine

Let us now look at the FACT, the mode, and the motive of this miraculous act. That it was a miracle, a creation-miracle, the turning of water into wine, stands on the face of the record. Every attempt to reconcile belief in the record with an evasion of the creative act implied in it has been a failure. Such suppositions as that the spiritual elevation of the guests under the power of the Lord’s discourse made them think that to be wine which was only water (Ewald)
, or that He gave to that which still remained water the force and sap of wine (
or even that this was a supply of wine produced in the ordinary way and providentially arriving in the nick of time at the believing prayer or omniscient foresight of the Saviour (
, will not satisfy the fact, nor the plain and honest meaning of the recording Evangelist, an eye-witness of the wonder. Some of those who rest in the fact of the miracle and regard it as creative have vainly attempted to conceive and describe the MODE in which it was wrought. It has long been usual to suggest that this act may be thought of on the analogy of nature’s work; that what was done here in a moment was the same thing which is done in countless vineyards year by year. “The essence of the miracle,” says Olshausen, “consists in divinely effecting the acceleration of the natural process.” So also Augustine long ago. The analogy is tempting, but we gain nothing by it as an explanation. Indeed, it is impossible, and after all inept. There is no real parallel. We can trace these processes in nature; but here we can trace no process. We should have to imagine not only accelerated processes of nature, but also those artificial changes, anticipated and condensed, by which the fruit of the vine becomes a beverage--the ripening of the wine as well as of the grape.

There are no natural laws by which water in a well or in a jar will change into wine. Nature never would do this, however long time you gave her. Finally, for the PURPOSE. One of the main difficulties, according to some expositors, is the absence of sufficient motive. This is a miracle, they say, without a moral end. It is placed at the outset of the Fourth Gospel, with the evident intention of showing

1. That Jesus struck a key-note to His ministry so entirely contrasted with that of the Baptist, whose disciples these first followers of Jesus had originally been.

2. Nor can the objection about the triviality of the occasion justify itself, as if it were the mere relieving of a dinner-table dilemma. Rather the reverse is the true inference. The gracious Lord has sympathy with all needs, the finer as well as the commoner. He who multiplied the loaves for the relief of a hungry congregation might increase the store of wine for the resolving of a social perplexity. The minor graces and courtesies of life are taken account of, in Christianity, as well as the stern realities.

3. But, indeed, to search for an exact necessity as motive here is to miss the whole point. These wedding guests could have done without more and better wine. It is a miracle of superfluity if you will. The well-spring of grace and truth in Jesus Christ overflows at the first onset. He is come to give life, and more abundant. It is placed in the front of the miracle-record not merely to point a contrast between the Saviour’s ministry and that of the Baptist, but to show how the new economy surpasses the old. This whole transaction reveals His glory as the Bringer of the final and highest dispensation. In Jesus Christ, God “ has kept His best till last.” In fine, it is plainly meant that we should see in this work an epitome of the Lord’s entire miraculous activity. In it, all His glory is His grace and love. In the Nature miracles we are to note how always He is “not ministered unto, but ministers.” (J. Laidlaw, D. D.)

The beginning of miracles

All beginnings have a wonderful interest to us. There is a peculiar pleasure in tracing a broad deep river, that bears upon its bosom the commerce of a nation, to its source far up among the mountains, in a little well whose overflowing waters a child’s hand could stop; or in going back to the origin of a mighty nation like the Roman, in the drifting ashore, at the foot of the Palatine Hill, of the ark that contained the infant founders. Institutions, social or benevolent, that have been established for ages, derive a fresh charm from the consideration of their first feeble commencement, and the contrast between what they were then and what they are now. There is a mystery about a cloud coming all at once into the blue sky, a star appearing suddenly amid the twilight shades, a spring welling up in the midst of a sandy plain. It seems as if something new were being created before our eyes. A sense of awe comes over us, as if brought into contact with another world. I have had this curious feeling when coming unexpectedly upon the habitat of a very rare plant. This peculiar charm of novelty belongs especially to the origin of sacred institutions-to the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the performance of the first miracle, the formation of the Christian Church, and the production of the New Testament writings. The thought that there was a time when these things had no existence, that for thirty years Jesus wrought no miracle, that the first believers in the gospel in Judea, Corinth, and Rome had no New Testament, gives a vividness to the feelings with which we regard them, brings back the freshness that has evaporated with long familiarity. The miracle of Cana comes into the midst of the previous natural life of Jesus like a star out of the blue profound, like a well out of the dry mountain side, like a rare, unknown flower appearing among the common indigenous plants of a spot. It brings us out of the narrow wall that hems us round, to the verge of God’s infinity, where we can look over into the fathomless gulf. It is the first act of the new creation, in which a new life-potency entered into what at the time existed, and called forth a new development. It gave to the stream of the world’s course a new motion and a new direction, without which it would have become a stagnant bog--a dead sea. It is the base of that wonderful miracle structure of the gospel, of which the resurrection is the pinnacle. (H. Macmillan, D. D.)

The first miracle

How well fitted this miracle is, in its character, to introduce the train which succeeded it; to open the wonderful order of instructions, doctrines, and works which was afterwards developed; to be, as it was, the first miracle. The glory of the natural day is not manifested forth in the morning by a blaze of meridian splendour. The light is mild and soft which first peeps from behind the hill-tops, or flushes from the bed of ocean. So it was with “the glorious gospel of the blessed God.” Its first manifestation by miracle was like the spreading dawn. It blended with the joyous accompaniments of a festive occasion and the kind sympathies of domestic life: It came like a nuptial blessing to a young pair who were just commencing the journey of life together. By-and-by we shall see it among the sick, the maimed, and the blind, healing infirmities, and restoring the lost faculties of sense. By-and-by we shall see it in the dark death chamber and the darker tomb, dispelling the darkness and raising the dead. Then we shall find no want of elevation. Then our minds will be filled and overpowered by its sublimity. But now let us do justice to its loveliness, and admire its first approach to the children of men. (F. W. P. Greenwood, D. D.)

Christ’s first miracle

The first of a series gives the key to the whole. The first animals or plants have been combining types, i.e, have united in themselves the characters of several familes now widely separated. So the earliest human lives were typical. The first notes of a song suggest all that is necessary to make the harmony. And the first miracle enters into all the other miracles that Jesus did, and combines in itself the elements of them all.

1. It is a work of mercy.

2. It is an emblem of a higher spiritual blessing.

3. It is a prophecy of the new genesis.

Like an illuminated initial letter, which contains in itself an illustrated epitome of the contents of the whole chronicle, it appropiately begins the series of Christ’s beneficent works by a beautiful picture of the nature and design of them all.

I. IT LINKS THE WORK OF THE SECOND ADAM WITH THAT OF THE FIRST. Adam’s disobedience turned paradise into a wilderness. Christ’s obedience turns the wilderness into paradise.

II. IT SHOWS THE RESTORATION OF NATURE AS WELL AS HUMANITY. Man’s sin brought barrenness: Christ’s work restores fruitfulness. And as nature shared the effects of the fall with man, it will participate also in the effects of redemption. This miracle is the first step in the process.

III. IT COMBINES THE GOSPEL WITH THE PRECEDING DISPENSATIONS. Moses could only sweeten the waters of Marsh--only ameliorate the bitter spring of human sin, and reform men. Jesus turns the water into wine and regenerates men.

IV. THE OCCASION WAS ONE OF TRANSCENDENT IMPORTANCE. In this respect it is the first in order of rank as well as time.

1. As a human institution marriage stands at the head of all others, originating in paradise and surviving the wreck of the fall.

2. As a type of heavenly mystery it stands first in importance and significance.

V. THE MIRACLE WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT OF ALL, if any gradation can be allowed. There was here no co-operation of faith. It was not the purification and assistance of a natural function, but a creation de novo. (H. Macmillan, LL. D.)

The miracle as a sign

I. OF CHRIST’S MISSION. It was none the less significant because wrought for a temporary purpose. Man’s need of Christ appears in trifling as well as conspicuous ways. Food is common-place, but it is an universal need.

1. The act was significant of the joyous and abundant feast He was about to spread for all people.

2. The moment in which it was wrought, when the wine had failed, is a sign of the fact that Christ waits till man’s own powers are exhausted before giving His grace. Hence He delayed His advent till the world was exhausted with its efforts to find peace and holiness. The pagan religions were exhausted. Philosophy had failed to solve the problems of life. So we do not receive the fuiness of Christ till convinced of our helplessness and ready to depend on Divine grace.

3. The nature of the miracle, the creation of the wine out of water, not out of nothing, is a sign that


1. Of His grace and glory (John 1:14; Joh_1:17).

2. Of His naturalness. He was thoroughly at home, and revealed the natural union of a pure humanity with a Divine life; sympathizing with human joys, as at Bethany with human griefs. Religion does not break the sweet ties which God has formed between man and man.

3. Of His mindfulness of His great object. We see this in His conversation with His mother, which shows us to remember in society that the chief end of man is to glorify God, and that no earthly joy or work must be allowed to unfit us for that. (G. T. Purves.)

The miracle as a sign

In respect of


1. It was a miracle in itself, apart from all surrounding circumstances. What is an everyday occurrence in one climate may be a rare wonder in another. To an inhabitant of the tropic the freezing of water would be a miracle. The feats of a chemist would pass for supernatural in the first, but be put down as strictly natural in the nineteenth century. But Christ’s miracles are miracles all the world over and all the ages through.

2. The miracle was not performed till nature was exhausted. His hour did not come till the wine had actually failed. This always characterizes His interpositions. All He cured were incurable. This is a sign that we may calculate on His presence in extremity. When your earthly wine is all gone, He will come to your relief.

3. This miracle in its results is repeated every year. Miracles are explanatory notes revealing the secret processes of material phenomena, signs of the power that is everywhere and always at work. He turned the water into wine once; He does so still.


1. It was performed in a wedding. John the Baptist was an ascetic; will Christ be one? The Jews looked for a king; will Christ then claim the throne? Christ was not an ascetic, for He went to a wedding. He was not a dignitary, for it was a wedding of ordinary people. This was a sign then that He belonged to Society.

2. The miracle was performed at the feast. Jesus was always the antagonist of suffering and the source of joy. The thing here signified is that if there is a time to weep there is also a time to rejoice.

3. It was performed at a marriage feast for the purpose of beneficence, to point out the difference between the Old Testament miracles and those of the New, and to show the different character of the two dispensations.

4. It was a miracle of luxury. Wine was not needful to maintain life; loaves and fishes were. This is a sign then that man does not live by bread alone, but is permitted to go after the beautiful in every form. Is it sinful to have pictures whilst the heathen be unreclaimed? There is no reason why Englishmen should be half-civilized because Kaffirs are altogether barbarous. Because the potato is the more useful plant of the two, that is not to say that the rose is unnecessary.

5. The miracle is a sign that self-restraint should be practiced in the midst of abundance.


1. He had not to acquire glory, bat only to manifest it. He manifested it here as the Sovereign of nature.

2. As a consequence His disciples believed in Him. They did so before. This confirmed them. Miracles cannot convince unbelievers. It was the disciples, not the guests, who believed. (J. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.)

The first miracle of Christ the sneaking expression of His life and work

I. OF HIS PERSON, in which the earthly human nature becomes a heavenly: the essential, genuine Vine (John 15:1).

II. OF THE POWER OF HIS LOVE which transformed the water of earthly need into the wine of heavenly joy: brings forth judgment unto victory, makes blessedness out of Divine sorrow.

III. OF HIS DIVINE WORKS, in which is everywhere reflected His main work of bringing to pass the new birth of mankind from the earthly kingdom into the heavenly.

IV. OF HIS LAST WORK The glorification of the world. (J. P. Lange.)

The beginning of signs: or the sacredness of common life

I. CHRIST’S SYMPATHY WITH THE RELATIONSHIPS AND GLADNESS OF MAN’S LIFE. That was a new thing in the world, the sign of a new spirit that was to pervade mankind. There is a strong tendency in human nature to associate lofty morality with rigorous sternness of life: the prophets; John the Baptist; monks. But here Christ mingles with the gladness of a wedding feast, and exerts His supernatural power to supply a festive need. This implied

1. That earthly life was to be glorified by the heavenly.

2. That human love is not to be carnalized, but made Divine.

3. That human relationships do not clash with the love of God, but are to become powerful instruments for aiding it.

4. That no sphere is too common for Christ to sanctify.

II. CHRIST BESTOWED ON COMMON THINGS A HIGHER POWER IN ORDER TO AWAKEN HUMAN GLADNESS. This signifies the elevation by Him of the natural into the Divine, of the common into the uncommon. Here again was a new thing to the world. To Christ’s eye nothing was commonplace; not the lowest man nor the plainest life. His mission was to glorify the old and familiar.

III. Combining these two features, we see that LIFE IN ALL ITS COMMON RELATIONSHIPS AND COMMON TOILS IS TO BE A MANIFESTATION AND SERVICE OF CHRIST. In human friendship we are to serve Christ, and in our daily work to glorify Him. Life throughout, with its joys and sorrows, is to be transformed. How is this to be done? Notice

1. That the character of a man’s deeds is determined by their inner motive, not by their outward form.

2. This sanctity is attained through the power of Christ’s love.


1. Life would become a constant manifestation of Christ.

2. Life would be a constant education for the heavenly.

3. It would give us the assurance of eternal fellowship. (E. L. Hull, B. A.)

Miracles as signs

The term “sign” denotes in its simplest usage

1. A means of identification (Luke 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:17).

2. A proof or evidence furnished by one set of facts to the reality and genuineness of another (2 Corinthians 12:12).

3. A symbol or emblem (Ezekiel 4:3). Now the miracles of Christ were signs in all these three senses. They identified Him as the Messiah foretold in prophecy; they authenticated Him as the Son of God, and furnished evidence of the truth of the claims which He put forth; and they were emblems in the material sphere of the blessings which He came to bestow in the spiritual, and of the manner in which they were to be received by those whom He designed to benefit. (W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Manifested forth His glory

The first miracle an Epiphany of Christ

This glory is undoubtedly Christ’s Divine glory” full of grace and truth”; the effulgence of His perfections translated so as to bring them within the reach of sense. And when John says that Christ manifested forth His glory he implies that although it had been almost entirely hidden for years, yet, like the sun behind the clouds, it had all along been lying below the surface. The miracle rolled away the clouds from the face of the sun.

I. CHRIST’S GLORY WAS SEEN IN HIS ENTIRE CONTROL OVER NATURE. Power over nature always excites our admiration. But why is it that the man of science, whose genius can tame or discipline steam or electricity, wins so deep and universal an enthusiasm? Not because the feat has the charm of novelty, nor because it is an enrichment of man’s life and an addition to his comfort, but because there is in him, at an immeasurable distance, an approximation to God. And yet we can explain it by natural causes which fall within the range of experience. But a miracle passes that line. And since we know that order is a principle which belongs to the very life of the Creator as well as to His administration, we conclude that He will not depart from His ordinary rules without some reason, and that no one but Himself can dispense with them. And thus in a miracle God is actively present, not as authorizing anarchy, but suspending some lower law to give play to some higher. The outward miracle arrests man’s reason and imagination to behold in it the manifested glory of the Lord of Nature. Had we witnessed it, should we have recognized it as what it was? Yes, if we can say with the Te Deum that earth as well as heaven is full of the majesty of God’s glory. No, if we see in nature only the operation of self-existent laws.

II. THE GLORY OF SPIRITUAL TRUTH, an unveiling of the laws whereby the King of the new spiritual empire would govern His subjects.

1. Nature is ever being silently changed into something higher and better than when Christ found it. What is Holy Scripture but the water of what might have been a human literature changed by the Spirit of Christ into the inspired Word of God? That which was mere good-nature becomes Divine charity by grace: that which was only well-exercised reason or farsighted judgment becomes faith: all the natural virtues are transformed into the spiritual. So it was at the first. The Sanhedrim were perplexed at the intellectual and moral power of the illiterate apostles. The Roman proconsuls were bewildered at the majestic constancy of poor men and weak women and children. And so it is now.

2. The law of continuous improvement from good to better and from better to best. The real Giver of the good wine does not fascinate by the charm of His earliest gifts and then give to the jaded faculties His poorer graces. In His service the spiritual senses do not follow the law of bodily decay, they gain with advancing years, and require and receive higher nutriment.


1. Christ here began that life of condescension before men which was involved in His incarnation, and which He followed heedless of slander and misconstruction.

2. Christ here shot forth a ray of that glorious love which redeemed the world. His whole action is marked with tender consideration; He saves this poor couple from the disappointment of being unable to entertain their friends; He adds to their store, but in such a manner as to lay them under no embarrassing obligation to Himself. So God bestows His blessings so unobtrusively that we forget the Giver, but here, as ever, would teach us to imitate Him when we bestow ours. (Canon Liddon.)

The lesson of Epiphany--peace and plenty through Christ

Consider this miracle in the light of the service for the Second Sunday in Epiphany.

I. THE COLLECT, which is a prayer for peace. The Collects are supposed to collect the subject of the Gospel and Epistle. But the gospel is a miracle of plenty, a contrasted idea to that of peace. There may be lavish plenty when there is no peace--there may be deep peace when there is little plenty. And yet in the deepest, truest sense of the terms they are one. Their separation is only temporary and accidental. For what is peace? Perfectly satisfied desire. Disquiet is want of satisfaction. But in spiritual and intelligent creatures there must be the satisfaction of the whole nature. If man be body, spirit, and soul, if any one of these be unsatisfied, he cannot be at rest. In vain you satisfy animal appetite and intellectual craving, if the hunger of the spirit be unappeased. And men are not at peace, because of the first great mistake that man made in his first sin when he withdrew the food for his soul. This food is God. Man’s sin was the determination to have the feast of body and mind without this spiritual element, and the sin and misery of man ever since has been to sit down to a banquet from which he has banished God. And God forbid that without Him there should ever be peace: because it is the lack of this plenty disquieting his soul that leads him to God. God teaches this truth in

1. His Word.

2. His providence. Lest man should lose himself in sensual delights God drove him from Eden. Sometimes God shows us how poor the gift is without the Giver; sometimes how blessed the Giver is without the gift, and better by giving Himself with the gift. This is the highest of all states, even heaven itself. This the true peace and plenty our Father meant us to have. It is our sin that has set them in antagonism.

II. Now turn to the Gospel. We see Christ giving back to men the lacking plenty of their feasts. The wine had run low. He renews it in lavish abundance that He may tell as in symbol that for the renovated man the amplest enjoyment of God’s gift is consistent with perfect peace. Christ has come to tell us that we need Him and may have Him in all our joys.

III. THE EPISTLE teaches us that there is an Epiphany amongst men as there was once an Epiphany to men. In the Gospel Christ gave Himself and His best gift to us. In the Epistle Christ calls upon us to show Him forth to men by giving ourselves and our gifts to others. That is the very reason He gave Himself to us. “Freely ye have received; freely gird”; fill to the brim the means of helping another’s need: your material, intellectual, and spiritual wealth. (Bp. Magee.)

The glory of the Virgin Mother

1. For thirty years Christ had done no miracle: which is itself worthy to be called a miracle. He was content to live in obscurity till His hour was come. This is true greatness. In all the works of God there is a conspicuous absence of haste. Six slow days and nights of creative force before man was made. Two thousand years to discipline and form a Jewish people: four thousand years of darkness, ignorance, and crime before the fulness of the time. Whatever contradicts the Divine plan must pay the price of haste--brief duration.

2. St. Paul speaks of the glory of woman as distinct from that of man. Their provinces are not the same, and the qualities which are prominent and beautiful in the one are the reverse in the other. The glory of her who was highly favoured among women was different from that of her Son in degree--the one was human, the other was more: in order the one manifesting the grace of womanhood, the other the majesty and wisdom of manhood in which God dwelt. The glory of the Virgin consisted in

I. HER CONSIDERATENESS. There is gentle womanly tact in the words “They have no wine.” Unselfish thoughtfulness about other’s comforts; delicate anxiety to save a straitened family from the exposure of their poverty. So in old times, with thoughtful hospitality, Rebekah offered water to Abraham’s wayworn servant. So Martha showed her devotion even to excess. So the women ministered of their substance.

II. SUBMISSION. “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.” Here is the true spirit of obedience. Not slavishness, but loyalty to and trust in a person whom we reverence. Submission at the outset of the Bible is revealed as woman’s lot and destiny. The curse of obedience, as that of labour, transformed by Christ into a blessing. This blessing twofold.

1. Freedom from doubt. Mary felt no perplexity at the rebuke. A more masculine mind would have been made sullen and sceptical. Mary could not understand, but she could trust and wait. So with the Syro-Phoenician woman, Mental doubt rarely touches women. Soldiers and sailors do not doubt. Prompt, unquestioning obedience is the soil for faith.

2. Prevailing power with God. The Saviour’s look promised, probably, more than His words. Prayer is a deep mystery to the masculine intellect. “How,” says Logic, “can man’s will modify the will of God? Where, then, lies the use of it?” But there is something mightier than intellect, truer than logic--the faith that works by love.


1. Gradually the recognition of this became idolatry. Why? Before Christ the qualities honoured as Divine were probably masculine--Courage, Wisdom, Truth, Strength. But Christ proclaimed Meekness, Obedience, Affection, Purity--graces distinctly feminine. Men sought to give these new ideas embodiment, and they found them embodied in the Virgin Mother.

2. The only corrective for this idolatry is the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ. His heart had in it the blended qualities of both sexes, and when we have learned that in Christ there is all that is manly and all that is womanly, we are safe from Mariolatry. (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

The glory of the Divine Son

I. THIS GLORY DID NOT BEGIN WITH THE MIRACLE, THE, MIRACLE ONLY MANIFESTED IT. And if instead of rousing men to see the glory of Christ the miracle merely fastened attention on itself, the whole intention of a miracle is lost. To the wise man the lightning only manifests the electric force which is everywhere, and which for one moment has become visible. As often as he sees it it reminds him that the lightning Slumbers in the dewdrop, in the mist, and in the cloud, and binds together every atom of water that he uses in daily life. But to the vulgar mind the lightning is unique, a something which has no existence until it appears. So to the half-believer a miracle is the one solitary evidence of God. But to the true disciple a miracle only manifests the power and love which are at work everywhere. It is not more glory, but only glory more manifested when water at His bidding passes at once into wine. And if you do not feel as David felt, God’s presence in the annual miracle, and that it is God which in the vintage causeth wine to make glad the heart of man, this miracle would not have given you conviction of His presence. “If you hear not Moses and the prophets,” etc. This deep truth of miracles most men miss. They believe that Jesus was Divine because He worked miracles. But it is by power less Divine that the same Being bears witness to truth, forgives His enemies, makes it His meat and drink to do His Father’s will?


1. All natural relationships. John the Baptist’s was the highest form of religious life known to Israel. His was a life of solitariness. Christ goes to a marriage to declare the sacredness of feelings which had been reckoned carnal and low. For it is through our human affections that the soul first yearns after God, and it is to them that the Infinite reveals Himself: and by an earthly relationship God has typified to us the only true espousal--the marriage of the soul to her eternal Lord.

2. The sacredness of all natural enjoyments. To say that this was a religious ceremony is sophistry; and to say that although Christ was there it would not be safe for us to go, is to overlook the fact that His disciples were there. No! the temptation was past, the ministry of John was over; and now the Bridegroom comes into She world in the true glory of the Messiah--not in a life of asceticism, but in a life of godliness; not separating from life, but consecrating it. The ascetic life is more striking, easier, add more reputable. But the life of Him who was called “a man gluttonous and a wine bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners” was far harder, but it was heavenlier. (F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

The manifestation of Christ’s glory

I. The manifestation of Jesus Christ is the only true essence of our Christianity.

II. The manifestation of Jesus Christ is the true evidence of our Christianity.

III. The manifestation of Christ to others is the one great evangelistic duty of the Christian and of the Church. (Bishop Barry.)

The peculiar glory of Christ

Moses was not said to manifest his glory when he turned water into blood; nor Paul, nor Peter, nor any of the apostles, to manifest their glory in the miracles which they wrought. Why this peculiarity of language in the ease of Christ? Was it not from the peculiarity of His person--God as well as man? (J. Fawcett, M. A.)

The glory of conquest

As the first ray of the morning reveals the glorious light which is soon to flood heaven and earth, so the first miracle of Jesus revealed the glory of Him who had come to subdue all things unto Himself. (G. T. Purves.)

Christ at a wedding

You nowhere read of His being at a funeral. Why? Because marriage belongs to the primeval order of creation, but funerals do not. Marriage is a part of the original programme of the universe, but death is an intrusion. He, therefore, went to a marriage to vindicate the Divine order; He did not attend funerals because they are incursions upon that order. He was the Everlasting Life, and consequently could not join in the procession of death. Indeed, each time He met death in His sojourn through the world, He could not but grapple with him and compel him to give up his prey. (J. C. Jones.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 2:11". The Biblical Illustrator. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Far from being presented as a mere parable, Jesus' action in changing water into wine is here denominated the first of his mighty miracles, a positive manifestation of the Lord's glory, and the event which issued in the faith of his disciples. As the first of those mighty deeds which proved him to be God in the flesh, this sign of Jesus has a breadth of meaning and depth of importance fully compatible with its priority in the time sequence.

Compared with the first great miracle wrought by Moses, in which water was changed into blood, this sign resembles that one, as should have been expected of type and antitype; but it also contrasts dramatically. Moses' sign impoverished; this one enriched. This was a source of joy, that one a source of revulsion and disgust. That changed water into something worse; this changed water into something better. The superiority of Christ over Moses, so starkly visible here, was to appear in all the miracles that followed. Moses' miracle was a curse; this was a blessing. As Richard Trench noted:

This beginning of miracles is truly an introduction to all other miracles which Christ wrought, as the parable of the Sower to all the other parables which he spoke. No other miracle has so much of prophecy in it; no other, therefore, would have inaugurated so fitly the whole future work of the Son of God, a work that might be characterized throughout as an ennobling of the common, and a transmuting of the mean, a turning of the water of earth into the wine of heaven.[12]


Any full appreciation of this wonder must take account of the occasion upon which it was enacted, namely, at a wedding feast. By such a choice of platform from which to launch his world-saving ministry, Christ conferred upon marriage his approval, encouragement, and blessing. Fittingly, the traditional wedding ceremony has the lines:

"... in holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate, and signifying to us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee... etc."

Far from having been a capricious or accidental beginning of his ministry, the sign at Cana was part of the Master Plan of the Saviour's earthly sojourn. How appropriate it is that he who was to become the great Bridegroom of the Church in heaven and upon earth should have begun his ministry with such a wonder as this and upon such an occasion as the marriage in Cana of Galilee.

And manifested his glory ... Of some mere prophet, it might have been declared that such a sign manifested God's glory; but the glory here manifested was essentially of Christ himself, who was God incarnate. As Westcott said:

The manifestation of his glory in this "sign" must not be sought simply in what we call its miraculous element, but in this connection with the circumstances, as a revelation of the insight, sympathy, and sovereignty of the Son of man, who was the Word incarnate.[13]

The enrichment, that came of Christ's presence at that ancient wedding was a literal endowment of the new family unit with an exceedingly valuable and ample supply of the choices: wine, removing the new couple at one stroke from a status of poverty and embarrassment to a position of abundance and plenty. The literal enrichment of that bride and groom symbolizes the enrichment that always follows the welcoming of Christ into the homes and hearts of people.

[12] Richard C. Trench, Notes on the Miracles (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1943), p. 105.

[13] Brooks Foss Westcott, The Gospel according to St. John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971), p. 39.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

This beginning of miracles,.... This miracle of turning water into wine, was the first miracle Christ ever wrought, either in public or private; for as for what miracles he is said to do in his infancy, there is no reason to give credit to them: and this he

did in Cana of Galilee; not that this was only the first he did in that place; he afterwards working another there, namely, the cure of a nobleman's son, John 4:46, but the first he did any where, and it was in this place; and which the Syriac and Persic versions again call Kotne of Galilee; See Gill on John 2:1;

and manifested forth his glory; the glory of his deity and divine sonship, which was hid by his assumption of human nature, but broke forth and showed itself in his miraculous operations, and particularly in this:

and his disciples believed on him; the above five disciples; see John 2:2; whom he had called, and who were with him at this marriage, and were made acquainted with this miracle: and though they believed in him before, and had declared, and professed him to be the Messiah, Moses and the prophets spoke of, and the Son of God, and King of Israel; yet they were, by this miracle, more and more confirmed in the faith of these things: besides, others might be made his disciples at this time, and be hereby brought to believe in him.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 2:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

manifested forth his glory — Nothing in the least like this is said of the miracles of prophet or apostle, nor could without manifest blasphemy be said of any mere creature. Observe, (1) At a marriage Christ made His first public appearance in any company, and at a marriage He wrought His first miracle - the noblest sanction that could be given to that God-given institution. (2) As the miracle did not make bad good, but good better, so Christianity only redeems, sanctifies, and ennobles the beneficent but abused institution of marriage; and Christ‘s whole work only turns the water of earth into the wine of heaven. Thus “this beginning of miracles” exhibited the character and “manifested forth the glory” of His entire Mission. (3) As Christ countenanced our seasons of festivity, so also that greater fullness which befits such; so far was He from encouraging that asceticism which has since been so often put for all religion. (4) The character and authority ascribed by Romanists to the Virgin is directly in the teeth of this and other scriptures.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

People's New Testament

Manifested forth his glory. This was the first supernatural manifestation of his divine power; that he by whom all things were made controlled the powers of nature.

His disciples believed on him. They already believed, but their faith was made firmer.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 2:11". "People's New Testament". 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

This beginning of his signs did Jesus (ταυτην εποιησεν αρχην των σημειων ο Ιησουςtautēn epoiēsen archēn tōn sēmeiōn ho Iēsous). Rather, “this Jesus did as a beginning of his signs,” for there is no article between ταυτηνtautēn and αρχηνarchēn “We have now passed from the ‹witness‘ of the Baptist to the ‹witness‘ of the works of Jesus” (Bernard). This is John‘s favourite word “signs” rather than wonders (τεραταterata) or powers (δυναμειςdunameis) for the works (εργαerga) of Jesus. ΣημειονSēmeion is an old word from σημαινωsēmainō to give a sign (John 12:33). He selects eight in his Gospel by which to prove the deity of Christ (John 20:30) of which this is the first.

Manifested his glory (επανερωσεν την δοχαν αυτουephanerōsen tēn doxan autou). First aorist (effective) active indicative of πανεροωphaneroō that glory of which John spoke in John 1:14.

Believed on him
(επιστευσαν εις αυτονepisteusan eis auton). First aorist active indicative of πιστευωpisteuō to believe, to put trust in, so common in John. These six disciples (learners) had already believed in Jesus as the Messiah (1:35-51). Now their faith was greatly strengthened. So it will be all through this Gospel. Jesus will increasingly reveal himself while the disciples will grow in knowledge and trust and the Jews will become increasingly hostile till the culmination.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

This beginning

Or, more strictly, this as a beginning.

Of miracles ( σημείων )

Rev., correctly, signs. See on Matthew 11:20; see on Matthew 24:24. This act was not merely a prodigy ( τέρας ), nor a wonderful thing ( θαυμάσιον ), nor a power ( δύναμις ), but distinctively a sign, a mark of the doer's power and grace, and divine character. Hence it falls in perfectly with the words manifested His glory.

Believed on Him ( ἐπίστευσαν εἰς αὐτὸν )

See on John 1:12. Literally, believed into. Canon Westcott most aptly says that it conveys the idea of “the absolute transference of trust from one's self to another.”

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

And his disciples believed — More steadfastly.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 2:11". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee1, and manifested his glory2; and his disciples believed on him3.

  1. This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee. This was the beginning or first of the miracles, and John's statement brands as false all the Catholic traditions which tell of miracles performed by Christ in his childhood.

  2. And manifested his glory. We should note also that it was a sign. The value of the miracle was in what it signified, not in what it wrought. It manifested the glory of Christ, part of which glory is his power to change the worse into the better, the simpler into the richer. It is the glory of Christ that he can transform sinners into his own likeness (1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 15:42-44; Philippians 3:20,21).

  3. And his disciples believed on him. In this chapter John as a disciple three times gives us a disciple's point of view as to Christ's miracles; here, and at John 2:17,22. They implanted faith in those whose hearts were right before God (John 5:38). The miracles of Christ created widespread excitement. There had been none of a notorious nature since Daniel had been cast to the lions, and had read the writing on Belshazzar's wall some five hundred eighty years before.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 2:11". "The Fourfold Gospel". Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Так положил Иисус начало чудесам. Смысл в том, что это было первым из чудес, совершенных Самим Христом. Ибо то, что ангелы возвестили пастухам о Его рождении в Вифлееме, то, что на небе явилась звезда, то, что Дух Святой сошел на Него в виде голубя, хотя и представляло собой чудо, но было совершено не Им Самим. Здесь же речь идет о чудесах, автором которых является Он Сам. Глупо и смешно толкование тех, кто понимает данное место так: из всех чудес, совершенных Христом в Кане Галилейской, это чудо числится первым. Словно для явления Своей силы Он избрал именно то место, где, как сказано в Писании, побывал всего два раза. Скорее Евангелист хотел здесь сказать о порядке, в котором Христос являл людям Свою силу. Ибо вплоть до тридцатилетнего возраста Он оставался дома как частное лицо. Заступив же на служение с момента крещения, Он начал открыто предъявлять свидетельства Своего посланничества от Отца. Итак, не удивительно, если Христос отложил до сего времени первое проявление Своего божества. Сколь же прекрасно великолепие брака, что Христос не только удостоил его Своим присутствием, но и украсил первым из совершенных Им чудес. Существуют древние каноны, запрещающие клирикам присутствовать на браке. Причина запрета в том, чтобы, наблюдая происходящие там бесчинства, они в некотором смысле не выказали своим присутствием одобрительное отношение к происходящему. Но было бы много лучше, если бы они приходили туда с достоинством и серьезностью, дабы обуздать разнузданность, коей тайно предаются развратные люди. Для нас же пример Христов пусть станет законом. И пусть мы не думаем, что можно поступить полезнее, чем поступил Он Сам.

Явил славу Свою. Поелику тогда Христос сотворил достопамятное и славное дело, откуда явствовало, что Он – Сын Божий. Какие бы чудеса Он ни являл миру – все они были свидетельством Его божественной силы. Благоприятное же время явить Свою славу наступило тогда, когда по Отчей заповеди Он восхотел явиться миру. Отсюда мы выводим, какова цель чудес. Писание как бы говорит: Христос произвел сие чудо, дабы явить Свою славу. Что же тогда надо думать о чудесах, омрачающих славу Христову?

Уверовали в Него ученики Его. Если они уже были учениками, они должны были в какой-то мере обладать верой. Однако, поскольку доселе вера их не была четкой и твердой, говорится, что лишь тогда они стали привержены Христу, когда признали Его Мессией, каким Он и был назван в проповеди Иоанна. Велико снисхождение Христово к ученикам, вера которых была столь немощной. Эта история, очевидно, относится и ко всем нам. Ведь если вера теперь достигла возмужалости, раньше она должна была пребывать во младенчестве. Больше того, ни в ком она не совершенна настолько, чтобы ему, как и всем, не было нужно в ней возрастать. Посему даже уверовавшие, поскольку ежедневно все больше приближаются к намеченной цели, постольку каждый раз начинают веровать заново. Итак, пусть все, получив начатки веры, стремятся к преуспеянию в ней. Здесь же нам говорится о плоде чудес: они должны способствовать возрастанию в вере. Тот, кто употребляет их для иной цели, полностью искажает и извращает их использование. Так сегодня мы видим, что паписты выставляют свои ложные чудеса лишь с целью уничтожения веры и обращают упование людей от Христа к творению.




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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

Ver. 11. "This first of his miracles Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and he manifested his glory, and his disciples believed on him."

John characterizes under four important relations the miracle which he has just related. 1. This was the first, not only of the miracles performed at Cana, but of all the miracles of Jesus. As here was a decisive moment in the revelation of the Lord and in the faith of the disciples, John brings out this fact with emphasis. The Alexandrian authorities have rejected the article τήν before ἀρχήν, without doubt as being superfluous on account of ταύτην.

But, as is frequently the case with them, when desiring to correct, they spoil. Without the article, the attention is rather drawn to the nature of the miracle: "It was by this prodigy that Jesus began to work miracles." By the article the notion itself of a beginning is more strongly emphasized: "That fact ...was the true beginning..." The second of these ideas is as thoroughly an essential element in the context, as we shall see, as the first is foreign to it. 2. John recalls a second time, in closing, the place where the event occurred. The design of this repetition cannot be purely geographical. We shall see, in John 3:24 and John 4:54, how anxious John was to distinguish between the two returns of Jesus to Galilee (John 1:44 and John 4:1-3), which had been united in one by tradition, and this is the reason why he expressly points out how the one and the other of these two returns was signalized by a miracle accomplished at Cana. According toHengstenberg, the defining words of Galilee recall the prophecy of Isaiah 8:22 to Isaiah 9:1, according to which the glory of the Messiah was to be manifested in Galilee. This aim would be admissible in Matthew; it seems foreign to the narrative of John 3. John indicates the purpose of the miracle. He uses here, for the first time, the term sign ( σημεῖον) which is in harmony with the following expression: "He manifested His glory." The miracles of Jesus are not mere wonders ( τέρατα), designed to strike the imagination.

A close relation exists between these marvelous acts and the person of Him who performs them. They are visible emblems of what He is and of what He comes to do, and, as Reuss says, "radiant images of the permanent miracle of the manifestation of Christ." The glory of Christ is, above all, His dignity as Son and the eternal love which His Father has for Him. Now this glory is, in its very nature, concealed from the eyes of the inhabitants of the earth; but the miracles are the brilliant signs of it. They manifest the unlimited freedom with which the Son disposes of all things, and thus demonstrate the perfect love of the Father towards Him: "The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hands" (John 3:35). The expression "His glory" makes a profound distinction between Jesus and all the divine messengers who had accomplished like wonders before Him. In the miracles of the other divine messengers the glory of Jehovah is seen (Exodus 16:7); those of Jesus reveal His own, by bearing witness in concert with His words, to His filial position. The expression His glory contains, moreover, all of His own that Jesus puts into the act which He has just performed, the love full of tenderness with which He makes use of divine omnipotence in the service of His own. 4. John, finally, sets forth theresult of this miracle. Evoked at first by testimony, faith was strengthened by personal contact with Jesus, its object. Now in the course of this personal relation, it makes such experience of the power and goodness of Him to whom it is attached, that it finds itself thereby immovably confirmed. Doubtless it will grow every day in proportion as such experiences shall multiply; but from this moment it has passed through the three essential phases of its formation: testimony, personal contact and experience. This is what John expresses by the words: "And his disciples believed on him." These glorious irradiations from the person of Jesus, which are called miracles, are, therefore, designed not only, as apologetics often assume, to strike the eyes of the still unbelieving multitude and to stimulate the delaying, but, especially, to illuminate the hearts of believers, by revealing to them, in this world of suffering, all the riches of the living object of their faith.

What took place in the minds of the other witnesses of this scene? John"s silence leads us to suppose that the impression produced was neither profound nor enduring. This is because the miracle, in order to act efficaciously, must be understood as a sign (John 6:26), and because to this end certain moral predispositions are necessary. The impression of astonishment which the guests experienced, not connecting itself with any spiritual need, with any struggle of conscience, was soon effaced by the distractions of life.

On the Miracle of Cana.

Objections of two sorts are raised against the reality of this event: the one class bear on miracles in general; the other, on this one in particular. We do not concern ourselves with the first. We think there is nothing more opposed to the sound method—the method called experimental—than to begin by declaring, as a principle, the impossibility of a miracle. To say that there has never been a miracle until now,—be it so. This is a point for examination. But to say that there cannot be one, is to make metaphysics, not history; it is to throw oneself into the a: priori, which is repudiated.

The objections which relate especially to the miracle of Cana are:

1. Its magical character (Schweizer). The difference between the magical and the miraculous is, that, in the former, the supernatural power works in vacuo, dispensing with already existing nature, while in the second, the divine force respects the first creation and always connects its working with material furnished by it. Now, in this case, Jesus does not use His power to create, as Mary undoubtedly was expecting; He contents Himself with transforming that which is. He remains, thus, within the limits of the Biblical supernatural.

2. The uselessness of the miracle is made an objection. It is "a miracle of luxury," according to Strauss. Let us rather say with Tholuck, "a miracle of love." We think we have shown this. It might even be regarded as the payment of a double debt: to the bridegroom, for whom the Lord"s arrival had caused this embarrassment, and to Mary, to whom Jesus, before leaving her, was paying His debt of gratitude. The miracle of Cana is the miracle of filial piety, as the resurrection of Lazarus is that of fraternal affection. The symbolic interpretations, by means of which it has been desired to explain the purpose of this miracle, seem to us artificial: to set the Gospel joy in opposition to the ascetic rigor of John the Baptist (Olshausen); to represent the miraculous transformation of the legal into spiritual life (Luthardt). Would not such intentions betray themselves in some word of the text?

3. This miracle is even charged with immorality. Jesus, it is said, countenanced the intemperance of the guests. "With the same right one might demand," answers Hengstenberg, "that God should not grant good vintages because of drunkards." The presence of Jesus and, afterwards, the thankful remembrance of his hosts would guarantee the holy use of this gift.

4. The omission of this story in the Synoptics seems to the adversaries the strongest argument against the reality of the event. But this miracle belongs still to the family life of Jesus; it does not form a part of the acts of His public ministry. Moreover, as we have seen, it has its place in an epoch of the ministry of Jesus, which, by reason of the confusion of the first two returns to Galilee, had disappeared from the tradition. The aim of John in restoring this event to light was precisely to re-establish the distinction between these two returns and, at the same time, to recall one of the first and principal landmaks of the development of the apostolic faith (comp. John 2:11).

Do not a multitude of proofs demonstrate the fragmentary character of the oral tradition which is recorded in the Synoptics? How can we explain the omission in our four Gospels of the appearance of the risen Jesus to the five hundred? And yet this fact is one of the most solidly attested (1 Corinthians 15:6).

If we reject the reality of the miracle as it is so simply related by the evangelist, what remains for us? Three suppositions:

1. The natural explanation of Paulus or of Gfrorer : Jesus had agreed with a tradesman to have wine brought secretly, during the feast, which He caused to be served to the guests mixed with water. By His reply to Mary, John 2:4, He wishes to induce her simply not to injure the success of the entertainment which He has prepared, and the hour for which has not yet come, through an indiscretion. "The glory of Jesus (John 2:11), is the exquisite humanity which characterizes His amiable proceeding (Paulus). Or it is to Mary herself that the honor of this attention is ascribed. She has had the wine prepared, in order to offer it as a wedding present; and at the propitious moment she makes a sign to Jesus to cause it to be served (Gfrorer). Renan seems not far from adopting the one or the other of these explanations. He says in vague terms: "Jesus went willingly to marriage entertainments. One of His miracles was performed, it is said, to enliven a village wedding" (p. 195). Weiss adopts a form of the natural explanation which is less incompatible with the seriousness of Jesus" character (see above on John 2:3): nevertheless, he acknowledges that John believed that he was relating a miracle and meant to do so. But could this apostle, then, be so completely deceived respecting the nature of a fact which he himself related as an eye-witness? Jesus must, in that case, have intentionally allowed an obscurity to hover over the event, which was fitted to deceive His nearest friends. The seriousness of the Gospel history protests against these parodies which end in making Jesus a village charlatan.

2. The mythical explanation of Strauss: Legend invented this miracle after the analogy of certain facts related in the Old Testament, e.g., Exodus 15:23 ff., where Moses purifies bitter waters by means of a certain sort of wood; 2 Kings 2:19, where Elisha does something similar. But there is not the least real analogy between these facts and those before us here. Moreover, the perfect simplicity of the narrative, and even its obscurities, are incompatible with such an origin. "The whole tenor of the narrative," says Baur himself (recalling the judgment of de Wette), "by no means authorizes us to assume the mythical character of the account."

3. The ideal explanation of Baur, Keim, etc. According to the first, the pseudo-John made up this narrative as a pure invention, to represent the relation between the two baptisms, that of John (the water) and that of Jesus (the wine). According to the second, the evangelist invented this miracle on the basis of that saying of Jesus: "Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them....They put new wine into new bottles" (Matthew 9:15; Matthew 9:17). The water in the vessels represents, thus, the insufficient purifications offered by Judaism and the baptism of John. The worse wine, with which ordinarily the beginning is made, is also Judaism, which was destined to give place to the better wine of the Gospel. The delay of Jesus represents the fact that His coming followed that of John the Baptist. His hour is that of His death, which substitutes for the previous imperfect purifications the true purification through the blood of Christ, in consequence of which is given the joyous wine of the Holy Spirit, etc....In truth, if our desire were to demonstrate the reality of the event as it is simply related by John, we could not do it in a more convincing way than by explanations like these, which seem to be the parody of criticism. What! shall this refined idealism, which was the foundation and source even of the narrative, betray itself nowhere in the smallest word of the story! Shall it envelop itself in the most simple, prosaic, sober narrative which carries conciseness even to obscurity! To our view, the apostolic narrative, by its character of simplicity and truth, will always be the most eloquent defender of the reality of the fact.

Before leaving this first cycle of narratives, we must further take notice of a judgment of Renan respecting this beginning of our Gospel (p. 109): "The first pages of the fourth Gospel are incongruous notes carelessly put together. The strict chronological order which they exhibit arises from the author"s taste for apparent precision." But exegesis has shown, on the contrary, that if there is a passage in our Gospels where all things are linked together and are strictly consecutive, not only as to time, but also as to substance and idea, it is this one. The days are enumerated, the hours even mentioned: it is the description of a continuous week, answering to that of the final week. More than this: the intrinsic connection of the facts is so close that Baur could persuade himself that he had to deal with an ideal and systematic conception, presented under an historic form. The farther the Gospel narrative advances, the more does Renan himself render homage to its chronological exactness. He ends by taking it almost exclusively as a guide for his narration. And the beginning of such a story, whose homogeneity is evident, is nothing but an accidental collection of "notes carelessly put together!" This, at all events, has little probability.

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James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him.’

John 2:11

All the miracles that our Lord wrought were so many manifestations of His grace and power to save. They showed forth His glory, and proved Him to be the Son of God (Acts 2:22).

Here we have an account of His first miracle. It was at Cana of Galilee. It was at a wedding-feast; and thus does Christ first manifest His gracious power in the home circle, and sanctify one of the brightest occasions of domestic happiness. Let us study the two striking points in the narrative.

I. How the want of wine was caused.—It would appear that Mary was staying as a friend or guest in the house. Our Lord and His disciples, having come, perhaps, to see her, appear to have been invited (John 2:2), and as extra guests, caused the deficiency in the supply of wine. Oh, what a blessed cause of want! Till Jesus is asked into the heart, it thinks it has enough to satisfy all its wants (Luke 12:19; Luke 16:25; Hosea 12:8; Revelation 3:17). But the coming of Jesus teaches us our need (John 4:10; John 9:39; Luke 19:42). His Blessed Spirit shows us how insufficient is all that we before prized so much (Luke 5:8; Acts 2:33; Philippians 3:7). Our only recourse is to apply to Jesus (Revelation 3:18; Acts 16:31). So it was on this occasion (John 2:3; cf. chap. John 11:3; Philippians 4:6). But the application must be in faith and obedience (John 2:5; chap. John 6:35; Romans 10:9).

II. How the want of wine was remedied.—As it was caused, so it was supplied, by Christ (Philippians 4:19). His gentle but decided rebuke to His mother (John 2:4) was to show her that human relationships must not interfere in Divine things (Acts 4:19; Matthew 10:37). He commands the waterpots (John 2:6; Mark 7:3) to be filled with water to the brim (John 2:7); there could therefore be no doubt of their contents. He convinces before He changes the heart. Mark what follows. He says, ‘Draw out now’ (Psalms 31:19). He only gives the word (Numbers 20:8; Matthew 8:8), and the very best wine is at once produced (John 2:9-10; Psalms 103:5; Psalms 107:9; Jeremiah 31:14; Jeremiah 31:25). Thus was the want supplied, and all anxiety taken away (Psalms 34:5-6; Deuteronomy 8:3; Proverbs 3:9; Proverbs 10; Malachi 3:10).

We learn from this incident many lessons, but one particularly. If we would have the glory of God manifested in ourselves or others, we must bring our wants and theirs to Jesus (Mark 1:32); Psalms 32:5-6). Do not forget this, and the result will be the glory of God through Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:24; Matthew 9:8).

Bishop Rowley Hill.


‘This first sign was offered in the circle of the family, and not among the people or in the world. The occasion was a marriage festivity in a village of which the identification is doubtful, but which certainly was fairly close to Nazareth. Our Lord’s presence at it was a striking illustration of the contrast between the asceticism of His Forerunner and the more genial characteristics of His own ministry. “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold, a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!” “At the same time”—writes one well acquainted with Jewish customs—“it must be borne in mind, that marriage conveyed to the Jews much higher thoughts than merely those of festivity and merriment. The pious fasted before it, confessing their sins. It was regarded almost as a Sacrament. Entrance into the married state was thought to carry the forgiveness of sins.” It has been suggested, too, that the evident authority with which the Virgin Mary addresses the servants points to the conclusion that this was the wedding of one closely connected with her, perhaps some member of the Holy Family. However this may be, the scene brought before us is the house of the bridegroom, whither the bride has been escorted at eventide, covered with the long bridal veil, preceded by drums and flutes, accompanied by her friends carrying branches of myrtle and wreaths of flowers, surrounded by torches or lamps, her road enlivened by songs and dances. The wedding festivities in Galilee were simpler and less protracted than in the south of Palestine.’



I. Supernatural in its character.—A miracle not against but above nature. So far from violating or opposing nature, the power which operates a miracle begins by inserting itself in and working along the lines of nature as far as these go, after which it sweeps out into the region beyond and executes results of which nature by itself is wholly incapable.

II. Unostentatious in its execution.—So little open to a charge of vulgar display was Christ on this occasion that no one now can, as probably no one then could, tell at what point exactly the miracle was wrought. Like the Kingdom of God (Luke 17:20), of which it was an emblem and for which it was a preparation, it came without observation. In this Christ followed the silent methods of working adopted by His Father in nature (Ecclesiastes 3:11); by this He calls His followers to do their righteousness in secret, before their Father in heaven rather than before the gaze of men (Matthew 6:1).

III. Beneficent in its design.—He Who refrained from employing His Divine power to relieve His own necessities in the wilderness (Matthew 4:4) could not remain deaf to the appeal made to His loving heart to supply the wants of others. So Christ ever pleased not Himself (Romans 15:3), but sought His Father’s glory (John 7:18; John 8:50) and the good of man (Matthew 11:4-6; Acts 10:38). Nor were the miracles of the cursing of the fig tree (Matthew 21:19) and the destruction of the swine (Matthew 8:32) exceptions if we include in the good of man his higher spiritual as well as lower material interests.

IV. Symbolic in its significance.—(1) In reference to Christ’s Person, it was a manifestation of His glory. (2) In relation to Christ’s disciples it was a picture of the joyous life to which they were called in contrast to the asceticism practised and enjoined by His forerunner (Matthew 11:18-19; Mark 2:18-19; John 16:22; 1 Thessalonians 5:16). (3) As regards Christ’s work, it was a reminder that He had come not to condemn but to save, not to diminish but to increase the sum of human happiness, not to abstract a single blessing from the lot of man, but to transform even common mercies into gifts of celestial love, and to suffuse the happiness of earth with the felicities of heaven.


‘“The manner of working the miracle is described with singular minuteness and yet with singular reserve.” The external means were furnished by the large stone waterpots which were used to store the water needed (accorded to Jewish custom) for the personal ablutions of the guests, and for the cleansing of the cups and dishes. These our Lord ordered to be replenished with water; and the attendants carried out their instructions with such zeal that the great jars were “filled to the brim.” Then came the further command, “Draw out now, and bear unto the ruler of the feast.” The “half playful” words in which the guest who occupied this position praised the new wine have found a place in the Evangelist’s record. “Every man setteth on first the good wine; and when men have drunk freely, then that which is worse: thou hast kept the good wine until now.” Such was the first “sign.” Such was the first of the rewards to be vouchsafed by the Son of God to faith. Such were the surroundings—“an obscure village, an ordinary wedding, a humble home, a few faithful peasant guests”—of the first manifestation of that wondrous glory, which passing through the “suffering of death” was to find its culmination in the Resurrection and Ascension. To His disciples who beheld it, the miracle—worked to “minister to the fullness of human joy in one of its simplest and most natural forms”—was a sufficient earnest of His Divine vocation. They “believed on Him.”’

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John Trapp Complete Commentary

11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Ver. 11. This beginning, &c.] For as for his miraculous disputation with the doctors, and fasting forty days, these were rather miracles wrought upon Christ than by him. He works his first miracle for confirmation of God the Father’s first ordinance.

His disciples believed on him] So they did before, but now more. So 1 John 5:13. The apostle writes to "them that believed on the name of the Son of God, that they might believe on the name of the Son of God," i.e. that they might be confirmed, continued, and increased in it. Faith is not like Jonah’s gourd that grew up in a night; or like a bullet in a mould, that is made in a moment. But as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder; and as they went up to Solomon’s throne by steps and stairs; so men proceed from faith to faith, till they come to full assurance.

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Sermon Bible Commentary

John 2:11

I. Beyond doubt this was a miracle of sympathy; and, which perhaps we should not have expected, sympathy with festivity and joy. The hardest kind of sympathy, as everyone who has tried it knows, is to throw a mind that is saddened—which Christ's mind was always—into the happiness of others. It is singular, too, that though it was a first thing, its great point and object was to teach about the last—that with what Christ does, and what Christ gives, unlike and the very opposite to what man does and what the world gives, the last is always the best; and that it grows sweeter, richer, truer, even to the end.

II. Miracles always cluster about the beginnings of new dispensations, or, which is the same thing, about great reformations in an old religion: as Moses, and Joshua, and the Judges, and Elijah that great reformer, and Christ. They are to establish the credibility, the Divine mission, the glory of the leaders of a new system or the teachers of a new faith.

III. There are many definitions of a miracle, but they all come to this—it is a suspension of the laws of Nature, or an effect without its usual cause; and if this makes a miracle, there is very little difference, indeed, between such a work as Christ did at Cana and what He does in every soul which is a partaker of His grace. For in every converted heart, the law of its own nature has been suspended; and no physical cause whatever could account for that effect which has been produced in the change of its tastes and its affections. And it is like the operation of the water at the marriage feast. For by a secret and mysterious process a new principle, a virtue not its own, is introduced and mingled with the original elements of the man's character; and so it comes forth in a strength and a sweetness which were never conceived before, which are for life and refreshment, and usefulness and cheer. Yet this change is but "the beginning of miracles." Many other as wonderful works will follow, for sustaining grace is to the full as great a marvel as converting grace.

J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 7th series, p. 78.


I. Christ's sympathy with the relationships and gladness of man's life.

II. His elevation of the natural into the Divine; of the common into the uncommon.

III. Can a man be really heavenly in his daily tasks and in his human friendships? Yes, for (1) the character of man's deeds is determined by their inner motive, not by their outward form; (2) his sanctity is attained through the power of Christ's love.

E. L. Hull, Sermons, 3rd series, p. 35.

I. What is a miracle? A miracle is an interference with the common course of Nature by some power above Nature. Any one who believes in a personal Author and Governor of Nature, will have no difficulty in believing in miracles. The same Almighty Being who made and upholds Nature, can interfere, whenever it pleases Him, with the ordinary course of Nature, which He has Himself prescribed. To say that He cannot do this, is manifestly foolish and presumptuous in the extreme; we cannot set bounds to His purposes, nor tell beforehand how He may be pleased to accomplish them.

II. As there are good and bad miracles—miracles of Divine goodness and miracles of lying spirits—one thing must be very plain to us, viz., that by miracles alone no man can be proved to be sent from God. What, then, were our Lord's miracles, as regards their place in His great work? They held a very important place, but they did not hold the chief place, in the evidences of His mission. He turned water into wine, He spoke and the winds were silent, He commanded diseases with a word. So far, the power might be from above or from beneath. But, coupled with His holy and blameless life, and His love of God and obedience to God, these works of power took another character, and became signs—St. John's usual word for them—signs whence He came; they became, when viewed together with the consistent and unvarying character of His teaching and life, most valuable and decisive evidences to His Messiahship. Our Lord's miracles are full of goodness to the bodies and souls of men. Each of them has its own fitness, as adapted to His great work, and to the will of the Father, which He came to accomplish. Each one tends to manifest forth His glory; shows forth some gracious attribute, some deep sympathy.

III. In this particular miracle (1) our Lord, in ministering to the fulness of human joy, shows more completely the glory of His Incarnation than if He had ministered to human sorrow; because, under Him and in His kingdom, all sorrow is but a means to joy—all sorrow ends in joy. (2) The gift of wine sets forth the invigorating and cheering effects of the Spirit of God on man's heart. (3) He kept His best to the last. (4) All this He will do, not at our time, but at His own.

H. Alford, Sermons on Christian Doctrine, p. 82.

As of all our Lord's miracles this was the first, so of all its symbolical character is most plainly perceived, as lying on the very surface. That material gift of God, which He here so abundantly and miraculously imparted, is used in Scripture as a common symbol for the gladdening and invigorating influence of the Spirit under the new covenant. As, then, Christ came to shed down upon the world the higher spiritual gift, so He begins His miracles by imparting in a wonderful manner the lower and material one which symbolises the other.

I. One great feature of the Lord's working in this parable must not escape our notice. The gift which He bestowed was not according to the slow progress of man's proceeding, but direct from His own creative hand. No ministry of man or angel intervened between His will and the bestowal of the gift. Even so it is with His other spiritual gifts; man wrought them not out, nor did we ourselves provide their conditions or their elements; the best we can say of them, and all we can say of them, is that they came from Him. Man may imitate them, may build up their likeness, but man can never endue them with life.

II. There is another particular, in our Lord's operation on this occasion, which deserves our notice. At first, He created out of nothing. Since that first act, however, He does so no longer. But out of that which is poor and weak and despised, He by His wondrous power and in His wondrous love, brings that which is rich and glorious. And thus His glory is manifested forth. He created the wine, but it was out of water; and even so it is in our own lives. We build not up, we provide not the materials of the spiritual state within us; yet it is a transformation, not a creation out of nothing. In our weakness His strength is perfected.

III. "Thou hast kept the good wine until now." This was not, is not, the way of the world. First, the good is put forth. The show is made. All pains are spent; all appliances collected; all costs bestowed; the image is uncovered, and the multitude fall down and adore. But the joy wears out, the wonder departs, and the beautiful image becomes blurred and defaced by climate and by decay. Not so is it with Him whom we love: His beginnings are small and unobtrusive, His progress is gradual and sure. He remembers the end, and He never does amiss.

H. Alford, Quebec Chapel Sermons, vol. iii., p. 16.

References: John 2:11.—C. Kingsley, All Saints' Day, p. 320; Church of England Pulpit, vol. i., p. 75; H. P. Liddon, Christmastide Sermons, p. 368; G. E. L. Cotton, Sermons and Addresses in Marlborough College, p. 459; W. M. Taylor, The Gospel Miracles, p. 207; F. D. Maurice, The Gospel of St. John, p. 57; W. H. King, Christian World Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 120; Preacher's Monthly, vol. v., p. 112; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 88; A. Barry, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxv., p. 17. John 2:13-17.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 181.

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Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 2:11. And manifested forth his glory: That is, demonstrated his power and character to the conviction of the disciples, and in some sense and degree to that of all the guests. This being the first miracle that they had ever seen Jesus perform, it tended not a little to the confirmation of their faith, and made his fame spread over all the neighbouring country. Moses confirmed his mission by producing water from a rock; but our Lord, by changing water into wine: and by that change he manifested himself to be the Lord of the creation. It was as easy for that Omnipotence which is the author of all things, to do this in the present method, as it is for him to do it every year from the moisture descending from heaven, which is imbibed by the roots of the vine, and after frequent filtrations is ripened in the grape. It is true the frequency with which this change occurs, renders it familiar and unnoticed; but when water is changed into wine in the vessels, the novelty makes a stronger impression on the mind; and the effect, though not a greater exertion of Almighty power than that which is produced by the common course of nature, strikes us much more than that which is become familiar.

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Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

11.] Without the article before ἀρχήν (see rec(40). in digest) it is This wrought Jesus as the beginning of his miracles:ἀρχή being the predicate.

This assertion of John excludes all the apocryphal miracles of the Gospel of the Infancy, and such like works, from credit.

σημεῖον, which occasionally occurs in the other Gospels and the Acts in this absolute sense of a miracle (see reff.), is St. John’s ordinary word for it. Cf. Luthardt, p. 62.

τὴν δόξαν αὐτ.] The glory, namely, which is referred to in ch. John 1:14, where see note. It was a miracle eminently shewing forth the glory of the λόγος, διʼ οὗ πάντα ἐγένετο, in His state of having become flesh. And this ‘believing on Him,’ here predicated of the disciples, was certainly a higher faith than that which first led them to Him. They obtained new insight into His power;—not yet reflectively, so as to infer what all this implied, but so as to increase their faith and trust in Him. Again and again ‘they believed:’ new degrees of faith being attained; just as this has since been the case, and will continue to be, in the Church, in the continual providential development of the Christian spirit,—the leavening of the whole lump by degrees.

This important miracle, standing as it does at the very entrance of the official life of Christ, has been the subject of many doubts, and attempts to get rid of, or explain away, the power which was here manifested. But never did a narrative present a more stubborn inflexibility to the wresters of Scripture:—never was simple historical veracity more strikingly stamped on any miracle than on this. And doubtless this is providentially so arranged: see the objections to it treated, and some admirable concluding remarks, in Lücke, i. 478.

To those who yet seek some sufficient cause for the miracle being wrought, we may—besides the conclusive answer that we are not in a position to treat this question satisfactorily,—assign the unmistakeable spiritual import of the change here made, as indicating the general nature of the beneficent work which the Lord came on earth to do. So Cornelius a Lapide (Trench, p. 113, edn. 2, note): “Christus initio suæ prædicationis mutans aquam in vinum significabat se legem Mosaicam, instar aquæ insipidam et frigidam, conversurum in Evangelium gratiæ quæ instar vini est, generosa, sapida, ardens, et efficax.” Similarly Eusebius, Augustine, Bernard, and Gregory the Great. Trench, ibid.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 2:11". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae



John 2:11. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his Disciples believed on him.

AFTER thirty years of privacy, the time was come for our Lord to enter on his public ministrations. He had received both visible and audible testimony from heaven, and had been pointed out by his forerunner, John the Baptist, as “the Lamb of. God, that should take away the sin of the world.” Now at a marriage feast he begins in a private and unostentatious way that series of miracles to which he afterwards appealed as incontrovertible proofs of his Divine mission. Who the parties were, whose nuptials were here celebrated, we know not: but, from the peculiar interest which the mother of Jesus took in accommodating the guests, we think it highly probable, that they were some friends or relatives of her own. But, however that might be, our blessed Lord made that feast the occasion of working his first public miracle, and thereby of manifesting forth his glory.

The two points for our consideration are,

I. The manifestation which our Lord here gave of his glory—

He, by a miraculous power, turned water into wine—

[It is probable, that, when it was known that Jesus was to be at the feast, more guests came than had in the first instance been expected. Hence, after a time, the wine which had been provided, was exhausted. On this account the mother of Jesus intimated to him, that this would be a good occasion for exercising that miraculous power which she knew him to possess. But this was a liberty which she was not authorized to take: and therefore our Lord gently and respectfully reproved it; saying, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come [Note: γύναι, woman, was as respectful a term as any he could use. Persons of the highest distinction were so addressed.].” From the direction which she immediately gave to the servants, it is evident that she did not consider the answer as a refusal, but only as an intimation that the time and manner of displaying his own glory must be left altogether to him. (We may here observe, by the way, that, if she was reproved for offering him advice when he was on earth, what shall we think of the Papists, who pray to her to issue her commands to him, now that he is on his throne in heaven?) At the season he saw fit, he ordered the servants to fill with water six large water-pots, which had been placed there with a view to some purifications or ceremonial ablutions, and they were immediately “filled to the brim.” He then ordered the servants to draw out from those vessels, and to carry the cup to the governor of the feast. The governor, unconscious of the miracle that had been wrought (which, however, the servants who had drawn the water knew), commended highly the superior flavour of this wine, and thus unintentionally proclaimed the miracle to the whole company. It was a miracle that did not admit of any doubt: for the vessels, being all filled to the brim, did not admit of any wine being mixed with it: and all the servants were vouchers for the miracle, and witnesses that no collusion had been practised.]

By this miracle he manifested forth his glory—

[By it he demonstrated his sufficiency for the work he had undertaken: for after that act of omnipotence and love, what was there that he either could not, or would not, effect in behalf of those who trusted in him? Whatever might be their wants for the body, he could supply them in an instant; or, whatever might be their necessities for their souls, he could make ample provision for them in the hour of need. And if in this instance he had wrought a miracle to give them what might easily have been dispensed with, what would he not do for them which was essential to their well-being either in time or in eternity? He might indeed withhold for a season, what they, through impatience, were too eager to obtain: but he would grant to all his believing people whatsoever should be needful for them, only reserving to himself the times and the seasons of imparting his blessings, together with the manner and the measure which his own wisdom should see most conducive to their welfare.]

Such being the manifestation which he here gave of his glory, let us notice,

II. The effect produced by it on the minds of his Disciples—

Nathanael had been convinced by one proof of Christ’s omniscience, and exclaimed, “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel [Note: John 1:47-50.].” Thus this one miracle, which displayed his omnipotence, was sufficient to confirm and establish the faith of his Disciples: “He manifested forth his glory; and his Disciples believed on him:” that is, they were filled with a deeper conviction of his Messiahship; they were stirred up to place a more entire affiance in him as their Saviour; and they were quickened to surrender up themselves more fully and unreservedly to his service. This was right; this was what the occasion called for, and what the miracle which they had seen, fully justified [Note: St. John afterwards refers to this miracle, as having made a deep impression on all their minds. chap. 4:46.].

Now then this is the effect that should be produced on our minds:

1. We should receive him as the true Messiah—

[We cannot wish for clearer evidence than that which the miracles of our Lord afford us. Our blessed Lord appeals to them as decisive and incontrovertible proofs of his divine mission, and consequently of the truth of all that he spoke, and of the efficacy of all that he either did or suffered for the redemption of the world. Let no doubt then ever rest on your minds in relation to this matter: but say with Peter, “We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God [Note: John 6:69.].”]

2. We should place full affiance in him under that character—

[“Our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, and our complete redemption,” should be sought in him alone. We should see “all fulness of spiritual blessings treasured up in him for us,” and we should “receive them daily out of his fulness,” even “as a branch receives its sap from the vine,” or a member of our body its energies from the head. “The life which we now live in the flesh we should live altogether by faith on the Son of God, as having loved us and given himself for us.” The whole world should be to us as nothing in comparison of him; and we should “determine to know nothing,” either as an object of confidence or as a ground of glorying, “but Jesus Christ and him crucified.”]

3. We should surrender up ourselves entirely and unreservedly to his service—

[This is what all his Disciples did. Matthew left his receipt of custom, and Peter and John their nets, and all his followers their respective vocations, to follow him, and consecrate themselves to him. And this is what we also must do: we must “deny ourselves, and take up our cross daily for him, and forsake all for him;” “not counting even life itself of any value,” if it may be sacrificed for him, and to the honour of his name. This is what the whole of his mediatorial work calls for at our hands; and this is no more than “a reasonable service” for every one of his redeemed to render to him.]

From a larger view of what passed on that occasion,

I would yet further suggest two useful hints:

1. It is our privilege to seek, and to enjoy, the presence of the Lord Jesus in our social meetings—

[Religion is far from encouraging a morose seclusion from society, or from prohibiting even occasional festivities, provided they be conducted with prudence and sobriety. Doubtless what we call conviviality may easily be carried to excess: but I conceive that the very circumstance of our Lord’s working his first miracle at a wedding feast, and of his supplying of more wine for the use of the guests during the remainder of the feast [Note: We are not to suppose that our Lord administered to excess. The word μεθύειν, in ver. 10. did not apply to that company; nor, if it did, would it necessarily imply excess; for the word is often used where the most perfect sobriety was observed. See Genesis 43:34. in the LXX.], was intended to mark the difference between the dispensation which he introduced, and that which his was intended to supersede; the Jewish dispensation consisting mainly of restraints, (“touch not, taste not, handle not;”) but Christianity “giving us all things richly to enjoy.” But, that our liberty may not be turned into licentiousness, we should always invite the Lord Jesus Christ, if I may so say, to be a guest with us: for he has promised to “come unto us, and to sup with us, and to manifest himself unto us as he does not unto the world [Note: John 14:22-23. Revelation 3:20.].” And need I say how sweet our feasts will then be? Who that has ever enjoyed Christian society in a truly Christian way, has not found an infinite distance between the conviviality of the ungodly world and the refined enjoyment of heavenly converse? The very best of worldly intercourse is but “ as the crackling of thorns under a pot,” where the blaze that brightens the scene for a few minutes, soon expires in offensive smoke. But, where the Lord Jesus Christ vouchsafes his presence, the savour of the feast still abides upon the soul, and affords reiterated gratification in the recollection of it. Such seasons, however long since enjoyed, will afford us comfort even in a dying hour; so truly is it found on all occasions, that our blessed Saviour gives us the best wine last. Let Jesus be present at our feasts, and there will be in them neither levity nor excess; but our very festivities, instead of contributing to sensuality, shall be made to administer to the good of our souls.]

2. If we will leave our concerns to his disposal, he will surely glorify himself at last—

[If at any time our necessities be at all urgent, we are too apt to dictate to our Lord as to the time and manner of our relief. But such presumption, whoever may be guilty of it, will surely meet with a rebuke. It is sufficient for us to know that Jesus is both able and willing to supply our every want, and that he has pledged himself, that “they who seek him shall want no manner of thing that is good.” Who has not already on many occasions found, that his own impatient desires, if gratified at the time, would have proved injurious to him, and that the very delay of which he once complained, has proved of most essential service to his soul? Let us then habitually commit our concerns to our all-wise and all-gracious Lord, and look to him to glorify himself in his own time and way. Then shall we have reason, ere long, to say, “He has done all things well;” and shall find at the last, that our very straits have contributed to his honour and our own eternal good.]

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on John 2:11". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

John 2:11. The τὴν before ἀρχήν being spurious (see critical notes), we must translate: This, as beginning of His miracles, did Jesus at Cana. See on John 4:54, and Bernhardy, p. 319; Stallbaum, ad Plat. Gorg. p. 510 D. From this it is clear that it is the first miracle in general, and not merely the first of those that were wrought in Cana (John 4:46 sqq.), that is meant (so already τινές in Chrysostom and Paulus). This concluding remark of John’s simply serves to express, on occasion of the first of them, the teleological nature of the miracles of Jesus generally.

τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ] not “His excellent humanity” (Paulus), but His divine Messianic majesty, as in John 1:14. The miracles of Jesus, as He Himself testified, had for their object not only the δόξα of the Father, but also His own, John 11:4 (in opposition to Weizsäcker, Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1857, p. 165). The former is really the latter, and the latter the former. Observe how in John (as well as in the Synoptics) Jesus begins His Messianic ministry in Galilee, even in this His first miracle.

καὶ ἐπίστευσαν, κ. τ. λ.] and His disciples became believers in Him. The faith which they already had (John 1:35-51) was only introductory, belonging to the commencement of their connection with Jesus; now, upon the basis of this manifestation of His glory (John 1:14), came the more advanced and fuller decision, a new epoch in their faith, which, moreover, still continued susceptible of and requiring fresh additions even to the end (John 11:15, John 14:11). There is no hint here of any contrast with the unbelief afterwards manifested by the people (Brückner), nor can this be inferred from John 2:12 ff. Comp. Weiss, Lehrbegriff, p. 102.


This turning of the water into wine must be regarded as an actual miracle, for John as an eye-witness (see on John 1:41-42), in the most simple and definite manner (comp. John 4:46), represents it as such, and as the first manifestation of the divine glory dwelling in Christ in the direction of miraculous working (not as portraying beforehand the heavenly marriage supper, Revelation 19:8, Matthew 26:29, as Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, II. 2, p. 407, and Baumgarten, p. 99, take it). Every exposition which explains away the miraculous element contradicts the words and the purpose of St. John, infringes on his credibility and capacity for simple observation, and places even the character of Jesus in an ambiguous light. The physical inconceivability, which nevertheless is not identical with absolute impossibility (against Scholten, p. 215), pertains to this work in common only with every miracle;(137) and hence the appeal made to a supposed accelerated process of nature (Olshausen, comp. already Augustine and Chrysostom), which must have been at the same time an artificial process, is only a superfluous crutch on which the representation is made to lean, inapplicable to the other miracles, and as arbitrary as it is (in the absence of a vine) inadequate. Its inconceivableness in a telic point of view John himself removes in John 2:11; and remembering its design as there stated, the miracle was not an act of luxury (De Wette), but of abounding human kindness in blessing (see on John 2:6). To suppose another design, viz. that Jesus wished to show how opposed He was to the strict asceticism of the Baptist (Flatt, Olshausen), is pure and arbitrary invention, in opposition to John 2:11. Further, the fact that the Synoptics have not the narrative really amounts to nothing, because John selected and wrote independently of the synoptical series of narrations; and as they have not the first, so neither have they the last and greatest miracle. We must, after all, abide by the simple statement that there was a change of substance (John 2:9), effected by the power of Jesus over the sphere of nature, in conformity with a higher law of causation. Granting this power, which the whole range of the Gospel miracles demands, there is no ground whatever for contenting oneself (against John 2:9) with the assumption of a change of attributes merely in the water, whereby (after the analogy of mineral waters) it may have received the colour and taste of wine (Neander). It is levity of an equally objectionable kind, and a wronging of a writer so serious as John, to explain what occurred as a wedding joke, as Paulus (Jesus had a quantity of wine brought into the house, and had it mixed with water out of the pitchers and put upon the tables, John 2:4 having been spoken jestingly) and Gfrörer (Mary brought the wine with her as a wedding present, and during the feast, at the right moment, she gave her son a sign to bring out and distribute the gift) have agreed to do. Thus, instead of the transmutation of the water, we have a frivolous transmutation of the history.(138) Lastly, the mythical explanation contradicts the trustworthiness and genuineness of the Gospel. According to it, fact is resolved into legend—a legend derived from the analogies of the histories of Moses (Exodus 15:23 sqq.) and Elisha (2 Kings 2:19), as Strauss will have it, or from a misunderstood parable, as Weisse thinks; while De Wette—without, however, adopting the mythical view, but not fully recognising the historic character of the narrative—regards the dispensing of the wine as an act corresponding with the dispensing of the bread, and both as answering to the bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper. This he holds to be the most appropriate explanation; but it is all the more inept, because there is not the least hint of it in the narrative, and because the Lord’s Supper is not once mentioned in John. According to Schweizer and Weisse, the paragraph is to be reckoned among certain interpolations which have been added to the genuine Johannean nucleus,—an arbitrary assertion; whereas Baur, whose criticism rejects the whole Gospel, transforms the narrative into an allegory, wherein water is the symbol of the Baptist, wine of the Messiah’s dignity (i.e. the bridegroom’s), and the transformation typifies the transition from the preparatory stage of the Baptist to the epoch of Messianic activity and glory (comp. Baumgarten Crusius, p. 82); while Hilgenfeld (Evang. p. 248) looks upon the turning of the water into wine as intended as a counterpart to the synoptical narrative of the temptation, and to illustrate how Jesus was raised above all narrow asceticism. Thus, too, some of the Fathers (Cyril, Augustine, and many others) allegorize the miracle, without, however, surrendering its objective and historical character as a fact; whereas Ewald, while renouncing any investigation into the historic probability of the narrative, regards it as the gilding of the idea of the beneficent power of the Messianic spirit, whereby even now water ought to become wine. Luthardt holds, indeed, the objective historical reality, but regards the manifestation of the δόξα to have been in contrast with that given in the O. T.,—the gift of God occupying the place of the command, and the higher life, which Jesus the bridegroom makes known in this miracle, the place of outward purification. Similarly Scholten, p. 164. But while the representation of Christ as bridegroom is quite remote from the narrative, John gives no support or sanction to the idea that the miracle was symbolical, either in the remark of John 2:6 ( κατὰ τ. καθαρ. τ. ἰουδ.) or in that of John 2:11 ( ἐφανέρ. τ. δόξ. αὐτοῦ).

The miracle at Cana is, finally, the only one to which the Synoptics have no one that corresponds. Therefore the miracles in John are all the less to be used in support of the assertion that, in John, Christ, after the manner of the Gnostics, announces another and higher God than the God of the O. T. (Hilgenfeld, Lehrbegr. 281). According to Keim, the marriage in Cana, the first great beaming forth of the divine glory, stands in John as “a loving portrait” of Christ, and designedly in place of the painful temptation in the wilderness. But this glory beamed forth still more grandly and more significantly in its bearing upon the Saviour’s whole ministry in the threefold triumph over Satan.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 2:11". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 2:11. ταύτην, this) The early miracles of Christ are put before us in singular abundance; because the beginnings of faith rested on them. [And indeed the first miracles, in this place, and ch. John 5:8, “Rise, take up thy bed and walk” (Jesus to the impotent man); Matthew 8:13, “Jesus said to the centurion, Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee,” He did not perform by His hand, but by words: in order that it might be manifest, His healing power teas divine. A natural force is sometimes in men, so that even rather severe infirmities of body yield to their hands. But Jesus’ healing power was of a different character; since, when subsequently He stretched out His hands, or employed other ceremonials, in miraculous healings, He did so for the sake of those on whom the benefit was conferred: Mark 7:33, etc. (The deaf mute; whom Jesus “took aside, put His fingers into his ears, spit, and touched His tongue”); ch. John 8:23 (The blind man; whom Jesus “led out of the town, spit upon his eyes, and put His hands upon him”), etc.—Harm., p. 159, etc.]— ἀρχήν, beginning) Whence now it might be supposed, that more [miracles] would follow.— καὶ ἐφανέρωσε, and manifested) And thus began to manifest His glory. Previously He had not wrought miracles. [He, it seems, gave [præmisit] doctrine before signs. When He made this beginning of signs, the beginning of His doctrine had been previously made with His disciples, who became confirmed in their faith by this very miracle, as also with others, through John the Baptist, and also through Jesus Himself. John 1.—Harm., p. 160.]— ἐπίστευσαν) They believed the more fully [comp. ch. John 1:50, a “Because I said, etc., believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.” Even in a marriage-feast a progress in faith is to be sought after. Thenceforth the disciples were prepared to embrace whatever their Lord was about to do and say.— μαθηταί, the disciples) His mother had previously believed: Luke 1:45, “Blessed is she that believed, for there shall be a performance,” etc.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 2:11". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The sense is not, that this was the first miracle which Christ wrought in Cana of Galilee; but this was the first miracle which Christ wrought after he was entered upon the public ministry, and it was wrought in that Cana which is within the confines of Galilee, either in the lot of Zebulun or Asher: yet there are some who would not have it the first miracle which Christ wrought, but the first which he wrought in that place; but there is no reason for such an interpretation; for then there had been no reason for the following words, for Christ did not manifest his glory there only; though some object those wonderful or miraculous things happening at our Saviour’s birth, of which we read, Matthew 2:9 Luke 2:9. Yet as some distinguish between mira and miracula, so others give a more plain and satisfactory answer, telling us those were miraculous operations more proper to the Father and the Spirit, thereby attesting the Deity of Christ, than to Christ considered as God man. This was the first of those miraculous operations which were wrought by Christ Jesus as God man, by which he manifested his glory, the glory mentioned in John 1:14, as of the only begotten of the Father; his Divine majesty and power.

And his disciples, who before believed on him, John 1:41,45, now more firmly believed on him, John 14:1, as Mediator. In Scripture that is often said to be, which doth not commence, but increase from that time and occasion.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 2:11". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

чудесам Иоанн здесь употребил слово «чудо» для того, чтобы сказать о значительном проявлении власти, которое, помимо себя самого, свидетельствовало о более основательной, Божьей действительности, которую можно было постичь глазами веры. Используя это слово, Иоанн подчеркнул, что чудеса были не просто проявлением власти (что тоже имело значение), но были важны и для подтверждения этой действительности.

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Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Manifested forth his glory; showed his divine power, and thus proved himself to be the Messiah. It is never said in the Scriptures, that any mere creature ever wrought miracles to show forth his own glory. This statement, which is here made with regard to the Son of God, is peculiar to him, and is adapted to lead men to pay him divine honors. Chap John 5:23.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

11.Beginning of miraclesThe Infancy of Jesus,” a book so called, written very anciently, but later than the Apostolic age, relates previous actions or miracles said to have been performed by Jesus in his childhood. They are of the most fantastic character. These compositions show, by their very nature, their vast inferiority, and the true divinity of the Gospels.

Manifested forth his gloryGlory is God’s own attribute; and Jesus, in putting forth the divine power resident in him, manifested forth his true, indwelling, divine glory.

His disciples believed on him—Believed on him, as he now manifested himself, as possessed of creative power. See note on John 2:22.

On this miracle we may remark:

(1.) It confers a divine honour on the institution of marriage. Dr. Clarke says that “it was the first Christian marriage that ever took place; that Christ, his apostles, his mother, the purest of virgins and most holy of witnesses, were all present.” Every wedding should be such as such company might attend. Ministers should be careful that the wedding ceremony be not hastily or irreverently performed, but with a solemn impressiveness. Nor is any place so suitable for such a ceremony as the sanctuary of God.

(2.) Our Lord’s attendance and miracle at this wedding, with its festivity of wine, were public proof that he had not, as some sceptics have maintained, any origin from, or connection with, the sect of Essenes. See note on Matthew 3:7. Jesus was no model for anchorites, shakers, or dervizes, but a perfect example of serene, social, every-day piety.

(3.) As long ago as Augustine, it was said that Jesus in this miracle did rapidly what the God of nature does slowly every autumn. Christ only accelerated the process of nature in making water into wine. Olshausen adopts the idea; but Strauss replies that Jesus professedly did more than accelerate nature. He put to the water something besides the water. True. Still the vine does slowly what Jesus here does rapidly; namely, blends with the water those ingredients, collected from the surrounding elements, which constitute the wine. There is, therefore, evidently nothing impossible to divine power in selecting and putting together these elements, which amount to the desired vinous compound.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed openly his glory, and his disciples believed on him.’

The whole account illustrates to John that here is One Who will take the old ceremonies (the jars of purification) and replace them with a new and vibrant reality, the wine of the Kingly Rule of God. The water of the old religion will become the wine of the new, which will introduce a new and wonderful future, a time of joy and fruitfulness, a Messianic Feast of overflowing plenty. God has saved the best until last. The Messiah is seen as here at last to satisfy men’s deepest needs, and by His actions He reveals His glory as the provider of God’s richest blessing. This is why John can call it a ‘sign’, indeed the first sign, of the purpose Jesus has come to fulfil. The incident strengthens and confirms the faith of the disciples (v. 11). It indicates that in one sense His hour has begun. This sense of the importance of the timing of all that He does comes out again in John 7:6.

But we must not just stop at the symbolism. It was also a remarkable miracle indicating Jesus’ power over nature. It was a reminder that ‘all things were made by Him’ (John 1:3). It thus also indicated that He was the Son of God, God’s powerful Word. The miracle happened as a result of His words (‘whatever He says to you do it’).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

In conclusion, John mentioned that this miracle was a sign. It was a miracle that had significance. [Note: See Mark R. Saucy, "Miracles and Jesus" Proclamation of the Kingdom of God," Bibliotheca Sacra153:611 (July-September1996):281-307.] Its significance appears to be that it showed that Jesus had the same power to create that God demonstrated in the Creation. Thus it pointed to Jesus being the Creator God who could transform things from one condition into another (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17). This demonstration of His power glorified Jesus in the eyes of those who witnessed and heard about it. [Note: Cf. Beasley-Murray, p35.] Moses had turned water into blood destructively ( Exodus 7:14-24), but Jesus turned water into wine for the blessing and benefit of others (cf. John 1:17). This miracle also resulted in these disciples believing in Him (cf. John 1:50), not for the first time but in a deeper way than they had believed previously (cf. John 20:30-31). John"s concluding references to the time and place establish the historicity of this event and reduce the possibility of reading it as an allegory or a legend.

"There is significance in the miracle first for Israel, especially the Israel of Christ"s day. The wedding feast with its new wine portrays the coming of the kingdom. By this sign the Lord declares He is the Messiah of Israel who is capable of bringing the predicted kingdom into its glorious existence....

"The miracle shows the old order had run its course; now was the time for a new one.

"The significance of this miracle is not for Jews only; it is obviously for the church as well. The basic truth for Christians is found in the joy of salvation....

"This miracle portrays not only the joy Christ brings into a person"s life but also the abundance of joy....

"Finally, for the Christian there is a new life in Christ. The old is passed away and there is a whole new life and perspective in Christ ( 2 Corinthians 5:17)." [Note: Stanley D. Toussaint, "The Significance of the First Sign in John"s Gospel," Bibliotheca Sacra134:533 (January-March1977):50, 51.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 2:11. This did Jesus as the beginning of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him. This, His first sign, was wrought in Galilee, where Isaiah (John 9:1-2) prophesied that Messiah’s work should begin. The threefold comment of the Evangelist is of the utmost importance. This was a sign, and His first sign; in it He manifested His glory; His disciples believed in Him. ‘Sign’ is one of John’s favourite words. Of the three words used in the New Testament to denote a miracle, the first (literally meaning ‘power’) is not once found in his Gospel; the second (‘prodigy,’ ‘wonder’) occurs once only (John 4:48); the third, ‘sign,’ as many as seventeen times. The earliest use of ‘sign’ in connection with a miracle is in Exodus 4:8 and the context makes the meaning very dear: the miracle was the sign of an invisible Divine Presence with Moses, and hence it attested his words. Thus also, when the manna was given, the miracle manifested the glory of the Lord (Exodus 16:7). The miracles of Jesus, and all His works, manifested not only God’s glory (John 8:50), but His own: they were signs of what He is. This gives a new starting-point. Each miracle is a sign of what He is, not only in regard of the power by which it is wrought, but also by its own nature and character,—in other words, it is a symbol of His work. The words which John adds here once for all are to be understood with every mention of a ‘sign,’ for in every miracle Jesus made manifest (removed the veil from) His glory, revealed Himself. Two other passages complete the view which John gives us of his meaning. Of the ‘signs’ he says himself: ‘These (signs) are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye may have life in His name.’ Of the glory he says: ‘We beheld His glory, glory as of an only-begotten from a father.’ First, then, this miracle attested the mission of Jesus as the Christ; the miracle established, as for Moses so for Him, the divine commission, and ratified His words. Next, it revealed His own glory as Son of God, manifesting His power, in a work as sudden and as inexplicable as a new creation; and not only His power but His grace, as He sympathizes alike with the joys and with the difficulties of life. Further, the miracle brought into light what He is in His work. The waterpots filled full for the purifying of the Jews stand as an emblem of the religion of the day, nay, even of the ordinances of the Jewish religion itself, ‘carnal ordinances imposed until a time of reformation.’ At Christ’s word (on one view of the miracle) the water for purifying is changed into wine of gladness: this would point to Judaism made instinct with new life. On the other view, nothing is withdrawn from the use to which Jewish ritual applies it, but the element which could only minister to outward cleansing is transmuted by a new creative word. ‘The law was given through Moses: grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.’ The object of all the signs (John 20:31) was answered here in the disciples. They had believed already that He was Christ, the Son of God (John 1:41; John 1:49); they now believed in Him,—each one ‘throws himself with absolute trust upon a living Lord,’ recognising the manifestation of His glory. The miracles in this Gospel, like the parables in the other Gospels, are a test of faith. They lead onward the believer to a deeper and a firmer trust; they repel those who refuse to believe.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 2:11. No answer of the bridegroom is recorded, nor any detail of the impression made, but John notes the incident as “the beginning of signs”.— , deleting the article with Tisch[34] and W.H[35], and rendering “This as a beginning of signs did Jesus,” from which it can scarcely be gathered that no insight mentioned in the first chapter was considered by John to be supernatural. It is characteristic of this Gospel that the miracles are viewed as signs, or object lessons. The feeding of the five thousand presents Jesus as the bread of God; the strengthening of the impotent man exhibits Him as the giver of spiritual life; and so forth. So that when John here says that by this miracle Jesus , we are prompted to ask what particular aspect of His glory was manifested here. What was there in it to elicit the faith and reverence of the disciples? (1) He appears as King in physical nature. He can use it for the furtherance of His purposes and man’s good. He is, as declared in the Prologue, that One in whom is life. (2) A hint is given of the ends for which this creative power is to be used. It is, that human joy may be full. These disciples of the Baptist perceive a new kind of power in their new Master, whose goodness irradiates the natural joys and domestic incidents of human life. (3) When John recorded this miracle he saw how fitly it stood as the first rehearsing as it did the entire work of Christ, who came that human happiness might not untimely close in shame. Wine had become the symbol of that blood which brought reconcilement and renewal. Seeing this sign and the glory manifested in it . “Testimony (John 1:36) directs those who were ready to welcome Christ to Him. Personal intercourse converts followers into disciples (John 2:2). A manifestation of power, as a sign of divine grace, converts discipleship into personal faith” (Westcott). “Crediderunt amplius” (Bengel). The different grades, kinds, and types of faith alluded to in this Gospel are a study. Sanday remarks on the unlikelihood of a forger making such constant allusion to the disciples. That they believed would seem a truism. If they had not, they would not have been disciples. It would have been more to the point to tell us the effect on the guests, and a forger would hardly have failed to do so. But John writes from the disciples’ point of view. Not happy are the attempts to interpret this seeming miracle as a cleverly prepared wedding jest and gift (Paulus); or as a parable (Weisse), or as a hastened natural process (Augustine, Olshausen). Holtzmann finds here an artistic Lehrdichtung, an allegory rich in suggestion. Water represents all that is mere symbol as contrasted with spirit and reality. The period of symbolism is represented by the water baptism of John: this was to find its realisation in Jesus. The jars which had served for the outward washings of Judaism were by Jesus filled with heart-strengthening wine. The O.T. gift of water from the rock is superseded by the gift of wine. Wine becomes the symbol of the spiritual life and joy of the new kingdom. With this central idea the details of the incident agree: the helplessness of the old oeconomy, “they have no wine”; the mother of the Messiah is the O.T. community; and so forth. The historical truth consists simply in the joyful character ascribed to the beginning of Christ’s ministry. (1) Against all these attempts it is the obvious intention of John to relate a miracle, a surprising and extraordinary manifestation of power. (2) Where allegory exists he directs attention to it; as in this chapter, John 2:21; also in chapters 10, 15, etc. (3) That the incident can be allegorised is no proof that it is only allegory and not history. All incidents and histories may be allegorised. The life and death of Caesar have been interpreted as a sun myth.

[34] Tischendorf.

[35] Westcott and Hort.

Few, if any, incidents in the life of Jesus give us an equal impression of the width of His nature and its imperturbable serenity. He was at this juncture fresh from the most disturbing personal conflict, His work awaited Him, a work full of intense strife, hazard, and pain; yet in a mind occupied with these things the marriage joy of a country couple finds a fit place.



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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 2:11". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

John 2:11. This beginning of miracles did Jesus, &c. — Grotius supposes the meaning to be, that this was the first miracle wrought at Cana, another being afterward mentioned, John 4:46. But it is plain there must have been a long series of miracles wrought here to justify such a manner of speaking, which doth not at all appear to have been the case. The sense of the expression seems much rather to be, that this was the first of Christ’s public miracles; for probably the necessities of the family might sometimes have engaged him to have done something miraculous in private for its relief. And manifested forth his glory — And that in such an illustrious manner, that his fame was spread over all the neighbouring country; and his disciples believed on him — Namely, more steadfastly than before. Being the first miracle they had ever seen Jesus perform, it tended not a little to the confirmation of their faith.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on John 2:11". Joseph Benson's Commentary. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

was the first miracle which Jesus had performed in public, and to manifest his glory; but Maldonatus is of opinion that he had before wrought many miracles, known to the blessed Virgin and St. Joseph; which gave her the confidence to ask one now. This opinion is no way contrary to the evangelist. His disciples believed in him. They had believed in him before or they would not have followed him. This confirmed their faith. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 2:11". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

beginning, &c. Our attention is thus called to the order.

miracles = the signs. A characteristic word in this Gospel. See p. 1511, and App-176.

manifested forth. See App-106. Compare John 21:1, John 21:14.

His glory. This is the key to the signification of the eight signs of this Gospel (App-176). See note on John 1:14.

disciples believed, &c. Compare verses: John 2:17, John 2:22. Four hundred and fifty years since the Jews had seen a miracle. The last was in Dan 6.

believed on. See App-150. See note on John 1:7.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 2:11". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory. Nothing in the least like this is said of the miracles of either prophets or apostles, nor could be said without manifest blasphemy of any mere creature. Being said here, then, by our Evangelist of the very first miracle of Christ, it is as if he had said, 'This was but the first of a series of such manifestations of the glory of Christ.'

And his disciples believed on him - that is, were confirmed in the faith which they had reposed in Him before they had any miraculous attestation of what He was.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

11. Jesus performed this first of his mighty works in Cana of Galilee. We think of Jesus as a “man of sorrows” [which is true, up to a point], but we see him perform his first miracle in the happy and festive atmosphere of a wedding-feast! And his disciples believed in him. That is, their faith was made stronger by seeing this.




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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 2:11". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(11) This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, or, more exactly, This did Jesus in Cana of Galilee as the beginning of His signs. The form of the sentence makes it certain that it is the absolutely first and not the first in Cana which is meant.

It is important to note here that St. John uses only once, and that in our Lord’s test of the courtier, and connected with “sign” (John 4:48), the word which represents “miracle,” “wonder,” “portent,” and that he nowhere uses the word which represents “powers” or “mighty works.” For him they are simply “works,” and these “works” are “signs.” He thinks of our Lord as the agent in all creation, and the source of all life (John 1:2-3); but this being so, no display of power impresses him, and no wonder startles him. All is the natural “work” of the divine worker; but like Himself, every work is also a word. It speaks to him who hath ears to hear. It is a “sign” to him who can spiritually interpret. That at His will water became wine, is as natural as that, by that will, the rain passing through earth and vine and grape should become wine. From his point of view both are equally explicable; from any other, both are in ultimate analysis equally inexplicable. “Voici le vin qui tombe du ciel!” is the French peasant’s expression for the one (comp. Trench’s note).

“The conscious water saw its God, and blushed,”

[“Nympha pudica Deum vidit, et erubuit”]

is the English poet’s expression for the other.

This gives the key, then, to the selection of “miracles” by St. John, and to their interpretation. He gives those which mark stages of fuller teaching. They are “signs” of a new revelation, and lead to a higher faith. What was the fuller teaching in this first sign? The heart must seek to read it. Words can only seek to guide. Would not those Jews remember the first miracle of Moses, and later, if not then, see here the contrast between the Law which came by Moses, and the grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17)? Would not those exact observers of traditional rites see a living principle growing out of the rite practised at every meal (comp. Mark 7:3, Note), and feel that it is the letter which killeth, it is the Spirit which giveth life? Would not those who thought of Him as the Messianic King of Israel read in His presence at the festal tide of family life the meaning of the claim to be Son of Humanity? Would not the followers of the hermit John learn that Christianity’s message is not for the wilderness, but for the hearts of men; and that its life is not one of seclusion from the world, but of moral power in it (John 17:15)? Would not those who had heard the Baptist’s record, and had felt and uttered their own convictions, hear now the secret voice of Nature joining in the witness? Some such thoughts as these came to them in a fulness of power they had not known before. It was to them as a new manifestation of His glory, and the disciples again believed.

The other signs recorded in this Gospel are, the Healing of the ruler’s son (John 4:46-54); and of the impotent man at Bethesda (John 5:1-9); the Feeding of the five thousand (John 6:5-59); the Walking on the sea (John 6:15-21); the Giving of sight to the man born blind (John 9:1-7); the Raising of Lazarus (John 11); the Draught of Fishes (John 21:1-8) See Notes on these passages, and on John 20:30.

[(3) JESUS MANIFESTS HIMSELF PUBLICLY (John 2:12 to John 4:54):

(a) In Jerusalem—the Temple (John 2:12-22);

(b) In Jerusalem—the city (John 2:23 to John 3:21);

Nicodemus: The new birth (John 2:1-8);

Belief (John 2:9-15);

Judgment (John 2:16-21);

(c) In Judœa (John 3:22-36). The Baptist.]

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
1:17; Exodus 4:9; 7:19-21; Ecclesiastes 9:7; Malachi 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Galatians 3:10-13
1:50; 3:2; 4:46
1:14; 5:23; 12:41; 14:9-11,13; Deuteronomy 5:24; Psalms 72:19; 96:3; Isaiah 40:5; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:6
and his
11:15; 20:30,31; 1 John 5:13
Reciprocal: Exodus 14:31 - believed;  Joshua 19:28 - Kanah;  1 Kings 17:24 - Now by this;  Luke 23:5 - beginning;  John 2:22 - and they;  John 8:54 - If;  John 11:4 - that;  John 21:2 - Cana;  Acts 9:34 - Jesus Christ;  Romans 6:4 - by the

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 2:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 11. "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him."

The verse is at the same time the rounding off of the whole group. It began with the testimony of John to the impending appearance of Christ and His glory: it concludes with the account of the first act by which Jesus gave a full proof of His glory; in which, therefore, the previous announcement of John found its verification. Christ, by manifesting His glory, impressed His seal at the same time on the mission of the Baptist. We have here also the first verification of the words which Jesus spoke to Nathanael, vers. 50, 51. That the gulf between heaven and earth has been filled up, may be clearly perceived in the fact, that the Son of man has performed a work of omnipotence.

In Cana of Galilee, which had been designated as the chief scene of the saving activity of the Redeemer already in Isa. 8:23, Isaiah 9:1, cf. Matthew 4:14-16, and where, therefore, quite naturally, the beginning of the signs of Jesus was made. The Berleburger Bibel says: "Galilee had been already frequently mentioned in the prophets; as also distinctly, that in this despised province the light should be great. τῆς γαλιλαίας would certainly not be repeated here, if it did not acquire significance by the reference to the prophetic passage.

In how far the present occurrence was a sign, is shown by the words, "He manifested His glory." From that which Jesus here does, light was thrown upon His nature, upon the fulness of powers which were laid up in Him for the salvation of the poor and needy. The sign is distinguished from the wonder— τέρας (sign and wonder are connected together in John 4:48, ἐὰν μὴ σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα ἴδητε, οὐ μὴ πιστεύσητε)—in this, that in the former the objective signification and the end are taken into view; in the latter, the subjective feeling called forth by it, indirectly that which is extraordinary, exceeding the usual course of nature. All wonders are signs, but all signs are not wonders, since sometimes even common things are employed as signs. But here, according to the connection, it is a miraculous sign which is spoken of. It was already a sign in this sense, when Jesus saw Nathanael under the fig-tree, where a human eye could not have seen him. But this sign, in comparison with the greater one here, falls so much into the background, that it may be ignored. This first sign found afterwards in Cana itself a continuation. In John 4:46 it is said, "So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made the water wine." Here He speaks the word by which the son of the nobleman in Capernaum was healed. It is then said, in ver. 54, which forms the conclusion of the second group, as this does of the first: τοῦτο [ δὲ] πάλιν δεύτερον σημεῖον ἐποίησεν ὁ ἰησοῦς ἐλθὼν ἐκ τῆς ἰουδαίας εἰς τὴν γαλιλαίαν. Now, although, according to this, the continuation in part occurs in Cana itself, yet this is not to be regarded as the only one. It is not said that this was the beginning of miracles in Cana, but that Jesus in Cana (the τὴν before ἀρχὴν is rightly omitted by Lachmann and Tischendorf) made such a beginning of miracles in general. The next miracles, of which the Evangelist gives an account, were performed in Jerusalem, John 2:23, John 3:2.

On the words, "and manifested forth His glory," Calvin correctly remarks: "From this is clear at the same time the object of the miracle. For it is equivalent to saying, Christ performed this miracle, in order that He might thus make known His glory." The words stand in unmistakeable connection with Isaiah 40:5, "And the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed," namely, in the advent of the Messiah, of whom it is said in Micah 5:4, "And He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God," who is so closely connected with God, that the whole fulness of the Divine power and majesty belongs to Him,—according to Isaiah 9:6, of the Godhead. John, in referring this passage of the Old Testament to Christ, proceeds on the conviction, that in Christ the Jehovah of the Old Covenant has appeared in the flesh. To the same passage of Isaiah refers also John 1:14, "We beheld His glory,"—there, the ראו of the original passage; here, the ננלה. The Baptist had already preceded in the reference of this passage to Christ. If he, the forerunner of Christ, was the voice crying in the wilderness, John 1:23, Christ must be He in whom the glory of the Lord was revealed. The reference to this passage is perfectly evident in the words of the Baptist, John 1:31 : ἵνα φανερωθῇ τῷ ἰσραὴλ διὰ τοῦτο ἦλθον. The words lead to the divinity of Christ, even disregarding the reference to this single passage of the Old Testament. It is unmistakeable, that the δόξα, the glory, which according to our text dwells in Jesus, stands in reference to the glory of the Lord, כבוד יהוה, LXX. δόχα κυρίου, which meets us so often in the Old Testament—the incomparable glory, which resides in the Lord, and makes itself known in His appearances. Only the only-begotten Son of God reveals His glory. Nothing similar is said of any of the previous miraculous deeds. Moses could only point to the manifestation of the glory of the Lord, Exodus 16:7 : "And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord."

In the words, "and His disciples believed on Him," is intimated the object of the manifestation of the glory of the Lord: cf. John 20:31, where the object of the description of the glorious deeds of the Lord, and, therefore, also of these deeds themselves, is thus designated: ἵνα πιστεύσητε ὅτι ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ ἵνα πιστεύοντες ζωὴν ἔχητε ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ. John wrote this, "and they believed," on the ground of his own experience. The miracle in Cana made an epoch in his own life of faith. We have here also the key to the fulness of the narrative. Bengel: "Prima Christi miracula singulari copia proponuntur, quia his nixa fidei initia."

In conclusion, we give a series of remarks of Luther, which are adapted to set the fact in a proper light. "This is the first miraculous sign which our dear Lord Jesus did on earth, because, as John himself informs us, He wished to manifest His glory to His disciples, in order that by such miracles they might become acquainted with Him, and hold Him to be the Son of God, the true Messiah; since He can do that, which no other on earth can do, namely, change the order of creation, and make wine out of water. Such art must be the art of God only, who is Lord over the creation; men have it not.

Hence, this work is to serve especially this purpose of making us truly acquainted with our dear Lord Christ, and causing us with sure confidence to take refuge in Him when want and necessity come upon us, and to seek help and grace in Him, which shall certainly be given to us at the proper time.

But, because such teaching and consolation are found in all the miraculous works of Christ, we will now treat in particular of the circumstance, that our Lord performed such a miraculous sign at the marriage, in order that the teaching concerning matrimony may remain even among Christians; for it is of much consequence.

He bestows good wine on the poor wedding by a great miracle. He confirms by this, that marriage is God's work and ordinance; however despised and small a thing it may be among the people, still God acknowledges His work, and holds it dear.

Here Christ allows us to see that He has no displeasure in the expense of the wedding, nor in all that was proper to it, as ornament, and to be merry, to eat and drink, as usage and the custom of the country requires; which yet seems as if it were a superfluity, lost money, and a worldly matter: so far, however, that everything be in moderation and like a wedding.

When man and wife live together in a really Christian manner, our Lord God nourishes them so easily, that they get more than they think. Our dear Lord Christ still, at the present day, in my and thy house, if we are only godly and pious, and let Him take care of us, makes water into wine." Not without foundation is the remark of the older expositors, especially of Lampe: "While the miracles of Moses began with the change of water into blood, the miracles of Christ begin by changing water into wine. In this the great difference was made evident between Moses and Christ: the former bears the office of death; the latter, of life."

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 2:11". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

11.This beginning of miracles. The meaning is, that this was the first of Christ’s miracles; for when the angels announced to the shepherds that he was born in Bethlehem, (Luke 2:8,) when the star appeared to the Magi, (Matthew 2:2,) when the Holy Spirit descended on him in the shape of a dove, (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; John 1:32,) though these were miracles, yet, strictly speaking, they were not performed by him; but the Evangelist now speaks of the miracles of which he was himself the Author. For it is a frivolous and absurd interpretation which some give, that this is reckoned the first among; the miracles which Christ performed in Cana of Galilee; as if a place, in which we do not read that he ever was more than twice, had been selected by him for a display of his power. It was rather the design of the Evangelist to mark the order of time which Christ followed in the exercise of his power. For until he was thirty years of age, he kept himself concealed at home, like one who held no public office. Having been consecrated, at his baptism, to the discharge of his office, he then began to appear in public, and to show by clear proofs for what purpose he was sent by the Father. We need not wonder, therefore, if he delayed till this time the first proof of his Divinity. It is a high honor given to marriage, that Christ not only deigned to be present at a nuptial banquet, but honored it with his first miracle. There are some ancient Canons which forbid the clergy to attend a marriage. The reason of the prohibition was, that by being the spectators of the wickedness which was usually practiced on such occasions, they might in some measure be regarded as approving of it. But it would have been far better to carry to such places so much gravity as to restrain the licentiousness in which unprincipled and abandoned men indulge, when they are withdrawn from the eyes of others. Let us, on the contrary, take Christ’s example for our rule; and let us not suppose that any thing else than what we read that he did can be profitable to us.

And manifested his glory; that is, because he then gave a striking and illustrious proof, by which it was ascertained that he was the Son of God; for all the miracles which he exhibited to the world were so many demonstrations of his divine power. The proper time for displaying his glory was now come, when he wished to make himself known agreeably to the command of his Father. Hence, also, we learn the end of miracles; for this expression amounts to a declaration that Christ, in order to manifest his glory, performed this miracle. What, then, ought we to think of those miracles which obscure the glory of Christ?

And his disciples believed on him. If they were disciples, they must already have possessed some faith; but as they had hitherto followed him with a faith which was not distinct and firm, they began at that time to devote themselves to him, so as to acknowledge him to be the Messiah, such as he had already been announced to them. The forbearance of Christ is great in reckoning as disciples those whose faith is so small. And indeed this doctrine extends generally to us all; for the faith which is now full grown had at first its infancy, nor is it so perfect in any as not to make it necessary that all to a man should make progress in believing. Thus, they who now believed may be said to begin to believe, so far as they daily make progress towards the end of their faith. Let those who have obtained the first-fruits of faith labor always to make progress. These words point out likewise the advantage of miracles; namely, that they ought to be viewed as intended for the confirmation and progress of faith. Whoever twists them to any other purpose corrupts and debases the whole use of them; as we see that Papists boast of their pretended miracles for no other purpose than to bury faith, and to turn away the minds of men from Christ to the creatures.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 2:11". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.