The First of the Signs


An Exegetical Essay on John 2:1-11




ΚΑΙ ΤΗ ΗΜΕΡΑ ΤΗ ΤΡΙΤΗ ΓΑΜΟC ΕΓΕΝΕΤΟ ΕΝ ΚΑΝΑ ΤΗC ΓΑΛΙΛΑΙΑC



A.       TRANSLATION

John 2:1-11

On the third day,1 there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee and Jesus’ mother2 was there. 2 But Jesus was also3 invited to the wedding with his disciples.4 3 When the wine ran out,5 Jesus’ mother said6 to him, “They have no more7 wine.” 4 Jesus said to her, “Woman,8 what’s this got to do with me and you?9 My time10 hasn’t come yet. 5 His mother said to the attendants,11 “Whatever he tells you, do!”12

6 Now there were six stone waterpots placed there for Jewish ceremonial washing,13 each holding two or three measures.14 7 Jesus said to the attendants,15 12 “Fill the pots with water.” They filled them to the brim. 8 Then he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the head steward.16 And they took it to him. 9 When the head steward tasted17 the water that had now become wine18 and didn’t know where it was from—but the attendants who had drawn the water out19 knew—he20 called for the groom21 10 and said to him, “Everyone22 sets out the fine wine23 first and then, when the guests24 are drunk,25 the inferior is served; but26 you’ve kept the fine wine until now.”

11 This, the first27 of the signs, Jesus did in Cana of Galilee and disclosed28 his glory; and his disciples believed29 in him.



B.       INTRODUCTION

The second chapter of the Gospel of John opens with an account of what the author designates as the first (1:11) of seven specific “signs,”30 or illustrative deeds Jesus did that confirmed his identity as Israel’s Messiah;31 changing water into wine at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.32 Because this event is not found in any of the Synoptic Gospels, none of the details can be confirmed or explained by appeals to the other Evangelists’ points of view. That, along with the fourth Gospel’s single perspective, with its economy of detail and simplicity of expression,33 has provided great scope for scholarly imaginations to run, often leading to exegetical uncertainty and highly speculative interpretations.34

This uncertainty and high speculation has also led to a misunderstanding and misapplication of the Cana event in the contemporary church. Today, many Christians are under the impression that Jesus’ attendance and abundant provision of wine at the wedding of Cana was done to show the church how to view wedding celebrations. The examination of John 2:1-11 below seeks to offer a counter interpretation to the one underlying this misapprehension.

To this end, the essay will start with a selective look at the socio-historical contexts of the pericope. Secondly, it will look at the literary features of the passage. After that, a detailed analysis of the text will be undertaken. This will be followed by a reflection on the contextual and textual analysis vis-à-vis the common contemporary Christian misapplication of this, the first of the signs.35



C.       CONTEXTUL CONSIDERATIONS

      1.     SOCIO-HISTORICAL

In examining the socio-historical context of any passage of a NT book, it is prudent to settle, as far as is practicable and germane, the often contentious issue of authorship.36 Regrettably, a thorough discussion of the arguments brought to bear on this issue over the last two centuries is beyond the purview of this essay. Suffice it to say, that this essay concurs with the traditional conclusion that the author of the Fourth Gospel is John the Apostle, who is the son of Zebedee, John the Elder and the “beloved disciple.”37

It is generally conceded that John’s Gospel was written sometime between the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 CE and the turn of the first century.38 In this time period, the Pharisees in Palestine took an even stronger leadership role in religious matters and “engaged in conflicts with their main competition, the Jewish Christians.”39 As well, many diaspora Jews, seeking to disown Messianic sects, questioned the Jewishness of Jewish Christians and pressured synagogues to make them unwelcome.40 According to Keener, “John [wrote] his Gospel to encourage these Jewish Christians that their faith in Jesus is genuinely Jewish and that it is their opponents who have misrepresented biblical Judaism.”41

The strict, honor-bound and socially hierarchical conventions surrounding Jewish gift-exchange and reciprocity in first century Galilee are particularly relevant to an examination of the wedding at Cana.42 This complicated set of obligations between hosts and guests surrounding the cost of gifts and the amount of wine and food consumed at a wedding could translate into financial debts for either party; debts that could, if left unsatisfied, see the debtor become the target of a civil lawsuit.43 Were guests to leave a ceremony early44 because, say, the wine ran out prematurely, a groom would not only have had to endure public shame but also, in all probability, considerable financial loss, too.45

Gerard David - The Marriage at Cana - WGA6020



      2.     LITERARY

Taking verses 20:30-31, what Köstenberger calls John’s “purpose statement,”46 at face value, the Forth Gospel can be seen as a collection of certain miracles the author calls “signs.” Our passage, including as it does the first of these signs, sits between the Prologue (1:1-18) and the Epilogue (21:1-25). Depending on how one divides this large section of the Gospel, the miracle at Cana could be either the first sign in the “Book of Signs” (1:19-12:50) or in the “Book of Jesus’ signs.”47 Borchert places our passage in the “Cana Cycle,”48 which loops through chapter 4, where Jesus, having returned to Cana, performs the second sign—healing the official’s son (54).

Bracketed by the inclusio in Cana of Galilee (vv 1, 11), the passage is couched comfortably between the temporal marker on the third day of verse 1 and the transitional after this of verse 12.49 It also follows directly from Jesus’ promise to Nathanael of Galilee (21:2),50 the “uniquely Johannine disciple,”51 that he would see greater things than these (1:50),52 strongly suggesting an intentional narrative segue. If this implication is true, that the first of signs is the beginning of a fulfilment of Jesus’ promise,53 it is likely that Nathanael was one of the disciples present at the wedding (2:2).

The peculiar existence of Nathanael also invites speculation. Was Nathanael well known to John’s readers, as is suggested by John's keeping his connection with Cana quiet until chapter 20 (see footnote 50 above)? If so, did he often corroborate this wedding miracle story for the early Church?



      3.     STRUCTURE

The passage is structured as a self-contained short story. Setting the scene, verses 1-2 introduce the day, geographical location and occasion of the pericope, as well as the protagonist, his mother and his followers. In verses 3-5, with the announcement that the wine has run out prematurely, the plot tumbles quickly into dramatic tension. The tension increases through verses 6-8, with the protagonist orchestrating some mysterious activity involving attendants and stone waterpots. It is brought to its peak when the attendants are told to take water from the pots to the head steward. The denouement comes in verse 9-10, with the revelation that the water has been miraculously changed to wine. It concludes in verse 11, when the point of the story is revealed and the protagonist is affirmed for the reader through the eyes of his companions.



D.       ANALYSIS OF THE TEXT

1-2:    Setting the Scene. On the third day:
Καὶ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τρίτῃ γάμος ἐγένετο ἐν Κανὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας, καὶ ἦν ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐκεῖ· ἐκλήθη δὲ καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν γάμον.

On the third day, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee and Jesus’ mother was there. But Jesus was also invited to the wedding with his disciples.

Although easily translated, there is enough ambiguity in the phrase τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τρίτῃ (the third day) to undermine any certainty of interpretation.54 However, it seems reasonable to presume along with Köstenberger that “‘[t]he third day’ is to be counted from ... Jesus’ encounter with Nathanael”55 (vv 43-51). In combining it with all of "the next day" introductions from the first chapter (1:29, 35, 43), other commentators manage to metaphorically alter the sequence so that the Cana event falls on Easter, the eighth day.56

The context is clear that καλέω (I call) here means “invite,” rather than “name” or “summon.”57 With regard to the singular aorist passive form ἐκλήθη (he was called) followed by the compound subject, ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ (Jesus and his disciples), Wallace suggests that “Jesus was invited ... and his disciples tagged along.”58 Harris is doubtful, believing the better connotation is that Jesus was invited “together with ... his disciples.”59 It seems logical to presume that the disciples “included the five mentioned in 1:35-51.”60

We are not told why Mary, Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding. Carson believes that their being “invited to the same wedding suggests the wedding was for a relative or close family friend.”61 Derrett is certain that Mary’s presence means she was “on terms of intimacy with the bridegroom’s parents and was [therefore] ‘behind the scenes’ ... nearer the domestic quarters.”62 This would not only explain her knowing about the problem with the wine and her taking responsibility for solving it (v 3), but also the obedience she commanded from the attendants (v 5).

As to when Jesus and his disciples responded to their invitation, Derrett thinks that “the custom of sending invitations personally as soon as preparations were ready ... make it improbable that Jesus came later than the commencement [of the festivities].”63


3-5:     Dramatic Tension. Suddenly the wine runs out:
καὶ ὑστερήσαντος οἴνου λέγει ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ πρὸς αὐτόν· οἶνον οὐκ ἔχουσιν. [καὶ] λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου. λέγει ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ τοῖς διακόνοις· ὅ τι ἂν λέγῃ ὑμῖν ποιήσατε.

When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what’s this got to do with me and you? My time hasn’t come yet. His mother said to the attendants, “Whatever he tells you, do!”
Semantically, the verb ὑστερέω covers “be in need,” “to lack,” “be inferior” or “fail to attain.”64 BDAG provides the definition “to be in short supply” in this case.65 No reason is given for the wine running out, leading some like Whitacre to implicate Jesus and his disciples.66 Carson disagrees with this supposition, finding no internal evidence to support it. 67 Harris suggests the wine’s running out was simply a matter of “the seven-day celebrations ... nearing an end.”68

All three elements of Jesus’ reply—the question, the address, and the statement—have garnered much discussion over the centuries.69 At this time, as Köstenberger notes, the statement οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου (not yet is my hour come) seems to function as “an internal prolepsis intended to alert the reader to anticipate the arrival of Jesus’ time at a later point in the narrative.”70 The rhetorical question τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί; (what to me and to you?) is an obvious Semitic idiom, occurring several times in the LXX (e.g. Judg 11:12; 2 Sam 16:10; 2 Kgs 3:13), where it “always distances the two parties, [with] the speaker’s tone overlaid with some degree of reproach.”71 Defining the exact interpersonal force intended by the vocative γύναι (woman) is difficult.72 Borchert notes that Jesus also calls his mother “woman” in “the tender context of the cross,”73 when he dutifully arranges for her future care (19:25-27).

In LXX 1 Kings 17:18, between Elijah miraculously replenishing her flour and oil (v 16) and just before healing her son (v 22), the widow of Zarephath asks the prophet the same rhetorical question: τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί;. Given the “Cana Cycle” mentioned above, it is difficult not to see a great deal of merit in Lincoln’s fascinating idea that John, in the way he records Jesus’ reply and the two signs, is deliberately paralleling Jesus and Elijah.74 This idea is particularly striking given the widow’s closing words, “Now I know you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth” (v 24 ESV).


6-8:     Tension Brought to a Peak. Jesus fetches water, not wine:
ἦσαν δὲ ἐκεῖ λίθιναι ὑδρίαι ἓξ κατὰ τὸν καθαρισμὸν τῶν Ἰουδαίων κείμεναι, χωροῦσαι ἀνὰ μετρητὰς δύο ἢ τρεῖς. λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· γεμίσατε τὰς ὑδρίας ὕδατος. καὶ ἐγέμισαν αὐτὰς ἕως ἄνω. καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· ἀντλήσατε νῦν καὶ φέρετε τῷ ἀρχιτρικλίνῳ· οἱ δὲ ἤνεγκαν.

Now there were six stone waterpots placed there for Jewish ceremonial washing, each holding two or three measures. Jesus said to the attendants, “Fill the pots with water.” They filled them to the brim. Then he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the head steward. And they took it to him.
That the waterpots were made of stone is an important detail that points to the author’s personal knowledge of the sociological context.75 The Jews valued stone pots over the more common earthenware ones because they were less prone to “contract levitical impurity.”76 According to Liddell and Scott, καθαρισμός (cleansing) is a later form of the noun καθαρμός, meaning “cleansing, purification, from guilt.”77 In pagan literature and the LXX, it “is used of physical, religious (ritual and cultic) and moral purity.”78 The verb form, καθαρίζω means “to cleanse from ritual contamination or impurity.”79

The genitive τῶν Ἰουδαίων could be possessive (“belonging to the Jews”), subjective (“carried out by the Jews”), or adjectival (“Jewish”).80 The Jewish custom of washing one’s hands prior to a meal (see Mark 7:3-7) has no biblical basis for non-priests and seems to be an example of the Pharisaic “transference of priestly rules to the everyday world.”81

The title ἀρχιτρίκλινος (head-steward), a “determinative compound,”82 refers to “the slave who was responsible for managing a banquet,”83 and is possibly equivalent to ἡγούμενος (president) (see Sir 32:1).84 Sick is certain “that the term would best apply to an individual who is both a slave or freed slave and an honored guest;”85 a possibility, given the apparent familiarity displayed when he “shouts for the groom” (φωνεῖ τὸν νυμφίον) in verse 10. The various translations—“master of the feast/banquet” (ESV/NIV), “headwaiter” (NASB), or “head/chief steward” (NET/NRSV)—connote a paid caterer, which obscures the architriklinos’ humble origins and, if Sick is correct, his present privileged position.


9-10:     Denouement. The water-that-had-become-wine:
ὡς δὲ ἐγεύσατο ὁ ἀρχιτρίκλινος τὸ ὕδωρ οἶνον γεγενημένον καὶ οὐκ ᾔδει πόθεν ἐστίν, οἱ δὲ διάκονοι ᾔδεισαν οἱ ἠντληκότες τὸ ὕδωρ, φωνεῖ τὸν νυμφίον ὁ ἀρχιτρίκλινος καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· πᾶς ἄνθρωπος πρῶτον τὸν καλὸν οἶνον τίθησιν καὶ ὅταν μεθυσθῶσιν τὸν ἐλάσσω· σὺ τετήρηκας τὸν καλὸν οἶνον ἕως ἄρτι.

When the head steward tasted the water that had now become wine and didn’t know where it was from—but the attendants who had drawn the water out knew—he called for the groom and said to him, “Everyone sets out the fine wine first and then, when the guests are drunk, the inferior is served; but you’ve kept the fine wine until now.”
The predicate accusative construction here is semantically unusual, in that the arthrous substantive τὸ ὕδωρ (the water) with the anarthrous substantive οἶνον (wine) joined by the participle γεγενημένον (has become) “is more emphatic than mere apposition would be.”86 This emphasis undermines Lincoln’s suggestion that it is only the reaction of the head steward that makes it clear that the water is now wine.87 Harris believes that the participle in the perfect passive implies that “all the water had become wine, not only the water drawn out.”88 This is contra Carson, who sides with Westcott and others who think the transformed water came directly from the well after the waterpots were filled.89

The verb μεθυσθῶσιν is the aorist passive subjunctive form of μεθύσκω, meaning “cause to become intoxicated.”90 In each of its five occurrences in the NT (Luke 12:45; John 2:10; Eph 5:18; 1 Thess 5:7; Rev 17:2) it is passive, μεθύσκομαι, therefore “to become drunk.” Harris suggests that “here the sense may be ... merely ‘drink freely’ [or] ‘drink a great deal,’”91 but Carson would disagree.92 The wine at Jewish weddings would be alcoholic, albeit weaker than today’s.93 As well, the argument that Jesus made superior alcohol-free wine “cannot be sustained from the Greek.”94

The attendants who witnessed the miracle did not immediately dispel the head steward’s ignorance as to the origins of the new wine; their silence an indication perhaps of just how badly they imagined their boss would react to being told that the wine he just served to the groom and his guests had come from the now defiled stone water pots outside.95


11:     Revealed. He disclosed his glory:
Ταύτην ἐποίησεν ἀρχὴν τῶν σημείων ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐν Κανὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἐφανέρωσεν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ.

This, the first of the signs, Jesus did in Cana of Galilee and disclosed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
In classical Greek, the word for “sign,” σημεῖον (“a development of σῆμα”96), meant a “mark by which a thing is known.”97 It is the general gloss for אוֹת in the LXX,98 and “it always has a religious significance beyond the event itself.”99 In the NT, a σημεῖον is “an event which is regarded as having some special meaning.”100

The verb φανερόω can mean either “to cause to become visible” or, more probably in this case, “to cause to become known.”101 Harris writes that the aorist active indicative ἐπίστευσαν (they believed) “could be ingressive, ‘began to believe’ … but more probably is constative;”102 being unconvinced, one supposes, that John meant that the disciples’ faith in Jesus was predicated entirely on their having seen this particular miracle.


E.       APPLICATION

For Christians today, it is common to see Jesus’ attendance and abundant provision of high-quality wine at the wedding of Cana as an example of the Lord’s approval and extravagant unconditional blessing of wedding celebrations. From this the application is made that we should likewise attend and bless weddings and wedding receptions. Some even go so far as to suggest that drinking wine to intoxication is also sanctioned by this passage. But does our examination above support this interpretation and application?

With regards to the reason John recorded this event, we can look to the reason he wrote his Gospel, it being sensible to presume that the passage exists to serve his greater purpose. Looking at the socio-historical context, one can see that John was providing apologetic push-back to the growing Pharisaic threat. As well, there is the Evangelist’s own purpose statement of 20:30-31. The purpose of the first sign then is to bolster the Messianic claims of the Lord’s Apostle and strengthen the faith of his Christian readers, particularly the Jewish Christians.

What was the Lord’s purpose in attending the wedding and performing the miracle? Although an invited guest, and probably a close friend or even relative of the groom, we saw that Jesus wasn’t there to sanctify or approve of a commonplace social event, he was there to fulfil his promise to Nathanael and his other disciples (1:50-1). They alone knew that the miracle was done as a Messianic sign; only their faith was affected.

As for blessing the wedding, it is impossible for me to imagine a greater curse on a first century Jewish wedding than for the Messiah to show up and conceal his identity while surreptitiously tricking the guests into drinking the wash water.



F.       CONCLUSION

Drawing lessons from the events at the wedding of Cana for the purpose of applying them to contemporary Christian life should be done with caution. As we have seen, even expert examination of the texts will often result in high exegetical speculation and interpretive uncertainty. Of course we should continue to strive to refine our understanding of John’s account of the first of signs that Jesus did to manifest his glory, but this should always be done with humility; and never at the expense of the stated aims of the author himself.









Footnotes:


1. Here the noun and adjective are in the “dative of time” (without the preposition ὲν), “express[ing] a point in time” (italics in original). Daniel B Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament with Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 156.

2. A possessive genitive; literally “the mother of the Jesus.”

3. The δὲ καί combination is a “marker of heightened emphasis [meaning] but also, but even.” (italics in original). BDAG, 213.

4. “ Καί ... καί here probably does not mean ‘both … and’ (KJV), but ‘(Jesus was) also (in addition to Mary) (invited to the wedding), together with (his disciples).” Murray Harris, Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament: John (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2015), Kindle, loc. 2382.

5. In reference to things, ὑστερέω means “be in short supply.” It appears here as a temporal genitive absolute, hence “When the (supply of) wine ran out.” Ibid., loc. 2389. This clause is paraphrased in “א* ita, ff2, r1 syrhmg eth” but the reading in the text “is attested by 𝔓66 א and all known uncial and minuscule manuscripts.” Bruce Manning Metzger, United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), 172.

6. The historical present of λέγω is translated in the past tense in English here and in vv 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 (In v 9, φωνεῖ is also in the historical present tense). See LDGNT Glossary and/or Introduction.

7. Italics indicate a word added for the sake of clarity, rather than grammatical necessity.

8. An idiomatic use of the vocative γύναι.

9. The idiom τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί; is literally “What to me and to you?”

10. Literally “my hour.”

11. Διάκονος: “Of table attendants.” BDAG, 230.

12. The exclamation mark indicates the imperative form of the verb ποιέω.

13. L&N, 53.28 καθαρίζω; καθαρότης, ητος f; καθαρισμός, οῦ m: to cleanse from ritual contamination or impurity—‘to cleanse, to purify, purification.’

14. A measure (μετρητής) is equal to about 40 litres. NET TN 12.

15. Text has αὐτοῖς but the context suggests the attendants are being addressed. See NET TN 13.

16. L&N, 46.7 ἀρχιτρίκλινος, ου m: the head servant in charge of all those who served at meals or feasts—‘head steward.’

17. As the conjunction ὡς is used with the aorist ἐγεύσατο here, it conveys the temporal sense of “when [or] after.” BDAG, 1105.

18. Literally “the water become wine.” The insertion of “now” in the translation is meant to convey a semantic sense of surprise, rather than any exact temporality. See the ESV.

19. The articular participle οἱ ἠντληκότες “here identifies (rather than describes) the servants … equivalent to a rel. clause … ‘who had drawn out the water.’” Harris, Exegetical Guide, loc. 2469.

20. The original repeats ὁ ἀρχιτρίκλινος here, which would seem somewhat redundant in English. See NET TN 17.

21. The abbreviation of “bridegroom” is more common in contemporary English usage.

22. Literally “Every person.”

23. Literally “the good wine.”

24. The text only gives the third person plural of μεθύσκω; the referent “guests” is inferred from the context. See NET TN 20.

25. According to Metzger, TCGNT, 173: “The Textus Receptus … following אc A X Γ Δ Θ Λ Π1 … makes a smoother reading by adding τότε [but] the text is decisively supported by 𝔓66, 75 א* B L 083 0141 57 248 573 579 1010 1279 l185 ita, e, ff2 1, q syrpal copsa bo eth.”

26. The contrastive conjunction is implied by the context.

27. The gloss “first” for ἀρχὴν is preferred over “beginning” (as the NASB & NKJV have it) in light of δεύτερον σημεῖον (“a second sign”) in 4:54, which strongly suggest that John is purposely counting them.

28. BDAG, 1048: “φανερόω … 2 to cause to become known, disclose, show, make known.”.

29. With regards to ἐπίστευσαν, Harris, Exegetical Guide, loc. 2507, notes it “could be ingressive, 'began to believe' … but more probably is constantive (‘put their faith,’ NIV).”

30. Barclay Moon Newman and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on the Gospel of John, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 55.

31. Tellingly, “John is the only NT author to use the term Μεσσίας.” Andreas J. Köstenberger, John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 76.

32. Ibid., 91: “There he performs the first of his startling signs, providing his followers with an initial glimpse of his messianic identity.”

33 Regarding the author of John’s Greek, see Harris, Exegetical Guide, loc. 1014-1017: “ … John’s Greek is rather pedestrian, without stylistic flourishes or sophisticated vocabulary … In comparison with the Synoptic Gospels, his vocabulary is relatively small.”

34. “The marriage at Cana and the transformation of water into wine have been interpreted in many ways, including some that are highly speculative or allegorical.” D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 166.

35. Throughout the text of this essay, italics indicate my translation of Scripture.

36. Questions regarding the authorship of the Fourth Gospel “have birthed great differences of opinion among scholars, especially in the last two hundred years.” Gerald L. Borchert, John 1–11, vol. 25A, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 80.

37. From their interpretation of external and internal evidence, the three preferred candidates of NT scholars are John the Apostle, John the Elder, and the “beloved disciple” mentioned in the Gospel itself (e.g. 13:23)—where these three are often considered to be different people. For detailed discussions on these individuals, and the commentators’ own preferences, see ibid, 80-91; Carson, The Gospel, 68-81; Köstenberger, John, 6-8.

38. “The best guess of most scholars, then, is that the Gospel in its final form was completed and began to be circulated at some time between 90 and 110 CE.” Andrew T. Lincoln, The Gospel according to Saint John, Black’s New Testament Commentary (London: Continuum, 2005), 18.

39. Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), John, Setting (No page).

40. Ibid.

41. Ibid.

42. For a fascinating look at these customs vis-à-vis the wedding in Cana, see J. Duncan M. Derrett, Law in the New Testament (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1970), 229-235.

43. Ibid.

44. “Jewish weddings normally lasted seven days.” C. S. Keener, “Marriage,” ed. Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter, Dictionary of New Testament Background: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 685; E. Staufer, ‘γαμέω, γάμος,’ in TDNT, 1.648, refines this with, “The ancient Jewish custom of extending the marriage over several days [or] a whole week in the case of a virgin…”

45. Ibid., 237-238.

46. Köstenberger, John, 8.

47. Carson, The Gospel, 103: Not entirely happy with these terms, Carson believes John’s purpose statement indicates that “from the Evangelist’s perspective the entire Gospel is a book of signs.”

48. Borchert, John 1–11, 151.

49. Barclay and Nida, A Handbook, 55.

50. “[P]eople were distinguished in this way only when they were elsewhere than in their place of origin or dwelling [which] is why Nathanael is called 'from Cana of Galilee' in John 21:2, but not in 1:45.” Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 81.

51. Ibid., 464.

52. In the next verse, by using the 2nd person plural pronoun, Jesus widens the promise to all the disciples.

53. “This is the first of the ‘greater things’ promised in 1:51.” Köstenberger, John, 89.

54. Lincoln, The Gospel, 126.

55. Köstenberger, John, 91.

56. For example Borchert, John 1–11, 153, notes “[M. E.] Boismard carries the symbolic nature to the point of suggesting that the third day refers to the first day of the new Christian week and therefore points out that the story is a symbolic reference to the new creation in Jesus.”

57. BDAG, 502-503.

58 Wallace, Beyond the Basics, 401.

59. See footnote 4 above.

60. “…Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and the unnamed disciple of 1:35 (possibly John the son of Zebedee).” Köstenberger, John, 93; Carson, The Gospel, 169, concurs.

61. Carson, The Gospel, 169.

62. Derrett, Law, 235.

63. Ibid.

64. L&N, ὑστερέω, Vol. 2, 254.

65. BDAG, 1043.

66. Rodney A. Whitacre, John, vol. 4, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 78.

67. Carson, The Gospel, 169.

68. Harris, Exegetical Guide, loc. 2397.

69. Seeming harsh and disrespectful to Mary, it has, for example, troubled “many mothers and a number of Roman Catholic interpreters.” Borchert, John 1–11, 154.

70. Köstenberger, John, 95. Jesus’ hour still has not come in verses 7:30; 8:20; it has come later in verses 12:23, 27; 13:1; 17:1.

71. “The tone is not rude; it is certainly abrupt.” Carson, The Gospel, 170.

72. Even Carson, who describes it as “thoroughly courteous [but] not normally endearing,” fails to find an English expression that conveys the proper sense of the Greek. Ibid.

73. Borchert, John 1–11, 154.

74. Lincoln, The Gospel, 127.

75. Köstenberger, John, 96; As does the number and the capacity of the pots. See Harris, Exegetical Guide, loc. 2443.

76. Harris, Exegetical Guide, loc. 2430.

77. L&S, 850.

78. Friedrich Hauck, ‘καθαρός, καθαρίζω, καθαίρω, καθαρότης,’ in TDNT, 3.414. “In the LXX καθαρός is predominantly used for טָהוֹר” (e.g. Ezek 36:25).

79. L&N, 53.28 καθαρίζωb; καθαρότης, ητος f; καθαρισμός, οῦ m: to cleanse from ritual contamination or impurity—‘to cleanse, to purify, purification.’.

80. Harris, Exegetical Guide, loc. 2433.

81. Günter Stemberger, Jewish Contemporaries of Jesus: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995), 76-77.

82. David H. Sick, “The Architriklinos at Cana,” Journal of Biblical Literature 130, no. 3 (2011): 513.

83. BDAG, 139.

84. Ibid.; Brenton, Lancelot C. L. The Septuagint Version: Greek. London: Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1851. Sirach 32:1 Ἡγούμενόν σε κατέστησαν; (Are you appointed master of the feast?).

85. Sick, “The Architriklinos,” 514

86. Wallace, Beyond the Basics, 191.

87. Lincoln, The Gospel, 129.

88. Harris, Exegetical Guide, loc. 2468.

89. Carson, The Gospel, 174. The inference comes from the fact that ἀντλέω (v 8 & 9) “is commonly used for drawing water from a well.”

90. BDAG, 625.

91. Harris, Exegetical Guide, loc. 2483.

92. “… the verb methyskō does not refer to consuming too much liquid, but to inebriation.” Carson, The Gospel, 169.

93. Ibid.

94. Borchert, John 1–11, 157.

95. “Using the jars for another purpose would temporarily defile them.” Keener, The IVP Bible, John 2:7.

96. K. H. Rengstorf, ‘σημεῖον, σημαίνω, σημειόω, ἄσημος, ἐπίσημος, εὔσημος, σύσσημον,’ in TDNT, 7.201.

97. L&S, 1593.

98. Rengstorf, TDNT, 7.201.

99. Barclay and Nida, A Handbook, 62.

100. L&N, 33.477 σημεῖον.

101. BDAG, 1048.

102. Harris, Exegetical Guide, loc. 2483.




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