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John Bible Study, Day 3: Jesus’s First Miracle

Today’s passage: John 2:1–12

Focus verse: He revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. (John 2:11)

Consider the miracles Jesus performs. He heals people with broken bodies, casts out evil spirits, and even raises dead people to life. Whatever their situation, Jesus makes their life better—much better.

Yet his first miracle, right after he calls Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael to follow him, includes none of these grand supernatural signs.

Jesus’s first miracle is less astounding. Compared to his other incredible wonders, his first one is trivial. Yes, it’s still a miracle. We shouldn’t lose sight of that. Yet on the scale of supernatural significance, this one ranks near the bottom.

What is this miracle? Jesus makes wine from water at a party.

Here’s the situation.

Three days after Jesus calls his first disciples, they attend a wedding celebration. Mary, Jesus’s mother, is present too. Midway through the reception, social disaster strikes. The groom runs out of wine. 

This isn’t a life-or-death situation, but only a public embarrassment. Yes, the people will remember what happened, that the man didn’t give them enough to drink. They’ll talk about his shortsightedness and failure to care for his guests.

The man’s failure could come up at every wedding for years to come. It will form the basis for how the people in this town regard him and his bride. For years they’ll carry the stigma of running out of wine and disrespecting their guests.

Having nothing left to drink jeopardizes no one’s well-being. In fact, since many have already drunk too much, they may be better off not drinking any more.

Mary, aware of what happened, edges up to Jesus and whispers, “They ran out of wine.”

Jesus dismisses her concern in a way that seems disrespectful, but she ignores his apparent disregard for the groom’s plight. Instead, she instructs the servants, “Do whatever he says to do.” She’s done what she can and trusts Jesus to do what she cannot.

Despite telling Mary that he doesn’t want to get involved, Jesus acts. He tells the servants to fill six large jugs with water. Together they will hold well over one hundred gallons. They follow his instructions, and he tells them, “Take a sample to the master of ceremonies.”

The master takes a sip of the water, which Jesus has miraculously turned into wine, and commends the bridegroom for saving the best for last. This is unlike the typical practice of serving the best wine first and holding back the lesser quality vintages for when people have drunk enough not to care.

Jesus’s disciples see what he did, turning water into wine. In doing so, he reveals his power to them. Based on this, his disciples place their trust in him.

Questions:

  1. What does Jesus turning water into wine tell us about him?
  2. Do you think Jesus will help us avoid embarrassment today, like he did for the groom?
  3. Mary told the servants to do whatever Jesus said to do. How willing are you to obey whatever Jesus tells you to do?
  4. Why do you think Jesus performed miracles? 
  5. Do you believe the miracles Jesus did can still happen today? Why?

Discover some of Jesus’s other miracles in John 4:39–54, John 5:1–15, John 6:1–2, and John 9:1–7. What insights can you glean from these passages?

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.


Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John

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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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