While Jesus does many “miracles” in the gospels, the gospel of John is different. Jesus doesn’t do “miracles.” Instead, he does seven SIGNS. You can see many articles like the one at this link that describe what the seven signs are. But here’s the list that is commonly given:
- Changing water into wine at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11);
- Healing the royal official’s son (John 4:46-54);
- Healing the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem (John 5:1-15);
- Feeding the 5,000 (John 6:5-14);
- Walking on water (John 6:16-21);
- Healing the man born blind (John 9:1-7); and
- Raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-45).
The next posts are going to explain what all of them mean. This post covers the first two, the most famous of which is Turning Water into Wine.
But before I can do this, I need to explain the difference between a “sign” and a “miracle,” because if you don’t understand that, you aren’t going to understand ANYTHING about the seven signs that were selected to be in the gospel of John.
The Difference Between a Sign and a Miracle
A sign is different from a miracle. When Matthew, Mark, and Luke discuss the things that Jesus do that are not “natural,” they use words that in English are either “mighty work” or “miracle” or “wonder.”
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles (δύναμις) there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6:4-6, NIV)
And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work (δύναμις) there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. (Mark 6:4-6, ESV)
So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs (σημεῖον) and wonders (τέρας) you will not believe.” (John 4:48, ESV)
That word δύναμις (dynamis) is where we get the word “dynamo.” Or someone who has sha-bang oh-my-goodness aura around them. It communicates POWER. That word τέρας means something to just marvel at. Muhammad Ali had δύναμις and Bo Jackson had τέρας, but it is Captain America – The Winter Soldier that contains σημεῖον, because even though it was a comic-book movie, it was really about the surveillance state in the modern world.
That’s what a SIGN is, and that is the word that the gospel of John almost always uses. The word is σημεῖον. And a “sign” is not the same thing as a “wonder” or a “miracle” (even though Captain America did do some “wonders” and “miracles” in the Winter Soldier movie).
Biblical Proof that a “Sign” is not a “Miracle”
We know a sign is not a miracle because the first “sign” was done at Cana, but this is NOT Jesus’s first “miracle.” This is what we read:
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. (John 2:1-11)
Now, we know this is not the first MIRACLE of Jesus, for two reasons. First, Jesus is with his disciples, and the first disciples he called were Peter, Andrew, James, and John. When Jesus calls his first disciples, he does it by DOING A MIRACLE:
On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. (Luke 5:1-11)
And we are told in other gospels that other miracles follow up this one:
And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. (Mark 1:29-34)
All of that happens before Jesus acquires all of his “disciples” that were at the wedding at Cana. And we know this happened before the wedding at Cana, because John tells the story of Jesus calling the first disciples, except that he leaves out the miracles:
The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). (John 1:35-42)
As such, Jesus does miracles BEFORE he has disciples. This means that if Jesus turned water to wine when his disciples were with him, that means this WASN’T HIS FIRST MIRACLE. But it was his first “sign.”
And if you’re really picky and want to try to say that we don’t know EXPLICITLY whether the miraculous catch of fish happened before or after the wedding at Cana, then the point still stands. That’s because Jesus does a mini-miracle before the “first sign” at Cana IN THE SAME GOSPEL OF JOHN:
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:47-51)
So, with that, I hope it is clear that a “sign” is different from a “miracle,” and the first “sign” at the wedding at Cana is NOT the first “miracle.” So now, we need to break down these signs.
The Wedding at Cana Explained
The first thing that needs to be fixed is a bad translation of what Jesus says to his mother. This has caused consternation in many circles. However, the key to understanding it involves both a careful exploration of the Greek and an understanding that this is A SIGN and EVERYTHING means something.
Now, we get a lot of different translated versions of this verse, because in Greek it is very strange. Here is what Jesus says:
Καὶ λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί γύναι οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου.
[And] [says] [to her][-][Jesus] [What] [to me] [and] [to you] [woman]? [Not yet] [is come][the] [hour] [of me] (John 2:4)
As you can see, there is a problem in that first sentence. Namely, THERE IS NO VERB. So the question is, how do you translate the phrase “What to me and to you, woman?” There have been several versions in English:
And Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. (John 2:4, ASV)
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4, NIV)
And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4, ESV)
“What has this concern of yours to do with me, woman?” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4, CSB)
Now, keep in mind that the conversation is between Jesus and his mother, so even though this is written in Greek, the conversation would have been in Aramaic, which was a modified version of Hebrew (much like “French” and “Spanish” are modified versions of Latin). That’s why this is so tricky, and that’s why we struggle to double-translate it into English.
I don’t like any of those translations, but some are worse than others. The worst translation above seems to be the one from the ESV, because it completely eliminates the idea of “to you” from the response of Jesus. All the others keep both the “you” and “me” in the response, but differ on the verb (which, remember, does not exist it the text) and change the idea being expressed. Many of these responses make Jesus come across to his mother as disrespectful or strange, and I don’t like any of them.
Therefore, I’m going to translate it myself. Here is what I think Jesus is saying to his mother:
What do we do, woman?
That’s what I think Jesus asks his mother. The “we” keeps that “me” and “you” aspect of his question, and the verb of “do” comes from the answer that Mary gives in response:
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)
Do you see it?
I like my translation, because it sounds like something Jesus would say, and also because it just FITS with the entire flow of the story. But it also does something more. It fits in with Mary and what she knows about Jesus.
Remember that Mary KNOWS who Jesus is because AN ANGEL TOLD HER who he was:
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:26-33)
So, when Jesus says “my hour has not yet come.” Mary knows what this means:
I do not yet sit on the throne of my father David, and I do not yet rule my kingdom.
And this is where I need to discuss Mary’s response, because she KNOWS what this means. And this is the key to making the whole “sign” work. Notice what she says in Greek:
Λέγει ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ τοῖς διακόνοις Ὅ τι ἂν λέγῃ ὑμῖν ποιήσατε (John 2:5)
[Says] [the] [mother] [of him] [to the] [servants] [Whatever] [anyhow] [-] [he may say] [to you] [do].
While in English, this just looks like a general instruction, the language of Mary is FAR more explicit. There is one word – ἂν – which is untranslatable, but whose definition is worth showing:
an untranslatable word (under the circumstances, in that case, anyhow), the general effect of which is to make a statement contingent, which would otherwise be definite: it is thus regularly used with the subjunctive mood.
In English, we get the “subjunctive” mood by adding certain words like “were” or “might.” Such as “Were I to go to the store, I would not buy anything.” Or “I might go to the store.” The subjunctive mood indicates POSSIBLE things that MAY happen. But not only does Mary use this subjunctive indicator, she also adds TWO other “possible” words into the sentence:
- Ὅ – “whatever”
- τι – anyhow
This is important, and it is not reflected into the normal translation of this verse, which doesn’t have much variety:
His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. (John 2:5, KJV)
His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. (John 2:5, ASV)
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5, ESV)
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5, RSV)
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5, NIV)
As such, I would like to have my own translation of Mary’s instructions to the servants as well:
His mother said to the servants: “Whatever possible thing he might tell you to do, do it.” (John 2:5, my translation)
THAT is the set-up to the miracle, and remember that this miracle is A SIGN. So let’s plug in what these things mean.
The Corresponding Reality to the Water Turning to Wine
What does this sign correspond to in the Bible? What “wedding” does this wedding correspond to? What does running out of wine correspond to? The answer is pretty simple when you think about it. This is a call-back to the garden of Eden. The clue is that Jesus calls his mother “woman” (γυνή). Now, this might be just a random address by Jesus. And I bet at the time, the disciples thought so, too. But that’s not what is really going on, because Jesus is ALWAYS playing three-dimensional chess.
And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:22-25)
THAT is the wedding! This wedding in Cana is a reflection of THAT wedding in the Garden of Eden. And is there any time in the Garden of Eden when they run out of “wine” or “the fruit of the vine”? You bet there is! Look what happens shortly after the “wedding” of Adam and Eve:
The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:20-24)
THAT is the running out of wine! And this is the symbolic context of the question between Jesus and his mother.
So, not what is going on here. Adam called the woman “Eve,” because she was the mother of all the living. Note that when Adam first met Eve, he called here “woman” because she was taken out of man. But after God gave the following promise:
The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring [footnote: or “seed”] and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
After this promise that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent, ONLY THEN does Adam call his wife “Eve” because she would be “THE MOTHER OF ALL LIVING.” That’s what was up with Adam and Eve. But at the Wedding at Cana, Jesus is speaking to Mary, WHO IS THE MOTHER OF THE ONE WHO WILL CRUSH THE HEAD OF THE SERPENT, and he calls her “Woman.”
Do you see the symbolic significance of Jesus calling her “woman,” parallel to Eve, who was the mother of all who live?
Yeah, guys. The gospel of John is some “next-level” stuff. Jesus is a freaking genius, and the gospel of John is WILDLY complicated. So look at the flow here:
Mary to the Lord: “We cannot eat the fruit of the vine. “
Jesus to Mary: “What do we do, woman? I do not yet sit on the throne of my father David, and I do not yet rule my kingdom.“
Mary to the Servants: “Whatever possible thing he may tell you to do, do it.”
THIS is the symbolic metaphor of turning water into wine THAT is why it is a sign. And as the text clearly says, the water was put into basins that were made for ceremonial washing.
The water is a parallel to the law of Moses, which was all about being ritually cleansed, looking forward to Jesus Christ.
But then the water turns to wine. And what is wine? As we said before, it has a parallel to “the fruit of the vine” which we earlier said had parallels to the tree of life. But it is also an alcoholic drink, and as we learn later, it is a STRONG alcoholic drink. We quite literally call these drinks “spirits,” because they have an influence on people. And have we seen that in the Old Testament? You bet we have:
“And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit.
Turning the water to wine – a DARN LOT of wine – is a picture of the spirit being poured out on all people.
But then something happens, and this is where things get REALLY next-level:
And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” (John 2:8-10)
Now, this looks like a small aside, without much significance, but there is ALWAYS significance with EVERYTHING you are reading. So, who are these people, and how do they match to the sign?
The Master of the House, the Bridegroom, and the Servants
Let’s talk about the “master of the house” first. In practical terms, we should note that this guy is the one who is responsible for running out of wine. He is the MASTER OF THE HOUSE and it is HIS PARTY, after all. We’ll get back to him.
Who are “the servants”? Well, in practical terms, they are the ones who were doing what Jesus told them to do. They are also the ones who know where the wine came from. The master of the house, on the other hand, is absolutely clueless. He blames the bridegroom for the trouble, even though this is not the bridegroom’s responsibility.
And who is “the bridegroom”? Well, in practical terms, he is literally a non-entity in the story. His only role is to get blamed by the master of the house. We should also note that the consistent pattern of marriage in the Bible is that the bridegroom goes TO the bride to receive her, so this is NOT the house of the bridegroom. It is the house of the bride. He has nothing to do with this problem. But on the other hand, the “master of the house” is the one who is responsible for making sure that nothing bad happens. You know, something like…. RUNNING OUT OF WINE DURING A WEDDING. In other words, this is HIS FAULT, not the fault of the bridegroom. But the bridegroom gets blamed.
But guess who is called a “bridegroom” in the gospel of John? This is where things get crazy:
You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:28-30)
Guys… Jesus is the bridegroom. Think about what this means:
The bridegroom gets blamed in the event. Jesus is the bridegroom in the sign.
The servants are the ones who follow the directions of Jesus in the event. The servants are those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
The master of the house is the true cause of the problem. The master of the house is the one who caused the wife to be cut off from “the fruit of the vine,” which is symbolic of the tree of life.
Therefore, the master of the house — IS SATAN.
If that’s a shock to you, then you need to realize that Satan is consistently referenced as the “ruler” of the world, even though God is the creator and ultimate owner of the world. For example:
Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. (Matthew 12:25-29)
Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. (1 Corinthians 2:6-10)
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:3-6)
In the explanation by Jesus, Satan is the strong man of the house, just as he is the “master of the house” in the sign. In the explanation by Paul in 1 Corinthians, the “rulers of this age” who do not understand are Satan and his agents, just as the master of the house did not know where the wine came from. In the explanation of Paul in 2 Corinthians, Satan is QUITE EXPLICITLY “the god of this world,” just as he is the “master of the house” in the sign.
And in the gospel of John, Jesus indicates that his true purpose is to bring judgment on the “ruler of this world,” who is Satan:
Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. (John 12:31)
I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. (John 14:30-31)
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (John 16:7-11)
The point of the first sign is that Jesus is going to fix the problem of the Garden of Eden, and the ruler of this world (who is the “master of the house”) will have NO IDEA where this solution came from. And he will blame JESUS CHRIST for the trouble. In other words….
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
Yep. That’s the first sign.
The Royal Official’s Son Explained
The second sign involves the healing of a royal official, and it is related to the sign of the Wedding at Cana:
Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee, where He had made the water into wine. And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and began asking Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.” The royal official *said to Him, “Sir [Footnote: or “Lord”], come down before my child dies.” Jesus *said to him, “Go; your son is alive.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went home. And as he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was alive. So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son is alive”; and he himself believed, and his entire household. This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come from Judea into Galilee. (John 4:46-54)
So, I’m just going to explain this one and break it down later. You ready?
- The “royal official” is Adam, the representative head of of all of humanity.
- All of humanity is sick, and will soon die.
- A man comes to Jesus, calls him “Lord” and asks him to heal “the son” who is all of humanity.
- Jesus declares that “the son” who is all of humanity will live.
- When the servants go back, they see that “the son” who is all of humanity, became “alive” as soon as Jesus declared it.
So, let’s break this down. You see, other than Jesus, there is only one person in the New Testament who is explicitly called a “son of God.” That would be ADAM:
When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years old, being, as was commonly held, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli. . . the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:23, 38)
And so the “royal” official is GOD HIMSELF. And it is HIS SON who is sick. And we should also note that the royal official is the one who asks Jesus to heal his son. And guess who told Jesus to die on the cross?
For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38)
That’s right: God the Father. And as soon as Jesus realizes that a royal official (similar to his Father) has a sick son (just like the father has a sick “Adam” which is a word that means “mankind”) Jesus gives this second sign, which is a metaphor for THE HEALING OF ALL HUMANITY.
Now, another thing to notice is that the royal official’s son is NOT DEAD. Instead, he has “a fever.” And so the context clearly shows that this is an illness. But when the slaves come and give the good news, they say that the son “is alive.” Isn’t that funny? Is that just a random word choice? Is that just a coincidence? Or is there language like this to describe the work of Jesus:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:1-9)
That’s right. This is a metaphor of what Jesus is going to do. When we get to heaven and look back over all of human history, we will see that humanity was getting worse and worse, and moving closer and closer to death right until the moment that Jesus shows up. And then, by requesting help from him, we will see that the entire world from that point forward recovers and is reunited to eternal life.
That’s the NEXT LEVEL S**T in the gospel of John.
Conclusion and Next Post
Now, if you are a pastor coming across this, you are free to use these insights in your sermon. After all, I did not come up with these ideas. Jesus did. I’m just the nerd who understood them. However, if you do use these points, I just ask that you cite to me and my blog.
Next up, we’re going to talk about the healing at the pool on the Sabbath, because it’s complicated.
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It’s a stretch, but I like it. You drew the distinction between signs and miracles but never fully clarified the distinction. Are you suggesting that miracles are signs without metaphoric/allegoric significance? Are you familiar with Tim Mackie? This is Tim Mackie (the Bible nerd) stuff. Thanks.
With all due respect, you probably were not the first person to recognize all the possible allusions. Of course tying all the elements together is your composition and as valid as any other work discussing possible allusions.
Around the world, every year, bible students are writing literally millions of papers that explore different allusions. They have also been doing this for about 2000 years. There are also thousands of published commentaries covering these aspects as well as innumerable sermons touching on these points.
I say this because some of the allusions are already known by your readers. Again, I am not saying you are using someone else’s work, what you wrote is your composition but elements were seen by others before you. There is hardly anything truly new in biblical commentary.
A good piece with some stretching here and there is my opinion. I look forward to the rest. God bless.
I have heard the connection of the stone jars so many times that I don’t know who to cite the original thought to. But I have never seen the translation of Jesus’s words as the one I have done. That one is original (at least to my knowledge). I have also never seen the connection made to the garden of Eden either on the first or the second sign.
If you know anyone else who has put that forward, please pass it along.
But as for me? I have no idea who has done so. That’s why I think it is original.
I cannot cite another on your translation and am happy to give you that one. When Jesus refers to His mother as”woman” I have a post that covers this citation as being reference to Gen. 3.15, although my application was different than yours.
Mary knew what the “woman” reference meant and she knew it referred to her. Also, Mary knew Jesus had a doomed earthly life but would triumph in the end, maybe not all the details but she knew He was the Lamb of God as did John the Baptist. The “woman” term Jesus used for her was a gentle reminder of His mission. Mary also knew He would crush the serpent in the end after and not simultaneous with His first appearance.
Luke’s material (although you are writing about John) could only have come from Mary. She was totally cognizant of her Son’ role though she may have wavered slightly a time or two. It surely still hurt her to see her Son suffer though.
I don’t think I have much to disagree with there. I think you’re right. I also think you’re right on the connection to “woman,” which I won’t claim to be my own (even though I didn’t pick it up from anyone). Jesus calls many women “woman,” and so it’s not THAT obvious or important, but clearly a thing.
The only part I think is truly original is the translation of “what to you to me?” I think it means “What do we do?” I do think that is original, because there are a surprising number of ways to translate that verse, but I’ve never seen it put that way, even though there is good reason to do so (due to the verb that Mary uses in her response and the way it just FITS with the story).
I thought the wine connection to the garden of Eden was good and the Royal official’s sick son was valid. These are valid allusions but can’t be definitively proven and you may want to modify them slightly in the future to add other insights. I heard a sermon today with several allusions which I had not really thought of but some were tenuous and therefore I couldn’t really hang my hat on them so to speak. I think your allusions are better and am considering reposting them.
Personally, I wish you were slightly more serious and would drop the entertaining memes. But it’s your style and choice. Perhaps I am just too staid and old but bible truth, if your allusions are correct, can stand on its own.
Bible truths don’t bring clicks. Politics, conspiracy theories, humor, and astrology hashtags being the clicks.
That’s why I bring the memes and slip the Bible truths in!
Rob Plumber of Daily Dose of Greek is going through John right now and has covered John 2.4 already. He has a weekend edition of the phrase you might want to look at.
When I wrote about this incident the focus was on Jesus hour and His supplying wine during His “second hour” in heaven at the wedding feast of the Lamb which Jesus was possibly alluding to in His response to His mother.
I still believe the second hour reference makes more sense than His first hour where He functions as High Priest. The author John brings this to his readers as a way to focus attention on His ministry of Priest and King by introducing the aspect of “hour.”
Rob Plumber said the phrase is a well known Hebraism. I have yet to find the specific video on the phrase on his site. I have asked to make it available.
Oh really? If the Hebraism is well known, why does it get translated so many different ways?
I know it is well known that IT IS a Hebraism, but what the Hebraism means? That is not well known.
Translation is not the best place to look since the committee has history to follow many times. They are not so cutting edge instead consult Greek specialists who have a stake in building or maintaining their reputations. That’s who I would ask persistently. If one answers then they are sticking their necks out and many will do that actually because they really are experts.