April 16, 2017 – April 22, 2017
“His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it” (John 2:5).
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 144–153; Temperance, 97, 98.
“Jesus began the work of reformation by coming into close sympathy with humanity.” The Desire of Ages, 150.
1 THE BEGINNING OF CHRIST’S MINISTRY
- Where did Jesus begin His ministry on the earth? John 2:1, 2.
Note: “Jesus did not begin His ministry by some great work before the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem. At a household gathering in a little Galilean village His power was put forth to add to the joy of a wedding feast. Thus He showed His sympathy with men, and His desire to minister to their happiness. In the wilderness of temptation He Himself had drunk the cup of woe. He came forth to give to men the cup of blessing, by His benediction to hallow the relations of human life.” The Desire of Ages, 144.
- What happened long before the end of the wedding feast? John 2:3.
Note: “It was the custom of the times for marriage festivities to continue several days. On this occasion, before the feast ended it was found that the supply of wine had failed. This discovery caused much perplexity and regret. It was unusual to dispense with wine on festive occasions, and its absence would seem to indicate a want of hospitality.” The Desire of Ages, 145, 146.
2 CHRIST AND HIS MOTHER
- What was the answer of Christ to His mother? John 2:4.
Note: “As a relative of the parties, Mary had assisted in the arrangements for the feast, and she now spoke to Jesus, saying, ‘They have no wine.’ These words were a suggestion that He might supply their need. But Jesus answered, ‘Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come’ (John 2:3, 4).
“This answer, abrupt as it seems to us, expressed no coldness or discourtesy. The Saviour’s form of address to His mother was in accordance with Oriental custom. It was used toward persons to whom it was desired to show respect. Every act of Christ’s earthly life was in harmony with the precept He Himself had given, ‘Honour thy father and thy mother’ (Exodus 20:12). On the cross, in His last act of tenderness toward His mother, Jesus again addressed her in the same way, as He committed her to the care of His best-loved disciple. Both at the marriage feast and upon the cross, the love expressed in tone and look and manner interpreted His words.” The Desire of Ages, 146.
- What did Christ’s mother say to the servants and what is the application of these words today? John 2:5.
Note: “As the guests assemble, many seem to be preoccupied with some topic of absorbing interest. A suppressed excitement pervades the company. Little groups converse together in eager but quiet tones, and wondering glances are turned upon the Son of Mary. As Mary had heard the disciples’ testimony in regard to Jesus, she had been gladdened with the assurance that her long-cherished hopes were not in vain. Yet she would have been more than human if there had not mingled with this holy joy a trace of the fond mother’s natural pride. As she saw the many glances bent upon Jesus, she longed to have Him prove to the company that He was really the Honored of God. She hoped there might be opportunity for Him to work a miracle before them.” The Desire of Ages, 145.
“Christ’s dignity and officework are in imposing such conditions as He pleases. … God has provided divine assistance for all emergencies to which our human resources are unequal.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 414, 415.
3 THE FIRST MIRACLE
- What did Jesus tell the servants at the wedding to do? John 2:6–8.
Note: “Beside the doorway stood six large stone water jars, and Jesus bade the servants fill these with water. It was done. Then as the wine was wanted for immediate use, He said, ‘Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast’ (John 2:8). Instead of the water with which the vessels had been filled, there flowed forth wine.” The Desire of Ages, 148.
- What was the reaction of the governor of the feast? John 2:9, 10.
Note: “Neither the ruler of the feast nor the guests generally were aware that the supply of wine had failed. Upon tasting that which the servants brought, the ruler found it superior to any he had ever before drunk, and very different from that served at the beginning of the feast. Turning to the bridegroom, he said, ‘Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now’ (John 2:10).
“As men set forth the best wine first, then afterward that which is worse, so does the world with its gifts. That which it offers may please the eye and fascinate the senses, but it proves to be unsatisfying. The wine turns to bitterness, the gaiety to gloom. That which was begun with songs and mirth ends in weariness and disgust. But the gifts of Jesus are ever fresh and new. The feast that He provides for the soul never fails to give satisfaction and joy. Each new gift increases the capacity of the receiver to appreciate and enjoy the blessings of the Lord. He gives grace for grace. There can be no failure of supply. If you abide in Him, the fact that you receive a rich gift today insures the reception of a richer gift tomorrow. The words of Jesus to Nathanael express the law of God’s dealing with the children of faith. With every fresh revelation of His love, He declares to the receptive heart, ‘Believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these’ (John 1:50).” The Desire of Ages, 148.
4 THE GOOD WINE
- What type of wine did Christ provide? Isaiah 65:8.
Note: “The wine which Christ provided for the feast, and that which He gave to the disciples as a symbol of His own blood, was the pure juice of the grape. To this the prophet Isaiah refers when he speaks of the new wine ‘in the cluster,’ and says, ‘Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it’ (Isaiah 65:8).” The Desire of Ages, 149.
- What did Christ say, through the wise man, regarding fermented wine? Proverbs 20:1; 23:29–32.
Note: “It was Christ who in the Old Testament gave the warning to Israel, ‘Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise’ (Proverbs 20:1). And He Himself provided no such beverage. Satan tempts men to indulgence that will becloud reason and benumb the spiritual perceptions, but Christ teaches us to bring the lower nature into subjection. His whole life was an example of self-denial. In order to break the power of appetite, He suffered in our behalf the severest test that humanity could endure. It was Christ who directed that John the Baptist should drink neither wine nor strong drink. It was He who enjoined similar abstinence upon the wife of Manoah. And He pronounced a curse upon the man who should put the bottle to his neighbor’s lips. Christ did not contradict His own teaching. The unfermented wine which He provided for the wedding guests was a wholesome and refreshing drink. Its effect was to bring the taste into harmony with a healthful appetite.” The Desire of Ages, 149.
“Let every soul remember that he is under sacred obligations to God to do his best for his fellow-creatures. How careful should everyone be not to create a desire for stimulants. … Many incidents have come to my attention in which through some simple advice, men and women have become the slaves of the drink habit. Physicians are responsible for making many drunkards. Knowing what drink will do for its lovers, they have taken upon themselves the responsibility of prescribing it for their patients. Did they reason from cause to effect, they would know that stimulants would have the same effect on every organ of the body as they have on the whole man. What excuse can doctors render for the influence they have exerted in making fathers and mothers drunkards?” The Review and Herald, May 29, 1894.
5 CHRIST AT SOCIAL GATHERINGS
- What objectives were achieved through Christ’s presence at the wedding feast at Cana? John 2:11.
- What did Christ demonstrate through His ministry? Matthew 11:29.
Note: “The ministry of Christ was in marked contrast to that of the Jewish elders. Their regard for tradition and formalism had destroyed all real freedom of thought or action. They lived in continual dread of defilement. To avoid contact with the ‘unclean,’ they kept aloof, not only from the Gentiles, but from the majority of their own people, seeking neither to benefit them nor to win their friendship. By dwelling constantly on these matters, they had dwarfed their minds and narrowed the orbit of their lives. Their example encouraged egotism and intolerance among all classes of the people.
“Jesus began the work of reformation by coming into close sympathy with humanity. While He showed the greatest reverence for the law of God, He rebuked the pretentious piety of the Pharisees, and tried to free the people from the senseless rules that bound them. He was seeking to break down the barriers which separated the different classes of society, that He might bring men together as children of one family. His attendance at the marriage feast was designed to be a step toward effecting this. …
“A Jewish marriage was an impressive occasion, and its joy was not displeasing to the Son of man. By attending this feast, Jesus honored marriage as a divine institution.” The Desire of Ages, 150, 151.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What spiritual fruits did Christ’s miracle at Cana bear?
2 What is the significance of Christ’s words to His mother: “Woman, what have I to do with thee?”
3 Why did the governor of the feast show surprise?
4 What wine is appropriately a symbol of Christ’s blood?
5 What was Jesus’ purpose in being present at social gatherings?
Copyright © 2016 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.