Jesus' First Miraculous Sign.

Spiritual and Theological Considerations

John's Gospel was written to persuade unbelievers and build the faith of new Christians. John records 7 major signs of Jesus' ministry. The purpose of Jesus' signs and John's purpose in recording them is that those who see will believe.

A subtheme of the book through these signs is the concept of newness. Jesus makes new wine, talks about new worship, the new creation and new birth, new water, and new life. In response, the book's audience is prompted to be thankful for new life or convicted that they need to be made new.

The first sign (recorded in John 2:1-11) happens 7 days after John the Baptist's declaration about Jesus. It takes place at a wedding. Though weddings are not sacraments that earn grace or salvation, marriage is God's institution. Any culture seeking to change or undo it will suffer consequences.

The fact that Jesus changed water into wine echoes a theme from the prophets, signaling the coming of a Messianic age.


This incident begins a new section in the book of John. Jesus' public ministry lasted 3 years and is described in John 3-12.

The place of the event is Cana of Galilee (verse 1). This was a small town in a small area. There are no surviving ruins, but historians estimate the population was under 100. The nearby area of Nazareth (Jesus' hometown) housed about 500 people.

The people of the gathering (verses 1-9) include Jesus' mother Mary and her family. She may have been an organizer or coordinator of this wedding. She was probably widowed by now, but was evidently involved in her community. Jesus and 5 of his disciples (John, Peter, Andrew, Nathanael, and Philip) were also invited. Jesus was liked in his community and likely had been caring for his mother as the oldest son since Joseph passed away. He perfectly followed the Law as he lived in this small town.

The process of provision is described in John 2:3-10. Jewish weddings at this time occurred after a one-year engagement. The groom's family paid for a week-long celebration, and the bride's family could sue them if any aspect fell short. Running out of wine would bring shame and conflict for all sides. Mary saw the problem and went to Jesus, seeking the perfect wisdom that she had recognized him to have throughout his life. She was confident he would solve it.

Jesus responded to Mary respectfully. His relationship with his mother would change when he started his public ministry. The "hour" he referred to was the time of his suffering and resurrection. This sign was not completely public so that an outcry to kill him would not come too soon. The groom got the credit for the new wine, not Jesus. Very few people knew what actually happened, and the celebration continued.

The miracle had a spiritual purpose, given in verse 11: that Jesus' glory would be manifested and that his disciples would believe in Him. This was the beginning of the preparation of the faith of those who would follow Him.

Practical Application

Jesus' initial evangelism was on a very small scale. Only the servants knew what miracle had occurred. Our evangelism should start at the personal level before it becomes corporate.

Don't despise doing small things that have spiritual value. God uses every act of service.

Mary's admonition to the servants, "Just do whatever Jesus says," is a great reminder to us as well. Simple obedience is a sign of saving faith (2 John 1:6).

Jesus' heart melts at a human cry for help. Mary went to Jesus privately because she knew He would help. Jesus will answer your cry when no one else does. He gives us Himself and even more in His Word and His body, the church.

Relationships are maintained when doing God's will.

This miracle had spiritual purpose not only for the immediate onlookers, but also for us who read about it centuries later. You can know the glory of God through Jesus' help, and your faith can be strengthened.