John 2 (NRSV)
Matthew, Mark, and Luke are knows as the three synoptic gospels. Synoptic means “see-together” and the first three gospels present Jesus’ life in pretty much the same format. The first three gospels focus more on what Jesus taught and did; John focuses more on who Jesus is.
John shows us who Jesus is by highlighting seven signs (miracles) of Jesus. Six of these miracles are not mentioned in the first three gospels.
John shows us who Jesus is by allowing Jesus to speak for Himself in seven dramatic I Am statements.
John shows us who Jesus is by calling forth witnesses who will testify about the identity of Jesus. Four of these witnesses speak in the first chapter alone.
The Wedding at Cana
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
4And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”
5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it.
9When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
These few paragraphs on prayer, from the classic book on prayer by the Norwegian theologian Ole Hallesby (1879-1961), have done more to inform my prayer life than any other teaching. I hope they will help you, too.
by O. Hallesby
The Spirit of prayer would teach us that we should disregard the question as to whether the fulfillment of our prayer is hard or easy for God. What we think or do not think about this, has no bearing on the hearing and answering of prayer. Not only that; it has a blighting and destructive effect upon our prayer life, because we waste our strength on something which is not our concern, and which our Lord has never asked us to be concerned about.
This secret of prayer became very plain to me once many years ago as I was reading the delightful little account of the wedding in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11). Jesus, His mother and His disciples were bidden to the wedding. In all likelihood the family was closely related to, or very friendly toward, the family of Jesus. At least, we notice that the host and hostess had acquainted the mother of Jesus with the embarrassing situation which had arisen when the wine had given out.
Whereupon the mother of Jesus reveals herself as a tried and true woman of prayer.
In the first place, she goes to the right place with the need she has become acquainted with. She goes to Jesus and tells Him everything.
In the next place, notice what she says to Jesus. Just these few, simple words, “They have no wine.” Note here what prayer is. To pray is to tell Jesus what we lack. Intercession is to tell Jesus what we see that others lack.
In the third place, let us notice that she did nothing more. When she had told Jesus about the need of her friends, she knew that she did not have to do any more about it. She knew that she did not have to help Him either by suggesting what He should do or anything else. She knew Him and knew that this need had been left in the proper hands. She knew Him. She knew that He Himself knew what He wanted to do.
She knew also that she did not have to influence Him or persuade Him to give these friends a helping hand. No one is so willing to help as He is!
In the fourth place, let us notice that when the mother of Jesus had presented her petition, she had done her part. As far as she was concerned she was through with the matter; she had left it with Him. She was no longer responsible, so to speak, for the embarrassing situation. The responsibility had been placed upon Jesus. It was now up to Him to find a way to help the beloved host and hostess.
She had never before seen Jesus turn water into wine. Therefore she likely did not even think of this way out of the difficulty. It is a question if she, on the whole, even thought about this aspect of the situation. She knew Him well and that He was never at a loss as to what to do. As a rule the way out of difficulty which He chose came as a surprise to her. At least, that was something which did not concern her and in connection with which she did not have to waste any time or effort.
Here is one who truly prays right!
I think we can all see how different our prayer life would be if we would only learn this aspect of the holy art of prayer, with which the mother of Jesus was so familiar.
11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
The Franciscan Wedding Church at Cana is small. Inside, the church has two levels. The upper church has a chapel surmounted by a simple dome. Six stone water jars are placed above the altar, as a reminder of the miracle Jesus worked here. The lower church has a chapel and a small museum with artifacts from the site, including a winepress, a plastered cistern, and vessels of various dates.
12After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days.
Water into wine in chapter 2 and living water coming in chapter 4 . . .
HERE is “Let Your Living Water Flow,” written by John Watson and performed here by Vinesong Music. One listen and the song will be in your mind for the rest of the day!
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
13The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
The Passover was one of the three holy feasts for which observant Jews were expected to journey to Jerusalem. Passover, Tabernacles, and Weeks (Pentecost) are explicitly mentioned in the Old Testament as feasts to be held in Jerusalem (Leviticus 23), and John’s Gospel locates Jesus in Jerusalem for Passover (John 2:13; 6:4; 11:55) and for Tabernacles (John 7:10), as well as for the Feast of the Dedication (Hanukkah — John 10:22). It is possible that he refers to Pentecost (see the reference to “a festival” at John 5:1). So John understands Jesus to be an observant Jew who regularly journeys to Jerusalem for the festivals. This fact alone explains some of the back-and-forth nature of the geographical features of the Gospel.
–Mark A. Matson
14In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
18The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?”
19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
23When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. 24But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.
1) Why is it, do you think, that many of us feel we must help God to fulfill our prayer by giving him suggestions about what/when/where/why/how to do it?
2) Or why do we think prayer is to be used (more or less) to command God to do our bidding?
3) Do either of these questions encourage you to examine and improve your own attitudes towards prayer, and your prayers themselves?
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.