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Jesus’ First Miracle: Water to Wine Seems A Strange One

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I'm on some sort of Jesus vibe today and have been pondering Jesus' coming out miracle if you will. As documented in the Bible (John 2:1-11), Jesus' first miracle occurred at a wedding.

Jesus, his mom, and his disciples were at a party at the Galilean village of Cana for a wedding (I suppose you could say the JC posse was in the house). The wine ran out.

They set six "very large stone water-jars" on the floor, each holding twenty gallons, and filled them "to the brim" with water. Jesus said take some to the MC. They did, he tasted it, and it was all good. The man called out to the bridegroom, "Everybody I know puts his good wine on first and then when men have had plenty to drink, he brings out the poor stuff. But you have kept back your good wine till now!"

Fair enough — I guess the women weren't tipping it back, I suppose if they couldn't be priests back then it stands to reason they shouldn't be able to drink. It's clear that at this point in the party it's standard to bring out the swill. This cat must have already have run through all his swill because they were out, or perhaps he hadn’t bought swill at all, which means that it was really time to get that party started because people were getting drunk.

Jesus saved the day by turning 120 gallons of water into wine to drink.

I was thinking, isn't that sort of an unusual coming out miracle? Serving good wine to a bunch of people who already had plenty to drink? Consider that his second miracle was the healing of an official's dying son.

Here's the thing: yes, it was a miracle that he apparently changed the water into wine. It's also a miracle that it was the good stuff. Who knows how knowledgeable an already wined up palette actually is (I'm sure it was not the inspiration for the movie Sideways or anything like that), but that is somewhat beside the point.

What if he had turned the water into mediocre wine, you know like bargain basement stuff. Would it still have been a miracle or would it have become an urban legend or just a really cool parlor trick?

I do not doubt that it happened; I’m sure it did. I'm not even suggesting it's not a miracle. It was for that time period. I'm wondering why a religion of the scope, size, and shear power of Christianity and all it's wonderful derivations would publicly celebrate serving great wine to already inebriated wine guests as the miraculous coming out party. And that at said party, we're relying on accounts that were either delivered first hand or validated by people, many of whom woke up hungover the next day.

Interesting fodder for the imagination, eh?

Cheers!

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About Tim

  • nugget

    To a Christian who thinks alcohol is the devil I’d imagine it causes some brain synapses and repressive instincts. You know, one of those “we don’t talk about that” sort of things.

    to a Christian, (like me), who doesn’t give a flying fuck….well that just makes Jesus all that much more flippin’ awesome.

    Also, Christ didn’t walk around to reprimand the reprobates and strike down the disorderly inebriated sinner folks. I reckon he was just having a good time.

    Either way, I’m sure the James Dobson/Jerry Falwell sheep have trouble with this one. I don’t because I’m fucking brilliant, handsome, and carry around too much christian pimp juice to worry about the resident agnostic’s “quibble” with such a “fodder.”

  • nugget

    strike “a” in last sentence.

    good piece, though. Made me loler some.

  • http://ttblogs.typepad.com/ Tim Taylor

    Nugget,

    I really like your comments about the repressive instincts designating it one of those “don’t talk about it things”.

    I completely agree with you about Jesus not walking around in order to strike anyone down. His miracles don’t change the way I feel about him.

    To me, he was one of many examples of the eternal and abundant reality that every one of us is pure love.

    Thanks for both of your comments, I laughed quite a bit writing it and have laughed talking about it with friends.

  • nugget

    I guess the responses are limited on this article because no one wants to talk about Jesus being hip with the drunks. ”

    “Jesus was a fascist, totalitarian, masochistic LIAR!!! REMEMBER??? But I think some of the things he said are very nice!”

    The beauty of the “Jesus is cool” double standard is that if you don’t believe he’s divine, how the fuck could you not say that he was one delusional idiot and anything that came out of his mouth had the collective credibility of a middle school locker room???? I dunno. There’s nothing relative about it. He was either one thing or the other.

  • eric kramer

    the symbolism behind the wine steward’s saying “usually serve the best wine first… but you have saved the best wine for last”,
    Jesus was saved for last, the people were given the prophets and teachers first but the best teacher, Jesus, was saved for last.

  • Donnie Marler

    I think he did it to save the host the humiliation of admitting he was out of wine. It was considered very poor manners in those days to short the guests of hooch.

  • STM

    Mate, I wish Jesus had been at my place last Friday night when the grog ran out. There was a near riot.

    He’s welcome any time, too. But can he turn empty plates into pizza at 2am, though??

    My gut feeling is yes … I suspect he can do anything if he’s asked nicely.

  • http://www.myspace.com/paulwright Paul Wright

    I have been wondering about the absurdity of this first miracle lately as well. Not that it is not believable but because it seems unusual that Jesus would provide more wine for a party of peeps that already had a lot to drink. Although it doesn’t say Jesus or his disciples were drinking – although they were fishermen and probably knew how to throw back some two buck chuck. It is symbollic however that Jesus would replace the old laws of Judaism with a new “wine” (his blood) and the forgiveness of sins. In any case, I love learning about God drinking Shiraz/Cab from Southeast Australia. Great article!

  • Flavourflav

    It was normal in those days to purify water with wine due to the unhygenic conditions of water of that time.
    Therefore, Jesus didn’t perform the miracle to get people drunk or drunker. In fact, drunkedness was cause for public shame. Jesus performed the miracle to ensure the wedding guests had sufficent liquid to quench their thirsts and continue enjoying the wedding festivities.
    Cheers,
    Flavourflav

  • sr

    Welcome to the cash cab. Please answer the following questions. You win nothing if correct. No cheating please. That would include the internet, Webster’s or whatever.

    According to Genesis the forbidden fruit was an apple,orange or peach?

    Jonah was swallowed by a whale, shark or giant blue fin tuna fish.

    Noha parted what body of water.

    Should you get all three correct stick a gold star on your face.

  • Jay

    re: jesus first miracle.
    what if we had lost the significance of the details in this story because of how we don;t understand jewish culture?
    what if…the jars that JEsus filled with wine, were the ceremonial washing jars of the religiously zealous jews of the day?
    what statement might jesus be trying to make by turning a religious icon into a party tool? hmmmmmm

  • http://25/02/2007 Jimbo

    I really liked it, it helped me with my homework so much because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Thank you so much !!!
    Thank you !!

  • Armando

    Has anyone thought about why this was called his first miracle? Think about the fact that Mary told Jesus to turn the water into wine, and Jesus saying it wasnt his time yet. Obviously, this is the first miracle to us, if we look for documentation, but hidden in this text, is the fact that Mary asked Jesus to do this. If his ministry started at around 30, then Mary must have had a long time with Jesus, to witness beyond a shadow of a doubt of the things he could do, and since we can infer that, then, the real first miracles werent documented at all!!! And for Jesus to say that it wasnt his time yet, then, the miracles that jesus has done previously, were more private, within his own family circle, and werent public. It also shows us, that Mary and Jesus must have had many conversations between the two alone. Mary never documented it, but we all know a mother and child relationship is one where the mother has complete control over the child. With Mary and Jesus, it was more the opposite. Since the age of 12, Jesus bestowed Mary with honor for her position, but he was his own person, who probably had to influence her thinking more than anyone else. He needed her protection, and she needed to believe in him. IF Mary really knew the Jesus was the Son of God from the get go, she would have been satisfied with just his birth, but she had more children after Jesus. So, we can also infer, that it took a long time of witnessing and discussions with Jesus to finally believe…to have enough confidence to tell jesus, above his objections, “Turn the water into wine.”

  • Ashley Munce

    Just to let you know. Jesus turning the water into wine was not just a spur of the moment thing He did. It is deeper then that.

    In Pre-Messiah Jewish Culture, there was a thing called The Age of Water & The Age of Wine. Now The Age of Water, is where humanity is held down and under the Law(Mosaic Covanent) and there is no freedom God, you have a relationship with a ptriest instead of a fatherly God. However the Age of Wine was said to comence at the arrival and fulfillment of the Messianic Prophecy(Jesus living and Dying) It brings freedom into religon,the new Age brings an intimate relationship with God, not a formal one with a priest.

    So when Jesus did this He was signaling that He was the Messiah and that this new Age was here.

  • Charles

    God Knows your heart and this is good, because the truth will set you Free. What Is the Truth??……..

    Jesus Christ

  • Dr Dreadful

    Wine into water miracle: very impressive. I mean, it’s easy enough to do the other way around, but…

  • Dr Dreadful

    Oops, I just buggered up that comment and ruined the punchline. It is of course, the water into wine miracle, which is way more impressive than the other way around!

  • http://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVSermons/DrinkingInTheNewTestament.htm Matt

    Simply, wine in the bible can mean either fermented or nonfermented wine (grape juice).The common word translated as wine “oinos” is grape juice. Only the context can determine the type of wine that’s referred to.

    So in this context Jesus turned the water to grape juice, oinos.

  • Guitarplaya4JC

    I hate to comment on such an old and dying blog, but that last comment there that “Matt” made is the only factual comment in this entire blog related to the water to wine miracle that Jesus performed. He didn’t make anyone drunk, or drunkER. The wine Jesus made was “the best” and it was “fresh, and brand new” Last time I checked wine before it is fermented is merely grape juice. Also, last time I checked nobody is around here getting drunk off of a bunch of smashed up grapes. Keep livin your little fantasy lives about how Jesus “partied” though. Whatever helps you cope with your daily sins, and make you feel like you’re not living in this worldly sin…I guess we’ll see the truth on judgment day when we meet God face to face! All I gotta say to ya’ll is…GOOD LUCK!

  • Covenanter

    Nugget,

    Discipline thy tongue, brother, for you speak with coarse humor and unwholesome, prideful speech.

  • Manzar Masood

    the quran says that his first miracle is to save his mother from flase slander of her peapole! you can refer it in surah (SCRIPTUER) Mariam(MARY)19:30-33
    According to the Qu’ran:
    “[19:27] Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an amazing thing.
    [19:28] O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot.
    [19:29] Then she pointed to him. They said: How can we talk to one who is in the cradle, a young boy?
    [19:30] He spake: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet,
    [19:31] And hath made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and hath enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving so long as I remain alive,
    [19:32] And (hath made me) dutiful toward her who bore me, and hath not made me arrogant, unblest.
    [19:33] Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive!
    [19:34] Such was Jesus, son of Mary: (this is) a statement of the truth concerning which they doubt.
    [19:35] It befitteth not (the Majesty of) Allah that He should take unto Himself a son. Glory be to Him! When He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is”

    The miracle is that he defended his mother as a Infant(Baby) from her accuser’s

  • concerned

    it is very sad to see people who call themselves christians slander the very name of Christ. be careful with the words you use and how you say things, people are looking up to you and you are showing a terrible image of Christ. the bible says -out of the overflow of his heart speaks a man. if all that is coming out of your mouth is cursing, slander, and demeaning towards the Word of God who is Christ Jesus, then what is in your heart? Jesus did turn water into wine and it was his first miracle. that is what the Bible says. He did NOT make anyone drunk or drunker. if that was the case then he would not be perfect or without sin, and therefore could not be our sacrifice.

  • amanda

    wine and ale were largely drunk in those days, much more than water. not sure why. sanitation, maybe.

  • http://ttblogs.typepad.com Tim Taylor

    I’m amazed that nearly 2 years later, this post still generates interest/comments.

  • DJMK

    That God is perfectly ok with the (moderate) consumption of booze to get a happy buzz, please observe that God allowed yayin (wine) and shekar (strong drink!) to be purchased with a TITHE of all things! The joy juice was to be drunk BEFORE the Lord with thanksgiving!! Sounds like a PARTY to ME!

    The Bible says: “You shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or strong drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household,”
    Deut. 14:26

    I have yet to see a reasonable, sound and logical refutation of this scrpture as one that proves that God does NOT condemn booze! And am I confident that I never will. Note that I say REASONABLE, SOUND and LOGICAL?? Ok…nuff said!

  • Ken Durden

    Catholic teaching is that this miracle shows both the unique intercessory role of Mary as his mother and first disciple, and also the change from water into wine prefigures the change from wine into Blood at the last supper. Now, if you don’t believe in those doctrines, then His first miracle carries little significance.

  • Brandy

    He did this miracle because His mother asked him to. ;-)

    Also, people drank wine with meals in those days, not to get drunk. There is nothing to indicate anyone was “inebriated.” I’m unsure the point you are trying to make here though.

  • bliffle

    Beer and wine were often drunk in place of water because the ‘good’ yeasts of fermentation would dominate and repress, sometimes extinguish bad yeasts and bad bacterias. Better to cohabit with a friendly yeast than wait a couple thousand years for Pasteur to invent pasteurization.

    Most of those beers and wines were low alcohol, maybe 3-6%. Beer was well-known among the ancient Sumerians.

    So, turning water into wine was a health boon as well as a taste treat.

  • JamesD

    Hello All – I see this thread is very old but keeps getting added to so I wish to put forth my opinion that I did not see from anyone else.

    This miracle is much deeper and shows the awesomeness of God as I believe it’s a direct correlation to the creation of earth and how it “appears” to be very old but if you truly believe God’s word, it can’t be.

    What is the best wine? A wine that has been aged properly for a long time!

    Jesus turned water into a wine that had the characteristics of being a very fine old/aged wine. Can’t be done in a split second by us mortals, what a miracle!

  • chalant

    Many Christians will argue that it wasn’t alcoholic wine, that it was unfermented grape juice. I don’t buy that, because once someone has had alcoholic wine, Grape Juice would not be the ‘better’ stuff after wards.

    But that’s their take on it…

  • Brunelleschi

    What a waste of time.

    Miracles are myths.

    Its just another dumb story told by a cult to gain followers.

  • Laura

    @ Brunelleschi

    “just another dumb story told by a cult to gain followers”. Why don’t you read up a little on the history of Christianity (there is a history, you know- not only just a ‘religion’, much like that of the Ancient Greeks and the Mongols). Making comments like this simply shows how much you don’t know or don’t care to know, which is even worse in my opinion.

  • STM

    What’s wrong with turning water into wine?

    Wish I could do it :)

    What would you prefer guys, water into orange juice?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Water into wine really was impressive, I have to say.

    It’s easy enough the other way round, but…

  • Jordan Richardson

    Its just another dumb story told by a cult to gain followers.

    Kind of like American history in general, with its inflated notions of heroism and the “Founding Fathers” in all of their unsullied glory.

    “Mythology” exists in all walks of life, not just religions or cults. And in the case of this particular miracle, it isn’t so much the physical act that retains significance for followers of Christ but rather the symbolism that it entails. There are many different interpretations of the act of turning water into wine, many of which aren’t the least bit literal.

    I think discounting this as a “dumb story to gain followers” is a little simplistic, but hell, to each their own.

  • STM

    Jordan: “Kind of like American history in general, with its inflated notions of heroism and the “Founding Fathers” in all of their unsullied glory.”

    Ah, you are one of our long-suffering Canadian brethren, Jordan, right?

    The poor loves south of your border still haven’t worked out that they lost the War of 1812 and that it was a war of aggression waged by the US on British North America and an invasion that unsuccessfully challenged Canada’s right to exist.

    Not, as Americans will tell you, “the second War of Independence”. Such things must be galling for Canadians, who actually the ones to win their independence.

    To be fair though, the opposite is what Americans are taught at school, so where do the faults with these things really lie? Not, I think, with ordinary Americans.

    Blame Hollywood … it’s a phenomenon that’s only really developed in the six decades since WWII. Prior to that, it was just enthusiastic but misguided patriotism, and we’re all guilty of a bit of chest beating and flag-waving now and then.

    Nonetheless, you should never tire of reminding our American brethren that the real clue to it all is in the fact that Canada today is an independent, sovereign nation still proud of its British and French heritage, not half a dozen northern states of the US that are covered in snow for the best of three months a year :)

  • Brunelleschi

    #32 Laura-

    I happen to be very much into biblical history and listen to lectures on it every day while I am on line, when I don’t listen to philosophy.

    What exactly do I not know?

    The miracles you read about from biblical times were legends spread about traveling magic shows like Jesus’. Judea and other regions were crawling with them.

    Read up on Apollonius of Tyana. See if the story sounds familiar.

    Christians today might even be Apollonists if the wind blew in another direction.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Not, I think, with ordinary Americans.

    Certainly not. I have no disdain for the ordinary American, as I married one (well, she’s not ordinary but you get my point).

    She was one of those able to “break free,” in many ways, of the constant propaganda and elected to not buy the Company Line from the textbooks, etc. She often tells me of saying the Pledge of Allegiance every day before school and repeating various rituals that showcase the “glory of America.” Americans worship presidents (I don’t know many Canadians who have a favourite PM or who celebrate politicians all that much) and worship their own history, complete with rituals and ceremonies. It is very much like a religion.

    Hollywood plays a part, too, as the “outside world” is often painted as a dark and dangerous place (shit, look at what happens to Liam Neeson’s daughter in Taken when she goes to fucking Paris of all places!) and America is portrayed as being safe, pure, and all that.

    No, I don’t blame the ordinary American at all. Were I infected with incredible hours of work just to make ends meet, flawed informational sources (“news” networks, etc.), continuous propaganda, distrust of The Other, and rampant Americanism, I’d probably be just as messed up in terms of perspective.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Christians today might even be Apollonists if the wind blew in another direction.

    Paul knew that. Probably why he passed gas so much…

    ;)

  • Brunelleschi

    #34 and #35-

    Political myths are common in every society.

    America was founded by altruistic republicans.

    South Africa was discovered by Europeans first, and local Africans saw what they built and tried to move in and take advantage of it.

    Jesus died for your sins, so you better respect that, or else. Americans have adopted this one and transferred it to its wars-The veterans died for your freedom, and you better respect that, or else..etc.

    Christians demand that you make your pledge to Jesus. Americans demand that you make your pledge to the flag.. Same stuff.

    It’s all political.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Bingo.

  • STM

    We do find rampant American patriotism amusing down here in the South Pacific, where no one would hesitate to use the flag – which IS an icon – as a beach towel if they couldn’t find anything else (I’ve seen it done and it just raised a few laughs). Actual Aussie flag beach towels are pretty popular too.

    Most of us don’t even know the second verse of the national anthem, and most of us have only learned the first dreary verse by hearing our sports teams sing it before international competitions.

    However, we did learn about other places … our modern and ancient history lessons at high school spanned not just the 200 years since white settlement, but the history of the world (including Canada :) going back way beyond even the Roman invasion of Britain.

    Perhaps that’s what American kids need … and some geography lessons.

    It’d all help.

    The truth is, though, until now Americans haven’t needed to know that much about anywhere else.

  • http://ttblogs.typepad.com Tim Taylor

    I absolutely love the fact that this post, going on 3 years old, still gets people to react and converse. Thanks for the comments everyone!

  • bliffle

    IMO the original point was not whether the myth was true, but why the choice of water to wine?

    Why not wood to bread? Why not water to cheese? Why not paper to plastic? Etc.

  • http://ttblogs.typepad.com Tim Taylor

    Actually, the post basically wonders why it’s the first “miracle” when the next one was raising a child from the dead.

    I actually don’t doubt it happened, I just think it’s funny to be his coming out party if you will.

  • Brunelleschi

    I’m curious why any of you think any of those miracles really happened.

  • STM

    I’m curious as to why anyone would think they didn’t, in the absence of anything proving otherwise.

    The fact they might not have happened doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

    I’ll keep an open mind, on this and everything else.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’m curious why any of you think any of those miracles really happened.

    I’m of the opinion that the water-to-wine narrative isn’t meant as a literal narrative. First of all, it takes place in the most suspect of all Gospels, John. It isn’t in any of the other Gospels at all. Also, John describes the act in Greek as semeion or “sign” and not dynamis, which is the term used by the other Gospels in describing “miracles.” So there’s something to John’s purpose and John’s description of this event that probably speaks to a broader and more interesting truth.

    Some believe that John’s account here is just a re-telling of Jesus’ “new wine/old wineskins” saying in the other Gospels, so that’s always a possibility too.

    A non-literal interpretation suggests that they “wanted wine,” but they only had “water.” This can be viewed in a spiritual sense, as if to say that Jesus can turn one’s spiritual water into spiritual wine through re-creation and rebirth. That would have largely been John’s take on Christ and such a thread is infused in most of his accounts in his Gospel, whereas other Gospel writers have other concerns.

    In any case, I think wondering whether the miracles of Jesus really happened simply misses the larger point of what the Biblical authors were attempting to say. In fact, I don’t even know that it matters if Jesus Christ really existed. The core of Christianity as intended by Christ – that of tolerance, compassion, peace, and love – remains intact even if Jesus is no more a reality than Santa Claus. (And before anyone suggests it, I am not saying that Christianity or any other religion invented those principles, but rather that their contextualization and application at such a point in history was unique, much like Islam’s precepts were unique at the birth of that religion).

  • STM

    Jordan: “The core of Christianity as intended by Christ – that of tolerance, compassion, peace, and love – remains intact even if Jesus is no more a reality than Santa Claus”.

    Bingo. And the message has been quite clear throughout the gospels that it was intended to be practised without any conditions attached, which is where some of our fundamentalist brethren fall down a bit.

    Hard for a human being to do but that was the message … perhaps so that we constantly strive to rise above base human nature in a quest to keep doing the next right thing.

  • Brunelleschi

    #47 STM-

    You have got to be kidding! A legend from antiquity claims something that is not possible happened, with no proof at all, and your defense of this is-

    “Prove that the impossible did not happen, other wise, it happened.”

    That is comical.

    In the ancient world, claims of miracles were very common and widespread. They were simply a way to convince someone of what they wanted to say, nothing more. They worked. People kept saying things like that because others believed it.

    I hate to bring up the meme again (assuming you suffered through the 450+ posts in the Iran thread), but think about it…Ideas that “work” spread and evolve.

    Jesus is interesting to study as a philosopher-both in terms of what he really said and did, and what happened afterwards-what his followers passed on and why, and where it went.

    But he was no more divine than Plato or Marx. He just happened to live in a time and place where claims of divinity, backed up by claims of miracles, were typical.

    No philosopher changed history as much as Jesus. This is good and bad, considering how much pain and suffering resulted once the powerful learned to use the movement for its own selfish ends. It’s still going on today.

    I am interested in what he really said and did, in the context in which he lived.

    He was a small time, almost unknown, Jewish preacher in a place that was controlled by an outside empire, managed by a subservient local governor. He opposed this. The Jewish leader’s had to go along or be repressed, and he opposed them too. He said the temple will fall, etc..

    What do you do when you are a bit of a revolutionary, and your foes are so powerful and established? You can’t say you are going to just toss them out. People would laugh. So, you say something is going to happen to bring them all down.

    Jesus was basically an apocalypticist. Historians with no faith motive argue that this is the case (not all of them).

    The message here was that the powers (Rome and the Jewish powers that went along) will fall on their own, and all their money and power will not matter, because god was going to wipe them out and start again, really soon.

    This was good to hear if you didn’t know any better, but it didn’t happen and never was going to.

    He and his followers traveled the rural areas of Judea, spreading this message, rejecting wealth and possessions, and lived off the people they preached to. Hardly anyone knew of him or recorded this at the time. In fact, the historical record of his life is almost nonexistent, except for what was written much later.

    He shows up in Jerusalem during passover, stirred things up with this message, and was crucified as a matter of routine-just one more troublemaker of many eliminated and presumably, forgotten.

    We just don’t know for sure if he really died on the cross. He was flogged before, and only lasted a few hours on the cross before he was declared dead and taken away.

    If he recovered later, it was no miracle. If he did recover and greet his followers, it would not have been the first time this happened. It was rare, but people were declared dead that weren’t and survived. No miracle.

    However, the message that he came back from the dead lasted. This assisted his followers in keeping the message alive, because people believed miracles.

    As the legend spread, people added what they wanted to add.

    We start with a small time apocalypticist who predicted the end of oppression, who said that wealth and power were irrelevant, who was later said to be divine etc..and the next thing you know, he (or his dad) created the universe.

    People didn’t have snopes.com back then to check on it, but that’s quite a story!

    You have to give those gospel writers credit, but its just storytelling, nothing more.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I hate to bring up the meme again

    No you don’t. ;)

  • Brunelleschi

    haha.

    I’m busted.

    All BS aside, does it make sense?

    Did you notice Dave ran away about halfway through my Socrates act in the Iran thread? Bar said I was “poisoning the well.”

    Can you say Socrates did too?

  • STM

    Brunwhatever: “You have got to be kidding! A legend from antiquity claims something that is not possible happened, with no proof at all, and your defense of this is – prove that the impossible did not happen, other wise, it happened. That is comical.”

    Actually, you’re the one providing most of the comic relief around here lately.

    And can I suggest you get you hand off your tonk while you still only need coke-bottle glasses.

    That’s not what I said at all: I said there’s no evidence to prove it either way, and I’m keeping an open mind on that and a plethora of other things including the results of US presidential elections, free tinfoil hats for 9/11 “truthers”, global warming/cooling (which is it?), non-existent South Pacific summer swell patterns, why some Americans seem to have a wire loose between their brains and their mouths (or in this case, their keyboard fingers), time travel, and last but not least, why the only poisonous snakes and spiders I’ve seen lately are in my shed.

    Unlike your good self, that is. You seem to think anything you don’t agree with must be wrong.

    Perhaps you could talk to someone about it.

  • http://ttblogs.typepad.com Tim Taylor

    I’m open to the possibility that this didn’t happen and I believe that it did.

    I believe it because I think that humans have this type of power (and much more) inside of us. It can be accessed if we’re open to it.

    I’m not at the level of consciousness to do it, but I believe that it’s possible.

  • Memelleschi

    Relax.

    Its just silly to even consider assuming the unprovable is even a possibility, or likely. Miracle stories need to been seen in context, just stories from a time when these tales were common.

    There is nothing to “keep the mind open for” unless you plan on miracling yourself a time machine.

  • http://ttblogs.typepad.com Tim Taylor

    I see your point. So I think you’re saying anything that can’t be proven is not possible?

  • Memelleschi

    No.
    It just makes no sense to look back in time to when people made incredible stories up, and then wait for the possibility that maybe they didn’t make it up after all.

    A dragon told me that.

  • STM

    “Unless you plan on miracling yourself a time machine.”

    No miracle. A Qantas 747 flying across the Pacific from Sydney to LA and arriving in LA before you left Sydney.

    Time travel.

  • Jordan Richardson

    There is nothing to “keep the mind open for” unless you plan on miracling yourself a time machine.

    Damn straight. I keep my mind closed up nice and tight, like a vault with no reason to understand history or other cultures.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    So…First, Jordan basically sums up that the New Testament is just a story based on ideology and STM agrees by adding that this ideology should be practiced without conditions. But, even though they both somewhat consider this to be some sort of sham,not the word of an almighty maker, they still jump all over Brunelleschi for calling Jesus'”Liquor Store” miracle a fib.

    *Ahh*… I love religious people. Through a freakin maze of interpretations where no one has any solid answers along with the “personal” savior complex, us non-believers are supposed to keep an open mind or we are thought to be unintelligent!

  • Jordan Richardson

    ey still jump all over Brunelleschi for calling Jesus'”Liquor Store” miracle a fib.

    Interesting. I must have missed the part where I jumped all over anyone…

  • Jordan Richardson

    Btw, I’m not a religious person.

  • Brunelleschi

    Agree.

    I study history every day, switched off the TV a long time ago.

    I’m into the history of philosophy, the historical Jesus (real history, not myth-(see#47, stuff I got from a lecture course by Dr Bart Ehrman), and western civ…

    The more you study this stuff, the more the myths seem silly, but very understandable in their context.

    :)

    A great site to order all kinds of courses

  • Brunelleschi

    Btw, Jordan is my favorite contemporary philosopher.. :)

  • Jordan Richardson

    Bart Ehrman

    Don’t mind his work, really. I do think most of his assertions are based on a rather rudimentary appraisal of “biblical inerrancy” and that he doesn’t leave a lot of room for multiple non-literal/linear interpretations, but he generally does a good enough job at making things interesting.

    But such is the joy/awful torture of textual criticism. I’ve studied it for well over a decade now and am currently more confused on the topic than I’ve ever been.

    I’m more of a Marcus Borg/John Dominic Crossan guy myself.

  • Jordan Richardson

    A great site to order all kinds of courses

    Fucking YES!

  • Brunelleschi

    You get stuff from there too?

    Do you think this site would want to run a review of some of the courses on DVD? I have three so far.

    If I understand your critique of Ehrman.. I think you are saying he just wants to use the most likely accurate info, based on the commonly used 3 criteria, and leave the rest aside?

    Maybe so, but even that is being generous. Some people think Jesus didn’t exist at all. How many philosophers do we study that we have ZERO writings from?

  • Jordan Richardson

    We could argue that he is “being generous,” but he does claim textual criticism as his field after all so I would assume that would be his bone to pick and not ours. In fact, we could almost entirely hold Ehrman responsible for bringing the ages-old idea of textual criticism to the layperson.

    What I mean to say is that Ehrman’s problem is mainly the same as it is with many similar scholars: it is based on the evangelical premise of Biblical inerrancy and is often so steeped in his own background that objectivism is impossible. Ehrman’s approach is often to suggest that the text was deliberately “corrupted,” while this is not always supportable by objective evidence.

    He goes out on a limb and takes the approach that things were “intentionally changed” in the Bible, while most major textual critics – agnostic, Christian, Jew, otherwise – don’t find adequate proof to hold to that opinion.

    Ehrman’s interesting that way. He’ll heap platitudes on someone for their carefulness in transcribing material, like Bengel, but then he’ll flip the script (so to speak) and will start talking about how scriptures were changed intentionally to articulate some other doctrine. In the case of Bengel, for instance, he’ll heap praise on him for his carefulness but then dismisses his objective findings based on his own (Ehrman’s) opinions overriding the scholar’s work.

    In other words, Bart Ehrman does an awful lot of speculating in regards to the motivations of Biblical translators. He also has a desire to characterize everything in the Bible as wholly unknowable due to his interpretation on Biblical inerrancy (that the Bible has to be the literal Word of God and that it was written from God’s mouth, blah blah blah). Ehrman often overstates the case on “errors” in scripture, telling readers and listeners that there are hundreds of thousands of problems with the text, inferring that it can’t be trusted. That makes him a favourite amongst wholesale atheists and agnostics, but scholars tend to disagree with his number-dangling and essentially argue that a very small minority of the “errors” are actually worthwhile and viable for textual criticism of Ehrman’s sort. Most are numerical differences, problems in translation or spelling, and the like. The “intentional errors” he likes to focus on are extraordinarily rare and, in the objective scholarship we currently have available, largely mysterious.

    Even so, I appreciate what Ehrman does in laying out a case. He has brought textual criticism basics to the masses and encourages people to find their own ways to what’s really going on. I guess I just wish he didn’t overstate his case under the guise of an objective textual critic.

  • susan

    You’re totally missing the symbolism of the Bible (ie. Moses turning water into blood; Jesus turning water into wine – wine representing his blood during commumion, etc.)

    Here’s how one article describes the Wedding Miracle:

    Jesus was asked to provide wine for a wedding feast. Why would he say “My time has not yet come?”

    He came into this world to provide the wine for the wedding feast, not at Cana, but for his marriage to his bride, the church. And not just to provide the wine, he came to be the wine, to offer his own blood as the wine for that feast.

    No, his time certainly had not come at the wedding in Cana. But when his time did come, it began in the same way as this chapter, “On the third day a wedding took place.” This time not at Cana, but at the empty tomb.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    As a wine drinker who lives in Israel, I have an opinion or two on all this. As for the “miracle” business, small miracles, like keeping the grog going, are not that uncommon even today. Some rabbis and sages do it even now. I knew of a rabbi who did something similar – keeping the ‘árak going on an empty bottle in Iraq and had quite an number of witnesses to what he was doing. Of all things that are attributed to Jesus this surprises me the least.

    The Book of Kings talks about a feller named Elishá, who was a wandering seer and prophet with a bald head and a bad temper – and most of the miracles you find attributed to Jesus are also found in the Book of Kings – attributed to Elishá.

    But the important issue here is the wine – one writer referred to it correctly – yáyin. The native wine here a couple of millennia ago was pretty sweet, and not all that strong. In addition, it was the common drink to have. But it was a fermented drink that gladdened the heart.

    As for Brunelleschi’s characterization of Jesus, it was pretty much on the mark – a nationalist preacher in a land occupied and corrupted by foreigners who figured he didn’t have a Chinaman’s chance of kicking out the Roman savages. So he came up with Divine Intervention, a concept familiar to Jews of the day. But he evidently had a few things wrong – or his followers mistakenly gave him the wrong lines – because what he said would happen didn’t happen – and still hasn’t. But I leave that for Christians to bother with. It ain’t really my business….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=608032149&ref=profile Alyssa

    when i was reading this passage a couple days ago, i thought deeper into the things that were said, because i’ve never really paid much attention to this, searching for the meaning behind this miracle.
    anyways, what i came up with was this:
    the 6 jars the water was contained in was like the jars used to hold ceremonial cleansing water. priests used this water to bathe with beore they were considered clean to enter into the tent of meeting and offer sacrifices before the Lord, so the water in these 6 jars, brought on cleanness for the priests. in judaism, the number 6 symbolizes man. the fact that it was contained inside the jars, symbolizes that the clean would someday become internalized, however, the “time had not yet come,” said Jesus, foreshadowing the purpose of His existance, to internalize clean and allow us to come into His presence without sin. i was also thinking, why wine? and in the Bible, water symbolizes purity and wine symbolizes joy. so, Jesus brought purity inward, to the heart and soul of a man, and that purity overflows as joy, a joy that others can taste, and is “the best,” saved for last in that all other joys tasted before that are nothing in comparison to the joy brought about by the internalization of the clean that was once only outward. the miracle was a symbol of His ministry and His life and the future of His people.

  • tracie

    I tend to think that this miracle was first b/c it had more to do with his disciples placing their trust in him. I have studied this miracle in depth and am most impressed that Jesus choose to fill 6 imperfect jars with the best that life has to offer. It is also important to know that at this time, he had only called 6 of the 12 disciples. I believe his motives were all about the things already discussed but also about what he can do to a life that chooses to trust in him. What’s in your jar of life? Is it currently empty? Are you full to the brim of water only? Or are you infused with his spirit and living an abundant life that only he can give?

  • Fred

    Sorry to say Manzar but the Quarran isnt exactly biblical. Also at “concerned”: how long has allowing people to get drunk been a sin? The fact that the guy states people normally bring out the good stuff first and then the worse stuff later suggests the “good stuff” is the more alcoholic, numbing the tastebuds so the worse stuff later on still tastes “good”. Im not saying the wine Jesus made was alcoholic but between the lines suggests the better stuff normally was and that the guy who thought it was good probably believed it was alcoholic.

  • Rick

    There are two things here.

    1st Wine vs Strong Drink.

    The bible says to avoid strong drink, but back in those days (before distilling) wine was the strongest drink. Pure wine had a different name, water mixed with wine was called wine. Mixing water and wine was standard then. It purifies the water. In fact it was plain dangerous to drink water back then and mixing it with wine was (and still is) an effective bacteria killer.
    (Personally I like to mix 1/2 cup red wine with 1 cup water 15% wine becomes a nice 5% drink… add ice and sit on the patio)

    2nd This is the important part!!!

    Those jars were the ones used for “ceremonial washing”. They held water used to clean sin. Once wine was in them they were no longer ritually clean and could no longer be used that way. Think about this with respect to the last supper. At the wedding Jesus renders useless the vessels used to clean sin. Instead he replaces it with wine. At the last supper he offers the wine, this is my blood shed for you and for many. The shed blood of Christ is to clean the sin of mankind.

    The miracle at Cana was a forerunner of the crucifiction. The forgivness of sins will no longer be an ongoing ceremonial washing (baptism ?), rather Christ’s sacrifice replaces this with a one time atonement.

  • darrell ballard

    The dud was so drunk he did not know wine from grape juice.Wine is translated different in different places. If jesus were to turn water into liquor, then He would have the woe on himself as it is pronounced on those who put the bottle to his neighbors mouth. Thus He would be a sinner, Which He was Not. Thus only grape Juice.Thank You.

  • darrell ballard

    The magi. was so drunk he would not know that the water was just grape juice .This is the only explanation in view of other scripture condemning drunking wine when it shows color and moves itself around.

  • Christian

    I know this is an old post, but I have to agree with one of the other posters. This may have been Jesus’ first documented miracle, but clearly he had done many other miraculous things for Mary to have faith in him to ask him to make wine on the fly.

    I think it also shows that although Jesus knew he had a gift and a purpose for his life even he wasn’t sure about when his time would start. He thought his time hadn’t come yet, but because turning the water into wine was his starter documented miracle obviously his time had begun.

    I definitely think there is deeper meaning to this scripture and all scriptures for that matter. One message we can take out of this scripture is that even Jesus was unsure about when he should make a move and needed someone he trusted and respected to encourage him to use the gifts God had given him.

  • mellojeff

    The beauty of this is that Jesus had not yet started his ministry and did this at his mothers request. she wanted what a lot of mothers want, a great wedding to remember for the bride. In this time, the good wine went first, then the cheapers stuff came out. lets face it, the first few glasses today are tasted,after that, you’re just drinking to drink and could be drinking draft with little to no idea.
    the more you look into the miracles and study the time in which they were performed, the more you will understand the scope and ramifications of them.

  • Amy

    The water into wine miracle was Christ’s way of foreshadowing what was in store for his ministry on Earth. Wine played a great part in Christ’s ministry. In fact, a glass of wine ended his ministry on earth. At the last supper, he held up a glass of wine and compared it to his blood. The wine at the wedding feast was a wine he created. No doubt it had the flavor of eternity… the flavor of pain and death… Wine must ferment and is made with death and decay.. But the flavor of Christ is beautiful and perfect. The people at the wedding feast were also drinking his body. They didn’t know it, though. As for the water…. Water also played a part in his ministry. With the woman at the well, he compared himself to living water, and said those that drink from him would never thirst again. The wedding feast is far more than a parlor trick, or a Christian “Johnny Apple Seed” tale. It is also not a argument point for whether or not drinking is wrong. People miss the point. It is foreshadowing the life of Christ, the taste of eternity, and the taste of living water.

  • pandit sumit joshi

    According to this chapter what i understand is “Lord jesus Has power to change the water in to wine” in other word He can change every thing our life,situations,or any thing …we need just to reqest Him…

  • Pandit sumit joshi

    turning water in to wine…is Changing the tast of the water. so if we are in christ our tast must be change…means our life style way of living and many more things …its simply mean that new creation in christ…totely change

  • Jane

    This first miracle was performed to bless the holy union of two young people. Plain and simple, God wanted to bless the covenant of marriage in his name. Simple.

  • nitsuj

    There are so many ridiculously arguments on both sides.

    I’m undecided, although it is true that sufficiently alcoholic wine did exist back then, even within the new testament, there are situations of people being called ‘drunkards’, even jesus himself! Google it. I think it was in John.

    As for the old testament in Deuteronomy that allows for strong alcoholic drink, Thats undeniable.

    Or telling an old widow or st timothy that they should have a few drinks of wine.

    The word wine is mentioned 243 times in the new testament. And it’s clear to see, as with above, that its alcoholic.

    The wisest pastors or priests i find say, “im not particularly against it, but i know how it wrecks peoples lives is all”. So perhaps, we need to find caution from within ourselves. Because with religion or not, we’re going to find a way to make an excuse to drink it, if we have addictive and destructive personalties!!

    nitsuj

  • hey

    im suggesting its a true miracle just think if jesus had not done adam and eve we will not be here get it jesus has to many miracles thats true so if we dont belive its like we dont love our creator im just saying and im nine years old see my knoledge because i belive in jesus

  • christ

    i belive in JESUS CHRIST

  • vixi

    LOOOOOL, maybe the scribe who was sipping a little wine got confused and wrote in wine instead of grape. LOOOOLL.

    The other mystery is which CANA town, the one in Lebanon where the actual cave is or Galeli ?

  • Deadly Ernest

    G’day,

    Sorry to be coming in late on this, but a few points to keep in mind.

    In those days most wine did not have as high and alcoholic content as today, and even most drinking water had a little alcohol in it to kill the bacteria or you couldn’t safely drink it after being stored for a few hours. The scriptures have NEVER been down on alcohol, only excessive abuse of it, but various church leaderships have been down on alcohol as they saw it taking money away from the church and also saw the bad drunks did. Mind you, in Christ’s day drunkenness was not as prolific as it is today as few could afford that much alcohol.

    One aspect of this story that is glossed over by the church is the servants would NEVER have spoken to Mary about the wine unless the groom was a son of Joseph her husband or was Joseph marrying another wife – what we have in the Bible today doesn’t say which, but since they saw fit to cut that aspect out I suspect Joseph was getting himself a new wife. In reading the Bible, like all ancient texts, you have to read it in the context of the historical attitudes and behaviours of the time it’s from.

    A third aspect is this is called the first miracle, but Mary already knew he could do it, how come? We are never told the answer to this oddity either. We are simply told the miracle occurred, which it did.

    Regards,

    Ernest

  • Saved by grace

    The point is that in a marriage Jesus can make plain and boring into intoxicating. Praise the Lord ! Even after 2012 years!

  • sheyanale iipinge

    when did jesus change bread into a life body and become blood

  • Paul trieglaff

    I LOOVE this!!!!! At least HALF the posts are from “followers of (a) faith, and almost NONE agree about: what was made, if it was the first miracle or not, or what the intention, motivation, or underlying message/interpretation is!!! I LAUGH at all of you! I am an Athiest who lives by my own moral codes which I have written myself, EVERYONE ONE demanding more of myself than what god or jesus asks of their followers. Religion was created by man and the scriptures were cherry-picked by a vastly ignorant group motivated by marketing.

  • Paul trieglaff

    MY GOLDEN RULE (which I strive, quite successfully, to achieve every day): Treat others better than you yourself. Only when every person is a slave to every other will we all be truly equal. Beat THAT, bible thumpers!!

  • Ky Bux

    Great questions to ponder. And you are right, it makes no sense that the first miracle of the Mesiah–the one who would come to bear the punishment of the world’s sin so as to provide eternal life for humanity–would be to help drunk partiers get even more drunk. On the surface, it seems irrelevent.
    However, there is much more to this story and the more it is read, the more relevant it is to the life of Jesus Christ. I won’t preach via blogging but on a basic level, Jesus loved to have fun. He loved to party. There is much more to this miracle and I suggest checking out a sermon by Tim Keller. It is titled “Lord of the Wine” and Keller explains the miracle and its significance in great detail. Great questions.

  • prayer master

    what is mc

  • kenny smith

    Do you really think this was fermented wine?

  • nancy

    I just read that and had the same question why was wine the first miracle?
    but here’s what I got…unresearched unaffiliated with religion..
    what if Jesus was making a statement about miracles. We think miracles are for the last minute on only the severest of circumstances. What if God is a God who cares about the little things. What if the first miracle was to show us that Jesus enjoys making us smile and to fill us with laughter and joy, to continue in celebration of life and love. The first miracle wasn’t combatting the effects of sin, but rather a choice to lavish richness and abundance where there was lack. They could have lived without wine it wasn’t a necessity, but Jesus doesn’t just only give out of necessity does he. He is bigger and better and his first miracle was perhaps a statement for us that we aren’t getting today. God does miracles on every level, he wants to be included in our minor problems as well as our big ones. We shouldn’t call on him only when we are dying, but also when we are annoyed, tired, bored, ect.. Maybe he wanted to show even “unimportant” things take precedence in his relationship with us. If we understood that maybe he wouldn’t be so far from us..or rather we wouldn’t be so far from him..only calling out to him when we are crumbled under life’s weight. .. anyway that’s just what I got and randomly found your post.

    • phil

      Wow Nancy, that was very insightful and very blessing for me. Thanks for that! :). I also came upon this post randomly btw haha.

    • Tim

      Wow..Nancy, you hit it..no, I’m not the judge or know it all..I’m saying your words are as insightful as Phil says…AND also a ‘witness’ to others..thanks so much…and keep up the Work of the Lord..The Holy Spirit is really something…isn’t it? Shalom!

  • Cindy Baker Stevens

    Interesting topic of discussion even though I believe your take on Jesus’s first miracle is borderline irreverent. Jesus was God in the flesh and I’m sure He was well aware of much people had to drink at the wedding celebration. As to why He chose turning the water into wine as His first miracle, one can only speculate. But I would be careful as to how I speculate and chalk it up to Jesus showing care in our everyday lives. He showed His interest in even the smallest detail of the wedding at Cana that day just as His willingness to help us in our little everyday details is still evident today, when we come to Him in prayer.