The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

My Notes On John 2:1-12, The Wedding Feast At Cana

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 16, 2010

The following is a re-post of an earlier entry and has been modified slightly.  It is not an exposition of the text but rather an overview of the context and structure. I have also posted verse by verse notes on the text here. Both post are included in this week’s Resources For Sunday Mass, which contains a number of online resources relating to the wedding at Cana. The structural outlines below are based upon those found in THE GENIUS OF JOHN by Peter F. Ellis.

Outline: Note the color-coded/structural parallels.

A1)  2:1-2 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there; and Jesus was also bidden, and his disciples, to the marriage.

  • B1)  2:3-5 When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, “they have no wine.”  And Jesus saith unto her, “Woman, what have you to do with me?  Mine hour is not yet come.”  His mother saith unto the servants, “whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
  • C)    2:6-8  Now there were six waterpots of stone set there in accord with the Jew’s manner of purifying, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.  Jesus saith unto them, “fill the water pots with water.”  And they filled them up to the brim.  And he saith unto them, “draw some out now and take it to the steward of the feast.”  So they took it.
  • B2)  2:9-10 And when the steward of the feast tasted the water now made (Gr. ginomai) wine, and knew not whence it was from (but the servants that had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast calleth the bridegroom, and saith unto him, “Every man sets out first the good wine; and when men have drunk freely, then that which is worse; but you have kept the good wine until know.”

A2)  2:11-12 This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.  After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples; and they abode there not many days.

Notice how the A1 and A2 sections parallel one another.  Both narrate a change in place, involving going to (A1) and away from (A2) Cana of Galilee. Each movement is associated with a short period of days.  Jesus, his mother, and the disciples are mentioned.

In B1 and B2 parallels are seen between wine and servants.

This sort of reverse parallelism is known as “concentrism”, “complex inclusion-conclusion narrative,” or “concentric circle presentation,” and it is a very popular literary device in Johns Gospel and the Bible as a whole.

The center around which the parallels are built (the “C” section, vss 6-8) often provide and interpretive key to the overall narrative.  In this case, the “C” section is what scholars call  “command and compliance narrative.”  Jesus issues a command and it is fullfilled.  The result of this is that the servants “know” where the good wine came from and the “disciples” see manifested Jesus’ glory and believe in him.

As I noted in a previous post, 2:1-12 forms the second part of a broader literary unit, 1:19-4:3, which itself is concentrically arraigned:

A1. ( 1:19-51) The WITNESS of the BAPTIST and the call of the first DISCIPLES.

  • B1. (2:1-12) WATER MADE (Greek: GINOMAI) wine.  MOTHERDO whatever HE tells you.  Jars filled “TO THE BRIM” (Gr.  ANO=literally “ABOVE“)
  • C.   (2:13-25)   Jesus purifies temple.  Speaks about the destruction of His temple/body.
  • B2  (3:1-21) A man must be BORN (Gr. GENNAO) from ABOVE (Gr. ANO) of WATER and Spirit rather than again by his MOTHERDOING DEEDS in                                         the LIGHT (parallels HE in B1).

A2  (3:22-4:3) The BAPTIST gives a second WITNESS.  This is motivated by the fact that Jesus is making more DISCIPLES than the BAPTIST

Notice how the Cana episode, where water is literally “born” into wine, parallels the discourse to Nicodemus about rebirth through water and Spirit.  Only those who do whatever Jesus tells them to do (2:5), who come to Jesus the light (1:4-5), and do deeds in the light (3:19-21), can understand where the good wine of a new life comes from.  Those who are reluctant to come to Jesus cannot understand this (3:10-11).

2 Responses to “My Notes On John 2:1-12, The Wedding Feast At Cana”

  1. […] Knowability, Essence, and Attributes, Part 1, Chapter 1Putting One Billion Dollars Into PerspectiveMy Notes On John 2:1-12, The Wedding Feast At CanaAquinas' Homily Notes On The GospelSpiritual Thought: January 5th « Spiritual Thought: […]

  2. […] Posts My Notes On John 2:1-12, The Wedding Feast At CanaAn Online Video Study of the Gospel of JohnNotes On 1 Corinthians 4:1-6 by Fr. Charles CallanPrayers […]

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