« EelmineJätka »
life, and of the age He introduced, is thus struck, and the sound is gladness—life the stream of which is preeminently joy, and its service distinguishingly song. Set by John in the commencement of the narrative of our Lord's public ministry, the miracle in Cana seems to say, 6. This the Christ comes to do, to give life more abundantly life, moreover, which in its first outflow shall have its course here on earth, and among the relationships and obligations of this present state of being; sweetening, elevating, beautifying all, and making everything that this world still enjoys from God shine and sparkle with a new delight."
By this beginning of miracles the evangelist informs us the glory of Jesus was manifested forth. It was his glory as the Divine Saviour that was so displayed—the glory of power and grace. The voice which speaks in this great work of wonder is obeyed by the very forces of inanimate nature, and it speaks to bless. It is not surprising that the disciples, to whom had been so recently promised the vision of opened heavens, and of angelic ministers to wait on the Son of Man, should feel that here He shows Himself attended with more than the mightiest of created energies, and should anew, with confirmed persuasion and deepened impression, confess Him, in Nathanael's language, as the Son of God and King of Israel. Oh, may the Spirit of truth lead us on in our meditations on this first story of miracle, so that we also may see in it the glory of Jesus, and believe on Him; if never before, then now; if before like the disciples, then now like them with a fuller, closer, and more loving reliance than ever.
It was on the third day from the date of Nathanael's confession of his Lord that Jesus, accompanied by his disciples--probably those five mentioned in the foregoing chapter-arrived in the course of his northwari journey at the little town of Cana of Galilee. There is a
village still bearing this name (Kâna-el-Jelîl), about eight or nine miles from Nazareth, which, in all probability, is to be identified with the place named in the Gospel. On the day mentioned there was a marriage in the town, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, was there; not simply as an invited guest, however, but as a relative, probably, of one or other of the parties, and entrusted with hospitable charges on the occasion; for her position, from the narrative of what occurred at the feast, was evidently one of some responsibility. She could not otherwise have had knowledge of the exhaustion of the stock of wine or have expressed so much concern about it. On her account, we might say, Jesus was invited to the festival; but on his account, his disciples were also called. It is not likely that all of them could be acquainted with the family of the bridegroom or bride so as to be included in the circle of guests on their own account. Jesus must therefore have been known as having begun to teach and attract disciples to himself. We may
therefore say that not solely for his relationship to Mary, but as one whom the parties desired to honour, his presence was sought at the nuptial festival. Thus viewed, the invitation
. to Jesus is a pleasing indication of their characters. Happy are those who desire Christ's company in their seasons of joy! But will the Master go to a wedding? Had the question been proposed of the Messiah beforehand, it is probable that the answer by most of us would have been, "No."
The fact that even with the example of the Saviour before their eye, his professed followers should, in so many cases, have judged ascetic seclusion to be a higher and holier life than active discharge of social duties, betrays the tendency to mistake on this head lying in the human heart. It is hardly questionable that antecedently we should have concluded that the Messiah would come as his forerunner, and his walk, by remoteness from common ways, be a protest against the frivolities of time. But no,
the Son of Man came eating and drinking, came to meet and vanquish evil as it insinuates itself to us in the ordinary affairs of daily life, and to show how that every-day life may and should be holy to the Lord. So we find Him at the nuptial feast, doubtless as at other times, carrying with Him the sacredness of his own Loly presence, and engaging in the work of his heavenly Father; but mingling with men even in their festive hours, and sanctioning, by a new and signal honour, his own institution of marriage. The seducing spirits, predicted to arise, that should " forbid to marry” have sufficient answer in this simple fact.
The wedding festivals of those times were prolonged for days. After the feast on the present occasion had been held for some time, the stock of wine failed. Possibly a greater number of guests than had been expected eventually attended. It seems no improbable conjecture that the presence of Jesus had attracted many, and that Oriental hospitality had given all a welcome. No store of wine had been provided for so large a company, and the supply became exhausted. In this emergency Mary applied to Jesus. She did so evidently in expectation that He would be able to aid. But how could that be? He could purchase no fresh store for them. The conclusion seems just, that she expected miraculous interference; and if so, we may further infer that Jesus had previously in some way indicated to his mother that He should begin to manifest his glory on this very occasion. He had probably conferred on her the privilege of knowing beforehand that mighty signs were to accompany his appearing to Israel, and that the series was about to begin. Now, therefore, she thought with herself, is a fitting opportunity for his wonder-working power; and in the spirit of expectation she went to Him saying, “ They have no wine."
Our Lord's reply is very remarkable. In regard to the question, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" it
would be equally erroneous to conclude that it conveys no reproof, and to regard the reproof contained as harsh and
There is no reproach in the term, “Woman.” It was a common title of address to persons of the greatest distinction, quite as respectful as "Madam" or "Lady" among ourselves. If it were needful to prove this, surely it would be enough to remember that when Jesus from the cross was commending his mother to the care of his beloved disciple, he employed in speaking to her this very compellation ; “Woman," He said, “behold thy son."
.' Further, to remove the idea of harshness from the words of our Lord, it should be noted that the reproof was not felt by Mary to be repulse. Yet, gentle and faithful reproof there was. The question, which should rather be rendered, What hast thou to do with me? (see Luke iv. 34, where also read preferably, What hast thou to do with us ?) conveyed an intimation to Mary, that as a public teacher, Jesus, though her son, was not under her authority, nor needed He suggestions from her. He had been subject to her long, and listened with filial love and reverence to her counsels, but now that subjection had ceased; or rather, could never have extended to the work He came to do in his Father's name, as the Prophet and Priest of Israel. Jesus, therefore, claims to be sole Judge of the fitting season for working his wonders before men. "Mine hour,” He said, meaning the time He had fixed on as the
, proper moment, “is not yet come.” For that time Mary should have waited, assured that it would be the bestneither late nor premature. How prone are God's children, even where his promise gives undoubted assurance of seasonable help, to urge Him in childlike impatience to hasten intervention. How important is the counsel,- “Wait on the Lord." When our
“Mine hour is not yet come,” the word
appears to indicate a purpose to help at the proper
moment. Undoubtedly Mary, from that word or some other not here recorded, or from the Speaker's look, gathered the sure expectation of his timely interposition, for she immediately gave directions to the servants to observe his commands; herself, meanwhile, ceasing to suggest or recommend aught to Him, but thoughtfully adding this new saying to those others she had long laid up and pondered in her heart. What interval of time elapsed before the Lord addressed the sertants, we are not informed; but as, doubtless, on the one hand, He interposed before the failure of the wine could be discovered by the guests, 80, on the other, He did so at the moment when it should be most impressively shown that the help rendered was from God. The mode of interposition, also, made this clear. No possible room is left by the account for thought of collusion, or contrivance, or illusion. All is done calmly, deliberately, in the presence of sufficient witnesses, nay, by their hands, so far as hands can do it; and the result is attested by public and, so to say, official declaration. There lay at hand six large stone vats, used for the various ablutions practised by the Jews, capable of containing, in our measure, some twenty gallons apiece. These our Lord directed the servants to fill with water, and they filled them to the brim; and as they finished their task, they could all see that nothing but water was there, and that there was no room for introducing aught else. Then the Master said, “Draw out now, and bear to the governor of the feast,” an elected guest, or appointed upper servant, whose duty it was to see the tables provided and the company entertained--to exercise, in short, the hospitality of the house. Observe that our Lord does not describe beforehand the miracle to be wrought. He only, by bidding the servants bear to the governor of the feast, indirectly suggests the impending change. But as the servants drew, the pure water reddened into wine; and