John 2:11
Jesus performed this, the first of His signs, at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
Christ At a WeddingJ. C. Jones.John 2:11
Christ's First MiracleH. Macmillan, LL. D.John 2:11
Grace and GloryCharles KingsleyJohn 2:11
His Disciples Believed on HimJ.R. Thomson John 2:11
Jesus... Manifested Forth His GloryJ.R. Thomson John 2:11
Miracles as SignsW. M. Taylor, D. D.John 2:11
The Beginning of MiraclesLightfoot., Bishop Westcott.John 2:11
The Beginning of MiraclesH. Macmillan, D. D.John 2:11
The Beginning of MiraclesD. Young John 2:11
The Beginning of SignsE. L. Hull, B. A.John 2:11
The First MiracleF. W. P. Greenwood, D. D.John 2:11
The First Miracle an Epiphany of ChristCanon Liddon.John 2:11
The First Miracle in Cana -- the Water Made WineAlexander MaclarenJohn 2:11
The First Miracle of Christ the Sneaking Expression of His Life and WorkJ. P. Lange.John 2:11
The Glory of ConquestG. T. Purves.John 2:11
The Glory of the Divine SonF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 2:11
The Glory of the Virgin MotherF. W. Robertson, M. A.John 2:11
The Lesson of EpiphanyBp. Magee.John 2:11
The Manifestation of Christ's GloryBishop Barry.John 2:11
The Miracle as a SignG. T. Purves.John 2:11
The Miracle as a SignJ. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.John 2:11
The Miracle of CanaB. Thomas John 2:11
The Miracles of ChristW. H. King.John 2:11
The Miracles of NatureJ. C. Jones, D. D.John 2:11
The Peculiar Glory of ChristJ. Fawcett, M. A.John 2:11
The Season of EpiphanyJohn Henry NewmanJohn 2:11
The Water Made WineJ. Laidlaw, D. D.John 2:11
This Beginning of His SignsJ.R. Thomson John 2:11
Christ and SocietyDean Vaughan.John 2:1-11
Christ At a FeastBp. Ryle.John 2:1-11
Christian FestivityHarry Jones, M. A., J. Baldwin Brown, B. A.John 2:1-11
Eastern Marriage CustomsH. Macmillan, LL. D.John 2:1-11
General Analysis and Illustrations of the Cana MiracleJonathan Edwards.John 2:1-11
Human FeastsJ. P. Lange, D. D.John 2:1-11
Jesus and NatureJ.R. Thomson John 2:1-11
Jesus and Social LifeJ.R. Thomson John 2:1-11
Jesus and the Marriage StateJ.R. Thomson John 2:1-11
Lessons of the IncidentFamily ChurchmanJohn 2:1-11
Marks of the Grace of ChristHarless.John 2:1-11
Marriage Happy Where Christ is AcknowledgedLife of Philip Henry.John 2:1-11
Religion for Joy as Well as for SorrowJ. A. Seiss, D. D.John 2:1-11
The Blessing of MarriageJ G. HareJohn 2:1-11
The Marriage Feast At Cana a Pledge of the Marriage Supper of the LambJ.R. Thomson John 2:1-11
The Miracle At CanaThe miracles of the Lord Jesus.John 2:1-11
The Miracle At CanaH. J. W. Buxton, M. A.John 2:1-11
The Miracle At CanaW. G. Blaikie, D. D.John 2:1-11
The Miracle At CanaA. Beith, D. D.John 2:1-11
The Miracle At CanaSermons by the Monday ClubJohn 2:1-11
The Miracles of Nature and the Miracles of ChristJohn 2:1-11
The Popularity of This Cana MiracleH. Macmillan, LL. D.John 2:1-11
The Relaxation of Jesus ChristJ. W. Burn.John 2:1-11
The Transformation of the MeanJ. A. Seiss, D. D.John 2:1-11
The Water, the Wine, and the WeddingC. S. Robinson, D. D.John 2:1-11
The Wedding FeasH. Macmillan, LL. D.John 2:1-11
The Wedding FeastT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 2:1-11

All that a man does may be regarded as significant of his character and aims in life. How far more obviously and instructively is this the case with the actions of the Son of God! Yet, though whatever Jesus did may be regarded thus, there are certain works of his which the evangelist notes especially as being signs. Of these works, the deed performed at Cana is remarked to be the first in point of time.


1. They were works, and mighty works; such as implied great power on the part of the Worker; such as were not wrought by ordinary men.

2. They were wonders, or miracles, fitted to arrest the attention, awaken the inquiry, excite the surprise, of beholders.

3. As in this instance, they were deeds authoritative over nature, its elements, processes, and laws.

II. OF WHAT THESE SIGNS WERE SIGNIFICANT. That they did speak to the minds and hearts of those who beheld them, is clear; they compelled the inquiry, "What manner of man is this?" The works led the witnesses to ask concerning the Worker; for they testified of him.

1. Of a Divine presence and power among men. The signs were as the cry of a herald, as a trumpet call summoning the attention of all who were capable of understanding. They spake in plainest language, and their voice and utterance was this: "The King of nature and the Lord of man is here!"

2. Of Divine compassion and mercy. Observe the contrast between the mediators of the old covenant and the new. The first sign which Moses wrought was to turn water into blood; the first which Jesus presented to men was to turn water into wine. We see pity in its varying grades excited by human want and. misery, manifesting itself in the exercise of authority prompted and guided by love.

3. Of Divine adaptation to special needs of men. There was vast variety in the miraculous ministrations of Immanuel. The first sign proves that the same Lord who supplies the most urgent wants is not unmindful of the social pleasures and comforts of men. There is delicate discrimination and thoughtful adaptation and suitability in the marvels which Jesus wrought. Bread for the hungry, healing for the sick; yet also wine for the joyful and the festive.


1. Not primarily to unbelievers. Whether there were any such in the happy circle in whose midst and for whose benefit the first of the signs was exhibited, we do not know; probably all were friendly and receptive, and none more than partially enlightened. Jesus did not go into public and perform a wonder to amaze a multitude.

2. But to his disciples. There was no sign from heaven for the unspiritual, but for the believing and affectionate there were proofs given that their confidence and love were not misplaced. "His disciples believed on him," i.e. all the more as they saw more of the might of his word and the tenderness of his heart. - T.

This beginning of miracles.
Miracles are not only a proof but a part of revelation, and carry their own weight of truth quite independent of their testimony to the authority of the whole. Christ's miracles —

I. IDENTIFY THE GOD OF NATURE WITH THE CHRIST OF THE GOSPEL, and show that the Word was God, and that all things were made by Him. Believers in Christ do not need their witness, but should follow up their teaching, and study in nature the wisdom and power and goodness of Christ.

II. ILLUSTRATE THE WIDE BENEFICENCE OF THE GOSPEL. They would have been equally cogent as proofs of His Divine authority if there had been no element of mercy in them; and it is humiliating to reflect that had they been miracles of judgment the people would have been more willing to listen to His words. As it was, they were the outcome of the wealth of compassion that filled His heart, and teach us something of the present range of His love.

III. PROVE THE ILLIMITABLE POWER BY WHICH EVERY GOSPEL PURPOSE WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED. The words, the promise, and the power that performs are eternally linked together. No power, therefore, can prevent the accomplishment of the great purposes of salvation. All fears, then, should be banished. There is no danger that the miracles of Christ do not prove to be under His control.


(W. H. King.)

Men cry out for signs, but we may see miracles enough every day. I read that Aaron's rod budded, and I am astonished. But last spring I saw a cause of greater astonishment — thousands of bare rods budding and blooming blossoms in the hedges. I saw no one do it, and yet the trees were being daily clothed with thicker foliage. Was not that wonderful? I read that the manna came down daily from heaven to the wilderness, and I am amazed. But I see a cause of greater amazement every year: I see your bread coming, not down from heaven, but up from the earth, a much more unlikely place, every day in the spring. Is not that wonderful? I read that Elijah, hiding by the brook Cherith, was daily fed by two carnivorous ravens, and I am filled with wonder. But there is a cause of much greater wonderment in the fact that millions upon millions are daily fed with abundance of bread and meat, without a single raven under God's sun to cater for them. I read that Jesus Christ multiplied the loaves and fishes, and that the fragments that remained filled twelve baskets full — there was more at the end of the meal than at the beginning. But this year I witnessed a greater miracle: I saw the barley and the wheat increasing, "some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold"; and the loaves and the fishes, notwithstanding the enormous consumption, are more numerous to-day than they have ever been before. Nature is a standing miracle.

(J. C. Jones, D. D.)

There are five reasons why this should be the first.

1. As marriage was the first institution ordained by God, so at a marriage was Christ's first miracle.

2. As Christ had showed Himself miraculous a little while ago by a fast, so He cloth now by an extraordinary provision at a feast. When He would not makes stones bread, it was not because He could not.

3. He would not make stones into bread to satisfy Satan, but He was willing to turn water into wine to show forth His glory.

4. The first miracle wrought in the world by man was transformation (Exodus 7:9), and the first miracle wrought by the Son of Man was of the same nature.

5. The first time you hear of John the Baptist, you hear of his strict diet, and so the first time you hear of Christ in His public ministry, you hear of Him at a marriage feast.

(Lightfoot.)This miracle cannot but have a representative character. We may observe —

I. ITS ESSENTIAL CHARACTER. A sign of sovereign power wrought on inorganic nature, not on a living body.

II. ITS CIRCUMSTANTIAL CHARACTER. The change of the simpler to the richer element. In this respect it may be contrasted with the first public miracle of Moses, which commences the record of Old Testament miracles.


1. The answer of love to faith.

2. Ministering to human joy in one of its simplest and most natural forms (cf. Matthew 11:18, 19).In each respect the character of the sign answers to the general character of Christ as —

1. A new creation.

2. A transfiguration of the ceremonial law into a spiritual gospel.

3. An ennobling of the whole life. In addition, notice that the scene of the sign — a marriage feast — is that under which the accomplishment of Christ's work is most characteristically prefigured (John 3:29; Matthew 22:2; Matthew 25:1; Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2).

(Bishop Westcott.)

Let us now look at the FACT, the mode, and the motive of this miraculous act. That it was a miracle, a creation-miracle, the turning of water into wine, stands on the face of the record. Every attempt to reconcile belief in the record with an evasion of the creative act implied in it has been a failure. Such suppositions as that the spiritual elevation of the guests under the power of the Lord's discourse made them think that to be wine which was only water (Ewald), or that He gave to that which still remained water the force and sap of wine (Neander) or even that this was a supply of wine produced in the ordinary way and providentially arriving in the nick of time at the believing prayer or omniscient foresight of the Saviour (Weiss), will not satisfy the fact, nor the plain and honest meaning of the recording Evangelist, an eye-witness of the wonder. Some of those who rest in the fact of the miracle and regard it as creative have vainly attempted to conceive and describe the MODE in which it was wrought. It has long been usual to suggest that this act may be thought of on the analogy of nature's work; that what was done here in a moment was the same thing which is done in countless vineyards year by year. "The essence of the miracle," says Olshausen, "consists in divinely effecting the acceleration of the natural process." So also long ago. The analogy is tempting, but we gain nothing by it as an explanation. Indeed, it is impossible, and after all inept. There is no real parallel. We can trace these processes in nature; but here we can trace no process. We should have to imagine not only accelerated processes of nature, but also those artificial changes, anticipated and condensed, by which the fruit of the vine becomes a beverage — the ripening of the wine as well as of the grape. There are no natural laws by which water in a well or in a jar will change into wine. Nature never would do this, however long time you gave her. Finally, for the PURPOSE. One of the main difficulties, according to some expositors, is the absence of sufficient motive. This is a miracle, they say, without a moral end. It is placed at the outset of the Fourth Gospel, with the evident intention of showing —

1. That Jesus struck a key-note to His ministry so entirely contrasted with that of the Baptist, whose disciples these first followers of Jesus had originally been.

2. Nor can the objection about the triviality of the occasion justify itself, as if it were the mere relieving of a dinner-table dilemma. Rather the reverse is the true inference. The gracious Lord has sympathy with all needs, the finer as well as the commoner. He who multiplied the loaves for the relief of a hungry congregation might increase the store of wine for the resolving of a social perplexity. The minor graces and courtesies of life are taken account of, in Christianity, as well as the stern realities.

3. But, indeed, to search for an exact necessity as motive here is to miss the whole point. These wedding guests could have done without more and better wine. It is a miracle of superfluity if you will. The well-spring of grace and truth in Jesus Christ overflows at the first onset. He is come to give life, and more abundant. It is placed in the front of the miracle-record not merely to point a contrast between the Saviour's ministry and that of the Baptist, but to show how the new economy surpasses the old. This whole transaction reveals His glory as the Bringer of the final and highest dispensation. In Jesus Christ, God " has kept His best till last." In fine, it is plainly meant that we should see in this work an epitome of the Lord's entire miraculous activity. In it, all His glory is His grace and love. In the Nature miracles we are to note how always He is "not ministered unto, but ministers."

(J. Laidlaw, D. D.)

All beginnings have a wonderful interest to us. There is a peculiar pleasure in tracing a broad deep river, that bears upon its bosom the commerce of a nation, to its source far up among the mountains, in a little well whose overflowing waters a child's hand could stop; or in going back to the origin of a mighty nation like the Roman, in the drifting ashore, at the foot of the Palatine Hill, of the ark that contained the infant founders. Institutions, social or benevolent, that have been established for ages, derive a fresh charm from the consideration of their first feeble commencement, and the contrast between what they were then and what they are now. There is a mystery about a cloud coming all at once into the blue sky, a star appearing suddenly amid the twilight shades, a spring welling up in the midst of a sandy plain. It seems as if something new were being created before our eyes. A sense of awe comes over us, as if brought into contact with another world. I have had this curious feeling when coming unexpectedly upon the habitat of a very rare plant. This peculiar charm of novelty belongs especially to the origin of sacred institutions-to the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the performance of the first miracle, the formation of the Christian Church, and the production of the New Testament writings. The thought that there was a time when these things had no existence, that for thirty years Jesus wrought no miracle, that the first believers in the gospel in Judea, Corinth, and Rome had no New Testament, gives a vividness to the feelings with which we regard them, brings back the freshness that has evaporated with long familiarity. The miracle of Cana comes into the midst of the previous natural life of Jesus like a star out of the blue profound, like a well out of the dry mountain side, like a rare, unknown flower appearing among the common indigenous plants of a spot. It brings us out of the narrow wall that hems us round, to the verge of God's infinity, where we can look over into the fathomless gulf. It is the first act of the new creation, in which a new life-potency entered into what at the time existed, and called forth a new development. It gave to the stream of the world's course a new motion and a new direction, without which it would have become a stagnant bog — a dead sea. It is the base of that wonderful miracle structure of the gospel, of which the resurrection is the pinnacle.

(H. Macmillan, D. D.)

How well fitted this miracle is, in its character, to introduce the train which succeeded it; to open the wonderful order of instructions, doctrines, and works which was afterwards developed; to be, as it was, the first miracle. The glory of the natural day is not manifested forth in the morning by a blaze of meridian splendour. The light is mild and soft which first peeps from behind the hill-tops, or flushes from the bed of ocean. So it was with "the glorious gospel of the blessed God." Its first manifestation by miracle was like the spreading dawn. It blended with the joyous accompaniments of a festive occasion and the kind sympathies of domestic life: It came like a nuptial blessing to a young pair who were just commencing the journey of life together. By-and-by we shall see it among the sick, the maimed, and the blind, healing infirmities, and restoring the lost faculties of sense. By-and-by we shall see it in the dark death chamber and the darker tomb, dispelling the darkness and raising the dead. Then we shall find no want of elevation. Then our minds will be filled and overpowered by its sublimity. But now let us do justice to its loveliness, and admire its first approach to the children of men.

(F. W. P. Greenwood, D. D.)

The first of a series gives the key to the whole. The first animals or plants have been combining types, i.e, have united in themselves the characters of several familes now widely separated. So the earliest human lives were typical. The first notes of a song suggest all that is necessary to make the harmony. And the first miracle enters into all the other miracles that Jesus did, and combines in itself the elements of them all.

1. It is a work of mercy.

2. It is an emblem of a higher spiritual blessing.

3. It is a prophecy of the new genesis.Like an illuminated initial letter, which contains in itself an illustrated epitome of the contents of the whole chronicle, it appropiately begins the series of Christ's beneficent works by a beautiful picture of the nature and design of them all.

I. IT LINKS THE WORK OF THE SECOND ADAM WITH THAT OF THE FIRST. Adam's disobedience turned paradise into a wilderness. Christ's obedience turns the wilderness into paradise.

II. IT SHOWS THE RESTORATION OF NATURE AS WELL AS HUMANITY. Man's sin brought barrenness: Christ's work restores fruitfulness. And as nature shared the effects of the fall with man, it will participate also in the effects of redemption. This miracle is the first step in the process.

III. IT COMBINES THE GOSPEL WITH THE PRECEDING DISPENSATIONS. Moses could only sweeten the waters of Marsh — only ameliorate the bitter spring of human sin, and reform men. Jesus turns the water into wine and regenerates men.

IV. THE OCCASION WAS ONE OF TRANSCENDENT IMPORTANCE. In this respect it is the first in order of rank as well as time.

1. As a human institution marriage stands at the head of all others, originating in paradise and surviving the wreck of .the fall.

2. As a type of heavenly mystery it stands first in importance and significance.(1) The union of those attributes of love and power in God, from which creation had its birth and has its continuance.(2) The union of Divine influences and human experiences in the soul which forms the kingdom of heaven within.(3) The union of the Saviour and the Church.

V. THE MIRACLE WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT OF ALL, if any gradation can be allowed. There was here no co-operation of faith. It was not the purification and assistance of a natural function, but a creation de novo.

(H. Macmillan, LL. D.)

I. OF CHRIST'S MISSION. It was none the less significant because wrought for a temporary purpose. Man's need of Christ appears in trifling as well as conspicuous ways. Food is common. place, but it is an universal need.

1. The act was significant of the joyous and abundant feast He was about to spread for all people.

2. The moment in which it was wrought, when the wine had failed, is a sign of the fact that Christ waits till man's own powers are exhausted before giving His grace. Hence He delayed His advent till the world was exhausted with its efforts to find peace and holiness. The pagan religions were exhausted. Philosophy had failed to solve the problems of life. So we do not receive the fuiness of Christ till convinced of our helplessness and ready to depend on Divine grace.

3. The nature of the miracle, the creation of the wine out of water, not out of nothing, is a sign that —(1) He had come not to create a new world, but to transform the old;(2) Not to establish a new religion, but to transform Judaism;(3) Not to produce new characters, but to regenerate stoners. He has poor material to work upon. Human nature is as weak and cold as water. But as He made good and warming wine, so He will strengthen our humanity and fill it with the love of God.


1. Of His grace and glory (John 1:14, 17).

2. Of His naturalness. He was thoroughly at home, and revealed the natural union of a pure humanity with a Divine life; sympathizing with human joys, as at Bethany with human griefs. Religion does not break the sweet ties which God has formed between man and man.

3. Of His mindfulness of His great object. We see this in His conversation with His mother, which shows us to remember in society that the chief end of man is to glorify God, and that no earthly joy or work must be allowed to unfit us for that.

(G. T. Purves.)

In respect of —


1. It was a miracle in itself, apart from all surrounding circumstances. What is an everyday occurrence in one climate may be a rare wonder in another. To an inhabitant of the tropic the freezing of water would be a miracle. The feats of a chemist would pass for supernatural in the first, but be put down as strictly natural in the nineteenth century. But Christ's miracles are miracles all the world over and all the ages through.

2. The miracle was not performed till nature was exhausted. His hour did not come till the wine had actually failed. This always characterizes His interpositions. All He cured were incurable. This is a sign that we may calculate on His presence in extremity. When your earthly wine is all gone, He will come to your relief.

3. This miracle in its results is repeated every year. Miracles are explanatory notes revealing the secret processes of material phenomena, signs of the power that is everywhere and always at work. He turned the water into wine once; He does so still.


1. It was performed in a wedding. John the Baptist was an ascetic; will Christ be one? The Jews looked for a king; will Christ then claim the throne? Christ was not an ascetic, for He went to a wedding. He was not a dignitary, for it was a wedding of ordinary people. This was a sign then that He belonged to Society.

2. The miracle was performed at the feast. Jesus was always the .antagonist of suffering and the source of joy. The thing here signified is that if there is a time to weep there is also a time to rejoice.

3. It was performed at a marriage feast for the purpose of beneficence, to point out the difference between the Old Testament miracles and those of the New, and to show the different character of the two dispensations.

4. It was a miracle of luxury. Wine was not needful to maintain life; loaves and fishes were. This is a sign then that man does not live by bread alone, but is permitted to go after the beautiful in every form. Is it sinful to have pictures whilst the heathen be unreclaimed? There is no reason why Englishmen should be half-civilized because Kaffirs are altogether barbarous. Because the potato is the more useful plant of the two, that is not to say that the rose is unnecessary.

5. The miracle is a sign that self-restraint should be practiced in the midst of abundance.


1. He had not to acquire glory, bat only to manifest it. He manifested it here as the Sovereign of nature.

2. As a consequence His disciples believed in Him. They did so before. This confirmed them. Miracles cannot convince unbelievers. It was the disciples, not the guests, who believed.

(J. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.)

I. OF HIS PERSON, in which the earthly human nature becomes a heavenly: the essential, genuine Vine (John 15:1).

II. OF THE POWER OF HIS LOVE which transformed the water of earthly need into the wine of heavenly joy: brings forth judgment unto victory, makes blessedness out of Divine sorrow.

III. OF HIS DIVINE WORKS, in which is everywhere reflected His main work of bringing to pass the new birth of mankind from the earthly kingdom into the heavenly.

IV. OF HIS LAST WORK The glorification of the world.

(J. P. Lange.)

I. CHRIST'S SYMPATHY WITH THE RELATIONSHIPS AND GLADNESS OF MAN'S LIFE. That was a new thing in the world, the sign of a new spirit that was to pervade mankind. There is a strong tendency in human nature to associate lofty morality with rigorous sternness of life: the prophets; John the Baptist; monks. But here Christ mingles with the gladness of a wedding feast, and exerts His supernatural power to supply a festive need. This implied —

1. That earthly life was to be glorified by the heavenly.

2. That human love is not to be carnalized, but made Divine.

3. That human relationships do not clash with the love of God, but are to become powerful instruments for aiding it.

4. That no sphere is too common for Christ to sanctify.

II. CHRIST BESTOWED ON COMMON THINGS A HIGHER POWER IN ORDER TO AWAKEN HUMAN GLADNESS. This signifies the elevation by Him of the natural into the Divine, of the common into the uncommon. Here again was a new thing to the world. To Christ's eye nothing was commonplace; not the lowest man nor the plainest life. His mission was to glorify the old and familiar.

III. Combining these two features, we see that LIFE IN ALL ITS COMMON RELATIONSHIPS AND COMMON TOILS IS TO BE A MANIFESTATION AND SERVICE OF CHRIST. In human friendship we are to serve Christ, and in our daily work to glorify Him. Life throughout, with its joys and sorrows, is to be transformed. How is this to be done? Notice —

1. That the character of a man's deeds is determined by their inner motive, not by their outward form.

2. This sanctity is attained through the power of Christ's love.


1. Life would become a constant manifestation of Christ.

2. Life would be a constant education for the heavenly.

3. It would give us the assurance of eternal fellowship.

(E. L. Hull, B. A.)

The term "sign" denotes in its simplest usage —

1. A means of identification (Luke 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:17).

2. A proof or evidence furnished by one set of facts to the reality and genuineness of another (2 Corinthians 12:12).

3. A symbol or emblem (Ezekiel 4:3). Now the miracles of Christ were signs in all these three senses. They identified Him as the Messiah foretold in prophecy; they authenticated Him as the Son of God, and furnished evidence of the truth of the claims which He put forth; and they were emblems in the material sphere of the blessings which He came to bestow in the spiritual, and of the manner in which they were to be received by those whom He designed to benefit.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Manifested forth His glory
This glory is undoubtedly Christ's Divine glory" full of grace and truth"; the effulgence of His perfections translated so as to bring them within the reach of sense. And when John says that Christ manifested forth His glory he implies that although it had been almost entirely hidden for years, yet, like the sun behind the clouds, it had all along been lying below the surface. The miracle rolled away the clouds from the face of the sun.

I. CHRIST'S GLORY WAS SEEN IN HIS ENTIRE CONTROL OVER NATURE. Power over nature always excites our admiration. But why is it that the man of science, whose genius can tame or discipline steam or electricity, wins so deep and universal an enthusiasm? Not because the feat has the charm of novelty, nor because it is an enrichment of man's life and an addition to his comfort, but because there is in him, at an immeasurable distance, an approximation to God. And yet we can explain it by natural causes which fall within the range of experience. But a miracle passes that line. And since we know that order is a principle which belongs to the very life of the Creator as well as to His administration, we conclude that He will not depart from His ordinary rules without some reason, and that no one but Himself can dispense with them. And thus in a miracle God is actively present, not as authorizing anarchy, but suspending some lower law to give play to some higher. The outward miracle arrests man's reason and imagination to behold in it the manifested glory of the Lord of Nature. Had we witnessed it, should we have recognized it as what it was? Yes, if we can say with the Te Deum that earth as well as heaven is full of the majesty of God's glory. No, if we see in nature only the operation of self-existent laws.

II. THE GLORY OF SPIRITUAL TRUTH, an unveiling of the laws whereby the King of the new spiritual empire would govern His subjects.

1. Nature is ever being silently changed into something higher and better than when Christ found it. What is Holy Scripture but the water of what might have been a human literature changed by the Spirit of Christ into the inspired Word of God? That which was mere good-nature becomes Divine charity by grace: that which was only well-exercised reason or farsighted judgment becomes faith: all the natural virtues are transformed into the spiritual. So it was at the first. The Sanhedrim were perplexed at the intellectual and moral power of the illiterate apostles. The Roman proconsuls were bewildered at the majestic constancy of poor men and weak women and children. And so it is now.

2. The law of continuous improvement from good to better and from better to best. The real Giver of the good wine does not fascinate by the charm of His earliest gifts and then give to the jaded faculties His poorer graces. In His service the spiritual senses do not follow the law of bodily decay, they gain with advancing years, and require and receive higher nutriment.


1. Christ here began that life of condescension before men which was involved in His incarnation, and which He followed heedless of slander and misconstruction.

2. Christ here shot forth a ray of that glorious love which redeemed the world. His whole action is marked with tender consideration; He saves this poor couple from the disappointment of being unable to entertain their friends; He adds to their store, but in such a manner as to lay them under no embarrassing obligation to Himself. So God bestows His blessings so unobtrusively that we forget the Giver, but here, as ever, would teach us to imitate Him when we bestow ours.

(Canon Liddon.)

Consider this miracle in the light of the service for the Second Sunday in Epiphany.

I. THE COLLECT, which is a prayer for peace. The Collects are supposed to collect the subject of the Gospel and Epistle. But the gospel is a miracle of plenty, a contrasted idea to that of peace. There may be lavish plenty when there is no peace — there may be deep peace when there is little plenty. And yet in the deepest, truest sense of the terms they are one. Their separation is only temporary and accidental. For what is peace? Perfectly satisfied desire. Disquiet is want of satisfaction. But in spiritual and intelligent creatures there must be the satisfaction of the whole nature. If man be body, spirit, and soul, if any one of these be unsatisfied, he cannot be at rest. In vain you satisfy animal appetite and intellectual craving, if the hunger of the spirit be unappeased. And men are not at peace, because of the first great mistake that man made in his first sin when he withdrew the food for his soul. This food is God. Man's sin was the determination to have the feast of body and mind without this spiritual element, and the sin and misery of man ever since has been to sit down to a banquet from which he has banished God. And God forbid that without Him there should ever be peace: because it is the lack of this plenty disquieting his soul that leads him to God. God teaches this truth in —

1. His Word.

2. His providence. Lest man should lose himself in sensual delights God drove him from Eden. Sometimes God shows us how poor the gift is without the Giver; sometimes how blessed the Giver is without the gift, and better by giving Himself with the gift. This is the highest of all states, even heaven itself. This the true peace and plenty our Father meant us to have. It is our sin that has set them in antagonism.

II. Now turn to the Gospel. We see Christ giving back to men the lacking plenty of their feasts. The wine had run low. He renews it in lavish abundance that He may tell as in symbol that for the renovated man the amplest enjoyment of God's gift is consistent with perfect peace. Christ has come to tell us that we need Him and may have Him in all our joys.

III. THE EPISTLE teaches us that there is an Epiphany amongst men as there was once an Epiphany to men. In the Gospel Christ gave Himself and His best gift to us. In the Epistle Christ calls upon us to show Him forth to men by giving ourselves and our gifts to others. That is the very reason He gave Himself to us. "Freely ye have received; freely gird"; fill to the brim the means of helping another's need: your material, intellectual, and spiritual wealth.

(Bp. Magee.)

1. For thirty years Christ had done no miracle: which is itself worthy to be called a miracle. He was content to live in obscurity till His hour was come. This is true greatness. In all the works of God there is a conspicuous absence of haste. Six slow days and nights of creative force before man was made. Two thousand years to discipline and form a Jewish people: four thousand years of darkness, ignorance, and crime before the fulness of the time. Whatever contradicts the Divine plan must pay the price of haste — brief duration.

2. St. Paul speaks of the glory of woman as distinct from that of man. Their provinces are not the same, and the qualities which are prominent and beautiful in the one are the reverse in the other. The glory of her who was highly favoured among women was different from that of her Son in degree — the one was human, the other was more: in order the one manifesting the grace of womanhood, the other the majesty and wisdom of manhood in which God dwelt. The glory of the Virgin consisted in —

I. HER CONSIDERATENESS. There is gentle womanly tact in the words "They have no wine." Unselfish thoughtfulness about other's comforts; delicate anxiety to save a straitened family from the exposure of their poverty. So in old times, with thoughtful hospitality, Rebekah offered water to Abraham's wayworn servant. So Martha showed her devotion even to excess. So the women ministered of their substance.

II. SUBMISSION. "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it." Here is the true spirit of obedience. Not slavishness, but loyalty to and trust in a person whom we reverence. Submission at the outset of the Bible is revealed as woman's lot and destiny. The curse of obedience, as that of labour, transformed by Christ into a blessing. This blessing twofold.

1. Freedom from doubt. Mary felt no perplexity at the rebuke. A more masculine mind would have been made sullen and sceptical. Mary could not understand, but she could trust and wait. So with the Syro-Phoenician woman, Mental doubt rarely touches women. Soldiers and sailors do not doubt. Prompt, unquestioning obedience is the soil for faith.

2. Prevailing power with God. The Saviour's look promised, probably, more than His words. Prayer is a deep mystery to the masculine intellect. "How," says Logic, "can man's will modify the will of God? Where, then, lies the use of it?" But there is something mightier than intellect, truer than logic — the faith that works by love.


1. Gradually the recognition of this became idolatry. Why? Before Christ the qualities honoured as Divine were probably masculine — Courage, Wisdom, Truth, Strength. But Christ proclaimed Meekness, Obedience, Affection, Purity — graces distinctly feminine. Men sought to give these new ideas embodiment, and they found them embodied in the Virgin Mother.

2. The only corrective for this idolatry is the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ. His heart had in it the blended qualities of both sexes, and when we have learned that in Christ there is all that is manly and all that is womanly, we are safe from Mariolatry.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

I. THIS GLORY DID NOT BEGIN WITH THE MIRACLE, THE, MIRACLE ONLY MANIFESTED IT. And if instead of rousing men to see the glory of Christ the miracle merely fastened attention on itself, the whole intention of a miracle is lost. To the wise man the lightning only manifests the electric force which is everywhere, and which for one moment has become visible. As often as he sees it it reminds him that the lightning Slumbers in the dew-drop, in the mist, and in the cloud, and binds together every atom of water that he uses in daily life. But to the vulgar mind the lightning is unique, a something which has no existence until it appears. So to the half-believer a miracle is the one solitary evidence of God. But to the true disciple a miracle only manifests the power and love which are at work everywhere. It is not more glory, but only glory more manifested when water at His bidding passes at once into wine. And if you do not feel as David felt, God's presence in the annual miracle, and that it is God which in the vintage causeth wine to make glad the heart of man, this miracle would not have given you conviction of His presence. "If you hear not Moses and the prophets," etc. This deep truth of miracles most men miss. They believe that Jesus was Divine because He worked miracles. But it is by power less Divine that the same Being bears witness to truth, forgives His enemies, makes it His meat and drink to do His Father's will?


1. All natural relationships. John the Baptist's was the highest form of religious life known to Israel. His was a life of solitariness. Christ goes to a marriage to declare the sacredness of feelings which had been reckoned carnal and low. For it is through our human affections that the soul first yearns after God, and it is to them that the Infinite reveals Himself: and by an earthly relationship God has typified to us the only true espousal — the marriage of the soul to her eternal Lord.

2. The sacredness of all natural enjoyments. To say that this was a religious ceremony is sophistry; and to say that although Christ was there it would not be safe for us to go, is to overlook the fact that His disciples were there. No! the temptation was past, the ministry of John was over; and now the Bridegroom comes into She world in the true glory of the Messiah — not in a life of asceticism, but in a life of godliness; not separating from life, but consecrating it. The ascetic life is more striking, easier, add more reputable. But the life of Him who was called "a man gluttonous and a wine bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners" was far harder, but it was heavenlier.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

I. The manifestation of Jesus Christ is the only true essence of our Christianity.

II. The manifestation of Jesus Christ is the true evidence of our Christianity.

III. The manifestation of Christ to others is the one great evangelistic duty of the Christian and of the Church.

(Bishop Barry.)

Moses was not said to manifest his glory when he turned water into blood; nor Paul, nor Peter, nor any of the apostles, to manifest their glory in the miracles which they wrought. Why this peculiarity of language in the ease of Christ? Was it not from the peculiarity of His person — God as well as man?

(J. Fawcett, M. A.)

As the first ray of the morning reveals the glorious light which is soon to flood heaven and earth, so the first miracle of Jesus revealed the glory of Him who had come to subdue all things unto Himself.

(G. T. Purves.)

You nowhere read of His being at a funeral. Why? Because marriage belongs to the primeval order of creation, but funerals do not. Marriage is a part of the original programme of the universe, but death is an intrusion. He, therefore, went to a marriage to vindicate the Divine order; He did not attend funerals because they are incursions upon that order. He was the Everlasting Life, and consequently could not join in the procession of death. Indeed, each time He met death in His sojourn through the world, He could not but grapple with him and compel him to give up his prey.

(J. C. Jones.)

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