John 2:1-11

Commentary Excerpt by Tom Boomershine

The story this week is the wedding at Cana. It's a story from the fragmented Gospel of John for Epiphany. Just a comment about this in relation to the lectionary: the lectionary fractures the Gospel of John so that we never hear the whole story. That is most unfortunate in relation to our understanding of the Gospel of John. So whenever possible,I would recommend that you tell as much of the Gospel of John in sequence, as much as can be managed in one worship service. In this case, tell the whole of the story of the wedding at Cana.

The dynamic of the story is that his changing water into wine is a sign of Jesus' power and authority. But it is first of all based on Jewish humor. There are two Jewish jokes that are foundational to the early parts of John. The first is the repartee between Jesus and Nathaniel in which Jesus says in effect, "Hey look at this, a true Israelite in whom there is no guile (no trickery)" in contrast to the father of Israelites, namely, Israel, otherwise known as Jacob, who was known for tricking his brother and his father-in-law. Nathaniel responds, "How did you know me?" and Jesus answers, "I saw you standing over by the fig tree." Nathaniel goes nuts with his response, "You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!" The humor in the Nathaniel story is based on the common joke about the fore father of all Israelites.

The story of the wedding at Cana involves a Jewish mother joke. You know the Jewish mother joke: "How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb?" None –"It's alright. It's alright. I'll just sit here in the dark." The introduction of this story has that same feel to it.

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