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Water into wine John 2

Wedding in Cana, © Cook Communications Ministries.
Source: Visual Bible Alive

Gospel of John Bible Study Notes, Week 5

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  John 2:1-5 (NIV 2011) 

Jesus’ Family

Mary’s husband Joseph is not mentioned in the Scriptures apart from the accounts of Jesus’ birth in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and indirectly in the story of Jesus’ Temple visit at the age of 12 (Luke 2:41ff). So we can assume that, by the time Jesus began his ministry at about 30 years of age (Luke 3:23), Joseph had died. (See also Mark 6:3 where there is no mention of Joseph.)

According to the custom, as the eldest son of the family,[1] Jesus would have assumed a role of responsibility. Jesus must have done an excellent job in this role because when a problem arose at the wedding at Cana[2], Mary instructed the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do (John 2:5). Mary obviously had great faith in Jesus’ abilities even though, up to that point, Jesus had not done any miracles (John 2:11).

The Wedding at Cana

A Jewish wedding was a week-long celebration; however, the festivities at Cana were in peril when the wine ran out. Wine was an extremely common drink, with few alternatives, in first-century Israel.[3] And in a culture that regarded hospitality almost as a sacred duty, running out of wine would have been a shameful social disaster and an insult to the guests.

Extra-biblical sources indicate that Mary was a relative of the groom. If so, the success of the wedding and the happiness of the wedding couple would have been particularly important to her.

Jesus’ reply of “woman” does not translate satisfactorily into English (John 2:4). It was a term of respect, and not devoid of warmth. Furthermore, the phrase literally translated in John 2:4 as “What is it to me and to you?” is an idiom. Jesus is asking why he, or he and his mother, should get involved.

Jesus informed Mary that his hour had not yet come (John 2:4). Jesus knew his purpose, he knew the plan and he knew its timing.[4] He was dedicated to his mission as Messiah and Saviour and avoided distractions; however, in deference to his mother, Jesus used this early occasion to reveal a Kingdom truth.

Jesus instructs the servants to fill six very large stone water jars with water and then miraculously transforms the water into fine wine (John 2:7-9). The host is surprised by the late appearance of this fine wine (John 2:10).

I have always thought that this miracle seemed a bit frivolous, yet Jesus never performed miracles without a reason. What was the significance of this sign?

A Jewish Perspective of the Miracle

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”  John 2:6-10 (NIV 2011)

John explains that the six stone water jars were used by the Jews for ritual cleansing (John 2:6). In Hebrew, the number six stands for incompleteness and imperfection. It is also the number for man (i.e. human beings or people). Perhaps these six jars represented the Jewish Law that was powerless to completely cleanse and purify people from sin. In this sign, Jesus symbolically replaced the Jewish law, that was powerless to save, with the “late appearance” of the more excellent and powerful Gospel.

Jesus turned the water into more wine than any wedding party could possibly drink. He fulfilled the need with abundance and liberality. And he fulfilled it with quality. Jesus made fine wine. Jesus has graciously and generously given us the gift of an excellent salvation and an abundant life (John 10:10) and freed us from the law.

A Greek Perspective of the Miracle

The Greeks had many stories about water turning into wine through Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. While the influence of Greek philosophers had made their mark on society, mythology was still embedded in the Greco-Roman culture. John chose to record this sign in his Gospel to reveal Jesus’ divinity to his Greek readers. John showed that whatever the Greeks dreamed their gods were capable of, Jesus could really do but even better – with abundance and quality.

From Cana to Capernaum

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.  John 2:1-12 (NIV 2011)

According to John, turning water into wine was Jesus’ first sign and it revealed Jesus’ glory.  John notes that Jesus’ disciples believed in him when they saw the sign (John 2:11).

After the wedding at Cana, Jesus went to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples, and they stayed there for a while, literally “for many days” (John 2:12). What were they all doing together in Capernaum?


[1] Mary had other children after Jesus. Jesus’ brothers are mentioned by name in Mark 6:3 as James, Joseph, Judas and Simeon. Jesus’ sisters are also mentioned in this verse.  (See also  Matt. 13:55-56; John 2:12, 7:3-5; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5 and Gal. 1:19.)  The belief that Mary remained a virgin after Jesus’ birth is not based on scripture. (See Matthew 1:24-25.) More about Jesus’ siblings here.

[2] The village of Cana was near Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth.

[3] There were no soft drinks in Jesus’ culture, so it was either water or wine (typically diluted with water), or occasionally a milk drink (usually fermented). More on this below in my reply to esbee’s comment.

[4] Jesus knew his “hour”. (See Matt. 26:18,45; Mark 14:41; John 2:4, 7:6, 8; 12:23.)

« John the Baptist’s Testimony – John 1:19-34
« Philip, Andrew, Peter, Nathaniel and Jacob – John 1:35-51
» Jesus Clears the Temple – John 2:13-17

12 thoughts on “Water into Wine – John 2:1-12

  1. With regard to the brothers and sisters of Jesus, to understand this text, we need to understand the customs amongst the Jews at that time.
    In this case, the brothers of Jesus were relatives, such as cousins. Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus and his apostles, had no word for “cousin,” so cousins and other close relatives were often referred to as brothers. For example, Abraham’s nephew Lot was called his brother (Gen. 14:14).
    Most Protestants claim that Mary bore children other than Jesus. To support their claim, these Protestants refer to the biblical passages which mention the “brethren of the Lord.” and also what is read in Matthew’s Gospel that Joseph “had no marital relations with her until she had borne her firstborn son” (Matt. 1:25). Does this implies that Joseph did have relations with her after she had given birth? – Not so. The word “until” here just says what happened up to the time of Christ’s birth. It doesn’t imply anything about what happened after that, although our modern use of the word until seems to imply that. For an example of this, look at 2 Samuel 6:23, which says, “Michal the daughter of Saul had no children till the day of her death.” We’re obviously not supposed to assume that she had children after she died. Also Ps 71 which says “In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails”. Does it imply that once the moon fails, there will be no peace? Certainly not.
    Another misinterpretation is the word firstborn son. Many believe that the words “Mary’s firstborn son”, that shows that she had other children.
    This is another case where our modern understanding of terms interferes with understanding what the Bible meant at the time it was written. In biblical times, the term firstborn had great importance. The firstborn was to be consecrated to the Lord (Ex. 13:2); the parents were to redeem every firstborn son (Ex. 34:20). They weren’t supposed to wait until they had a second child to redeem the firstborn, and so the first son born to a woman was called the firstborn regardless of whether or not she had other children later on.
    Finally If Jesus did have brothers, why would he have entrusted Mary to the beloved disciple, John, at the foot of the cross (John 19:26-27)? He would have had surviving siblings who would have taken care of her. It would be surprising for Jesus to release his brothers from their obligation to their mother, especially because he criticized the Pharisees for neglecting the support of their own parents in Matthew 15:3-6. In those times, women did not have a favourable place in society. They were treated to the equivalent of dogs and weren’t even allowed inside a temple. A woman without a son or a husband to look after her, was never allowed to stay in her house after their deaths. They were cast out of their homes on to the streets. Naturally Jesus would have never wished such a fate on his beloved Mother. Hence, inspite of the terrible agony to even breathe and speak, he uttered those beautiful words and gave her to John, his beloved disciple to look after who from then on took her to his own home. John 19:26-27, which wouldnt be necessary if she had had other sons born to her.

    1. Mathew 1: 25 to me it’s clear Joseph knew mary after the birth of Jesus. Otherwise the verse should have just ended by ‘Joseph did not know mary’ and full stop. What was the point of going on if there was nothing else to stress. It’s clear untill after the birth of Jesus he knew her. Amen
      Michal the daughter of soul statement is clearly stating she died with no kids . We cannot assume after she died she had kids.
      In mary case ,after she gave birth she started with Joseph .

  2. Hi Marian, I think some of your arguments are rather stretched. Matthew 1:25 which literally says “and he did not know her until she gave birth to a son” (καὶ οὐκ ἐγίνωσκεν αὐτὴν ἕως οὗ ἔτεκεν υἱόν) seems pretty clear to me.

    There are other Greek words for relatives which are less specific than “brother”. The New Testament does not use these less specific words about Jesus’ brothers and sisters. Moreover, Jesus’ brothers are often mentioned as being in the company of Mary. I think the scriptural evidence is convincing: Matt. 13:55-56; Mark 6:3; John 2:12, 7:3-5; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:19).

    I do not see the value in believing that Mary was a perpetual virgin. Surely, being a good wife and mother is just as noble and praiseworthy as being a virgin.

    Also, Your statement that Jewish women were cast out of their homes and into the street if they didn’t have a male guardian is simply not correct in the majority of cases. And most Jewish women in Israel were not treated as dogs, that is an exaggeration.

    It seems that Jesus’ brothers did not believe that he was the Messiah until after his resurrection (John 7:5 cf Acts 1:14). So Jesus entrusted his mother into the care of his closest disciple who did believe in him.

  3. As explained in the Catholic Answers tract Brethren of the Lord, neither the Gospel accounts nor the early Christians attest to the notion that Mary bore other children besides Jesus. The faithful knew, through the witness of Scripture and Tradition, that Jesus was Mary’s only child and that she remained a lifelong virgin.

    An important historical document which supports the teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity is the Protoevangelium of James, which was written probably less than sixty years after the conclusion of Mary’s earthly life (around A.D. 120), when memories of her life were still vivid in the minds of many.

    According to the world-renowned patristics scholar, Johannes Quasten: “The principal aim of the whole writing [Protoevangelium of James] is to prove the perpetual and inviolate virginity of Mary before, in, and after the birth of Christ” (Patrology, 1:120–1).

    To begin with, the Protoevangelium records that when Mary’s birth was prophesied, her mother, St. Anne, vowed that she would devote the child to the service of the Lord, as Samuel had been by his mother (1 Sam. 1:11). Mary would thus serve the Lord at the Temple, as women had for centuries (1 Sam. 2:22), and as Anna the prophetess did at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:36–37). A life of continual, devoted service to the Lord at the Temple meant that Mary would not be able to live the ordinary life of a child-rearing mother. Rather, she was vowed to a life of perpetual virginity.

    However, due to considerations of ceremonial cleanliness, it was eventually necessary for Mary, a consecrated “virgin of the Lord,” to have a guardian or protector who would respect her vow of virginity. Thus, according to the Protoevangelium, Joseph, an elderly widower who already had children, was chosen to be her spouse. (This would also explain why Joseph was apparently dead by the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, since he does not appear during it in the gospels, and since Mary is entrusted to John, rather than to her husband Joseph, at the crucifixion).

    According to the Protoevangelium, Joseph was required to regard Mary’s vow of virginity with the utmost respect. The gravity of his responsibility as the guardian of a virgin was indicated by the fact that, when she was discovered to be with child, he had to answer to the Temple authorities, who thought him guilty of defiling a virgin of the Lord. Mary was also accused of having forsaken the Lord by breaking her vow. Keeping this in mind, it is an incredible insult to the Blessed Virgin to say that she broke her vow by bearing children other than her Lord and God, who was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    The perpetual virginity of Mary has always been reconciled with the biblical references to Christ’s brethren through a proper understanding of the meaning of the term “brethren.” The understanding that the brethren of the Lord were Jesus’ stepbrothers (children of Joseph) rather than half-brothers (children of Mary) was the most common one until the time of Jerome (fourth century). It was Jerome who introduced the possibility that Christ’s brethren were actually his cousins, since in Jewish idiom cousins were also referred to as “brethren.” The Catholic Church allows the faithful to hold either view, since both are compatible with the reality of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

    Today most Protestants are unaware of these early beliefs regarding Mary’s virginity and the proper interpretation of “the brethren of the Lord.” And yet, the Protestant Reformers themselves—Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli—honored the perpetual virginity of Mary and recognized it as the teaching of the Bible, as have other, more modern Protestants.

  4. Hi Nani,

    The Protoevangelium of James is certainly interesting to read, and while there may a few elements of truth in the story, I take it as being fictitious.

    I honestly don’t understand why it is important for some that Mary be regarded and revered as a perpetual virgin. The New Testament shows she was the mother of several children, both boys and girls: Matt. 13:55-56; Mark 6:3; John 2:12, 7:3-5; Acts 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:19.

    I have written more about Mary here: https://margmowczko.com/christian-theology/christmas-cardology-6-the-virgin-mary/

  5. Dear Marg,
    i am assuming you have written this article? I thankyou for providing additional insight into this beautiful passage from the Bible. i have followed the comments following this post with interest. I too have studied the scriptures and appreciate your arguments. One thing i do not agree with our Protestant teaching is about the issue surrounding Mary’s virginity. I know that most protestants do agree with the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary did have other children and she was not ever-virgin as the Catholic and Orthodox church teaches. However i have done extensive research on this field and indeed have lived in the Middle east for over a decade and have studied the customs of that time. I have to agree with Marian that it is true in the olden Jewish times that property was not bequeated to women and that they were not allowed to live in their own house if there was no son or husband to take care of them. While the fact that they were treated like “dogs” as Marian mentioned might be exaggerated slightly, it is true that they did not have a high place in society. Living for over a decade in the Middle East, i know for a fact that what Marian said is true regarding the customs of the people there. Even now, most of them call their cousins brother and their aunt, especially close aunts, Mother. And it is true that the New testament was originally written in Greek, so while converting to english, some of the meaning is naturally lost. Hence the word “until”, as Marian pointed out, does have different connotations and should be read in that context.
    Apart from that i did not agree with your comment about the Protoevangelium of James. While i do believe that each one is entitled to their own opinion, i do not appreciate the fact that an extremely important and sacred document such as the protoevangelium of James is fictitious. It was judiciously followed in the early church and by the 2nd century christians and indeed a sacred document to this very day. To disregard most of this sacred text as fictitious seems ludicrous to me.
    I understand your point and agree that being a mother is as noble as being a virgin. However there are certain facts that can not be denied and it suprises me that most of our protestants and pastors choose not to look beyond the Biblical text and think logically and openly regarding the question of the ever-virginity of Mary. The facts are this:
    We know that uptil the age of 13, Jesus was the only child of Mary.
    We also know that by the age of 30, Joseph had died. Now when during that time he died is in doubt but no doubt he lived uptil mayb 15-16 years in between.
    We also know that Joseph was much older to Mary.
    We also know for a fact that there never existed the word “cousin” in the Jewish language and that cousins, especially first cousins and so on.. and even stepbrothers were indeed called brothers.
    We also know that Jesus had several “brothers and sisters” . According to the Bible, Jesus had 4 brothers + sister(s) which is definitely 2 or more. So say a total of 6-7 children atleast.
    Now logically speaking, if Mary and Joseph were having intercourse, then there would have definitely been atleast one child out of the many mentioned by the time Jesus was 13. The very fact that there was no child up til then is very significant. We also know that when Jesus was 13, Mary was not pregnant, else it would have been mentioned during the scripture texts of the presentation of the Lord at the temple. We also know that any future children of Mary would have to then be born in the next 15 or so years. So say, around 6-7 children would have to be born in that time itself since Joseph died in around that time. that is almost after delivering the previous child, she wouldve gotten pregnant in the next few months! Which is not possible. and this is around 6-7 (minimum)!
    In the Bible, whereever the passages of Jesus’ brothers and sisters are mentioned, it is NEVER EVER ONCE said that it was Mary’s children. It is always mentioned the Brethern of JESUS, not Mary, never once. “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and HIS BRETHREN, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And HIS SISTERS, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?” Matthew 13:55-56
    “While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and HIS BRETHREN stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy BRETHREN stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my BRETHREN? and he stretched forth his hand TOWARD HIS DISCIPLES, and said behold my mother and my BRETHREN!” Matthew 12:46-49 .
    Jesus is the only one who is referred to as Mary’s child, not the brothers and sisters of Jesus. They are always referred to as HIS brethern. and Jesus himself never says behold my mother and her children. he says HIS brethern. the only time when He mentions otherwise is when he is dying on the cross and He gives his mother to John : “Woman behold YOUR son”
    Is it really so unfathomable that Mary is ever- virgin? Is anything impossible for God? Why must people persist in declaring something as absolute when there are clear and pertainent facts mentioning otherwise?
    Marg, as a preacher, it is your duty to study the true meaning and the intention in which the text was written by God and to preach the truth even when you find it difficult to. Pray to God and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and only He will give u the wisdom to discern the true meaning of the Bible.

  6. Hi Kagome,

    I apologise that I sounded too dismissive of the Protoevangelium of James. I did not know that some people regard it as sacred writing. I do not want to cause offense.

    I have read the document previously. In fact I read it in Greek. And I agree with Nani’s comment above that “The principal aim of the whole writing [Protoevangelium of James] is to prove the perpetual and inviolate virginity of Mary before, in, and after the birth of Christ” (Patrology, 1:120–1). I don’t doubt that this is the objective, but I sincerely don’t understand is why believing Mary’s perpetual virginity is so important to some Christians.

    I also truly wonder why these people think that Mary gave birth to Jesus in an unnatural way. I think this belief lessens the amazing fact that God became flesh and lived among us as a human being. I love the fact that Jesus’ humanity was provided by a woman, that Jesus lived inside the body of a woman for 9 months, and that he came into the world through the body of a woman. By saying that Jesus wasn’t born in the usual way it lessens aspects of his humanity. How do you think Jesus was born?

    I read the New Testament daily in Greek, so the comment that there is a loss of meaning in English translations doesn’t really apply. In Greek there is a word for cousin (ἀνεψιος). It is used only once in the New Testament – in Colossians 4:10. There is also a Greek word συγγενης that means relative or compatriot. It is sometimes used for “cousin”. Cognates of συγγενης are found in Mark 6:4; Luke 1:36, 58; 2:44; 14:12; 21:16; John 18:26; Acts 10:24; Romans 9:3; 16:7, 11, 21.

    Also, while there may not be a specific word for cousin in Classical Hebrew, the concept of cousin is achieved by combining words to indicate the relationship (e.g. the relationship between Esther and Mordecai in Esther 2:7 NRSV, NIV, etc). However, I don’t see any relevance whatsoever that there is no word for cousin in Hebrew.

    Jesus’ brothers are not just mentioned in one or two verses, but several. I see no reason to doubt that our Lord had brothers and sisters, and that Mary was their mother, especially as they are mentioned alongside Mary in a few verses.

    I don’t think we can say with any certainty that Jesus was an only child up until the age of 12 or 13. The Scriptures are completely silent about this. Perhaps Mary didn’t realise that Jesus was not travelling with them on the way home from Jerusalem because she was preoccupied with her younger children (Luke 2:41-44).

    I don’t think it’s difficult to believe that Mary could have been a perpetual virgin. Rather, I don’t see the credibility or value of this belief.

  7. Hi Marg,
    I too apologize if I sounded a bit harsh earlier regarding the Protoevangelium of James. You commented “but I sincerely don’t understand is why believing Mary’s perpetual virginity is so important to some Christians.” I would like to answer that question since you are genuinely perplexed. The truth is that Mary is more than Jesus’s mother to most Christians. To many Christians, she is their mother also, given to the human race by Jesus to guide and help all of us. What upsets most Christians regarding Mary’s ever-virginity is THE WAY in which it is being debated. There are many protestant groups who do not really acknowledge her and she is usually brushed aside. In fact most of the arguments between the Catholic-Orthodox churches V/s the Protestants hinge on the Virgin Mary. To be honest what upset me was reading the end-notes, not the insight into the changing water into wine, which i thought was beautifully written. It was the line : “The belief that Mary remained a virgin after Jesus’ birth is totally unscriptural.” In whichever blog i read or article, it seems that Mary is the one who is attacked the most.( i am not suggesting you come in this category). but like i said, i know that the line written is not true. it isn’t unscriptural and to suggest it hurt me. Because i know there is another meaning and another explanation and because for more than a decade, i have lived and also grown up in the East and studied this text and studied the customs and culture and i know it is different and meanings are different and no one is saying that there is even a POSSIBILITY of another meaning. That is not being taught and i personally feel that that is wrong.. What I am saying in the end, is that Mary, for many Christians is more than Jesus’ mother or the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. She is someone who is their heart and soul and anything said against her is taken personally. I know this because after studying and coming to know her for around 25 years, she is my heart and my soul and i have studied her and i know that the brothers and sisters mentioned are not Mary’s children, rather relations/brethren of Jesus. I know it in my heart even though i have logical studies to back my belief. In fact, i am in the same dilemma as you, only the opposite: Why can’t some christians believe Mary is ever-virgin!
    So Marg, we will have to agree to disagree. I respect your opinion.

    However the part about Jesus being the only child until 12-13 is true. (Now backtrack and read the line again. When i am using the word until here, i am only taking about the time period till when he is 13. I am not implying anything more..i am not saying that i believe he wasn’t the only child after 13. Do you see how beautiful one word can be? Until can have different meanings and that is why it is very important to know the intention in which a particular text is written. Here you know that i do not agree about Mary having other children, so you would read the line as i meant it to be read in. You can confirm with any English professor about the line and its different meanings. If you have learnt Permutations and Combinations in Mathematics, you would know how mind boggling a sentence can be, how many different meanings just one sentence can carry). Anyways coming back to the facts: He was the only child. That is unarguable. In Luke 2:41-43, “Now His PARENTS went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He became twelve, they went up there according to the custom of the Feast;and as they were returning, after spending the a full number of days, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. But His PARENTS were unaware of it” . it very clearly mentions only Parents and Jesus, there are no brothers and sisters . Luke 2:44-45 continues with “but supposed Him to be in the caravan, and went a day’s journey; and they began looking for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem looking for Him.”
    Here everyone is mentioned, parents, Jesus, relatives and acquaintances. Brothers and sisters of Jesus would be mentioned if there were any. If there is only thing we can not fault about the Bible, is that each instance, each part is very detailed, right from the location to what is happening in the background. The Bible will not leave out anything.
    Your comment : “Perhaps Mary didn’t realise that Jesus was not travelling with them on the way home from Jerusalem because she was preoccupied with her younger children” does not bear merit as if that were true, the Bible would have mentioned it. It is an assumption to support your theory which is unfounded. Which can be a bit dangerous, because in the end, we can not add or delete anything from the Bible as is mentioned in the Book of the Revelations 22:18-19.
    You see Marg, the thing is that when you are a preacher, like yourself, you have an amazing burden to bear. i say amazing as it is both joy and sorrow. Joy as you are telling the world about the Word of God and sorrow as it carries with it the responsibility to preach what is right, which becomes difficult when it comes to accepting something that is difficult for us to accept. And if you preach the Word of God incorrect, then you also have to bear the consequences of that.
    So, i suggest, that since there is another explanation regarding the perpetual virginity, either preach what both of us think with all the facts or better yet, don’t preach it if there is even a minor possibilty that what you are preaching may be incorrect. According to me, it is better not to preach something than to preach it incorrectly.
    In spite of our difference in opinions, i truly respect you, because i think you are doing something that is not easy. We can study and research and argue with facts and figures all our lives and still not understand the intention in which God intended the scripture to be written!
    So since i admire the work you do, ill tell you a little secret about me: Whenever I am in doubt about something, i pray to God and then make chits and ask Him to tell me what to do. For that, you need a very special relationship with God-like me, and personally i think that you too share that special relationship with God. You remember when Peter and the other apostles were wondering which of the 2 apostles to choose to replace Judas? Acts 1:15-26. They prayed to God and caste their lots and then it fell to Mattias. So i suggest that in order to preach the truth, you need to know the truth. So who better than God to tell us right? Ask God if Mary is ever-virgin. Prepare 2 chits. One that says “yes” and one “no” and shake it and see which chit falls out. First of course you must sincerely pray to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to help you. Do this atleast 5 times, each time pray before you pick the chit. If all 5 times comes out the same answer, you know it is God answering you and your praying sincerely. But if you do it twice and each time you get a different answer, means you are not sincerely doing it and need to sincerely pray and ask God to help you, as you are preaching His word.
    I have done this many many times for various problems and when i pray with a sincere and true heart and ask God to grant my answer, no matter how many…however many times i pick the chit, always the same answer will come up. That as we know is not possible unless God is behind it!

  8. Hi Kagome, I don’t feel as though I am attacking Mary. I have a great respect for her.

    I believe that the Holy Spirit has been given as a guide and to strengthen and encourage followers of Jesus.

    I agree that my comment : “Perhaps Mary didn’t realise that Jesus was not travelling with them on the way home from Jerusalem because she was preoccupied with her younger children” is complete supposition. But I also think that we can’t argue from silence that there were no other younger children. There are several ways to explain their absence from the text. For instance, they may have been too young to travel and stayed at Nazareth under the care of a relative.

    I know this is an issue that you take personally, but I honestly just don’t feel strongly about it one way or the other.

    I do appreciate your comments, though. I have learnt from them.

    Warm regards, grace and peace.

  9. F.F. Bruce infers from the scriptures that the Jesus’ siblings “were children of Mary; the burden of proof rests on those who interpret the relationship differently.” Bruce doesn’t mention the Infancy Gospel of James (written in around 150 AD), but he writes the following in footnote 3 on page 88.

    “[In the fourth century,] Epiphanius (Heresies, 78) argued that they were children of Joseph by a previous wife. Then Helvidius of Rome restated the interpretation (already maintained by Tertullian and others) that they were children of Joseph and Mary, born after Jesus. In reply to Helvidius, Jerome propounded a new theory: that they were cousins of Jesus, children of Alphaeus by “Mary of Clopas”, whom he inferred from John 19:25 to be the Virgin’s sister (Aduersis de perpetua uirginitate beatae Mariae).
    Men and Movements in the Primitive Church: Studies in Non-Pauline Christianity by F.F. Bruce (Exeter: Paternoster, 1979), 88.

  10. so was the wine real alcoholic wine or just grape juice? my brother says it was just grape juice and i say if it was, the miracle was that they got drunk on grape juice.

    1. Hi esbeee, The Greek word oinos is used five times in John 2: in John 2:3 (twice), 2:9, and 2:10 (twice). And oinos means “wine.” There is no mention in John 2 that the wedding guests got drunk/ inebriated/ intoxicated, and they would have drunk the wine diluted.

      In the ancient world, when water could be easily contaminated and before refrigeration, wine diluted with water (one part wine to three parts water) was “the” common drink.

      The person in charge of the wedding feast at Cana is hardly going to get excited about grape juice. Rather, he was impressed with the quality of the wine Jesus had made and he makes this comment:
      “Everyone serves the good wine (oinos) first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poorer kind. But you have kept the good wine (oinos) until now.”

      Here is every occurrence of the word oinos in the New Testament: https://biblehub.com/greek/3631.htm

      In Numbers 6:3 in the (Greek) Septuagint, it mentions certain drinks that Nazarites couldn’t drink. They couldn’t drink wine (oinos), strong liquor (sikera), vinegar (oxos) which is made from grapes, and then it says “whatever is made from grapes” because fresh grape juice quickly ferments and becomes intoxicating when not refrigerated.

      In short, fresh grape juice wasn’t a usual drink in the ancient world.

      Here is the Common English Bible’s translation of Numbers 6:2-4 from the Hebrew (not Greek).
      “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: If a man or a woman makes a binding promise to be a nazirite in order to be dedicated to the Lord, that person must refrain from wine and brandy. He or she may not drink wine vinegar or brandy vinegar, nor drink any grape juice or eat grapes, whether fresh or dried. While a nazirite, the person may not eat anything produced from the grapevine, not even its seeds or skin.”

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