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Chapter 2:1-2 (ESV)

Posted on July 19, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 2:1-2 (ESV) - On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 

Question to consider: What does John mean by “On the third day”? Third day of what?

Before we get into the events at the wedding feast at Cana, I think it is important to get our bearings. Each gospel account has its own perspective and purpose concerning the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and for those like me who desire to have a well-ordered, chronological timeline of events, it can be a challenge to keep track of when and where things happened.

The events of John’s gospel began with an encounter between John the Baptist and those sent by the Pharisees concerning the baptism of the Jews. The time and geographical references were as follows:

  • The next day - John the Baptist pointed out that Jesus was the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” and spoke of the sign of the Holy Spirit. This took place along the Jordan river near Bethany Beyond the Jordan (not the Bethany near Jerusalem)
  • The next day “again” - I think “again” means that it was still the “next day” from when John the Baptist encountered the Pharisees. Andrew and John went from being disciples of John the Baptist to disciples of Jesus, and Simon first met Jesus. I believe that they were still in the region of Bethany Beyond the Jordan.
  • “The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee” - this would be two days after the encounter with the Pharisees. I think in order to get from Bethany by the Jordan to Galilee, Jesus would have traveled in Andrew and Peter’s boat along with John across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum (where John, Peter, and Andrew now lived). There Jesus encountered Philip who Andrew and Peter knew because they grew up with him in Bethsaida.
  • On the third day - Jesus traveled with John, Andrew, Philip, and Nathanael to Cana which was still in the region of Galilee to the west of Capernaum. I don’t believe Peter was with them at this point or considered himself a disciple, and there’s no mention of John's brother, James. Cana was just north of Nazareth so the wedding was someone who was a friend or near relative of Mary.

If I were to venture a guess as to when these events occurred in the overall timeline, I would say that John gave his testimony, “He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me,” during the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness after John had baptized Him. The day Jesus returned, John began telling everyone that Jesus was the Lamb of God.

I don’t think it is a coincidence that the first sign done by Jesus was before servants at a wedding feast on the third day after John confessed to the Pharisees that he was the voice crying out in the wilderness. Isaiah introduced this prophecy by giving comfort to Israel and saying her sins were to be pardoned. What was the voice to cry? “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades,  but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:6-8) This Word was in their midst, and His work had just begun.

Prayer

Dear heavenly Father, thank You for inviting us to the wedding feast of the Lamb as the Bride of Christ. Thank You for washing us clean from our sin and adorning us with righteousness. May we rejoice in Jesus and bring glory to His name. Amen.