Signs Part 1: Turning Water into Wine

What is a biblical sign?

This is the first post in a new category: Flashback Friday. It’s part of the Gems from John series. Please forgive the formatting–it was created on a different platform and theme. Hope you enjoy!

Week 3: John Chapter 2, Part 1

First Sign: Water to Wine 2:1-11

                                         What is a sign-text                                               ?

…a miracle viewed as a proof of divine authority and majesty…

…a physical illustration of a spiritual principle…

…the sign points away from itself to the One who performed it…

(Hendriksen, 117)

The First Sign in the Gospel of John


ESV  John 2:1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.  3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”  4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”  5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.  7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.  8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.  9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom  10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”  11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

At a literal level, what Jesus did at the wedding was IMPOSSIBLE. This points to Jesus’ special powers.

Why does this miracles constitute a SIGN?

Water in the New Testament symbolizes the Word of God.

ESV  Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

Christ is called the living Word of God.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Wine in the New Testament symbolizes the blood of Christ shed on the cross as an atonement for sin.

Matthew 26:27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

The physical wine itself pales in comparison to the realization that here is a man who shows himself to have great power and love, by his working of a supernatural feat to bless the guests at the wedding, including the bridegroom and his bride.


ESV  John 2:11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

This first sign shows that Jesus is the master of both QUALITY (he is the best wine) and QUANTITY (100-150 gallons is lots of wine!!) (Hendriksen, 119)

He can also CHANGE PHYSICAL SUBSTANCES, making him to be God!



Why Signs?

Jesus is the Light of men. This Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness just can’t put it out.

We all know from taking photos that too much light destroys color and detail–everything becomes a burned out white. Our eyes themselves can’t function when the light is too bright. Christ’s light (the light of God himself) would blind us if we saw it unfiltered.

A Sign Miracle is a toning down of the exposure of Christ’s light.

The Miracle Signs illuminate Christ to our understanding without overexposing our human minds to a blinding light.

John’s writing places all else but Christ in background tones of shadows while at the same time painting Christ in vivid, detailed colors.

Christ himself is a “Sign” that points to God as love.






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