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.”
“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
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.”
This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
— John 2:1-11
“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana, in Gallilee.” This opening line in John 2, was a very simple statement to introduce Jesus’ first miracle, of turning the water into wine. Why did the writer put, “on the third day”, and is that important? Well, it turns out, like everything else in the Bible, that it does have significance and does mean something in the story. If you are like me, I bet you read right over it.
First of all, Jews did not name the days of the week with the names that we use. Thursday stands for Thor’s day, a pagan god’s day, and Sunday is the day of the Sun god , another pagan deity. The Jews would have never used those names. The Jews numbered their days to correspond with the days of creation. Day One was the first day of creation and corresponds with our Sunday, our first day of the week. At the end of Genesis 1:3-5 it says, “God created the light and it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” An interesting side note here is that this is why the Jews start their days in the evening, because God made evening first and then morning. Now read on for the second day-it says,”God separated the water from the sky and said, it was good”. If you will read carefully, on the third day, God created the land and plants and trees, and he said, “it was good”, twice! In the creation story, on the third day only, Tuesday we say, God had two “it is goods”! This would have been what they called a double blessing (for both the bride and groom). Because of this double blessing, religious Jews always tried to be married on a Tuesday! Now if you re-read the opening sentence in John 2 and you know the culture, we are being told that this wedding that Jesus is attending is the wedding of a religious Jewish family! It is so cool, when knowing something about the culture adds to the meaning of the story. We definitely need to read our text more closely and pay more attention to the culture.
About the author:
Bob is the creator of this site and a disciple of Ray Vander Laan. Along with his wife of 50 years, he teaches a Bible study at Christ’s Church in Roswell, NM. He is also an avid hunter and fisher.
Thank you…this adds so much to understanding and enjoying the Word.
Wow, who would have thought that this simple phrase, “on the third day,” could shed so much light on the story and give so much more meaning to the passage! Bob and Pat, even though I often cannot be with you on Sunday mornings, please know how much I appreciate you, your passion for digging deeper into the Word, and your service to our group.
In your John commentary on p 24: “…final day would be mysterious “third day” of the marriage feast (John 2.1)”.
I have thought of it as the re-enactment of the Third Day of Creation Week in which Jesus/God turns water into wine..
“9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout [j]vegetation, [k]plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after [l]their kind [m]with seed in them”; and it was so. 12 The earth brought forth [n]vegetation, [o]plants yielding seed after [p]their kind, and trees bearing fruit [q]with seed in them, after [r]their kind; and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day.”
Miracle at Cana
1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; 2 and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus *said to Him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus *said to her, “Woman, [a]what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother *said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” 6 Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing [b]twenty or thirty gallons each. 7 Jesus *said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim