Tuesday, January 15, 2013

John 2:1-11

This passage occurs in the RCL Epiphany Season, Year C, most recently January 2013.
Summary:  The numbers tell the story here.  This is Jesus FIRST miracle that happens on the THIRD day, in which he transforms SIX vessels of imperfect cleansing into celebration.  In fact, the word FIRST here means foundation, because this miracle foreshadows all the other miracles of Jesus; they are all miracles of transformation, including the resurrection on the third day.  Lastly, on a very Lutheran note, the transformation includes humans who are put to use for the service of others.

Key words:
τριτη ("third", 2.1).  The phrase third day only occurs in John's Gospel during this story and the accounts of the resurrection.  Furthermore, Jesus refers in this chapter to the fact that the temple will be raised on the third day (2:19-20), also a reference to the resurrection on the third day.  Jesus' glory will fully be revealed then.

εξ ("six", 2:6)  Six in the bible signifies something as incomplete.  It is not coincidental that John connects six with Jewish cleansing rituals.

αρχη ("first" or "principal", 2:11)  The word can mean first.  But if you look at the other times when it is translated as first (and not "beginning"), it has shades of primary, or foundationally first. So we need to ask ourselves -- why is this a foundational miracle?

John 6:64
For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him.
Colossians 1:18;
He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.
Hebrews 2:3, 3:14
It was declared at first through the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him,
For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end.
Rev 22:13
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

Two other words:
διακονος ("servant", 2:5):  Just a quick pointing out of this word, whose meaning continues to come under fire (can this exist outside of the word and worship is the current Catholic debate).  In this case, Jesus brings the διακονος to service for his ministry.  Can you count this as a worship service...hmm...there is Wine and the word.

επιστεθσαν ("believe", 2:11):  Believe in the book of John is never a noun "faith" but only a verb "to believe" or "to trust."

Grammar review:  An idiom you should know
"τι εμοι και σοι"  Jesus asks this question of Mary.  This is not a very nice thing to say to a person.  It means, "Who the hell are you."  It is also used
* Widow to Elijah, whom she believes is responsible for her son's death;1 Kings 17:18
* The demons to Jesus when he wants to exorcise them; Mark 5:7

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