And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
One might ask: “What has this to do with Jesus being married or not being married?”
I would answer: “Perhaps nothing; perhaps everything.”
There are things in this narrative that suggest this incident has nothing to do with Jesus, save he was an invited guest and that he performed a miracle. However, there are other things suggesting otherwise. Let’s look into it a little bit further.
Regarding Mary: All the narrative says is that “the mother of Jesus was there.” It doesn’t say in what capacity, although later it seems she was in some sort of authoritative capacity, apparently in charge of the wine. Why this would be so, if she were merely a guest, that is the mystery. Would a guest be in charge of the wine, let alone the servants she ordered around?
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible notes that it “is not improbable that [Mary] was a relative of the family where the marriage took place.”
People’s New Testament and Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary agree with Barnes in this.
This is likely true, given her rule over the wine situation. But which relative was getting married?
Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible posits, “Some of the ancients have thought that this was the marriage of John the evangelist, who is supposed to have been a near relative of our Lord.”
While this may or may not be true, there is no evidence to support this. Even so, if it were John the evangelist, exactly which John is this referring to? John the Baptist or John the disciple or apostle?
The Baptist was certainly a relative, while the apostle was likely not. Both were evangelists. And, again, if it were either of the John’s wedding, why would Mary be in charge of the wine?
More than likely, the Mary’s relative who was getting married was someone in her family. Jesus wasn’t the only child of the family; yet, it was Jesus to whom Mary came to complain about the wine situation. If it were some other child of Mary, don’t you think she would have come to him and complained about the wine?
Think about it. When one normally discusses this first miracle, no one really goes into the intimate details of what really went on. And if Jesus had never performed a miracle before this, as this scripture points out, what exactly would she expect Jesus to do? Go out and buy more wine?
No, instead, she instructs the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do, without any apparent by-your-leave or choice given to Jesus. And without the servants bucking at this “guest” telling them what to do.
As to the matter of the “governor of the feast,” who exactly was he?
According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (1984), “governor of the feast” was translated from the Greek “architriklinðs,” which would be later translated as “ruler of the feast” in this narrative.
According to Strong, “architriklinðs” means “director of the entertainment.” We might liken this to the modern emcee, perhaps, with the added responsibility of being in charge of the wine.
Other translations of the Bible rendered this as “steward” (Revised Standard Version, New Engllish Bible, Jerusalem Bible), “head waiter” (New American Standard Bible), and “master” (New International Version).
But I like “director of the entertainment.” If it’s good enough for Strong, it’s good enough for me; so that’s what we’re going with. I tend to lean on Strong’s quite a bit in matters such as these.
Then there’s the matter of the servants at the wedding celebration. Who exactly were they? And were they really servants or something else? Again we turn to Strong’s.
The Greek rendering of “servants” is “diakðnðs,” which means “an attendant, i.e. (generally) a waiter (at a table or other menial duties.)” It is also used to indicate a Christian teacher and pastor, technically a deacon or deaconess, according to Strong.
We can rule out the latter, as these were non-existent at the time, in particular, the deaconess, as to my knowledge, the Bible makes no references to such an office. That leaves us with “an attendant” or “waiter,” or, as we might say in modern parlance, a server.
This shines an entirely new light on the “political” make-up of the marriage at Cana. Instead of a governor or ruler of the feast, we have a “director of entertainment,” emcee, or even “head waiter.” Instead of servants, which one might expect a governor to have, we have attendants, waiters, or servers. To me, this sounds more like one might come to expect at a wedding celebration, does it not?
Although this has nothing to do with the subject at hand—i.e., whether or not this celebration was, in fact, the marriage of Jesus—as a matter of clarification, I give you various translations of “And when they wanted wine” (KJV):
- ”When the wine gave out” (RSV, NASB)
- ”The wine gave out” (NEB)
- ”When they ran out of wine” (JB)
- ”When the wine was gone” (NIV)
Here’s the thing: If Mary were merely “present” at the marriage in Cana, presumably as a guest, why on earth would she be concerned that they had ran out of wine? That’s the question, isn’t it, that is never answered? Her subsequent behavior would seem very inappropriate if she were merely an invited guest.
It would seem to me that the one who ought to be concerned about the wine running out would be the master of ceremonies or “director of entertainment”—and certainly the head of the household of the groom. However, in this case, it appears that the “director of entertainment” was unaware that the wine had given out, but, significantly, Mary was not!
And why would Mary, if she were merely a guest, go panic-stricken to Jesus with this problem? Even more interesting than this was Jesus’ mysterious response to her:
- ”What have I to do with thee?” (KJV)
- ”What have you to do with me?” (RSV)
- ”Your concern . . . is not mine” (NEB)
- ”Why turn to me?” (JB)
- ”What do I have to do with you?” (NASB)
- ”Why do you involve me?” (NIV)
Jesus wanted no part of this business. And why should he, especially if he, like his mother, were merely invited guests? But, if it were Jesus who was being married, the wine was indeed no concern of his, but was, as pointed out, the concern of the “director of entertainment.”
The last thing I’ll touch upon is in regards to verse 2: “And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.”
This could be the result of a deliberate mistranslation, due to the translators’ and Church’s bias against Jesus being married, or a misunderstanding of the word “kalĕō” (Greek), which was translated “called.”
Strong says that “kalĕō” is “akin to the base of 2753,” which we’ll cover in a minute. We also find: “to ‘call’ (properly aloud, but used in a variety of applications, directly or otherwise).” The word has been variously translated as “bid”, “call”, “call forth”, “whose name was called”, and “whose surname was called.”
The reference to 2753 indicates the Greek word “kĕlĕvō”, which means, according to Strong, “(to urge on); “hail”; “to incite by word; i.e., order.” This relative of “kalĕō” was variously translated as “bid”, “at command(ment)” and “give command(ment).”
The fact is, that given so many uses of the word “kalĕō” and the related “kĕlĕvō”, it is difficult to determine, from the context, which of these meanings might be in order.
It could be merely as it is rendered in the King James Version, meaning they were bidden (i.e., invited) to come the wedding. Or it could mean their names were called at as they entered the house, as we’ve all seen in so many old movies, although I don’t know if that was a custom in early Hebrew weddings. I’m not an expert in that area.
Given all this, I can’t conclusively say that the marriage at Cana was that of Jesus, but neither can I say with assurance that it was not. However, as you have seen, I believe that the marriage at Cana was the marriage of Jesus, but that’s my bias, given my research into the matter.
The question might be asked: “Was this marriage important enough to find its way into the Bible, simply because it was Jesus’ supposed first miracle? Or was it because Jesus was, in fact, getting married?
Tradition says the former; I believe the latter because, as I have pointed out, there are too many oddities to dismiss the idea either out of hand or because of traditional bias.
This bias has been passed down through the millennia by the Church, as well as all those sects that broke off from the Church. Even those Christian Churches which did not break off from the main Church have picked up on the idea and have a bias against Jesus being married.
Yet, as I have mentioned in previous posts, I have no problem with Jesus being married, particularly if he was to keep all of the commandments, one of which was “to multiply and replenish the earth.”
This is my stand. I encourage the reader to do his own research and come to his own conclusion. I would love to hear from you.