Sunday, December 8, 2013

Water Into Wine (part 8 of 8)

To assist in further explaining the head steward’s words and actions towards the bridegroom, one must bear in mind that as far as he is concerned, it is in fact the bridegroom that has provided this new wine.  This is truly the only reasonable assessment at hand.  If this is so, then for some reason the bridegroom has gone behind the back of the head steward and colluded against him in this area, in what could be easily understood to be an attempt to make him look bad before the community. 

Also, the head steward would be completely justified in thinking that, for some reason, the bridegroom was making an overt attempt to dishonor his honored guests by purposely not providing them with the best wine.  The head steward, apparently, is not only not willing to let this blame be put on him, thereby letting the scheming bridegroom off the hook, he is also not willing to go along with the dishonoring that he sees taking place. 

Finally, and though things should probably not be pushed too far in this area, it should be noted that the wine was produced in the “six stone water jars… for Jewish ceremonial washing” (John 2:6b).  For reasons of purity, ceremonial washing was of crucial importance.  These ceremonial washings may have been limited to the hands, but one can also bear in mind the incident recorded in the seventh chapter of Luke, in which Jesus, while a woman is washing His feet with her hair, mentions to Simon that He had not had his feet washed when He entered Simon’s house. 

So it is within the realm of possibility that these jars had been the jars employed in the washing of the guests hands and feet as they arrived for the wedding feast.  If this is so, then the servants of the house would have been employed in this process, as they assisted the attendees in the process of washing, and perhaps were even completely responsible for doing the washing of the feet themselves.  It is these servants then, who are part of the group of people will be drinking the best wine, which now flows from out of their jars of service. 

With this, those at the party and those learning about the party afterwards through either the social network or via the text, are able to witness the first becoming last (ironically because they refuse to drink the better wine being served at the end of the meal), while the last become first (as those who had been relegated, due to the prevailing social structure, to the end of the meal now drink the finest wine).  As this thought is entertained, it is quite useful to hear the author say “Jesus did this as the first of His miraculous signs” (2:11a), with the first becoming last and the last becoming first.  “In this way He revealed His glory” (2:11b) and the advent of the kingdom of the Creator God.

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