I’m studying through the Gospel of John. I’m taking special care to go slowly. These are stories I know well. In my familiarity, I’m liable to rush past the text to the interpretation I already know. So, as I read I was working slowly through the text, considering each verse carefully.
Early in Chapter 2, Jesus began his public work with the lavish miracle at Cana, turning water into wine. In the context of the chapter, it seemed clear that this wasn’t Jesus performing a party trick to impress.
He was taking a symbol of the old system, the water of ritual purification, and turning it into something else. Wine. Was it a symbol of joy? A reflection of generous provision? Of course, a symbol of the spilled blood of the new covenant. No longer would people depend on daily ritual washing to make them clean before God; that washing would be accomplished permanently in Jesus’ death.
But as I read through the account, I noticed a sentence at the end, a sort of summary that could easily be passed over. Verse 11:
“What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” – John 2:11
Jesus did this in Cana. It was the first sign. It revealed his glory. Yep. But then that last phrase: “and his disciples believed in him.”
Wait? What? His disciples? Didn’t they already believe in him? Isn’t that why they were his disciples?