As I am studying through and teaching the Gospel of John I am in awe of just how interconnected this book is. I don’t even know where to start but I will take a stab at it.
Jesus comes on the scene as the lamb of God who comes to take away the sins of the world (1:29). He is baptized and water and is encountered by the Holy Spirit (1:33). He calls Nathanael a true Israelite (1:47 – Jacob’s name) and then references himself as Bethel (the house of God…the place where Jacob had the vision of angels ascending and descending – 1:51). We will come back to these in a moment.
The third day comes up in chapter 2:1 as the time when Jesus arrives for the wedding in Cana and the amount of time it would take Jesus to rebuild the temple (his own body raised from the dead – 2:19). When approached by his mother to fix the wine problem Jesus tells her it is not his hour (2:4)…a figure of speech Jesus uses through the Gospel of John to reference his death, burial and resurrection (2:4, 7:4, 8:20, 12:23, 27; 13:1, 17:1). To fix the problem Jesus took the purification jars, had water poured into them and it turned into wine inside. A few verses later Jesus is purifying the temple and a few chapters later we find that Jesus is the living water. The water and the Spirit in chapter 1:33 points to the water of chapter 2 which points to the water and the Spirit of chapter 3:5 when Jesus talks with Niccodemus about being born again of water and the Spirit.
In John 4, Jesus is in Samaria, where again water is the source of the conversation and that water points people to Jesus. What is more the well they are at in Samaria is “Jacob’s well” which points us back to John 1 and Nathanael being a “true Israelite”…what is more Nathanael is from Cana and that is where Jesus goes to from Samaria in John 4 where he heals an official’s son. What is interesting here is that this official has come to Jesus from Capernaum, where his son is dying and that back in John 2 Jesus left Cana to go to Capernaum before going to Jerusalem for Passover (which, if you would remember we have already been told Jesus is the real Passover lamb back in John 1:29) where he would cleanse the temple.
Across all of these stories and across the first 12 chapters of John and brought up again as a bookend in 20:30-31 is that Jesus did these signs and that they resulted in people believing and that through that believing they have life through Christ.
That is just the first four chapters! The list could go on and on but I am amazed at the beauty of the narrative of the Gospel of John! It is fascinating and moving and reminds me that God’s Spirit is so much more creative than I can ever wrap my mind around.
I love your excitiment here..you can feel it. Recently I read that if you look closely the Gosple of John begins like a new creation story. In the beginning…and that in the first couple of chapters the writer keeps using the term “the next day” four times and then he adds the 3 days later Jesus is at the Wedding Feast. If you add the 3 to the 4 you get 7 and so the water into wine story being the beginning of his ministry takes on a whole new dimension.
Have you ever heard this before? Wonderful when you see it that way….