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Daily Devotion for October 17, 2014

God never gives you more than you can handle.



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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Prayer to Follow God's Will Today (by Chas. Haddon Spurgeon)

O  God, the author of all good, I come to You for the grace another day will require for its duties and events. I step out into a wicked world; I carry about with me an evil heart. I know that without You I can do nothing, that everything with which I shall be concerned, however harmless in itself, may prove an occasion of sin or folly, unless I am kept by Your power.

Hold me up O God and I shall be safe. Preserve my understanding from subtlety of error, my affections from love of idols, my character from stain of vice, my profession from every form of evil. May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore Your blessing, and in which I cannot invite Your inspection. Prosper me in all lawful undertakings, or prepare me for disappointments.

Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with food suitable for me, lest I be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or be poor, and steal, and take Your name in vain. May every creature be made good to me by prayer and Your will. Teach me how to use the world and not abuse it, to improve my talents, to redeem my time, to walk in wisdom toward those without, and in kindness to those within, to do good to all men, and especially to my fellow Christians. And to You, O God, be the glory.


To Treat Others as I Would Be Treated

Lord, while I pray for peace and goodwill in our world, I ask you to help me to change my own attitude for the better, so that peace and goodwill may start with the way I behave towards those who have hurt me. Inspire me to be as generous to others as I would like them to be with me.



[Living the entire day in inspiration.]

Prayer of Penitence

Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, now fulfill in my contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all my sins, and cleansing me from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. And turn my heart to your will at every moment, I pray.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

<i>Saint Anne</i> from the Master of Berlin Sketchbook, ca. 1525.
Saint Anne from the Master of Berlin Sketchbook, ca. 1525.

Blue Latin Cross

John 2:1-11 (DP Literal)

The Miracle at Cana (2) - The Basic Meaning

About the translation.

1 And on the day the third wedding occurred in Cana of the Galilee, and was the mother of Jesus there; 2 Were invited also Jesus and the disciples of him into the wedding.

3 And having lacked of wine says the mother of Jesus to him, Wine not they have. 4 Says to her Jesus, What to me and to you, woman? Not yet has come the hour of me.

5 Says the mother of him to the servants, Whatever he might say to you you must do.

6 Were there stone jars six for the purpose of the purification ritual of the Jews standing, holding each measures two or three. 7 Says to them Jesus, Fill the waterpots of water. And they filled them as far as the top. 8 And he says to them, Draw now and carry to the feast director; [and] they carried.

9 When tasted the feast director the water wine having become, and not he knew from where it is, [but] the servants knew the having drawn the water, calls the bridegroom the feast director 10 and says to him, Every man first the good wine gives, and when they are intoxicated the inferior; you have kept the good wine until now.

11 This did beginning of the signs Jesus in Cana of the Galilee and revealed the glory of him, and believed in him the disciples of him.

Notes on the Scripture

Today’s Notes provide a glimpse into serious Bible scholarship. It is something most people never see, and probably do not realize exists. We will not continue in this vein beyond today. I do hope, however, that you will enjoy a little taste of it.

Today’s Translation

We are presenting a different translation with each of the lessons on the Wedding at Cana, and the primary translation today is an unpublished literal translation. This is a specialty translation for the serious Bible student; it is by it nature difficult to read.

Why would anyone want a literal translation that is so difficult to read? For accuracy. When you read an English Bible, you are not reading God’s inspired Word, but an interpretation of it. This can actually be quite important, as people all-too-frequently will base an idea or belief on something that they think is in the Bible, but is not, because they have read an inaccurate translation. (We have an article, The Wedding at Cana: The Accuracy of Different Translations, for those who want to learn more about this subject.)

You can see the inaccuracies in even the ESV — in general, an excellent translation — by comparison. The most changed part is verse 10. The ESV supplies a euphemism, “when people have drunk freely,” but the Bible says “when they are intoxicated”. This does, actually, have theological significance, because the ESV obscures the implication that the old wine has affected the minds of the wedding guests, so that they do not realize it when they are given inferior wine, just as the Pharisees' minds had become muddled by increasingly minute rules of conduct.

Other slight inaccuracies are “poor” wine in the ESV, instead of “inferior” wine in the Greek, and “first” sign instead of “beginning” of the signs. If one interprets the old wine as a symbol of the law of Moses, as is quite possible, there is a difference between calling it “poor” and calling it “inferior”. The old wine is not bad; it is rather not as good as the new.

This is really picking some nits, no doubt about it. The ESV is a good translation. But in some other places, it really misses the mark, and the reader has no way to know this without a truly literal translation (unless he or she has learned koine Greek). Hence, the need of a “truly literal” translation. It is an aid to serious scholarship, something to turn to when you have a question, or a dispute, about a specific term in the translation you are using, or where the wording of two translations is different.

At any rate, you might want to refer back to this, as we will discuss variations in translations while we study this passage.

The Basic Meaning

The story is not difficult to follow, but there are a couple of rough patches. “The third day” indicates that these events happened two days after the end of John 1, specifically, the calling of Nathanael (or Nathaniel) as an apostle. Jesus and the apostles are invited to a wedding and they attend. At some point, Mary tells Jesus that have no wine. Jesus uses a Hebrew idiom, “what is this to me and to you”, meaning “this is none of our business.”

Then we hit the rough patch. Jesus says that his hour has not yet come, something He often says later on to indicate that the time of His crucifixion has not yet arrived. It is an apparent non sequitur (we will make some sense of it in a later comment); but John is especially prone to non sequitur, both in his gospel and his epistles, and we learn not to expect strict logical progression in either his grammar or his thought process. What we may take, immediately, from this statement, is an impression that there is a profound meaning to the events to follow.

Then we get a harsher non sequitur. Mary tells the servants to do what Jesus tells them to do, even though He has just stated that it is not His problem. We must simply accept that Jesus has changed His mind and somehow communicated it to Mary.

Since we do not have an original of the gospel — and the oldest copy of this part of John was made over 100 years after the original was written — it might be that part of it has been lost in the process of making copies. Otherwise, John apparently expects us to fill in some gaps.

The rest of the surface narrative is easy to follow. Jesus has the servants fill six large stone jars, used for Jewish purification rituals, with water. He then changes the water into wine. There is a person, possibly a slave, who is supervising the catering, and he remarks (to the groom) that usually the better wine is served first and the inferior wine later, when the guests are intoxicated; but Jesus' “new wine” is superior. This is the beginning of the signs of Jesus' divinity, revealing His glory, and his apostles believe in Him.

endless knot

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Ephesians 4:29: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

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