So what difference does it make if Cana occurred on the Sixth Day or the Seventh Day in John’s Gospel?
At the wedding feast at Cana, Mary expresses concern to Jesus that the celebrants have run out of wine. Jesus responds, “It is not yet my hour”. Many exegetes believe “my hour” refers to the hour of his ministry, yet the expression “my hour” is used numerous times in John’s Gospel and it always refers unambiguously to the hour of our Lord’s passion (John 7:30, 8:20, 12:23-24, 12:27, 13:1, 17:1, 19:14). The footnote in the NAB makes this point.
So what is the point? Through John 2:1, we very quickly arrived at Day Six. Then Saint John stops counting days altogether. We are told instead that the “hour” has not yet come, the point of course being that we go from counting days to waiting on the “hour”. Throughout the Gospel narrative then, we are still on the Day Six, waiting for the “hour to come”. This expected “hour” does not come until Christ’s passion. Only then can we continue counting days so as to arrive at the Seventh.
The implication is this: In the Gospel of John, the Sixth Day begins at Cana, but it ends at Calvary.
The Sixth Day in John’s Gospel is a symbolic “day” that spans the entire ministry of Christ, a period of 3 years. To help digest the point, consider this question: What “work” did God accomplish on the Sixth Day in the Creation Narrative of Genesis? Easy right? It was on the Sixth Day that God created man. Similarly then on the Sixth Day in John’s Gospel God creates man anew.
The language of John’s Gospel is uniquely and overwhelmingly Genesis-like in its tone. Jesus tells Nicodemus in chapter 3 that a man that wishes to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven must be “born anew” or “reborn” (John 3:3). Saint John introduces this concept very early in his Gospel: “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).
In Genesis God created man in his image. We are told He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). In John’s Gospel, Jesus breaths spiritual life into his apostles: “he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:22). These are the only two times in all of Scripture that God breathes on a person. They are almost certainly related.
Staying in the Gospel, we see that there are intriguing parallels between Cana and Calvary that indicate that the events that transpire at these two places bookend the three year ministry of Christ, framing this period of time as a symbolic “Sixth Day” in John’s Gospel:
• Cana occurs on the sixth day in John’s Gospel. Calvary occurs on Good Friday, the sixth day of the week.
• At Cana, Jesus gave the people choice wine to drink in abundance. At Calvary, Jesus said “I thirst” and the people give Jesus only a small amount of “sour wine” to drink.
• On the sixth day in Creation narrative of Genesis, Adam addresses Eve for the first and only time under the title of Woman: “she shall be called Woman” (Genesis 2:23). Jesus addresses his mother under the title of Woman twice: once at Cana and the second time at Calvary: “Woman behold your son” (John 19:26) In other words, Adam addresses Eve as Woman only on the Sixth Day. Jesus likewise only addresses Mary as Woman on the Sixth Day, once at its beginning and once at its end.
Thus Cana and Calvary both occur on the Sixth Day.
Furthermore, the Bible tells us that after the Sixth Day had passed, God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done”. Similarly, when Christ had finished his work upon the cross, he entered into his rest. This is to say that while he suffered on the Sixth Day performing the work of redemption, he rested entombed on Seventh Day “from all his work which he had done”.
[Continued on next post …]