Days of John

Days of John December 23, 2008

Reacting to my earlier post on the week of John 1-2, John Barach offers a (needed) lesson in counting:

It seems to me that the wedding at Cana has to be taken as the eighth day for two reasons. First, the parallels with the seven days of creation make it the eighth:

DAY 1: The Light of the World (1:1-18)
DAY 2: The Baptism of John (1:19-28)
DAY 3: Jesus’ Baptism (1:29-34): dry land emerges from water, “the next day.”
DAY 4: John Points Disciples to Jesus (1:35-39)
DAY 5: Disciples Bring Brothers (1:40-42)
DAY 6: Jesus and Nathanel (1:43-51): “the following day,” the first day
DAY 7: [nothing]: Sabbath; the second day
DAY 8: The Wedding at Cana (2:1-11): “the third day”

There is a close correspondence between the first three passages here and Days 1-3 of creation: the light of the world (Day 1), the waters (Day 2), the emergence of dry land from the waters (Day 3). Days 4 and 5 are trickier (but see below). Day 6 presents Nathanael, the true Israelite, which corresponds to the creation of man. And then Day 8 is the “new covenant” joy, the wedding feast.

In his Introduction to the Seven-Fold Covenant Model , James Jordan presents the same basic outline (though he has 1:1-13 as Day 1 and 1:14-28 as Day 2, so that Jesus as the Tabernacle in 1:14 is part of the Firmament section), and he shows how it is chiastically structured:

A. Christ as Light
B. Christ as Firmament; House of Figs
C. Christ as Land
A’ .Disciples as Light-bearers, attach selves to Firmament
C’ .Disciples as Rocks, part of Land
B’ .Disciples under Firmament; new House of Figs
A” .[Sabbath]
A2. New Week Begins at Cana

There is another reason for taking the wedding as being on the eighth day. If you track the literal days of the week, it is clear that there is a day missed in the account between the story of Jesus and Nathanael (1:43-51) and the wedding at Cana (2:1-11). The wedding is on “the third day,” that is, the third day from the last one mentioned, counting inclusively. Nothing is recorded of this intervening day, which suggests that it was the Sabbath and that Jesus rested on that day from his work.

As well, the fact that it was already the tenth hour when Andrew and John came to Jesus (1:35-39) indicates that a night passed before Andrew went to bring Peter and John to bring James, so that 1:35-42 is actually two days.

(That John also brought James isn’t spelled out in the text, but is implied. John says that Andrew first got his brother. Jordan thinks that means “first thing in the morning,” but it seems more likely to me that it means Andrew was the first one to get his brother, as Van Bruggen argues. In other words, Andrew got his brother first and John got his brother after that. That means that by the time we get to the wedding at Cana, Jesus has six followers, which is the same number as the number of vessels for the water of Old Covenant purification that Jesus turns into the wine of New Covenant celebration. That also means that Jesus picks up his sixth follower on the sixth day.)

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