Chapter 2

 

2:1-2. Now on the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.

 

Last time Jesus was getting ready to go back to Galilee. That journey took two days, and this being the third day, they had arrived Nathaniel's home town of Cana in Galilee. It was most probably in order to attend the marriage that Jesus went there, for he had been invited, together with his mother and his disciples, yet he had a greater purpose in mind. God had chosen this wedding as the place and time for Christ's miraculous ministry to begin. It would appear that Mary, Jesus mother was already there when Jesus arrived. Probably she was a relative of one of the persons being married. It has often been said, and it is true, that by attending the wedding Christ was sanctifying the marriage. Marriage is holy (Heb. 13:4). The union of a man and woman was ordained by God in the beginning. Gen 2:23-24). Marriage may be going out of fashion in many Western countries, but it is never out of fashion with God.

 

2:3. When the wine ran out, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no wine left.

 

The opportunity for a miracle arose when the wedding party ran out of wine and there was nothing left to drink. Mary brought the problem to Jesus. It is not clear that she expected him to do a miracle, but she obviously thought that he would help.

 

2:4. Jesus replied, "Woman, why are you saying this to me? My time has not yet come."

 

Jesus addresses his mother politely, but reminds her that he has come into the world for a particular purpose. His "time" refers to the time when he will give himself as an offering and sacrifice for sin. He would not be moved from God's purpose, or directed by men, though he will respond to their faith. He would show his Divine power for the glory of God, not to satisfy his mother. In the wilderness he had shown how he would not use this power for selfish ends, but God's glory (Matt. 4:3-4). He wanted Mary to realize that there was a higher purpose in the miracle he was about to perform than to just meet their need of a drink.

 

2:5. His mother told the servants, "Whatever he tells you, do it."

 

Mary remains confident that Jesus will do something about the problem and that he would not turn away those who came to him (John 6:37). She instructs the servants to "do whatever he tells you."

 

2:6. Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washing, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.

 

Jesus uses ordinary everyday objects to perform his miracle. A common sight in Jewish homes, were six large waterpots made of stone, holding about 20 gallons each. The water in these pots was not used for drinking but ceremonial washing, a religious bondage the Jews had got into (Mark 7:4).

 

2:7. Jesus told the servants, "Fill the water jars with water." So they filled them up to the very top.

 

Jesus instructed the servants to fill the waterpots with water, which they did. They left the situation in his hands. They may not have expected what was to come.

 

2:8. Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the head steward," and they did.

 

We are not told that the servants expected a miracle. But they had enough confidence in Jesus to draw out the water and give it to the man in charge of the feast. If he complained at having a drink of water, the servants could always tell him that it was Jesus who told them to do it.

 

2:9-10. When the head steward tasted the water that had been turned to wine, not knowing where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine when the guests are drunk. You have kept the good wine until now!" We are not told when the water turned into wine, but it did. The governor knew nothing about it, but the servants did and so did the disciples. The governor called it "the good wine" or "the best wine". Jesus only ever gives the best. He has nothing else to give us but the best for us. Wine is sometimes thought to be a picture of the Holy Spirit. Jesus only gives us what is good for us, and he gives us the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:11-13). We should not hold back, or be afraid, for what God gives is good. If Jesus only gives what is good, the he wouldn't give 120 gallons of strong alcohol. The words "when men have well drunk" does not mean that the guests were drunk, but that they had had enough to drink, a very different thing. I do not believe that the Lord Jesus Christ sanctions drunkenness. Wine in some Mediterranean countries is boiled slowly, which removes every trace of alcohol. Don't go out for a drink and think that God will bless you. Listen to what God says about drinking too much alcohol (Prov. 20:1 and Prov. 23:31-35).

 

2:11.Jesus did this as the first of his miraculous signs, in Cana of Galilee. In this way he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.

 

This miracle, the first that Jesus ever performed, was witnessed by the disciples and caused them to put their faith in Jesus. They had already begun to follow him, but now they were seeing evidence that he was the Son of God, the Saviour of the world. This was no magic trick. Only a man who was God in the flesh could create something from nothing, which is what he did here. The disciples were to see many more demonstrations of Christ's power in the future, only some of which are recorded in John's gospel. This you will remember is the whole purpose why John wrote his gospel, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, you might have life in his name (John 20:30-31).

 

2:12-13. After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there a few days. Now the Jewish feast of Passover was near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

 

It was about this time that Jesus made his home in Capernaum (Matt. 4:13). The reason he and his disciples did not stay there many days was that the Passover was near, which all Jewish males were required by law to attend.

 

Fulfilling the Scripture

 

2:14-16. He found in the temple courts those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting at tables. So he made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the temple courts, with the sheep and the oxen. He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold the doves he said, "Take these things away from here! Do not make my Father's house a marketplace!" When Jesus arrived he was angered to find the temple desecrated by those who made a trade of the temple sacrifices, rather than using them for devotion and worship. Commentators generally regard this incident as taking place, as John records here, at the commencement of Christ's ministry, and therefore it is referred to as the first cleansing of the temple. The other gospel writers place its timing after the triumphant entry into Jerusalem. This obviously refers to a second cleansing. As Robertson observes, "the cessation was only temporary in both instances." Using a very small scourge of leather thongs, Jesus drove all the traders and their animals out of the temple and overturned the table of the money changers. Gill remarks "note the miraculous power of Christ in driving such a number of men before him, with so small and insignificant a weapon." Christ taught the people that the temple of God had been set apart for worship, not for buying and selling. It is what made Jesus angry - angry enough to make a small whip and drive them all out. The church is not a marketplace.

 

2:17. His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will devour me."

 

In this event the disciples realized that Jesus was fulfilling what the prophets had written about the Messiah in the scripture. This gave them another reason to put their faith in Christ (Psa. 69:9).

 

Rising from the Dead

 

2:18-22. So then the Jewish leaders responded, "What sign can you show us, since you are doing these things?" Jesus replied, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again." Then the Jewish leaders said to him, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?" But Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body. So after he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the saying that Jesus had spoken. But this was not sufficient for the religious leaders, who made money out of what was sold in the Temple. They came challenging Christ's authority. In the other gospel's dealing with this same question at a later time, Christ asks them a question about John the Baptist. But here he refers to his own death. His words would be fulfilled in them. "Destroy this temple" he said. And they did. For he was speaking of the Temple of his body. "And in three days I will raise it again." The Jews thought that he meant the Temple building that they were standing in, which had taken 46 years to build. Jesus of course was talking about his own death and resurrection. The disciples did not realize it at the time, but later after Jesus rose from the dead they remembered his words and put their trust in Him as the one who had fulfilled all that the prophets had spoken about the Christ (Luke 24:44-46). The resurrection of Christ from the dead is the basis of the Christian faith. Believing that Christ is alive from the dead and surrendering our lives to his Lordship is how we are saved (Rom. 10:9). No one can ever be saved in any other way.

 

2:23. Now while Jesus was in Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover, many people believed in his name because they saw the miraculous signs he was doing.

 

Jesus did many miracles during his stay in Jerusalem on this occasion, as he did every time he went there. It was because of the miracles, not the teaching, that they believed.

 

2:24-25. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people. He did not need anyone to testify about man, for he knew what was in man.

 

But to believe superficially is not enough. Some had already believed that Jesus was sent by God, as Nicodemus did (John 3:2), but they had yet to believe in Him as Saviour and Lord of their lives. Belief which does not result in personal commitment to Christ is not the kind of faith which God requires. Jesus did not commit himself to the multitudes of people. He knew what was in the heart of every man. He knew their belief in Him was not a heartfelt commitment, as later events proved. After all the miracles he had performed in front of them, they challenged and rejected his teaching and wanted to stone him to death. Whilst they rejoiced to see the miraculous, they rejected the will of God for their lives. To have a Messiah doing miracles of healing is one thing, but to have a Messiah who wants you to leave your sin and give 100% allegiance to him is another matter. Christ only commits himself to the true believers, and he knows those who are true (2 Tim. 2:19 ; John 6:64). There is an interesting incident in the Acts that sheds light on this subject. Simon the sorcerer believed the message brought by Philip the evangelist when he saw the great miracles which he did in Jesus name. Philip was obviously taken in by this man, for he had apparently baptized him and allowed him in some way to be his assistant - at least he stayed very near Philip. But when Peter and John came to Samaria, they found the man out for what he was, for he tried to buy from them the power to impart the Holy Spirit. It wasn't theirs to give and it wasn't to be bought with money either. So Peter said "Your money perish with you .. You have no part in this matter for you heart is not right before God." He had believed, superficially, but he was not saved. Many people today follow the same mistake. Don't just believe in you mind and live as you like but believe with all you heart and commit your life to Jesus Christ.

New Testament Christian Gospel of John 2 Biblical Studies

 

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