John 2

JOHN 2:1  1 On the third day, a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee and the mother of Jesus was there.

To what does “the third day” (John 2:1) refer?
The third day from the end of the previous “chapter.” When originally written, the Gospel of John and the other books of the Bible were not marked with chapter or verse numbers. That was done in the 16th century to make it easier to locate passages.

Where is “Cana” (John 2:1)?
Cana is in the region of “Galilee” (John 2:1), about 12 miles (19 kilometers) west of the Sea of Galilee  and about 15 miles (24 kilometres) east of the Mediterranean Sea.

JOHN 2:2-5  2 And Jesus also was invited, even His disciples, to the wedding. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” 4 Jesus said to her, “What have I to do with you, woman? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

Why do you think Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding? Is it significant that Joseph is not mentioned?
Mary is probably one of the people organizing the wedding.

What clues are there?
Mary tells the servants what to do. She knows the wine has run out even before the Master of the Feast knows, is concerned about it, and is trying to resolve the problem.

Why would running out of wine be a problem?
In those days, wine was the only drink other than water. Running out of wine at a wedding feast would be like a wedding reception today running out of all drinks except for tap water, and Jewish wedding feasts back then went on for up to seven days.

Why would Mary be helping to run the wedding feast in the first place?
It’s probably the wedding of a relative or a close family friend, hence the invitation to Jesus as well, and it was customary for the disciples of a rabbi to go everywhere he went. 

What do you think Mary expected Jesus to do about it? Why would she think Jesus could solve the problem - and how he might do so?

Did Jesus praise Mary for telling Him that the wine has run out?
No, He rebuked her, and while γuναι (gynay), the original Greek word for “woman” (John 2:4) isn’t derogatory, the fact that Jesus addresses His mother with this term is significant.

Jesus must have called her, “mother” growing up. Why does He now call her, “woman”?
Since His ministry had started, Jesus was differentiating Himself - God the Son - from her, a human vessel through whom God chose to come into the world.

Woman is the same word used by Jesus on the cross: John 19:26. It is not necessarily dismissive or reproachful.

If His ministry had started, why did Jesus say, “My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4)?
The term, “my hour” refers not to His ministry but to his final confrontation with the Jewish leaders that will lead to the cross. The timing of that confrontation had to be precise and Jesus knew that His miracles would draw the attention of the Jewish leaders. We will read other references to His time not yet coming until Jesus declares, “the hour has come” in John 12:23 and John 17:1, and in Matthew 26:18; Matthew 26:45 and in Mark 14:41.

What did Mary say after hearing from Jesus?
“Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5).

What else does the Bible quote Mary as having said after this?
Nothing. These are the final words that God, the author of the Bible, chose to quote from Mary. So anyone who seeks guidance from Mary should heed her final guidance and simply do whatever Jesus instructed.

Where are His instructions?
In the Bible.

JOHN 2:6-7  6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone for the purification of the Jews, each able to hold two or three metretas. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

What do you think about the description of the waterpots?
They are not described simply as “some” waterpots. There are “six” of them. They are made of “stone.” And they can hold “two or three metretas (John 2:6), using the ancient measurement for the amount of liquid. Such precision in number, composition and volume is evidence of the gospels being eyewitness accounts.

How much were “two or three metretas” (John 2:6)?
2 metretas = 78.8 liters = 20.8 US gallons = 17.3 imperial (UK) gallons.
3 metretas = 118.2 liters = 31.2 US gallons = 26.0 imperial (UK) gallons.

What is meant by “for the purification of the Jews” (John 2:6)?
To be ceremonially clean, the Jews had to wash not just their hands before a meal, but their hands and the dishes after every course of the meal. They also had to wash their feet for the reasons mentioned earlier (see John the Baptist), hence the need for such large waterpots.

JOHN 2:8-9  8 And He said to them, “Draw out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that had become wine and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.

What might the servants have been thinking as they approached the master of the feast?
‘We’re going to be in trouble for bringing washing water instead of wine…’

Master of the feast = Master of Ceremonies.

JOHN 2:10  10 And he said to him, “Every man sets out the good wine first, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

Did Jesus come through for that wedding feast??
He gave them 135 to 177 gallons (US)* of arguably the finest wine ever made.

When God says to do something, just do it, even if you don’t understand why you should do it. If you’re sure that God wants you to do it, it's reason enough.

“What if it goes against my logic, knowledge or desires?”
Who do you think is more logical, knowledgeable and holy - you or God, who told us, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9)?

What is “Lord”?
Someone you obey unconditionally. 

“How do I know what God wants me to do?”

 How would the bride and groom feel after this?

JOHN 2:11  11 Jesus did this beginning of the signs in Cana of Galilee and revealed His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

What does John call this changing of water into wine?
“Beginning of the signs” (John 2:11).

“Signs” of what?
That Jesus is God, which will be proven throughout and beyond this Gospel.

JOHN 2:12  12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.

Who went to Capernaum with Jesus, His disciples and Mary?
Jesus’ “brothers” (John 2:12).

Jesus had brothers?
Yes, and sisters too.

How many brothers and sisters did Jesus have?
Jesus had four brothers and at least two sisters: “55 Is this not the son of the tektonos? Is not His mother called Mary? 56 And His brothers James and Joses and Simon and Judas and His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” (Matthew 13:55-56)

Could “brothers” refer to those who believed in Jesus?
John 7 mentions that Jesus’ brother did not believe in Him, so those who believed in Jesus were “His disciples,” already mentioned in John 2:12.

Could “brothers” refer to Jesus’ more distant relatives?
αδελφοὶ (adelphoi), the Greek word translated “brothers” above sometimes can be used to refer to more distant relatives - “brethren” in the wider sense - but such usage doesn't fit the narrow nuclear family context above: the sequence of “father, mother, brothers and sisters” fits, while “father, mother, relatives and sisters” doesn’t.

Could Jesus’ “brothers” be His half brothers from Joseph’s marriage(s) prior to his marriage to Mary?
Since Joseph wasn’t Jesus’ biological father, all of Jesus' brothers and sisters mentioned above were His biological half brothers and half sisters. But there is no evidence to suggest that Joseph had been married before he married Mary. Indeed, if Joseph had any children from any previous marriage(s), they would have accompanied Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem of Judea to register for the census ordered by Augustus Caesar.

What does this mean for Mary’s alleged virginity throughout her life?
It is a myth concocted by people who want to deify her and try to twist the meaning the “brothers” in Matthew 13:55-56. But there is another passage in Matthew that they cannot get around: “Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus” (Matthew 1:24-25).

What is “tektonos” in Matthew 13:55 above?
τεκτονος (tektonos) is the original Greek word and means builder, architect, contractor.

Does that mean “carpenter”?
It doesn't. While builders built with wood in northern Europe, where the Bible was first translated into English, builders in Israel at the time of Jesus built with rocks. They did occasionally work with wood to make doors and other fixtures, but most of their time was spent quarrying and building with rocks. The people quoted in Matthew 13:55 above are not calling Jesus the son of a carpenter but the son of a builder who built with rocks.

Where is “Capernaum” (John 2:12)?

JOHN 2:13 13 And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 

What is “the Passover of the Jews” (John 2:13)?
Passover is a Jewish feast that commemorates God’s deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt and destruction of the idol-worshipping Egyptians who had enslaved the Jews and disobeyed God’s repeated commands to release them: ... ‘It is the sacrifice of the Passover of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households’... (Exodus 12:27).

When is Passover?
Passover is the evening of the fourteenth day of the Jewish calendar’s first month, Nisan, which typically falls on March or April in our Gregorian calendar: “The LORD’s Passover is at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month” (Leviticus 23:5).

Why is it called, “Passover”?
While destroying Egypt, the LORD passed over and spared the houses of the Jews that had been marked by the blood of the Passover lamb (See Exodus 12:1-14)

What was the requirement for the Passover lamb’s condition?
It had to be “without blemish” (Exodus 12:5).

What does the Passover lamb symbolize?
Jesus, who according to Hebrews 4:15 is the only one “without sin.”

What does the blood of the lamb symbolize?
The blood that Jesus shed on the cross to protect us from the wrath of God aimed at sinners.

Should the wrath of God aimed at sinners fall on you or pass over you?

Why?
 

JOHN 2:14-17  14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting. 15 And having made a whip of cords, He drove all of them out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the money changers’ coins and overturned the tables. 16 And to those who sold doves He said, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of trade!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has consumed Me.”

What did Jesus use to cleanse the temple?
A “whip of cords” (John 2:15) and His voice: “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of trade!” (John 2:16).

Was Jesus angry when He cleansed the temple?
Very: “Zeal for Your house has consumed Me” (John 2:17 & Psalm 69:9).

Why?
Because Jesus loves God the Father, He was outraged that the house where He should be worshipped had been turned into a “house of trade.” When someone we love is being dishonoured, outrage is the right reaction.

How do you feel and react when God's holy name is blasphemed around you, on television, on social media, etc. to express surprise or disgust, even to cuss?
 

What were the money changers doing in the temple, and why did the “Jews” object in John 2:18?
Only healthy animals were to be sacrificed at the temple, lest people offer sick and lame animals as offerings to God. At first, people brought their own animals and the priests inspected them to make sure that they were healthy before sacrificing them. 

Fast forward a few hundred years and the priests were telling the people to leave their animals at home and instead just come and buy animals at the temple, but there was a catch. Since the priests couldn't touch coins that bore the Caesar’s image, the people first had to change their money, for a fee of course, into a special temple money. So the Jewish leaders and their merchants at the temple were making money twice - the currency exchange and the sale of the animals - on each person, and didn’t appreciate Jesus crimping their business.

How does this contrast with what the first Christians did?
The Jews used the temple to do business with each other. The first Christians shared within the church: “And all who believed were together and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and distributed them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:44-45).

Is your church like the Jewish temple or the first Christian church?

And do any Christian leaders today run their ministry as a business?

Where does the Bible say God's judgment will begin?
“At the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17).

JOHN 2:18-19  18 Then the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign can You show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

What’s peculiar about what the Jews said in verse 18?
They actually are not saying that what Jesus did - cleansing the temple - was wrong. They are simply asking Him to prove his authority to have done it.

How did Jesus respond?
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).

JOHN 2:20  20 Then the Jews said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”

What do the Jews think Jesus meant by “Destroy this temple”?
Destroy the second temple of Jerusalem, which King Herod commissioned to be built to replace the first temple that had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.

JOHN 2:21-22  21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had said.

What had Jesus meant by “Destroy this temple”?
Crucify Me, and in three days I will rise from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection will prove His authority, as well as His identity. The ultimate proof of Jesus’ deity is His resurrection, without which Christianity would be a big waste of time: And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is pointless and your faith is also pointless... If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 32)

JOHN 2:23-25  23 Now when He was in Jerusalem during the Passover feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify about man, for He knew what was in man.

See also Matthew 16

From this passage, did Jesus do some miracles after all at this feast?
Yes, as per John 2:23, but at the time and place of His choosing.

Why didn’t Jesus commit Himself to them if they believed in His name?
They believed in His name as that of someone who heals and does other miracles, but they didn’t see those miracles as signs of His deity. Jesus knew that those who desire and believe in just the miracles will not truly believe in Him for who He is.

How is that different today?
It isn’t. Jesus doesn’t want people who are after a wish-granting genie. True followers of Jesus are those who desire a deeply personal relationship with Him for who He is - our Creator - and love Him for what He already did for us two thousand years ago.

NOTE:

This passage tells of the incident known as the Cleansing of the Temple. John sets it right at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, while the other three gospel writers set it right at the end ( Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46). This definitely needs explanation and various explanations have been put forward.

It is suggested that Jesus cleansed the Temple twice, once at the beginning and once at the end of his ministry.  It is suggested that John is right and that the other three are wrong.  It is suggested that when John died he left his gospel not completely finished.  We must always remember that John, as someone has said, is more interested in the truth than in the facts. He is not interested in writing a chronological biography of Jesus but supremely interested in showing Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah. 


1455 Modified: 23-11-2023
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