THE THIRD DAY: The seventh day of the narrative: cp Joh
1:19-28,29,35,43. Typ a great wedding on the "seventh day": Rev 19:7-9n;
CANA: Home of Nathanael (Joh 21:2). Sig "place of
reeds", from rt "to stand up". Poss typ resurrection?
Both the "bridegroom" and the "bride" were invited to this
WINE: Sig gladness (Jdg 9:13; Psa 104:15), teaching of
God (Isa 25:6; 55:1), prosperity (Isa 36:17; Joel 2:19), love (Song 1:2,4; 4:10;
5:1), sacrifice (Mat 26:28), and life (Lev 17:11). The nation of Israel lacked
this "wine" (Isa 1:22; Mar 7:8-13). Christ's teachings brought new life (Mar
2:22), but esp his sacrifice.
"There certainly seems to be some incident beneath this
narrative which is not told us. For not only is Mary not repelled by the answer
just given, but she is convinced the miracle will be wrought, and she is not
without anticipation of the method of working it: for how should he require the
aid of the servants, except the miracle were to take place according to the form
here related?" (Alford, WGos 83)
Jesus had lost a mother, and Mary had lost a son. Although he
remedies the situation, Jesus is yet making clear that his actions will
henceforth be of his own choosing -- to the glory of his Father.
The first miracle is done in secret, recognized only by the
DEAR WOMAN: Formal, but respectful: ct Joh 19:26;
20:13,15. The sw used by Christ on the cross (Joh 19:26). But also -- perhaps --
a repudiation of fleshly ties: Mat 12:48; Luk 11:27.
WHY DO YOU INVOLVE ME?: 'How does this concern both of
us?' A protest against a mother's pride, but not a refusal (as v 5 shows).
Christ knew, sadly, the wrong motives and actions his miracles would generate in
others. Cp similar phrases: 2Sa 16:10; 19:22; 1Ki 17:18; 2Ki 3:13; Mat 8:29; Mar
1:24; Luk 4:34.
MY TIME: That is, the hour of his death and
DO WHATEVER HE TELLS YOU: The essence of obedience: cp
Pharaoh of Joseph (Gen 41:55). These are the last recorded words of
SIX: The number of man: Rev 13:18.
STONE: Tables of stone, sig legalism, insufficiency of
CEREMONIAL WASHING: Cp Mar 7:3,4; Luk 11:39. The Law
could not truly purify. Ct with Moses' first miracle: water (of Nile) to blood
(death): Exo 7:17. Here, Jesus converts water to wine (life)! Cp Joh 1:17n.
Christ, by his sacrifice, within the framework of the law (stone pots), changes
the ineffectual Jewish laws of purification into the powerful law of
TWENTY TO THIRTY GALLONS: "Two or three metretes". Two
or three witnesses for judgment (Deu 19:15; Mat 18:16). Two or three disciples
gathered together (Mat 18:20).
FILLED... TO THE BRIM: Cp Luk 6:38: sym God's
DRAW SOME OUT: Drawing water out of wells of salvation
(Isa 12:3). Context: Great is the Holy One in your midst! See Isa 55:1: water,
THOUGH THE SERVANTS... KNEW: See Joh 7:17: those who
choose to do God's will (Joh 2:5) will know!
CHOICE... FIRST AND THEN THE CHEAPER: The normal
practice of men. So it is with whole history of mankind, until this downward
trend is reversed by Jesus.
"And the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been
turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants
who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said,
'Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the
guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now' " (John
Natural life is usually what is pictured by the Preacher in
Ecclesiastes: "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days
of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, 'I find no pleasure in
them' " (Ecc 12:1). "The days of trouble" describes life lived on a material
level... which can be more and more of a struggle as the years go by, and
physical and mental ailments and weaknesses and afflictions take their toll. And
we discover, sadly, that -- physically speaking -- the "choice wine" came first,
and we hardly realized or appreciated it until it had all been drunk.
But when we go to the wedding feast with Jesus, we discover
that the "best wine" of our lives will be the last served! And, together with
Christ, we will BE that "wine"! The grapes of life, harvested and crushed, the
juices extracted... and through the fermentation process bringing forth a new
life -- more glorious and rewarding -- in him.
As the old song goes: "Come with me; the best is yet to be.
The last of life for which the first was made!" Except, in this case, "the last
of life" will never end. The "best wine" with Jesus goes on and on... and on and
MIRACULOUS SIGNS: "Semeion": sig signs, marks to
indicate, directional markers: cp Mat 12:38; 26:48; Luk 11:29; Rom 4:11; 1Co
14:22. The "signs" of John's gospel (Joh 2:11; 4:46-50; 5:1-47; 6:1-14; 6:15-21;
9:1-41; 11:1-57; 21:1-14) all prove that Jesus is the Messiah (Joh 3:2; Act
2:22; Joh 10:37,38). Other miraculous "signs" besides: Joh 2:23.
JESUS PERFORMED: Or, as Act 2:22, "which God did by
AND HIS DISCIPLES PUT THEIR FAITH IN HIM: But, as
always, others did not!
DOWN TO CAPERNAUM: A descent of 600 feet (LB
CAPERNAUM: Which was much closer to Jerusalem than
Nazareth. Possibly he went here, because time was short.
John lists all four Passovers in Jesus' ministry: Joh 2:13;
5:1; 6:4; 13:1. Proof of 3 1/2 year ministry.
JESUS WENT UP TO JERUSALEM: Christ went in the spirit
of Levitical priest: to examine the house (of God) for leprosy (Lev 19:40-45n).
He removed the most affected stones, but when he returned 3 years later, the
condition of the house had worsened -- so again he took action (Mat 21:12,13; cp
Mat 23:38). The purging of the leaven: preparation for the Passover.
The tables of moneychangers, overturned by Jesus, while the
coins fall on the floor (Mat 21:12; Mar 11:15; Luk 19:45; Joh 2:14). Cp this
with Judas throwing the 30 pieces of silver into the temple (Mat 27:5). Imagine
the coins clattering and clanking along the floor, while the priests scurried
here and there to gather up and hide the evidence. In both cases, this was money
paid for "sacrifices"!
AND DROVE ALL FROM THE TEMPLE AREA: "I will drive them
out of my house": Hos 9:15. "No longer the Canaanite in the house of God": Zec
14:21. "His fan in his hand" (Luk 3:17), Jesus began to purge the "threshing
floor"! Why did no one resist? As in Joh 8:1-12, they were self-convicted of
their sins. "The action of the Lord in cleansing the temple is often quoted as
an example of righteous indignation. Yet in all the four records (Mat 21, Mar
11, Luk 19, Joh 2) it is nowhere stated that the Lord was angry. Certainly it
was not righteous indignation which drove back those soldiers, ordered to arrest
him (Joh 7:46); nor was it righteous indignation which made armed men retreat
and fall to the ground in Gethsemane (Joh 18:6). Was not the same power at work
in the temple incident? But even if we concede that the Lord might have been
expressing righteous indignation, what right have we unrighteous ones to claim
that we can also show righteous indignation? It is more likely that we are
confusing righteous indignation with wrathful feelings of revenge, personal
provocation, and wounded pride. Certainly the Lord never lost his temper. Every
word and action was under complete control" (Bilton, Xd 114:218).
Jesus was silent when others would be angry (ie at personal
affronts), but angry when others would be silent (ie to uphold the majesty of
THOSE WHO SOLD DOVES: Perhaps the worst offenders,
because they preyed on the poor!
ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME: From Psa 69:9: an
allusion to the burnt offering consumed by the fire of the altar.
The "for" at the beginning of Psa 69:9 -- linking it with v 8
("I am a stranger to my brothers") -- suggests that this consuming passion for
the things of God was the reason for Jesus' early alienation from his family
(Mark 3:21,31-35; Mat 10:36; cp also Psa 27:10).
"Seek the great and essential gift of total devotion that
marks off the few, rare, eternal children of God from all the shapes and sorts
and sizes of passing creatures of the flesh: total dedication, total singleness
of mind and love and purpose. Pray fervently and constantly for it. Nothing is
accomplished without it. With it, mountains are moved... This is not some
strange, far-off uniqueness for Christ alone. This is the only way of life,
which he has gloriously exemplified for us. God will give it to all who
constantly and earnestly seek it: not just in passive prayer, but in study, and
service, and deep meditation -- and repeatedly wrenching the mind back from
present distractions to eternal realities; constantly wrenching the mind and
hands back from childish fleshly playing to mature spiritual working. The prize
is eternity. It is only for those who value it enough to give it their whole
lives, and cast everything aside to get it. Anything less mocks God"
THE JEWS: Joh 1:19n.
YOUR AUTHORITY TO DO ALL THIS: Notice that no one seems
to protest that they were driven out, but only that Jesus was the man with the
authority to do it.
DESTROY: "Luo" (translated "destroy" in various
versions) means quite simply "to unloose". So instead of "Destroy" this temple,
it should rather be "take down" the Tabernacle (Num 10:33-36). Jesus refers to
the "tabernacle" of his body (v 21)! This may really be stretching a point, but
if a building is destroyed, then all the stones, whatever, are in different
places, and need to be reassembled... whereas, if a tent is taken down, it is
still intact, in one piece, merely waiting to be staked out and lifted up
THREE DAYS: Cp type of tabernacle in wilderness: going
ahead three days journey (Num 10:33,34). Three years later the leaders remember
this statement, and attempt to use it against Jesus: Mat 26:61; 27:40. (Yet even
some of the leaders understand what he means: Mat 27:63.) This charge was
remembered even 7 or 8 years later (Act 6:14n).
Do some trinitarians take from this verse that Jesus could
literally "raise himself up again", and thus that he was literally "God the
Son", who could not die?
To this idea (ie, that Jesus literally raised himself from the
dead), John Carter replies: "If it be said that it was the Father's work, for a
dead man cannot restore himself to life, this must be admitted; but in his case
his obedient life had given him a title to resurrection, and it was not possible
that he should be holden of death; hence he could speak of his resurrection
being his own act" (CJo).
Also, against this idea can be set the various passages which
plainly teach that God, the Father, was the power by which His Son was raised
from the dead: Acts 2:30,32,36; 3:15,26; 4:10; etc.
I think the key point is this: although some persisted in
taking Christ too literally, they were quite obviously deliberately ignoring the
plain intent of his figurative language: even some of the leaders understood
what he meant, for they said so later: " 'Sir,' they said, 'we remember that
while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise
again' " (Mat 27:63).
Looking at the misuse of John 2:19 by some trinitarians,
apparently, I have to say what the blind man who was healed said to the
Pharisees: "Herein is a marvellous thing!" or "How remarkable!" (John 9:30). In
other words, the significance is so obvious, but you choose not to
So in John 2:19, it is perfectly plain that Jesus' tabernacle
analogy has to do with his death and resurrection. But the Jewish leaders
deliberately twisted a figurative allusion into a literal statement, because it
suited them to do so. They weren't interested in truth; they were interested in
scoring debating points, and finding (trumped-up) charges to lay at his feet.
And this hypocrisy was perfectly obvious for all to see, if they were not
blinded by hate or prejudice.
So even now, we have trinitarians (it seems) who know full
well what Jesus meant by this figure of speech, but deliberately take a part of
his "parable" as literal in order to "win" a debate. They would prefer,
presumably, to believe that when Jesus spoke of dying, he knew he wouldn't
REALLY die... than to believe that -- being dead -- he would have to rely on his
Father to raise him from the dead.
That's a pretty sad, but revealing, commentary on how some
people are willing to "wrest Scripture". (See Lesson, John's figurative language.)
FORTY-SIX YEARS TO BUILD: The Temple was begun by Herod
the Great c 20 BC. Additions continued right up to the time of its destruction
in 70 AD. Description: SB 8:108.