John 2#Joh 2:1| XXII. JESUS WORKS HIS FIRST MIRACLE AT CANA IN GALILEE. #Joh 2:1-11| And the third day. From the calling of Philip (#Joh 1:43|). The days enumerated in John's first two chapters constitute a week, and may perhaps be intended as a contrast to the last week of Christ's ministry (#Joh 12:1|). It took two days to journey from the Jordan to Cana. There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. In Palestine the marriage ceremony usually began at twilight. The feast after the marriage was at the home of the bridegroom, and was sometimes prolonged for several days (#Ge 29:27 Jud 14:12|); but in this case it seems likely that poverty limited the wedding feast to one day. The site of Cana is disputed. From the eighth century a place called Kefr-Kenna (village of Cana), lying a little over three miles northeast of Nazareth, has been regarded as John's Cana of Galilee. But recently some ruins called Khurbet-Cana, twelve miles north of Nazareth, which doubtfully are said to have retained the name of Kana-el-Jilil (Cana of Galilee), have been preferred by some as the true site. In our judgment Kefr-Kenna has the stronger claim. It is situated on a westward slope of a hill, with a copious and unfailing spring adjoining it on the southwest. The mother of Jesus. John never called our Lord's mother by her name. He assumes that she is known to his readers. This is one of the many points tending to show the supplemental character of John's Gospel. He avoids repeating what is found in the first three Gospels. (TFG 114-115) #Joh 2:2| And Jesus also was bidden. Being the Creator of woman, and the author of matrimony, it was fitting that the Son of God should grace a marriage feast with his presence. And his disciples. This is the earliest use of the term "disciples" in the ministry of Jesus. His disciples were Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and probably John and James. (TFG 115) #Joh 2:3| And when the wine failed. Probably the arrival of Christ and his disciples helped to exhaust the supply. Shortage of provision when guests are invited is considered a sore humiliation the world over. The mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. The interest which Mary took in the feast and the way in which she addressed the servants at #Joh 2:5|, suggests that she was a close friend of the bridegroom's family. Though she merely states the unfortunate condition to Jesus, her statement is a covert petition to him that would remedy it, as our Lord's answer shows. She practically requested him to work a miracle, nor is it strange that she should do this. Remembering the many early sayings about him which she had treasured in her heart (#Lu 2:19,51|), and doubtless being informed of what had occurred at his baptism, and of the proclamation which John the Baptist had made concerning him, and seeing a group of disciples gathered about him, it was very reasonable for her to expect him to do something which would reveal the high purposes for which he had been born. (TFG 115) #Joh 2:4| And Jesus saith unto her, Woman. Jesus did not call her "mother," but "woman," a term of courteous respect, but indicating no spirit of obedience. "As much as to say," says Augustine, "thou art not the mother of that in me which worketh miracles." Moses recognized that parental duties were subordinate to divine (#De 33:9|); and Jesus emphasized the principle (#Mt 10:37|). Jesus taught that relationship to him was spiritual, and not fleshly (#Mt 12:46-50|), and Paul coveted such relationship (#2Co 5:16,17|). The expression, "What have I," etc., is used frequently in the Scriptures and invariably indicates a mild rebuke (#Jud 11:12 2Sa 16:10 1Ki 17:18 2Ki 3:13 Mt 8:29 Mr 1:24 Lu 8:28|). It means, "leave me to act as I please," and Jesus uses it to assert that he is independent of all human relationships in the exercise of his Messiahship. It corrects two errors taught by the Catholic Church: 1. Catholicism says that our Lord's mother was immaculate, but if this were true she could not have incurred our Lord's rebuke. 2. Catholicism teaches that Mary's intercession is recognized by Christ. But this is the only instance on record of such intercession, and though it was addressed to Christ while in the flesh and was concerning a purely temporal matter, it was promptly rebuked. Mine hour is not yet come. Our Lord's answer indicates that Mary's request had in it more than a desire for the gift of wine. What she principally wanted was to have Jesus manifest himself as Messiah. Now, Jesus gave many secondary, but only one supreme, manifestation of his glory or Messiahship. His miracles were secondary manifestations, but his Passion was the supreme manifestation (#Joh 8:28 2:18,19 Mt 12:38-40|). Jesus called this supreme sign his "hour" (#Joh 12:23,27 17:1 Mt 26:45 Lu 22:53|; see also #Joh 7:30 8:20|). His mother sought for a supreme sign, but at that time only a secondary sign could be fittingly given. The triumph at Pentecost was not to be achieved at Cana. (TFG 116) #Joh 2:5| His mother saith unto the servants. Though he had spoken words of rebuke, his mother was neither offended nor discouraged because of them. Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. She commands unlimited obedience. Though her words are not addressed to us, they will prove of untold profit to us if we obey them. (TFG 116-117) #Joh 2:6| Now there were six waterpots of stone set there after the Jews' manner of purifying. The details of the account suggest that John was an eye-witness. The Jews regarded themselves as ceremonially unclean if they did not wash their hands before eating (#Mt 15:2 Mr 7:3,4|). Containing two or three firkins apiece. At Kefr-Kenna an old, one-story house near the lower edge of the village is regarded by the Greeks as the one in which this wedding feast was held. The room is a rude chapel, and at one side stand two old stone mortars, one holding about eight gallons and the other about ten, now used for immersing infants, but said by the attending priest to be two of the identical waterpots here mentioned. The simple-minded old man was not aware that the six waterpots held each two or three firkins apiece--between eighteen and twenty-seven gallons, a firkin being nine gallons--or double the quantity of his mortars. If he had known this, he might have chiseled out his mortars a little deeper! (TFG 117) #Joh 2:7| Fill the waterpots with water. The jars had been partially emptied by the ablutions of the company. And they filled them up to the brim. This statement serves two purposes. 1. It emphasizes the great quantity. 2. It shows there was no room to add anything whatever to the contents of the jars. As to the quantity, it was between 106 and 162 gallons. As we do not know the number of guests nor the duration of the feast, we can not accurately measure the Lord's bounty. But as twelve basketfuls were left after feeding the five thousand, there was doubtless here a like sufficiency, and the surplus would serve as an acceptable gift to the married couple. (TFG 117) #Joh 2:8| Draw out now. The word "now" seems to indicate the turning-point when the water became wine. The ruler of the feast. According to the custom of that age, one of the guests was usually chosen to preside over such festivities, and he was called "the ruler." Our modern toastmaster is probably a relic of this ancient custom. (TFG 117-118) #Joh 2:10| Every man setteth on first. When the taste is sharpest, and most critical. The good wine. The adjective "good" refers rather to flavor than to strength. And when men have drunk freely, then that which is worse. The ruler was no disciple of Jesus, and he speaks in the merry spirit of the world. He gives his own experience as to the habits of feasts, and his words give no indication that those present indulged to excess. Thou hast kept the good wine until now. It is part of Christ's system to reserve the best until the last. Sin's first cup is always the sweetest, but with God that which follows is ever superior to that which has preceded it. As to the bearing of this miracle upon the question of temperance, the New Testament elsewhere clearly condemns the immoderate use of wine, and as these condemnations proceed from Christ we may rightly conceive of him, as in this instance, doing nothing contrary thereto. The liquors of this land in the strength of their intoxicating properties differ so widely from the light wines of Palestine that even the most moderate use of them seems immoderate in comparison. In creating wine Jesus did no more than as Creator and Renewer of the earth he had always done. From the beginning God has always so created or replenished the earth as to allow the possibility of excess. (TFG 118) #Joh 2:11| This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee and manifested his glory. This was the beginning or first of the miracles, and John's statement brands as false all the Catholic traditions which tell of miracles performed by Christ in his childhood. We should note also that it was a sign. The value of the miracle was in what it signified, not in what it wrought. It manifested the glory of Christ, part of which glory is his power to change the worse into the better, the simpler into the richer. It is the glory of Christ that he can transform sinners into his own likeness (#1Jo 3:2 1Co 15:42-44 Php 3:20,21|). And his disciples believed on him. In this chapter John as a disciple three times gives us a disciple's point of view as to Christ's miracles; here, and at #Joh 2:17| and at #Joh 2:22|. They implanted faith in those whose hearts were right before God (#Joh 5:38|). The miracles of Christ created widespread excitement. There had been none of a notorious nature since Daniel had been cast to the lions, and had read the writing on Belshazzar's wall some five hundred and eighty years before. (TFG 118-119) #Joh 2:12| XXIII. JESUS' FIRST RESIDENCE AT CAPERNAUM. #Joh 2:12| After this he went down to Capernaum. The site of Capernaum is generally conceded to be marked by the ruins now called Tel-Hum. Jesus is said to have gone "down" because Cana is among the hills, and Capernaum was by the Lake of Galilee, about six hundred feet below sea level. See TFG "#Mt 4:13|". He, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples. There is much dispute as to what the New Testament writers mean by the phrase "the brethren of the Lord." This phrase, found in any other than a Jewish book, would be taken to mean either the full or half brothers of Jesus, and it has probably that meaning here. The Catholic Church, contending for the perpetual virginity of our Lord's mother, has argued that his brethren were either the sons of Joseph by a former marriage, or that they were sons of Alphaeus (also called Clopas) and a sister of our Lord's mother, who, like her, was also called Mary (#Joh 19:25|). This latter view is based upon the fact that two of the sons of Alphaeus bear the same names as those borne by two of our Lord's brethren, which is far more conclusive, since the names James and Judas were extremely common. Moreover, we learn from #Joh 7:5|, that the Lord's brethren did not believe on him, and harmonists place the time of this unbelief late in our Lord's ministry, when the sons of Alphaeus were not only believers, but some of them even apostles. Our Lord's brethren are mentioned nine times in the New Testament, and a study of these references will give us some light. Three of them, namely, #Joh 7:3,5,10 1Co 9:5 Ga 1:19|, are rather noncommittal. The other six (#Mt 12:46 13:55 Mr 3:32 6:3 Lu 8:19,20 Joh 2:12|) speak of his brethren in connection with his mother, and strongly indicate that Jesus was the first-born son of Mary, and that she had at least four other sons, besides daughters. These brethren of Jesus are constantly represented as attending his mother, without a hint that they were not her children. Against this conclusion there is but one argument which has any force; namely, that our Lord committed his mother into the keeping of the apostle John, rather than to his brethren (#Joh 19:25-27|), but this fact may be easily accounted for. Many mothers are but scantily and grudgingly supported by their sons. And there they abode not many days. Because the passover was at hand, and he went up to Jerusalem. This notice of the brief sojourn of Jesus at Capernaum throws light on several things: 1. It shows where Jesus spent most of his time between his baptism and the first passover. 2. It helps to explain how the nobleman, who afterwards sought him at Cana, became acquainted with him. 3. It prepares us to look for his first visit to Nazareth at a later period. 4. It also explains why Jesus sought Capernaum as his place of residence after leaving Nazareth. Moreover, it shows that the natural ties of kindred were not immediately snapped by Christ. Until he went up to the first passover, he abode with his mother and his brethren. (TFG 119-120) #Joh 2:13| XXIV. JESUS ATTENDS THE FIRST PASSOVER OF HIS MINISTRY (Jerusalem, April 9, A.D. 27.) A. JESUS CLEANSES THE TEMPLE. #Joh 2:13-25| And the passover of the Jews was at hand. We get our information as to the length of our Lord's ministry from John's Gospel. He groups his narrative around six Jewish festivals: 1, He here mentions the first passover; 2, another feast, which we take to have been also a passover (#Joh 5:1|); 3, another passover (#Joh 6:4|); 4, the feast of tabernacles (#Joh 7:2|); 5, dedication (#Joh 10:22|); 6, passover (#Joh 11:55|). This gives the entire length of our Lord's ministry as three years and a fraction. And Jesus went up to Jerusalem. It was fitting that he should enter upon his full ministry in this city, as it was still the center of what was recognized as a heaven-revealed worship. The fitness of Jerusalem for such beginnings was afterwards recognized in the preaching of the gospel of the New or Christian dispensation (#Ac 1:8|). (TFG 121) #Joh 2:14| And he found in the temple. Our English word "temple" includes two Greek words; namely, 1. The naos, or sanctuary--the small structure which contained the holy and most holy places, and which answered to the tabernacle used in the wilderness. 2. The heiron, or entire court space which surrounded the naos, and which included some nineteen acres. The heiron was divided into four courts, and as one entered toward the naos from the east, he passed successively through them, as follows: 1, Court of the Gentiles; 2, of the women; 3, of Israel; 4, of the priests. It was in this outer or Gentiles' court that the markets described in this section were held. Those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting. This market in the temple was for the convenience of the people, and the nearness of the passover increased its size. Oxen and doves were constantly needed for sacrificial purposes, and as each family which ate the passover required a lamb, they would be in the market in great abundance. Josephus tells us it required about two hundred thousand lambs for the passover feast, but his exaggerations will stand a liberal discount. (TFG 121-122) #Joh 2:15| And he made a scourge of cords, and cast all out of the temple. The rest of the verse shows that "all" does not refer to men, but to sheep and oxen. The scourge was used in driving them out. And he poured out the changers' money, and overthrew their tables. The Jews were each required to pay, for the support of the temple service, one half-shekel annually (#Ex 30:13 Mt 17:24|). These money-changers sat at small tables, on which their coins were piled and counted. (TFG 122) #Joh 2:16| And to them that sold the doves he said, Take these things hence. As the doves were in cages of wicker-work, they could not be driven out; hence Jesus called upon their owners to remove them. Though Jesus cleansed the house, he wrought no waste of property. The sheep and oxen were safe outside the temple, the scattered money could be gathered from the stone pavement, and the doves were not set free from their cages. Make not my Father's house a house of merchandise. Jesus bases his peculiar authority over the temple on his peculiar relationship to Him for whom the temple was built. As a Son, he purged the temple of his Father. In the beginning of his ministry he contested their right to thus appropriate his Father's house to their uses, but in the end of his ministry he spoke of the temple as "your house" (#Mt 23:38|), thereby indicating that the people had taken unto themselves that which truly belonged to God, even as the wicked husbandmen appropriated the vineyard (#Lu 20:14,15|). The rebuke of Jesus was addressed to the priests, for the market belonged to them, and the money-changers were their agents. Edersheim says that this traffic alone cleared the priests about three hundred thousand dollars a year. Though churches differ widely from the temple, they are still God's houses, and should not be profaned. Religion should not be mixed with traffic, for traffic tends toward sin. Phariseeism is its fruit--a wish to carry on profitable business, even with God. On this occasion Jesus objected to the use of the temple for trade without criticizing the nature of the trade. When he purged the temple three years later, he branded the traders as robbers (#Mt 21:13|). (TFG 123) #Joh 2:17| His disciples remembered that it was written. #Ps 69:9|. Zeal for. Loving concern for. (TFG 123) #Joh 2:18| The Jews therefore answered and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? The Jews felt that only a divinely commissioned person could thus interfere with the ordering of God's house. They therefore called upon Jesus to give them a sign as an evidence that he possessed such divine commission. The manner in which he had cleansed the house of its traffickers was of itself a sign, if they had only had eyes to see it. Jesus could not have thus cleansed the temple unaided had he been a mere man. The power which he showed in the temple was much like that which he manifested in Gethsemane (#Joh 18:6|). (TFG 123) #Joh 2:19| Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. John here records this saying, and Matthew (#Mt 26:61|) and Mark (#Mr 14:58|) tells us how at the trial it was twisted into a charge against Christ; thus the Evangelists supplement each other. For the temple in this sentence uses the word "naos," or sanctuary, the structure which was peculiarly the seat of God's presence. The sanctuary was a figure or symbol of the body of Christ, and the words of Jesus were a covert prediction that as they were desecrating the symbol so would they destroy his body, which it symbolized. They reverenced the Spirit of God neither as it dwelt in the sanctuary nor as it dwelt in the body of Christ. The body of Jesus was a temple (#Col 2:9|), and Christians and the church are also temples (#1Co 3:16,17 6:19 2Co 5:1 2Pe 1:13|). God's temples can not be permanently destroyed. They are "raised up." (TFG 123-124) #Joh 2:20| Forty and six years was this temple in building. The temple which then stood upon Mt. Moriah was the third structure which had occupied that site. The first temple, built by Solomon (B.C. 1012-1005), was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. The second temple, built by Zerubbabel and Jeshua (B.C. 520), had been torn down and rebuilt by Herod the Great, but in such a manner as not to interfere with the temple service. The sanctuary was completed in one year and a half, while the courts required eight years. Josephus says eighteen thousand workmen were employed in its erection. Additional outbuildings and other work had been carried on from that time, and the whole was not completed until A.D. 64. And wilt thou raise it up in three days? To put before him the difficulty of what he apparently proposed to do, they merely mention one item--time. They say nothing of the army of workmen, nothing of a variety and cost of material, nothing of the skill required in the process of construction. How impossible seemed his offer! Yet by no means so impossible as that real offer which they misunderstood. A man might rear a temple in three days, but, apart from Christ Jesus, self-resurrection is unknown to history. (TFG 124) #Joh 2:21| But he spake of the temple of his body. John differs from the other three Evangelists, in that he frequently comments upon the facts which he records. Both history and commentary are inspired. (TFG 124) #Joh 2:22| When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he spake this. It was three years before they understood this saying. Thus truth often lies dormant for years before it springs up in the heart and bears fruit (#1Co 15:58 Ec 11:1|). And they believed the scripture. Several passages foretell the resurrection (#Ps 16:9,10 68:18|). And the word which Jesus had said. They believed that Jesus had meant to predict that the Jews would kill him, and that he would rise again on the third day. (TFG 125) #Joh 2:23| Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, during the feast. The seven days' feast of unleavened bread (#Le 23:5,6|). Many believed on his name, beholding his signs which he did. We have no description of the miracles wrought at this time. See #Joh 4:45 20:30|. (TFG 125) #Joh 2:24| But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men. The word here translated "trust" is the same as that translated "believe" in #Joh 2:23|. They trusted him, but he did not trust them, for he knew them. He did not tell them anything of his plans and purposes, and the conversation with Nicodemus which follows is a sample of this reticence. (TFG 125) #Joh 2:25| For he himself knew what was in man. John gives us many examples of this supernatural knowledge which Jesus possessed. See #Joh 1:42,47,48 3:3 4:29 6:61,64 11:4,14 13:11 21:17|. This chapter itself gives us a faithful picture of "what was in man." We find in it temple, profaners, money-makers, sign-seekers, opposers of reform, false and weak professors of faith, etc., but none to whom Jesus could trust himself. (TFG 125)
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