John Chapter 2
John 2:5 - "His mother said to the servants, 'Whatever He says to you, do it.'"
John 2:19 - "Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.'"
1. Of what significance is Jesus' reply to Mary in verse 4?
2. What practical application lies in Mary's instruction to the servants and the servants' actions (verses 5-8)?
3. Why was Jesus so angry in verses 14-16?
4. What do verses 18-20 tell us about the Jews, miracles, and Jesus' disciples?
5. What insight does verse 19 give us about Jesus?
6. What further insight regarding Miracles is found in verse 23?
7. What do verses 24 and 25 imply about Jesus' nature?
(Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are taken from the NASB)
At the beginning of chapter 2, we find Jesus and His disciples at a wedding in "Cana of Galilee." We also find that Jesus' mother is present at the wedding celebration. Wedding celebrations in those times were very elaborate, often lasting for an entire week. Needless to say, with a celebration lasting that long, the guests would drink a lot of wine. When they ran out of wine, Mary came to Jesus. She did this because it would be an embarrassment to the host to run out of wine before the end of the celebration (she also apparently understood who Jesus was); yet Jesus answered, "My hour has not yet come" (vs. 4). Two points can be gleaned from this. First, God works His plans according to His schedule, not ours. Second, Jesus was relating the fact that it was not yet time for Him to reveal His glory.
Mary seems to take no heed of this when she tells the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it" (vs. 5). However, Mary does make a good point for us, as the servants also do in verse 7 when they fill the water jars - obey Jesus. Whatever He commands, we know His intention is for His glory and for our good (cf. Romans 8:28).
In verse 9, we find out that the water the servants drew out of the jars (vs. 8) was no longer water, but wine. Not only was it now wine, but the "headwaiter," though he did not know where the wine came from, described it as being "the good wine" (compared to the wine brought out earlier during the banquet). Jesus performed His first miracle here in turning the water to wine, and John tells us that "He thus revealed His glory and His disciples put their faith in Him." From this we may discern a couple of points about miracles. First and most obvious here, they manifest Jesus' (God's) glory (vs. 11). Next, they attest to Jesus power and authority (Acts 2:22). Third, though they can inspire faith (vs. 11), they are not generally used for such purpose. Notice however that His disciples were not seeking a miracle. Finally, miracles are according to His will and power, not ours.
After the wedding, Jesus went down to Capernaum, and then right before the Passover, went down to Jerusalem. When He arrived in Jerusalem, "He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers seated" (vs. 14). For the Passover, Jews would travel from all over to come to Jerusalem. Due to the travel, many could not bring the animals necessary for sacrifice, nor did they have the currency needed either to pay for animals to sacrifice or to offer in the temple. Therefore, some that lived in the area exchanged currency and others sold animals that the pilgrims could offer as sacrifices. All of this was done for profit, thus people were taking advantage of the fact that the pilgrims were coming to worship and offer
sacrifices. This usury angered Jesus, so He "made a scourge of cords" and drove them from the temple. He cites as reason for His anger that these men are "making [His] Father's house a house of merchandise" (vs. 16). Something of note in this statement of Jesus is His claiming God as His Father. Later in the book of John we will see that this claim is a claim to deity, as calling God His Father is seen as "making Himself equal with God" (John 5:18).
Next, "His disciples remembered that it was written: 'Zeal for Thy house will consume me" (vs. 17). Jesus was incensed at the disrespect shown for the temple of the Lord. Thus, Jesus here fulfills another Old Testament prophecy,
this one from Psalm 69:9.
Because He drove the people from the temple, the Jews demanded a miracle to prove His authority (vs. 18). It is interesting that these are people without faith who are seeking the miracle, not people of faith. Jesus addresses this in Matthew 12:39 when He says, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign" (also in Matthew 16:4 and Luke 11:29). Jesus doesn't want followers who
seek after His miracles; He wants followers who seek after Him.
When Jesus replies to their demand saying, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up," not even His disciples understood what He was talking about. Both the Jews and Jesus' disciples thought only of the temple building, not realizing He was speaking of His body. It was not until after His
resurrection that His disciples understood, and "they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken" (vs. 22). This verse also implies Jesus' activity in His own resurrection (also cf. John 10:17-18), which is another evidence of His deity.
Finally, we find Jesus at the Passover feast. Here we learn that Jesus was again performing miracles, and that people "believed in His name" because of the miracles. In that culture, to believe in someone's name meant to believe in that person. As with His changing water to wine earlier in the chapter, Jesus' miracles served to inspire faith in Him. Though these people believed in Him, we find that Jesus "was not entrusting Himself to them" because "He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man" (verses 24-25). Here again, as we saw more than once in chapter 1, is a statement of Jesus' omniscience. Of course, who can know all men but God; therefore this is also a statement of Jesus deity.
What may be most interesting of all in these verses is the implication made about men. Jesus would not trust them because He knew what was in their hearts. Paul's writing in Romans 3:10-18,23 can help us understand what Jesus saw in men. The hearts of men are wicked, and Jesus knew that eventually these same people who "believed in His name" would betray Him to death on a cross. Perhaps something to be considered here is whether the people truly believed in Him or only in His miracles. This is one of the dangers in seeking after miracles, and why Christ did not show a sign to the Jews who questioned him at the temple: miracles can foster false faith. Though miracles attest to who Jesus is, and can be a sign or mark that someone serves God (2 Cor 12:12), they can also produce false faith if they become the focus of faith, and they can be couterfeit (2 Thes. 2:9). Therefore, though it is not a sin to pray for a miracle, Christians should not necessarily seek or demand miracles as the Jews did (1 Cor. 1:22), nor should we believe a miracle comes from God until it is tested both for authenticity and for whether it agrees with what Scripture teaches.