Jesus in John 2: When It Starts to Make Sense

But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His name.

John 20:31

Hello, and welcome to another installment of our study of the deity of Christ from the gospel of John. My prayer for you today is that your faith will be strengthened as you dig into God’s Word to learn what it has to say about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

1-5 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and His disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what have I to do with you? My hour is not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatsoever He says to you, do it.”

The third day after Jesus called Philip and Nathanael to be His disciples, they were all invited to a wedding celebration. Jesus grew up in Galilee, so He was no doubt a personal friend, or perhaps even a relative, of the bride and/or groom. In fact, His entire family—mother, brothers, and sisters—were invited to the wedding. Joseph had died before now.

Wedding festivities typically lasted about a week and were financed by the groom’s family. For them to run out of wine would have been an egregious faux pax with serious consequences. And yet here they were without wine. Mary knew her son had the power to do something about it, although Jesus had not yet performed any miracles. She, by faith, had accepted that Jesus was the Messiah while He was yet in her womb, when the angel told her about the miraculous conception and that she had been chosen to bring the Savior into the world.

Jesus’ response to her was not rude. He used the term woman in much the same way that we today would say ma’am. Then He followed the noun of direct address with an explanation that everything He did, every miracle He would perform, must serve to fulfill the purpose for His mission on earth. He never did anything arbitrarily. Jesus could not provide wine for the wedding simply for the purpose of saving the groom from shame. There must be a higher purpose if He were to perform a miracle at all. And indeed there was.

6-11 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.” And they bore it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not where it was from, (but the servants which drew the water knew,) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but you have kept the good wine until now.” This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him.

This miracle served to confirm Christ’s deity in the hearts of His disciples. They too were present at the wedding, not just His immediate family, and they saw what He did. This first miracle was not for the benefit of the general public, although they certainly got to enjoy the wine—which, by the way, was the best they had ever tasted. No, this first miracle was for the disciples, to show them that Jesus was not just a man, but that He was God become man. Only God can create something from nothing.

John identifies eight miracles in his Gospel as “signs,” or confirmations, of who Jesus is. Each of them is unique; there are no two alike. This was the first of those signs.

12-17 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, and His mother, and His brothers, and His disciples; and they continued there not many days. And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting. And when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said to them who sold doves, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.” And His disciples remembered that it was written, “The zeal of Your house has eaten me up.”

John is quoting Psalm 69:9, which says, “For the zeal of Your house has eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached You are fallen upon me.” The second part of this verse is applied to our Lord in Romans 15:3, but the first part is referenced here in our text. Let’s back up to the preceding verse in Psalm 69 to see what the word “for” is referring to: “I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.” This was true of David, who wrote the psalm, but it was even more true of Jesus. Unlike Jesus’ mother, His brothers did not accept Him as their Messiah until later, after He rose from the dead. At this point, early in His ministry, they were skeptical of His words, and even hostile at times. No doubt they were mortified by His aggressive action in cleansing the temple, saying among themselves, “Who does He think He is?” But Jesus is God, and as God He felt grief and anger at the defamation of His Father’s house of worship.

18-21 Then answered the Jews and said unto Him, “What sign do You show unto us, seeing that You do these things?” Jesus answered and said unto them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then said the Jews, “Forty-six years was this temple in building, and will You rear it up in three days?” But He spoke of the temple of His body.

The Jews would ask for many signs during Jesus’ earthly ministry, yet they never accepted them, for their eyes were blinded to the truth. The disciples, however, logged Jesus’ answer in their minds, and three years later, when He rose from the dead on the third day, they recalled what had been said on this day and knew that indeed Jesus was the Christ. Who but God could have raised Himself from the dead? And who but God could have known the circumstances of His own death and resurrection years in advance? Jesus, in this simple statement, affirmed His deity once again, not only by telling them of a future event, but by stating (and later proving) that He had the power to conquer death.

22 When therefore He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this unto them; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

“The Scripture” here refers to the Old Testament as a whole, and not necessarily to a particular passage. The disciples had studied the Old Testament and had committed many passages to memory. Some of these speak prophetically of Christ’s resurrection from the dead (i.e. Ps. 16:10). The disciples did not understand these passages at first, but gradually throughout Christ’s earthly ministry, and even more so after Christ rose from the dead, when He sent the Holy Spirit to permanently dwell in their hearts, He opened the eyes of their understanding to comprehend the truths that had been in front of their faces all along.

23-25 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, on the feast day, many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.

The nature of these miracles is not discussed here in the book of John. He merely states that Jesus performed many miracles which led the people to believe the Jesus was indeed the Messiah they had long awaited. But sadly, they missed the point of His coming. For many years they had suffered under Roman rule, and they hoped Messiah would come to set up His kingdom and conquer the ruthless Romans. He will come to reign one day, when the time is right, but His first appearance on the earth as Man was to redeem us—not from political oppression, but from sin. The people of Jesus’ day were not interested in being freed from sin. They wanted an easy life, a life without tyranny. They did not understand that you cannot have one without the other. Jesus understood. He knew their thoughts, He knew the sinfulness of their hearts, and He knew what was their deepest need. He came to be the answer to that need.

My friend, have you accepted Christ Jesus as your Messiah and Lord? Have you been freed from the bondage of sin and death? If not, what are you waiting for?

John 2 provides us with a vivid illustration of the importance of studying and memorizing Scripture. How do you suppose the disciples’ minds went immediately to Psalm 69 when Jesus cleansed the temple? Because they had previously committed it to memory. And later, when the Lord rose from the dead, and all the other prophecies about Him began to make sense, it was their earlier exposure to the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit used to guide them. This is why it is vitally important to teach our children and grandchildren the truths of Scripture. They may not fully understand it now, but in time the Spirit will guide them into all truth. He will open their eyes in due time, but they—we—must first open the Word of God.

With this in mind, let me encourage you to read chapter 3 every day this week, in anticipation of next week’s lesson. And while you are reading, go ahead and memorize verse 17. Most of us already know verse 16, but verse 17 is equally important. Let’s commit to hiding God’s Word in our hearts, that it might keep us from sin.

This week’s reading

John 3

This week’s memory verse

For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.

John 3:17

Photo taken at Princess Beach in Destin, Florida, 2019

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