The miracle at Cana. (1-11) Christ casts the buyers and sellers out of the temple. (12-22) Many believe in Christ. (23-25)
Verses 1-11 It is very desirable when there is a marriage, to have Christ own and bless it. Those that would have Christ with them at their marriage, must invite him by prayer, and he will come. While in this world we sometimes find ourselves in straits, even when we think ourselves in fulness. There was want at a marriage feast. Those who are come to care for the things of the world, must look for trouble, and count upon disappointment. In our addresses to Christ, we must humbly spread our case before him, and then refer ourselves to him to do as he pleases. In Christ's reply to his mother there was no disrespect. He used the same word when speaking to her with affection from the cross; yet it is a standing testimony against the idolatry of after-ages, in giving undue honours to his mother. His hour is come when we know not what to do. Delays of mercy are not denials of prayer. Those that expect Christ's favours, must observe his orders with ready obedience. The way of duty is the way to mercy; and Christ's methods must not be objected against. The beginning of Moses' miracles was turning water into blood, ( Exodus 7:20 ) ; the beginning of Christ's miracles was turning water into wine; which may remind us of the difference between the law of Moses and the gospel of Christ. He showed that he improves creature-comforts to all true believers, and make them comforts indeed. And Christ's works are all for use. Has he turned thy water into wine, given thee knowledge and grace? it is to profit withal; therefore draw out now, and use it. It was the best wine. Christ's works commend themselves even to those who know not their Author. What was produced by miracles, always was the best in its kind. Though Christ hereby allows a right use of wine, he does not in the least do away his own caution, which is, that our hearts be not at any time overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, ( Luke 21:34 ) . Though we need not scruple to feast with our friends on proper occasions, yet every social interview should be so conducted, that we might invite the Redeemer to join with us, if he were now on earth; and all levity, luxury, and excess offend him.
Verses 12-22 The first public work in which we find Christ engaged, was driving from the temple the traders whom the covetous priests and rulers encouraged to make a market-place of its courts. Those now make God's house a house of merchandise, whose minds are filled with cares about worldly business when attending religious exercises, or who perform Divine offices for love of gain. Christ, having thus cleansed the temple, gave a sign to those who demanded it, to prove his authority for so doing. He foretells his death by the Jews' malice, Destroy ye this temple; I will permit you to destroy it. He foretells his resurrection by his own power; In three days I will raise it up. Christ took again his own life. Men mistake by understanding that according to the letter, which the Scripture speaks by way of figure. When Jesus was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered he has said this. It helps much in understanding the Divine word, to observe the fulfilling of the Scriptures.
Verses 23-25 Our Lord knew all men, their nature, dispositions, affections, designs, so as we do not know any man, not even ourselves. He knows his crafty enemies, and all their secret projects; his false friends, and their true characters. He knows who are truly his, knows their uprightness, and knows their weaknesses. We know what is done by men; Christ knows what is in them, he tries the heart. Beware of a dead faith, or a formal profession: carnal, empty professors are not to be trusted, and however men impose on others or themselves, they cannot impose on the heart-searching God.
John 2:1-12 . FIRST MIRACLE, WATER MADE WINE--BRIEF VISIT TO CAPERNAUM.
1. third day--He would take two days to reach Galilee, and this was the third.
mother there--it being probably some relative's marriage. John never names her [BENGEL].
3. no wine--evidently expecting some display of His glory, and hinting that now was His time.
4, 5. Woman--no term of disrespect in the language of that day ( John 19:26 ).
what . . . to do with thee--that is, "In my Father's business I have to do with Him only." It was a gentle rebuke for officious interference, entering a region from which all creatures were excluded (compare Acts 4:19 Acts 4:20 ).
mine hour, &c.--hinting that He would do something, but at His own time; and so she understood it ( John 2:5 ).
6. firkins--about seven and a half gallons in Jewish, or nine in Attic measure; each of these huge water jars, therefore, holding some twenty or more gallons, for washings at such feasts ( Mark 7:4 ).
7, 8. Fill . . . draw . . . bear--directing all, but Himself touching nothing, to prevent all appearance of collusion.
9, 10. well drunk--"drunk abundantly" (as Solomon 5:1 ), speaking of the general practice.
10. the good wine . . . until now--thus testifying, while ignorant of the source of supply, not only that it was real wine, but better than any at the feast.
11. manifested forth his glory--Nothing in the least like this is said of the miracles of prophet or apostle, nor could without manifest blasphemy be said of any mere creature. Observe, (1) At a marriage Christ made His first public appearance in any company, and at a marriage He wrought His first miracle--the noblest sanction that could be given to that God-given institution. (2) As the miracle did not make bad good, but good better, so Christianity only redeems, sanctifies, and ennobles the beneficent but abused institution of marriage; and Christ's whole work only turns the water of earth into the wine of heaven. Thus "this beginning of miracles" exhibited the character and "manifested forth the glory" of His entire Mission. (3) As Christ countenanced our seasons of festivity, so also that greater fulness which befits such; so far was He from encouraging that asceticism which has since been so often put for all religion. (4) The character and authority ascribed by Romanists to the Virgin is directly in the teeth of this and other scriptures.
12. Capernaum--on the Sea of Galilee.
his mother and his
John 2:13-25 . CHRIST'S FIRST PASSOVER--FIRST CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE.
14-17. in the temple--not the temple itself, as John 2:19-21 , but the temple-court.
sold oxen, &c.--for the convenience of those who had to offer them in sacrifice.
changers of money--of Roman into Jewish money, in which the temple to be paid.
15. small cords--likely some of the rushes spread for bedding, and when twisted used to tie up the cattle there collected. "Not by this slender whip but by divine majesty was the ejection accomplished, the whip being but a sign of the scourge of divine anger" [GROTIUS].
poured out . . . overthrew--thus expressing the mingled indignation and authority of the impulse.
16. my Father's house--How close the resemblance of these remarkable words to Luke 2:49 ; the same consciousness of intrinsic relation to the temple--as the seat of His Father's most august worship, and so the symbol of all that is due to Him on earth--dictating both speeches. Only, when but a youth, with no authority, He was simply "a SON IN His own house"; now He was "a SON OVER His own house" ( Hebrews 3:6 ), the proper Representative, and in flesh "the Heir," of his Father's rights.
house of merchandise--There was nothing wrong in the merchandise; but to bring it, for their own and others' convenience, into that most sacred place, was a high-handed profanation which the eye of Jesus could not endure.
17. eaten me up--a glorious feature in the predicted character of the suffering Messiah ( Psalms 69:9 ), and rising high even in some not worthy to loose the latchet of His shoes. ( Exodus 32:19 , &c.).
18-22. What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?--Though the act and the words of Christ, taken together, were sign enough, they were unconvinced: yet they were awed, and though at His very next appearance at Jerusalem they "sought to kill Him" for speaking of "His Father" just as He did now ( John 5:18 ), they, at this early stage, only ask a sign.
19. Destroy this temple,
20. Forty and six years--From the eighteenth year of Herod till then was just forty-six years [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 15.11.1].
21. temple of his body--in which was enshrined the glory of the eternal God upon earth was reared up, of which the stone one was but a shadow; so that the allusion is not quite exclusively to Himself, but takes in that Temple of which He is the foundation, and all believers are the "lively stones." ( 1 Peter 2:4 1 Peter 2:5 ).
22. believed the scripture--on this subject; that is, what was meant, which was hid from them till then. Mark (1) The act by which Christ signalized His first public appearance in the Temple. Taking "His fan in His hand, He purges His floor," not thoroughly indeed, but enough to foreshadow His last act towards that faithless people--to sweep them out of God's house. (2) The sign of His authority to do this is the announcement, at this first outset of His ministry, of that coming death by their hands, and resurrection by His own, which were to pave the way for their judicial ejection.
23-25. in the feast day--the foregoing things occurring probably before the feast began.
many believed--superficially, struck merely by "the miracles He did." Of these we have no record.
24. did not commit--"entrust," or let Himself down familiarly to them, as to His genuine disciples.
25. knew what was in man--It is impossible for language more clearly to assert of Christ what in Jeremiah 17:9 Jeremiah 17:10 , and elsewhere, is denied of all mere creatures.