Bible Commentaries
John 2

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verses 1-25

John 2:1 . The third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, when the sun of righteousness shone out with divine glory. Cana of Galilee is here mentioned to distinguish it from Cana near Sidonia, and from Canah in the tribe of Asher. From Ezra’s time it was enjoined that virgins should marry on the fourth day of the week, and widows on the fifth. The jews were married earlier in the week, lest the sabbath should be defiled with the preparations for the marriage. So Lightfoot. This seems to convey considerable reproach on christians, who make no scruple to marry on the sabbath-day. The omission of worship, and the feasting on that day are pollutions of its sanctity.

John 2:2 . Jesus was called and his disciples. But the family seemed not to be aware how much the number of his disciples had increased after the testimony of John, and the voice from heaven.

John 2:4 . Woman, what have I to do with thee? The Greek reads, what is that to me and thee: my hour is not yet come. Great emphasis is laid on the hour of his passion; but here the word regards the hour of his miracles. From the words of Mary to the servants, it is plain she expected some manifestation of his glory; and she had reasons which justified her hope.

John 2:9 . When the ruler tasted the water that was made wine. The ruler presided at the table among the men; for the women had separate rooms.

John 2:10 . When men have well drunk. The Greek word designates no more than drinking freely till they are pleasant and cheerful; by no means till they are intoxicated. The reading of the Vulgate is rather too strong: cum inebriated fuerint.

John 2:14 . Sold oxen, sheep, and doves. This trade was in the courts of the temple, under a cover of assisting the worshippers; but the traders were thieves in demanding exorbitant profits; and practised imposition in changing the coins of strangers. See Matthew 21:12. Jeremiah 7:11. Jesus, the first and last time he was in the temple, purged it of nefarious traffickers. Let us imitate the Lord in preserving purity of doctrine and worship, and be zealous that decorum may reign in his house.

John 2:16 . Take these things hence. In this most brilliant action was fulfilled the prophecy of Malachi: The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, and with unexpected majesty, as the messenger of the covenant, shall purge it of corruption, and amidst myriads of spectators shall shame the rulers who for lucre connived at the sin and pollution.

John 2:19 . Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But he spake of the temple of his body, for God had said, I will dwell in you, and walk in you. He did many miracles on the feast day, as in John 2:23, yet the jews asked a sign. He treated their enmity and unbelief with dignity, and would give them no other sign, except that of his resurrection; the rejected stone which should grind them to powder.

John 2:20 . Then said the jews, forty and six years was this temple in building. Herod had begun to replace the stones in the eighteenth year of his reign; and our Saviour was born in the thirty fifth year, so that up to the time of this conversation was exactly forty six years. Josephus.


The Messiah attended and blessed the marriage of Adam in paradise, and now in the beginning of his glorious career of grace on earth, he attended and graced the marriage in Cana of Galilee. He was probably a friend or relative of the married couple, as Cana was but four miles from Nazareth. But his presence and party encreased the guests, and there was a deficiency of wine. Mary, prompted by the Spirit, laid this defect before her Son; and with an expectation which language cannot decypher. But Jesus seemed as ruffled by the request: he did not deny his resources, but said my hour is not yet come. He was not ostentatious, he boasted not of knowledge and virtue: they stole from him with bashfulness, as when,

“The modest water, awed by power divine, Confessed its God, and blushing turned to wine.”

Jesus will still for his people turn water into wine. He knows how to change crosses into comforts, sickness into health, and to make poverty conducive towards the acquisition of the true riches. No matter then about a little deficiency; if Jesus honour our house, he will supply all our lack. He changes likewise all the shadowy import of the law into substance and reality; and makes all the promises spirit and life to the soul.

Christ helps his people in a seasonable moment; they wanted the wine before he made it, and a little lack enhances the gift. So it was when he divided the sea, gave water from the rock, and bread from the clouds. And so it is still, when he pours the wine of consolation into our hearts. Young people, who join their hands in marriage, and their hearts in the Lord, should be careful to invite Jesus to their feast. He is a prince among the guests, and should ever have the first and highest place.

Jesus at length realized the expectation of his mother; and so it shall be to the praying soul. Though he answer roughly at the first, his milder frowns are but the introductory tokens of a blessing in reserve. Whenever we want wine in our feasts, or rather a blessing on our assemblies, let us apply to the same gracious and compassionate Lord, who often keeps the best wine till the last. Many coming for cures, who seemed to be received with coldness, were sent away refreshed as with new wine.

The miracles of our Lord manifested the glory of his Godhead, and encreased the faith of his disciples. None but he who caused the vines to grow, and nourished a nation with the dew of heaven, could possibly change this water into the best of wine, and in an abundance adequate for all the year. Christ’s friends have the best wine when his celestial smiles accompany all their temporal gifts.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on John 2". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.