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Friday, September 22nd, 2023
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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John 2

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

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Verses 1-25



Now we are told of a third day, and a marriage in Cana. This is typical of Israel's new relationship with their Messiah and the receiving of the joy of His miraculous blessing in the millennial age. His mother being present reminds us of His original natural relationship to Israel; and His disciples are those in spiritual relationship with Him. When wine (typical of joy) is lacking, His mother can tell Him of the fact, but can herself do nothing about it.

Verse 4 may seem to us strangely abrupt, but He must clearly disown a merely natural relationship as any basis of blessing, and wait for His "hour." The time of man in the flesh proving himself comes first (that which is natural), and only in due time will the Lord manifest His own blessed ability and preeminence. His mother bows to His words, and instructs the servants to obey Him; for the spirit of subjection to Himself is the one condition in which to receive blessing.

Verse 6 would teach us that the forms of Judaism, though having purification as their object, were empty. The number six speaks of the limit of man's work as falling short of bringing any blessing. "Two or three" is the number of witness, indicating that the law itself bears witness to its own inability to produce the blessing man needs.

At the word of the Lord Jesus the water is introduced, the water pots filled. The water itself is typical of the word of God. Yet only as Christ Himself is recognized as the living theme of that word, does it bring the pure blessing and joy that can fill empty hearts. He does what the law could not do.

The governor of the feast learns the value of the good wine before understanding its origin; but the servants who drew the water knew. Authorities in Israel, though impressed by the great joy and blessing of the millennial age, will not know so well the source, as do those who have true servant character of submission to the word of God, and who draw the water of the word by diligent study. Of course, this has present valuable lessons for us as to our being "servants" in actual practice, fully obeying the word of God, and thereby knowing in reality the power and grace of the Lord Jesus. The word becomes "wine," stimulating and rejoicing the heart. Notice too that the wine is not merely called "the best wine," but "the good wine," for none other can in any measure compare with it.

Verse 11 notes that this was the first of His miracles, and not done at Jerusalem, the boasted center of Judaism, nor yet at Nazareth, where He had been brought up, but in Galilee, where a lowly remnant of Israel was attracted by His blessed person: in this lowly sphere His glory was manifested.



From Cana He went to Capernaum, His mother and brethren being with Him, as well as His disciples, and stayed briefly there. It was here that Peter, Andrew, James and John lived (Mark 1:21-29). But as the Passover drew near He went up to Jerusalem. The Passover had been called in Leviticus 23:4-5 "a feast of Jehovah," but it had degenerated into merely "the Passover of the Jews." The holy character of the temple itself was desecrated by the greed of men. They may piously affirm that they had brought the oxen, sheep and doves there as a convenience for those desiring to offer sacrifices, and that money changing was for the convenience of those who had come from other countries; but the bald truth was that money-making was their object. The place for this was in the business markets. These creatures of sacrifice of course all really speak of Christ: the ox, of His devoted service toward God; the sheep, of His submission to God; the dove, of His purity before God. How revolting then that these should be sold for monetary profit!

The Lord does not hesitate in using a scourge to drive the oxen and sheep out, nor to pour out the change of the money-changers, nor to overturn their tables, and to command the sellers of doves to take them away. He claims His Father's house for His Father, where men's merchandising is to have no place.

Observe the moral and spiritual power here that finds no active opposition from the Jews. However bitter their resentment, they could not resist this honorable action on His Father's behalf. The quotation from Psalms 69:9 is at the time remembered by His disciples: for when that which was totally unbecoming to His Father's nature had dared to invade His Father's house, this could not but occasion a burning zeal in His soul. Let us take a solemn lesson from this as to what is becoming to God's house, the assembly of God, today.

Though unable to resist, the Jews question as to what credentials He had for doing such things. They cry for a sign, though they cannot deny the moral rightness of His action. But He will not satisfy this idle curiosity. The sign would be one (an infinitely powerful one) that they would not want. In their unbelief and hatred toward Him they would "destroy this temple," but He would raise it up in three days.

They ignore His first words, as to their destroying the temple, but ridicule His raising it up in three days. He does not explain, but John does so for our benefit. Indeed His own body was the true temple of God, for God's glory had left the temple in the days of Ezekiel; but in Christ that glory dwelt in fullness. What a sign is the death and resurrection of Christ! Yet even this was blindly refused by the Jews. When it became fact, however, the disciples remembered His words, which then became deeply precious to them, confirming too the Old Testament scriptures. From that time we may be sure they searched the Old Testament much more ardently than they had ever done.



Verse 23 begins a new division of the book. At the feast of the Passover, a special day, when people were likely to be particularly influenced for the time, many believed in His name. But it was because of His miraculous signs. There is evident contrast here to the various people mentioned in Chapter 1, who were attached to the Lord Jesus because of what they saw in Him personally, their hearts drawn by the moral beauty of His own person, His truth, His grace. Or others later at Samaria, who told the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world" (ch.4:41-42). He had done no miracles there, but His word had penetrated their hearts: they believed Him, not simply believing certain things about Him.

But these who believed because of the miracles were not to be trusted. This type of faith is not vital, but such as that of rocky ground hearers (Matthew 13:20-21). They did not really know the Lord, but He knew them, and knowing their motives, did not trust them. This is certainly not merely human discernment, but His omniscience, as God, the Creator, who knows all men. He needed no witness from others as to any particular man: He knew what was in man. This is true of none but God, and many such expressions are found in the Gospel of John, to encourage our utter confidence in His divine knowledge.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on John 2". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/john-2.html. 1897-1910.
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