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Tuesday, December 5th, 2023
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Bible Commentaries
John 2

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

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Verse 1


Christ at a Marriage Feast, converteth Water into Wine. He departeth to Capernaum. He drives the Buyers and Sellers from the Temple.

Verses 1-11

And the third day there was marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. (2) And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. (3) And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. (4) Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. (5) His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.(6) And there were set there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. (7) Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. (8) And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. (9) When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was; but the servants which drew the water knew; the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, (10) And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine. And when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. (11) This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory: and his disciples believed on him.

The circumstances of this marriage feast, and the miracle Jesus then wrought, are so beautifully expressed, in the plain and artless language of the Evangelist, as to need no comment. I only take occasion therefore to observe, how many sweet instructions the subject ministers to us, in the contemplation of Jesus, and his disciples.

We are told, that this was the beginning of miracles, and most probably the first, the Lord Jesus wrought, upon his entrance on his public ministry. And certain it is, that it is the first, and among the highest miracles the Son of God ever wrought in his own marriage with our nature. Then Jesus indeed turned our water into wine, for everything then became blessings in Christ. And certainly there was somewhat of significancy in this miracle. For it is remarkable, that Moses, commissioned by the Lord, turned the water of Egypt into blood. Our Almighty Moses, whom Jehovah hath sent into the Egypt of our world, hath turned both our common mercies and our gospel mercies into wine. Exodus 7:19 . The miracle of Moses the servant, was for destruction! The miracle of Moses' Lord was, and is for life everlasting. Sweetly the Church sings to this: Song of Solomon 1:2 ; Isaiah 27:2-3 .

I cannot dismiss the view of this marriage in Cana of Galilee, which the Lord and his disciples graced with their presence, without observing how much Jesus hath sanctioned the holy and honorable estate of marriage, by this act. Surely as the Apostle hath said, Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled. Hebrews 13:4 . And methinks, I would take occasion there from, to enforce the same plan the Jewish bridal feast set forth, of inviting Jesus and his disciples to every godly marriage union. If the Hosea 1:0 y order be founded in Christ, and each party becomes a true yoke-fellow in the Lord; what a pleasing prospect it affords of promoting, under his blessing, the truest happiness of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. And to the wants of this world, where Jesus dwells, every supply necessary may be hoped for. He that turned water into wine to answer the momentary feast, can soon convert everything even of evil into good; and rather than that his redeemed shall want anything needful, will bring resourses from their enemies' table. All things shall work together for good to them that love God: to them that are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 .

Verses 12-17

After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. (13) And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, (14) And found in the temple those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting: (15) 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; (16) And he said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandize. (17) And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

I pass by every lesser consideration contained in those verses, to attend to that one event here recorded, of our Lord's making a scourge of small cords, and driving the buyers and sellers out of the Temple. If the Reader coolly and deliberately turns over in his mind the wonderful event here recorded, perhaps when all the circumstances are taken together into one point of view, and duly pondered, he will be inclined to think, with me, that excepting that one miracle mentioned by this same Evangelist, John 18:6 , of the armed soldiers falling to the ground at the mere word of Christ, in answer to their question; this is the greatest miracle Christ wrought in the days of his flesh. Let the Reader figure to himself the Lord Jesus, thus going into the Temple, carrying everything before him; driving the herds of cattle; overturning the tables; and pouring out the changer's money: and not a creature daring to resist him! What invincible power must have shone forth in his countenance! how their minds must have been overawed? Such indeed was the consternation on their part, and such the majesty that shone in Christ, that it brought the passage of the Prophet to the Apostles' minds; and they then saw the accomplishment of it. Psalms 69:9 . And to the same purport where the Lord again speaks: Psalms 119:139 . And what I beg yet more particularly the Reader to notice in this miracle, is the words of Jesus, when he was driving all before him: Make not my Father's house an house of merchandize! No prophet ever used such language. None but Christ ever called God Father! Neither did ever God call any among all his prophets, Sons. It is Jesus only, which useth this name. And Christ only whom God so owns. Let the Reader, while he views, and reviews, this wonderful transaction, turn to the prophecy of Malachi, and read the first five verses of the third Chapter; and then ask himself, whether this was not the Lord of his Temple so accurately described in the Portrait of Prophecy; and so completely answered by the original, when this event of purging the Temple took place? I must not close my observations on this transaction, without first remarking to the Reader, that I conceive our Lord made another visit of the same kind to the Temple, just before his crucifixion. But if he compares the scripture where that second cleansing is related, with this; he will find, that there is between them a difference. Indeed it could hardly be one and the same, because this which John relates, was in the early part of Christ's ministry; whereas, the other was nearly at the close of it. See Matthew 21:12-13 .

Verses 18-22

Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? (19) Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. (20) Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? (21) But he spake of the temple of his body. (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.

It really should seem, by the conduct of those men, and their asking Christ to shew them some sign, for such an exercise of his authority; as if for the moment, they had been overawed, and more than half convinced, who Christ was. Had this not been the case, one should have expected to have seen them to a man reddened with anger, and seizing Jesus, to bring him to punishment. Whereas, they never attempted to oppose what the Lord did; neither to gainsay what the Lord said. Jesus called God his Father; and in confirmation purged the Temple, which they had profaned. To all which; the whole body of them made no resistance; but after a pause, they asked him for some further sign in proof of his mission.

Doth my Reader also wonder in beholding them thus panic struck? Surely not. He, I hope, can well explain the cause. Did not the countenance of the Lord Jesus, as well as his actions, manifest somewhat both of his Almighty Person, and Power? If the zeal of his Father's house had eaten him up; (as he himself expresses it;) did not his face bespeak it? Reader! think, I beseech you, if in the days of Christ's flesh such glory occasionally broke forth, as in this, instance, to the confusion of all his enemies; (See also John 18:6 ) and as in another, to the joy of his friends; (See Matthew 17:1-5 .) what will be his appearance in that day, when the ungodly shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; and when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe? 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 . Oh! the forbearance of our adorable Lord, when driving those buyers and sellers from the temple, that he drove them not into hell!

But I pray the Reader yet further to observe, the Lord's grace to his Church and people, in the sign he gave, to the demand of his foes. It is his redeemed, and not others, for whom this precious sign was meant; and to whom it ministers blessedness. When Jesus thus spake of the destruction of the temple, the Holy Ghost would not leave the Church to make her own comment upon it; but by the mouth of the Apostles, taught his redeemed, that Jesus spake of the temple of his body. So that when Jesus arose from the dead, which was at the distance of three years after this conversation the Lord held with the Jews, they called to mind what had then passed, and felt as we now feel under the divine conviction, the blessed testimony to the whole; they believed the scripture, and the word which he had spoken.

I must not suffer the Reader to overlook the greatness and compleatness of this sign; which, while it acted to those blind Jews as a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence; to the enlightened believer, it becomes a blessed testimony to that glorious Rock which Jehovah laid in Zion. They made this sign of Jesus the great charge of blasphemy against Christ, when arraigned before Pilate. Matthew 26:61 . And, Reader! you and I, if taught of God, make it a most precious evidence of his eternal Power, and Godhead. Destroy this temple, (said the Lord,) this temple of my body; and in three days I will raise it up! The former was done, when (as Peter under the Holy Ghost charged them) with wicked hands, Jesus was taken by them and crucified and slain. Acts 2:23 . And Jesus accomplished the latter, when by his own Almighty Power, he arose from the dead. Observe the expression which Christ made use of, I will raise it up! And if you ask the cause? the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of Peter answers; having loosed (said he) the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be holden of it. Acts 2:24 . But it would not only have been possible, but certain and sure, that the pains of death, which are the wages of sin, would have held any man and every man a prisoner, which died for sin; had not the divine nature of Christ, been in this solemn transaction. But in the Person of Christ, God and Man in One, it became impossible. The Prophets which foretold his death, foretold at the same time, that his soul should not be left in hell; neither God's holy one to see corruption. Psalms 16:10 . Hence, as the Holy Ghost by Peter, in another scripture, hath said; Christ was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18 . Reader! what are now your apprehensions of this blessed sign?

Verses 23-25

Now when he was at Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. (24) But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, (25) And needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what was in man.

Reader! I detain you no longer on those verses, than to ask you, what further proofs can be needed to the Godhead of your Lord, than what is here said. Who less than He that made man, can know the thoughts of man?

Verse 25


How is it possible to behold my Lord, honoring the bridal feast with his presence and miracles without having the mind led to the consideration of that yet more astonishing miracle, when the Son of God first betrothed his Church to himself, in righteousness, in judgment, in loving kindness, and in mercies; and in faithfulness forever! Here I would say, as often as my soul reviews the vast mercy, here my Lord, my Ishi, my Husband, is indeed everlastingly blessing his Church with his presence; supplying every want, and turning all my water into wine. Lord! do thou daily manifest forth thy glory; and cause me by thy sweet influences, unceasingly to believe in thee.

Blessed Lord the Spirit! praised be thy name for this precious record of my Lord's zeal in purging his Temple. Do thou, Lord, so cleanse my heart; for thou hast said, the bodies of thy people are the temple of the Holy Ghost, which dwelleth in them. And if my God will drive out all the vain thoughts which lodge there, which like the buyers and sellers in the Temple, so defile my poor heart; then, by my Lord's indwelling presence, shall I be enabled to glorify God, in my body and in my spirit, which are his.

And praised be my Lord for the very precious sign he gave the Jews; and for the very precious confirmation of it which followed. Yes! thou glorious Lord; while both the power of God the Father, and God the Holy Ghost, were manifested in thy triumphs over death and the grave; thou wast most fully declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit o f holiness, by thy resurrection from the dead! And is it not by this same blessed testimony, the whole Church rests in hope for the sure accomplishment of the same in all thy mystical members! Hail! thou that art the resurrection and the life! Sure I am, that because thou livest, thy redeemed shall live also!

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on John 2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/john-2.html. 1828.
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