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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament
John 2



Other Authors


Verse 1

Two days later. [Two days later = the third day.] This is two days later, measured from the calling of Philip (John 1:43). The "days" mentioned in the first two chapters of John make a week, and may form a contrast to the last week of Christ's public ministry (John 12:1). A wedding in the town of Cana. About twelve miles north of Nazareth in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there. John seems to never call the human mother of Jesus by name. Since Joseph is never mentioned after Jesus began his public ministry, he is thought to have died before this time. The way Mary "takes over," suggests she was related to the family.

Verse 2

Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. Jesus now had disciples with him: John, Andrew, Peter, Philippians, Nathanael.

Verse 3

They are out of wine. This would be a great disgrace in the East, at such a celebration. The fact that she says this shows both that she must have been related to the family [or at least a very close friend]; and that she expected Jesus to do something about it. [Wine = oinos.]

Verse 4

You most not tell me what to do, woman. This sounds harsh and rude in our language, but "woman" is a term of gentle respect (John 19:26), even though Jesus is mildly scolding his human mother here. There is also a hint in this that his mission would require him to follow a different route than she might wish. My time has not yet come. It seems that what Mary has asked, meant she wanted him to declare himself the Messiah right then and there! He rebukes her request. Only one sign or declaration will be given, and that is the miracle of the prophet Jonah (Matthew 12:39-40).

Verse 5

Do whatever he tells you. She seems to understand that he will do something about the shortage of wine.

Verse 6

Six stone water jars were there. On the "religious rules," see note on Matthew 15:2; Mark 7:4.

Verse 8

Now draw some water out. Note Jesus made between 120,180 gallons of wine [oraos]. Augustine says: "He that hath made wine that day in those six waterpots does the same every year in the vines. For as what the servants put in the waterpots was changed into wine by the operation of the Lord, just so what the clouds pour forth is changed into wine by the operation of the same law." [This is not our commercial wine which has added alcohol.]

Verse 9

And he tasted the water, which had turned into wine. The man in charge of the feast would be similar to our "toastmaster."

Verse 10

Everyone else serves the best wine first. Notice that even though they have already drunk up all the wine in the house, he immediately tastes the superiority of the wine Jesus made. [Scholars have argued long and loud over the wine Jesus made here. It may have been a kind of "grape-cider." The Bible strongly condemns drunkenness (Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 23:29-35; Ephesians 5:18). Yet the same Bible speaks of wine as one of God's blessings on the human family (Psalm 104:15; Isaiah 55:1; 1 Timothy 5:23). It is obvious there were different kinds of wine in the first century.]

Verse 11

Jesus performed this first of his mighty works in Cana of Galilee. We think of Jesus as a "man of sorrows" [which is true, up to a point], but we see him perform his first miracle in the happy and festive atmosphere of a wedding-feast! And his disciples believed in him. That Isaiah, their faith was made stronger by seeing this.

Verse 12

Jesus and his mother, brothers. The natural meaning of this is that these were his brothers in the flesh, sons of Mary. His sisters in the flesh are mentioned in Matthew 13:55-56; Mark 6:3. No hint is given in the Bible of the dogma of "Mary's perpetual virginity." See note on Luke 11:27-28. Went to Capernaum. Cana was in the hills; Capernaum down on the shore of Lake Galilee.

Verse 13

It was almost time. This will be Jesus' first Passover since he began his public ministry. Only John tells us about this first purifying of the temple. See notes on Matthew 21:12-13.

Verse 14

In the temple. This would be in the Court of the Gentiles. He found men selling. It was not proper for them to be selling animals for sacrifice inside the temple. [The selling of animals for sacrifice was all right in itself, and was a needed service for the great crowds of people who came to worship in the temple. But the priests had made a monopoly of it, and brought all the noise, confusion, and smell right into the temple.] Compare Mark 11:15-19. The moneychangers. The priests would not take the Greek and Roman coins that were used by everyone. They made the people exchange their money for official Jewish coins, at unreasonable prices. Just this alone was making the priests something like three million dollars a year [in 1974 dollars].

Verse 15

He made a whip from cords. Notice he used it on the animals. The whip was mostly symbolic. This is the first time he demonstrated his authority.

Verse 16

Do not make my Father's house a market place! God no longer lives in temples made by men (Acts 17:24). It is a sin to use religion as a money making scheme (1 Timothy 6:5). [But "the worker deserves his wages" (1 Timothy 5:17-18).]

Verse 17

My devotion to your house, God. Quoted from Psalm 69:9.

Verse 18

What miracle can you perform? To do what Jesus had just done required some authority. They are asking him to prove this authority by performing some miracle that would impress them.

Verses 19-22

Tear down this house of God. He speaks of the miracle of Jonah (see note on John 2:4). The "house of God" is his own human body. Even his disciples didn't understand this, until after he raised from death. It has taken forty-six years. Solomon had built the first temple, which had been destroyed. After Captivity, a new temple had been built. Herod the Great had torn it down and started construction of this present temple forty-six years before this, and it was not yet completed. When Jesus was on trial before the Council, what he had said was brought up as evidence against him.

Verse 23

Many believed in him. These "mighty works" are mentioned again in John 3:4, but nothing else is known of them.

Verse 24

But Jesus did not trust himself to them. He knew only too well what their real character was, and what some of them would do to him.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 2:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

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Thursday, May 28th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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