John 2:1-11-Jesus attended a wedding in Cana of Galilee…along with His mother, and His disciples.
Cana of Galilee map:
When they ran out of wine, His mother Mary asked Him to do something. It would be a terrible embarrassment to the family if they did not have adequate provisions for the ceremony. Jesus was cautious in what He did because He knew that the minute He went public, the clock would begin to wind down on the duration of His life. He knew exactly what the Father intended for Him to do and He would not allow anything to compromise His ministry. The next words of Mary voice the key to the Christian life (:5), “Whatever He says to you, do it.” If we would only follow that counsel our lives would be incredibly different. Don’t argue. Don’t justify. Don’t hesitate. Don’t complain. “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Just do it! Standing nearby were six large pots of water (about 26 US gallons each) that were used for the practice of the Jewish cleansing rite (cf. Mark 7:3). He changed the water used for purification into wine. This was His first miracle…“and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him” (:11).
Of all the miracles that Jesus performed and John observed, he only recorded 7 of them…which he calls “signs” (5 are not recorded in the Synoptic Gospels). It is as if John was intent on revealing Jesus for Who He was, and while using the “signs” that He performed as authentication and evidence of that fact, not allowing them to become the focal point of interest (which was a common problem during the ministry of Jesus). John 20:30-31 says: “30. Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31. but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” John is therefore very strategic in when he records these signs and deliberate in which ones he chooses. Since these signs are not spread throughout the entire book, some see a 3-fold division of the book: 1:1-18-The Introduction of Jesus; 1:19-12:50-The Signs of Jesus; 13:1-20:31-The Exaltation of Jesus.
1. turning the water into wine (2:1-11)
2. the cure of the nobleman’s son (4:46-54)
3. the cure of the paralytic (5:1-18)
4. the feeding of the multitude (6:6-13)
5. the walking on the water (6:16-21)
6. the giving of sight to the blind (9:1-7)
7. the raising of Lazarus from the dead (11:1-45)
For an enlightening study of this passage see:
John 2:12-22-Jesus went to Capernaum, then to Jerusalem for the Passover (He was accompanied by His family and disciples). When He went to the Temple He found people carrying on business in the outer courts.
For a detailed explanation of the Temple history, layout, dimensions, etc., see:
Many pilgrims would be in Jerusalem for Passover and they would need animals for sacrifices. It had become a common practice to bring money (in a variety of currencies which had to be exchanged for the Temple currency) on their journey and to purchase an animal once they arrived. Over the years, those who dealt in currency exchange and those selling the animals had moved closer and closer to the Temple…until they were in the very outer courts…loudly haggling for the attention of the pilgrims (like side-shows at a carnival). The environment had become very commercial and pedestrian…changing the atmosphere from a place of worship to a place of brash consumerism. When Jesus arrived there, He chased them out. His disciples remembered that the Psalm said that zeal for the Temple would consume the Messiah (cf. Psalm 69:9). The Pharisees demanded a “sign” of authority for what He did. Jesus told them to tear down the Temple and in 3 days He would raise it up. They assumed that He was speaking of the Temple building, but He was actually speaking of the Temple of His body. After the resurrection, His disciples remembered this conversation “and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken” (:22). While this “sign” is not listed among the seven…because it was not accomplished at the moment that it was spoken of…it is the greatest sign of His authority and His identity, that Jesus performed.
John 2:23-25-While He was in Jerusalem, many believed in His name…because of the signs He was doing. Notice that while John does not give all the details of these signs, as he does on the seven which he includes, he does mention that Jesus performed many other signs (:23). Jesus knew the fickleness of their hearts and that many of them were just interested in Him performing a sign for the sake of their seeing something novel and entertaining. So, He did not trust Himself to them.
Prayer: Lord, help me to be like Mary…looking to Jesus whenever there is a need…trusting in His provision and sufficiency. And Lord, please give me the wisdom to discern the true intent of the hearts of men, like Jesus did.