Study Notes

John 2:1-25

1:1-2 Invited To A Wedding

In the Jewish culture back then, weddings were no small affair - sometimes lasting a full week, and always lots and lots of people. Bunches of friends and relatives would turn out for the festivities - and often stay right at the house.

This wedding was in Cana of Galilee - about 6 or 8 miles north of Nazareth, and, as we'll read in John 21, where the aposlte Nathanael was from.

Jesus and His disciples are invited to the wedding, and it says that His mother was also there. There has been much speculation regarding whose wedding it was, but if it mattered for us to know, then we certainly would have been told, wouldn't we?

1:3-4 My Hour Has Not Yet Come

What does Jesus mean, "My hour has not yet come"? It is mentioned again in chapter 7:

John 7:30 They were seeking therefore to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.

And in chapter 8:

John 8:20 These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.

But then in chapter 12:

John 12:23 And Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

And reiterated in chapter 17:

John 17:1 These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee,

The hour that Jesus is speaking of was the hour that He would be glorified. Mary very likely wanted to use this opportunity for Jesus to be glorified. No doubt the gossip of her "suspicious" pregnancy thirty years ealier had followed her, haunting her. Maybe her motivation was that if Jesus would glorify Himself, she too would be vindicated.

What Have I To Do With You?

But Jesus said, "Woman, what have I to do with you?" It sounds sharp, almost rude. He calls her "woman" instead of "Mom" or "Mother." This Greek word "goo-NAY" while inherently respectful, is not intimately personal.

Jesus was never prompted by other people's timetables and schedules. "Yes, Mary, I understand that you want me to be revealed as the Immanuel - the miraculously-born Messiah. The Son of God. But it's not time yet, and although you're My earthly mother, I must rather adhere to the timeline of my Heavenly Father."

Everyone always seems to want Jesus to work with their timeline. His brothers, though unbelieving, tried to get Him to speed things up:

John 7:4-6 "For no one does anything in secret, when he himself seeks to be {known} publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world." For not even His brothers were believing in Him. Jesus therefore said to them, "My time is not yet at hand, but your time is always opportune."

His disciples also had this problem:

Acts 1:6-7 And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority

Are you impatient with the Lord's timing? Of course you are! We all are! Let us realize that His timing is better than ours. Peter told us,

1Pet. 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

There is a proper time that He knows and you don't. If you get anxious waiting for it, cast all of that impatience and anxiety on Him.

1:5 Whatever He Says To You, Do It

Perhaps Mary came to the conclusion that while He was refusing to be glorified and exalted at this occasion, there was still the need of wine for the wedding. She says to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."

What a different Mary this is than the one that so many in the church revere as holy and divinely influential! So many have been taught that while Jesus is angry and impossible to get through to, Mary is His mom, and therefore able to influence His decisions and should therefore be a maternal mediator between man and Christ. But Jesus here demonstrates that His divinity is not influenced by any human relationship - not even His mother!

There is so much wrapped up in her statement:

John 2:5 His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."

If I had one thing to say to the world today, that's what it would be: "Whatever Jesus says, do it!"

1:6-10 Water To Wine

The Jewish custom of purification was a ceremonial washing before and after eating. These waterpots were very large - a combined total of 120 to 180 gallons of water.

Jesus tells the servants to fill them with water, and they obeyed - filling them to the top. Then He commands them to draw from the waterpots and bring it to the headwaiter, who was amazed at the quality of the wine - much better that the stuff that had been served first.

Now a lot of people who abuse alcohol have tried to justify their actions by saying, "Look at this - Jesus made wine!" You're right, He did. He even drank it. he said,

Matt. 11:18-19 "...John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon!' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!'"

But there is an incredible difference between Jesus drinking wine and those who drink today.

In the first place, the people drank wine back for the same reason they often do in European countries: because the water is often disgusting.

Consider too that wine was much less potent then - being mixed with 2/3 water and 1/3 wine.

Wine is not completely forbidden in Scripture. In fact, Paul told Timothy,

1Tim. 5:23 No longer drink water {exclusively,} but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

Why did He have to tell Timothy that? Because Elders, Overseers, and Pastors are forbidden to partake of alcohol: listed both in 1Tim 3 and Titus 1 as not "PAR-oy-nos" to wine - not near or beside it. Deacons are listed in 1Tim 3 as not to be giving heed to much wine.

But is that all the Bible has to say about alcohol? Not even close. Any believer getting drunk is strictly forbidden in Scripture.

Prov. 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.

Eph. 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit

Prov. 23:29-35 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, And your mind will utter perverse things. And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea, Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast. "They struck me, {but} I did not become ill; They beat me, {but} I did not know {it.} When shall I awake? I will seek another drink."

And possibly the sternest warning of all is found in Galatians 5:

Gal. 5:21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The basic message? If you choose to get drunk, don't use Jesus as your excuse. His Word condemns you for doing so.

1:11 Beginning Of Signs

So this first miracle was enough to get the five disciples who were with Him to believe that this guy was more than He appeared to be.

It is interesting to me that Moses turned water in blood to demonstrate the judgment of God, but Christ turned water into wine to demonstrate the glory of God.

1:12 Jesus' Brothers

Down in Capernaum, Jesus stayed with His mother, disciples, and brothers. Brothers? I thought Mary was a perpetual virgin! How could Jesus have brothers? The answer is that Mary was not a perpetual virgin. Not only did she have other boys, but at least two girls as well. When He came to His hometown, the people there were amazed and said,

Mark 6:-32 ..."Where did this man {get} these things, and what is {this} wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him.

In chapter 7 we'll read,

John 7:5 ..Not even His brothers were believing in Him.

After the resurrection, they not only ended up believing in Him, but became leaders in the church. Paul tells the Galatians of his trip to Jerusalem, saying,

Gal. 1:19 ...I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother.

Jesus' brother James becomes a leader in the church at Jerusalem. Another of Jesus' brothers names was Judas, or Jude. Jude writes in his epistle,

Jude 1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James...

Jude claimed brotherhood with James to validate his authority, but servanthood of Jesus to validate his ministry.

We also see in 1Corinthians that the Lord's brothers were married, and apparently were missionaries.

1Cor. 9:5 Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

So there is quite a bit of Scripture that points to the fact that Mary gave birth to children that were half-brothers and half-sisters of Jesus.

1:13 Jesus Observes Passover

Jesus goes us to Jerusalem for the Passover holiday. Remember we've been seeing in Exodus that this was one of three holidays that every Jewish male had to attend: Passover (which was also called the feast of Unleavened Bread), the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Although Jesus often broke man's religious traditions, He never violated the Law of God.

1:14-17 Driving Out The Sellers And Moneychangers

There were two things going on in the temple by the time of Christ: people selling sacrificial animals, and people exchanging foreign currency for the temple money.

The Law dictated that your sacrifice couldn't have a defect - it had to be unblemished by sickness, lameness, blindness, or any such thing. There was also the difficulty of travelling such a long way with sacrificial animals. The solution? Why not just sell pre-approved animals right at the temple! Unfortunately, people's greed often corrupts good ideas.

Huge profits were made by these sellers, capitalizing on people's desire to be right with God.

Then there were the moneychangers. People bringing money to give their tithes and offerings to God needed to pay with the temple shekel. And again, capitalizing on people's desire to please God, they would charge exorbitant exchange rates.

This abuse of God's people was enough to send Jesus into a rage. The violence here is not to be missed. Jesus ran from table to table, flipping them over, driving out these corrupt dealers with a scourge of cords, knocking over their chairs. Causing a stampede of sheep and oxen, pouring out their moneyboxes, littering the ground with coins, shouting, "Stop making My Father's house a house of merchandise! This should be a house of prayer, but you've turned it into a house of thieves!"

This isn't the only time Jesus will do this. The last time He goes to Jerusalem, two or three years later, He will do it again.

Jesus was consumed with zeal. John quotes Psalm 69 here:

Ps. 69:9 For zeal for Thy house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me.

This entire Messianic psalm speaks volumes of the minstry of Jesus.

1:18-22 Destroy This Temple

Now the Jewish leadership was none too happy about this cleansing of the temple. They confront Jesus, saying, "You'd better have some awesome sign of authority to justify your actions here!"

And Jesus told them,

John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

He was obviously speaking of His body. That would be His sign to them and to the world that validated everything He said and did. But in their hard-hearted state, they believed He was speaking of the temple.

King Herod began the rennovation and rebuilding of Zerubbabel's temple around 20 BC. It wasn't finished yet - it wouldn't be finished until 64 AD - just six years before it would be completely destroyed during the siege of Jerusalem bythe armies of Titus Vespasian. The Jewish historian Josephus tells us much about this rebuilding - that there were 18,000 men employed in the project, and that some of the stones used weighed as much as 140 tons.

So it is no wonder that they thought what He said was ridiculous. But after He raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this, and must have been speaking of His body.

1:23-25 He Knew What Was In Man

At this point, Jesus had begun His public ministry - healing the sick, casting out demons, and ministering to the multitudes. Many people were believing and following based on His amazing actions. But Jesus knew how fickle man can be. He had told Jeremiah the prophet,

Jer. 17:9-10 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds."

The amazing thing to me is the fact that, in spite of how wicked we are, how untrustworthy we are, how little He can depend on us, the Lord loves us anyway!

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