John 2 is the beginning where Jesus shows signs and miracles, which will prove that He is the Saviour. Jesus’ miracles grow more and more spectacular, but here they start, what may seem like a small miracle, actually carries a lot of significance. Jesus’ first miracle symbolises His mission – to save the world, the greatest mission in the history of mankind.
For a recap on the Gospel of John Chapter 1, click here.
There are three events in John chapter 2. The first is the miracle of turning water into wine. The second is Jesus’ driving the money-lenders out of the temple complex. The third is Jesus predicting His own death. The miracle of turning water to wine is the first of seven miracles used by John to prove that Jesus is God.
Jesus Changes Water Into Wine
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
Weddings in that era were celebrated over several days. Unlike today, when travel and communication are easy, it was difficult to predict when guests would arrive as traveling to the wedding venue could take days. It was the host’s responsibility to provide enough food and drink for all the guests who came. John’s gospel is the only one that records this miracle. Jesus’ participation in a simple, joyful event also explains His compassion for people.
When Mary, Jesus’ mother, asked for His help, we cannot assume she was asking Him to perform a miracle, I think she was asking Him to help in difficult situation. Jesus’ response to her seems almost rude, but it is rather a polite distancing expression, questioning why she would want to involve Him. Mary’s response is symbolic for us as she entrusted Him to do the right thing, in the same way we should submit to and trust Jesus.
The six stone water jars were normal used for ceremonial washing. Before eating, the Jews would pour water over their hands to cleanse themselves on any bad influences from anything they had touched. The act of turning water into wine, for the married couple, wasn’t just a gift. It was a way to save them from embarrassment. It was also done quietly, no one except a few of the disciples, Jesus’ mother Mary, and the servants knew it happened.
Here’s the best part, Jesus’s didn’t just turn the water into wine, He turned into the best tasting wine. (10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” John 2:10).
This is the first act where Jesus shows the authority given to Him by God. The disciples saw the miracles and believed. This miracle shows Jesus’ power over nature and revealed the way He would go about His ministry, and that is, to help others, speak and teach with authority, and being in personal touch with people.
Jesus Clears the Temple Courts
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
Jesus’ anger at the situation was not because of money, itself. Pilgrims could not easily travel with sacrificial animals. So, it made sense to provide sacrifices for them to buy near to the temple. What bothered Jesus was the way in which business was being done. Instead of providing a service to pilgrims, the merchants were overcharging people to make a profit, making a mockery of God’s house of worship and the temple courts were so crowded, it prevented people from worshiping. The emphasis on making money, instead of serving others, was unacceptable to Jesus.
He is not described as being enraged, or out of control, it shows how forceful and authoritative Jesus was in this situation. It is right to be angry about injustice and sin; it is wrong to be angry over trivial personal offences.
Lastly, but most importantly, Jesus predicts His own death for the first time in John 2 (19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” John 2:19).
The Jews thought Jesus meant that He would rebuild the physical temple in three days, but they were blinded by their own thoughts to the true meaning of Jesus’ words. Jesus was talking about His own body, Jesus was greater than the temple. These words would take on so much more meaning for the disciples after Jesus’ resurrection, that Christ so perfectly fulfilled His prediction, became the strongest proof for His claims to be God.
Be patient and wait on Jesus. Trust in His power and authority over all nature. And never disgrace Jesus by placing money or material things before Him.