The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!
Verses 1-2 — So there was a wedding on the third day. That would be Tuesday on the Jewish calendar. Why would someone plan a mid-week wedding? We’re going a little deep here. What happened in Genesis 1 on the third day? In Genesis 1:10, on the third day, the Lord spoke and the land and water separated, so there was dry land and bodies of water. And He saw that it was good. And then, on that same third day, He spoke and vegetation came, and He saw it was good. Two “He saw it was good” statements in one day! That’s a double blessing! So couples often married on Tuesdays, so their marriages would be doubly blessed.
Jesus’ mother was at the wedding, and both Jesus and His disciples were invited. Mary probably was related to the bride and groom in some way. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have done Verses 3-5. It would not have been proper for her to direct such things, unless she was a relative.
Verses 3-4 — They ran out of wine. In Jewish culture, to run out of wine at a party dishonored the family. So Mary, being a relative, said to Jesus, who was also a relative because she was His mother, “They have no wine.”
“Woman, what does that have to do with us?” Calling her “woman” is not derogatory. He is not insulting her, but He may be separating Himself from her motherhood over Him, since His ministry is about to begin.
He said His time had not yet come. What does that mean? Was He saying that it was not yet time for Him to begin doing miracles to show that He was the Son of God? It seems that way, if we go to Verse 11. But He did a miracle, as we will see in a few verses. None of what transpired here was a surprise to Him, as with Nathanael.
But we can go deeper, as usual. We will see, as we go, along that the Holy Spirit inspired John to write of the actual events, but also to hint at the deeper meaning of them.
Who was bringing the new wine of the new covenant (Matthew 9:17)? Whose blood was represented by the wine He shared with His disciples at the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:28)? On the cross, He began the new covenant between God and man (John 3:16 and many other places we’ll review), when His blood was poured out onto the earth. He is the embodiment of new wine, sweet like grape juice, unfermented, and non-alcoholic, pure and clean. But it was not yet time for His crucifixion.
Verse 5 — Mary said to the servants, “Whatever He says, do it.” Great word! Whatever instruction or command Jesus Christ gives you, do it! And God will be revealed and glorified through what happens next.
Verses 6-7 — These stone waterpots contained water combined with ashes of a red heifer, used by the Jews for ritual washing and purification (see Numbers 19:2 and forward). There are a lot of hints of Christ in the ritual described there. For example, He was crucified outside the camp (Jerusalem), and His death provides us with cleansing, if we come to Him. The waterpots were large containers, 20 or 30 gallons each. Think about their size as we continue.
Jesus ordered the servants to fill them to the brim, and they did. I tell you, when He takes you — a jar of clay (2Corinthians 4:7) — and fills you to the brim with His new wine, you will be changed! Oops, I’m giving away what happens next.
Verses 8-9 — Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter. So the servants took a sample to him. The headwaiter brought the bridegroom. Why? It had become wine. When did it become wine? When Jesus said, “Draw some out now.”
The servants knew they had drawn wine from clay pots they had filled with water. And they knew when He said, draw some and give it to the headwaiter, it was wine! They knew Jesus had done a miracle. It is impossible to change water to wine. It defies all natural law.
That is how God operates. The Bridegroom (John 3:29) gave the bridegroom new wine. The Bridegroom gives the church (His bride) His new wine.
Verse 10 — The bridegroom came to the headwaiter, who said the good stuff is served first, and the lower quality stuff is served later, when everyone has drunk freely. But look! This wine is excellent! You’ve kept the good wine until now!
Jesus is the good wine. He is the best. It was time for Him to be sent by the Father. And so He tastes better than anything previously experienced (Psalms 34:8, 1Peter 2:3)!
Verses 11-12 — So this was the beginning of the signs Jesus did in Cana and Galilee. And by them, God attested that Jesus is God the Son, and glorified Him by proving that He is God the Son. And as a result, His disciples believed in Him.
Then He went to Capernaum, the city He chose for the center of His ministry (Matthew 9:1).
Verse 13 — It was the Passover, a feast established when death passed over the Jews in Egypt, just prior to their release. Every Jewish man was required to be in Jerusalem for this feast. The place was packed with people.
Verse 14-17 — Jesus cleans house in the Temple. There was business going on there. But His Father’s house was to be a house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7), a holy place where such things were not done.
What was the business about? The pilgrims who had come for Passover needed sacrificial animals to offer in the Temple. The Jewish religious ones in the Temple, who sold the animals, cheated those who bought them. The Pilgrims were required to buy them with Temple money. So their Roman money had to be converted to Temple money. The weights and measures were rigged in favor of the Temple. So, if you gave them a dollar, they said it was worth only 50 cents in Temple money. Thus, they robbed the people. Well, that was one way they robbed them.
But they also robbed them of the experience of entering a holy, sacred place and sensing the presence of God. The Father surely was not present as they cheated His people.
Well, Jesus was not “gentle Jesus meek and mild,” as some of us have been taught. His disciples remembered later that it was written of Him in the Old Testament, “Zeal for Your house consumes Me” (Psalm 69:9). He is a righteous judge, and will someday judge the works of those who are His, and the works of those who do evil. You will see it in John 5.
He judged the robbers in this passage. Matthew 21:13 records that He called the Temple a den of robbers. Not only did they rob the people, but they used the Temple to plan their next caper.
I wonder how much robbery takes place in today’s churches, with the sale of trinkets, books, and cool coffee shops just outside their sanctuaries.
Verse 18 — The Jews wanted to know who gave Jesus the authority to cleanse the Temple. Who gave Him authority? The same One who gave Him authority to cleanse your temple (your heart) to make it a place where His Spirit dwells and has full rule and reign. You will see that in John 14. It is God who gives Jesus Christ authority. He is God’s Son.
Verse 19-21 — So, destroy My body, Jesus says, and I will rebuild it in three days. Yes, He did. He rose from the grave three days after He was crucified and placed in a tomb! But the Jews did not understand Him. They thought He meant the Temple, the building in Jerusalem. But the Apostle John makes it clear in Verse 21. He was speaking of the temple of His body.
Verse 22 — So, when Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, the disciples finally understood what He said in Verse 19. And they believed the Scripture (Hosea 6:2 and Isaiah 53:10) and the word Jesus spoke.
Verses 23-25 — So while Jesus was at the Passover, many believed in His name. They believed He was who He said He was. They believed because they saw the signs, the attesting miracles that proved that He is God the Son.
But Jesus did not entrust Himself to them (believe them), because He knew what was in all of mankind (in their hearts). (See Jeremiah 17:10.) He didn’t need anyone to explain man to Him. He Himself knew what was in man, way back from before Adam sinned, way back in beginning, before time was and before the earth was formed. He was the Lamb prepared before the world was founded (Revelation 13:8, King James Version). He knew man inside and out, because He made man. Through Him all things were created, at the command of the Father (Hebrews 1:2).