The Word Made Fresh
1Three days later there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples were also invited. 3When the wine ran out, his mother said to him, “They have no wine.”
4Jesus said, “Dear lady, why does that concern you and me? My hour has not yet come.”
5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you to do.”
6There were six stone water jars that were used in the Jewish purification rituals, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus told them to fill them with water, and they filled them up to the brim. 8Then he said, “Pour some out, and take it to the chief steward.” They took it as he said, and they knew that the water was now wine.
9The steward didn’t know where it came from, but when he tasted the water, which was now wine, he called the bridegroom. 10He said, “Everyone serves the good wine first and then the regular wine after the guests are already drunk, but you have saved the good wine until now.”
11Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. 12After the wedding he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples. They stayed there a few days.
13The Jewish Passover observance was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14When he entered the temple he found vendors selling cattle, oxen, sheep, and doves. Moneychangers had set up tables for their business as well. 15He made a whip out of some cords, and drove them out of the temple area, including the animals. He turned over the moneychangers’ tables and scattered their coins. 16He told the ones who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! You will not turn my Father’s house into a marketplace!” 17His disciples remembered that it is written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
18The Jews said to him, “What can you show us to prove you have the right to do this.”
19Jesus replied, “Tear this temple down and I will raise it up in three days.”
20“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,” they retorted. “Do you really think you can rebuild it in three days?”
21But of course, he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22After he was raised from the dead his disciples remembered that he had said this, and then they believed the scripture and what Jesus had said. 23While he was in Jerusalem at the Passover observance, a lot of people believed in him because they saw the signs he was doing. 24But Jesus, for his part, would not trust them because he knew how people are, 25and didn’t need to be told about anyone because he knew what they were capable of doing.
1-11: John is the only evangelist to tell the story of the wedding in Cana. Jesus and his disciples are invited to the wedding; his mother Mary is already there (although her name is never given in John’s gospel), indicating that perhaps the bride or groom is a relative. It would certainly be an embarrassment to run out of wine, but we are left to wonder why his mother thinks he can do anything about it. She does, however, instruct the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do, and they follow his instructions to the letter, filling the jars “to the brim.” The water turns to wine and the party is saved. It is the first miracle John tells us about in his gospel. Interestingly enough, nobody knows about the miracle but the servants and the disciples and the mother of Jesus. The miracle seems to serve the purpose, though, of solidifying his disciples’ faith in him.
12: Jesus now moves to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and disciples. This is the last time we will see her until we see her standing at the cross in chapter 19. John’s gospel hints that his mother and brothers are much more involved in Jesus’ early ministry than we might gather from the other gospels. The implication is that his family no longer lives in Nazareth but has taken up residence in Capernaum, and that probably means his mother is now widowed.
13-22: In John’s gospel Jesus goes to Jerusalem early and often. All the gospels tell the “cleansing of the temple” story, but John is the only one who places it this early. Much more detail is included here than in the other gospels (compare Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, and Luke 19:45-46). For example, here we have Jesus wielding a whip made of cords, and John lists the kinds of animals being sold and tells us that Jesus chases the cattle and sheep out, orders the dove sellers to leave and overturns the money changers’ tables. Note also that in John his opposition in Jerusalem is “the Jews,” whereas the other gospels speak of the Pharisees, scribes, and elders. Here John turns the questioning of the Jews into an opportunity for Jesus to prophesy his death and resurrection.
23-25: Jesus stays in Jerusalem amid growing speculation among the people, but he does not trust the crowds, John says, because he knows people all too well.
When we accept Christ into our hearts and into our lives, we begin to change. Self-service is no longer a top priority in our work and in our leisure. The top priority is to honor the Lord and trust the Lord to provide spiritual guidance and support.