A Journal Through the Bible - Verse by Verse

A Place to Jot Down My Thoughts and Questions

by J. Scott Nelson


The Gospel According To Saint John, Chapter 2

John 2:1
John 2:2
John 2:3
John 2:4
John 2:5
John 2:6
John 2:7
John 2:8
John 2:9
John 2:10
John 2:11
John 2:12
John 2:13
John 2:14
John 2:15
John 2:16
John 2:17
John 2:18
John 2:19
John 2:20
John 2:21
John 2:22
John 2:23
John 2:24
John 2:25

John 2:1

1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:

It says that three days after Jesus' talk with Nathanael, there was a marriage in the town of Cana.  And Jesus' mother was there at the marriage.

I assume Jesus talked with Nathanael on the same day Jesus went into Galilee and found Philip; though, I don't think that's important.

So, here is another of those simple, factual statements that you see frequently in the bible.  I'm not sure why these particular details are given to us.  But maybe it will become apparent later.

John 2:2

2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

It says Jesus and his disciples were asked to come to the marriage.

Does this mean they received an invitation to the wedding, along with all the other guests?  Or does it mean that someone already at the wedding asked them to go to the wedding, after it had already started?

And it says Jesus AND his disciples were asked to come to the wedding.  Does that mean Jesus was asked, and they told him 'go ahead and bring your friends'?  Or were his disciples known well enough, by that person, to be asked themselves?  I doubt that it's important; I'm just curious.

Well, however it happened, Jesus' disciples were at the wedding with Jesus.

John 2:3

3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

It says that when they wanted wine, Jesus' mother told Jesus that they didn't have any wine.

So, at some point, "they" wanted wine, whoever "they" were.  It doesn't really matter, probably just some guests.  Some comments later make it sound like they did have wine at one point, so they must have run out.

So, they are out of wine.  Why does Jesus' mother come to Jesus?  What does she expect Jesus to do about it?  He is just a guest.  Maybe she has found that he has consistently been able to come through for her over the years.  And he was just the first person she thought of that might be able to do something about it.  There is no indication that he has done any miracles before now.  This may be just a simple matter of her doing what she feels is best, going to someone she has been able to count on before.

John 2:4

4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee?  mine hour is not yet come.

It says that Jesus replied to his mother by saying "what have I to do with you?"  And that his "hour" has not arrived yet.

He calls her 'woman'.  But, as far as I can tell, he never called her anything else; even when he was speaking to her while on the cross.

I'm not sure what that phrase means "what have I to do with you".  I have seen other translations where it says "what does that have to do with you and me."  Either way, it seems like he is implying that this wedding, or this issue, is not his business; and that he, and maybe she too, should not be meddling.  I suppose it is possible that she was a close friend of one of the wedding families and that she was helping out with the preparations.

And then he follows with the statement, "my hour hasn't come yet" … his hour, or his time, for what?  Is it not time for him to start his ministry?  But, in a way, his ministry started when his group of disciples started forming.  So maybe he's referring to the time to start his public ministry, doing things of which others will take note.  The only two things I can think of are his public speaking in the temple, and, of course, his miracles.  Why would he think of his public ministry; she only told him that they were out of wine?  Why wouldn't he just take his disciples and go buy some wine?  Evidently, the way she spoke to Jesus made it clear to him that she was asking him to do something unusual, something noticeable.  Otherwise, I don't see any reason for him to talk about "his hour" hasn't come yet.

I could almost see Jesus saying to his mother, in a kidding way, "What am I going to do with you."  As if to say, 'you are always coming to me with these things'.  But that doesn't really fit with his next statement "my hour hasn't come yet".

John 2:5

5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

It says that Jesus' mother told the servants to do whatever Jesus says to do.

So, despite Jesus' reply and his comment about his hour is not come yet, she still seems to act as if the matter is now in his hands and he'll take care of it.

And evidently she has a bit of authority to be able to tell the servants what to do.  So it does seem like she is helping out with the wedding party.

I wonder if she is used to doing that … leaving things in his hands, and being confident that he'll take care of it.  Sounds like something we should practice.  Just leave it in his hands, and be confident that he'll take care of it.

Lord, give me the grace and courage to leave things in your hands.  And help me be confident in you.

John 2:6

6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

It says that there were six waterpots somewhere there at the wedding.  The waterpots were made of stone.  These waterpots were the same as those common among the Jews, used for some kind of purifying.  The waterpots could each hold between 18 and 26 gallons.

So the pots probably held about 131 gallons, total (at an average of 2.5 firkins in each pot; 1 firkin ≅ 8.75 gallons; that's about 21.875 gallons per pot).

It seems that the Jews were using some kind of system to purify water.  I imagine this purification process is something that was originally in the law, back in old testament.  And, it seems, this process of purifying water was common among the Jews.

John 2:7

7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water.  And they filled them up to the brim.

It says that Jesus told the servants to fill the waterpots with water.  And the servants filled the pots with water, all the way up to the brim.

I wonder how long it took to fill up the pots; that's a lot of water.

There seems to have been no hesitation from Jesus.  It's like he told them what to do, right away.  He didn't go outside by himself to pray, or anything.  Evidently, he knew right away what God wanted him to do.

Evidently, even though "his hour" had not come yet, his heavenly Father had Jesus do a miracle anyway.  Or maybe God had decided that this was actually the time.  And He had waited until this moment to tell Jesus, and have him do this miracle.

If that's the case, Jesus must have been very much in tune with his heavenly Father, to understand that he was to turn the water into wine.  It certainly makes sense that it is a benefit for us to always be in tune with our heavenly Father.

Lord, I ask for the grace and discipline to always take the time to reconnect with you, every day.  So that I may stay in tune with you, and that I may never miss a word when you speak to me.

John 2:8

8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.  And they bare it.

It says that Jesus told the servants to dip some out of the pot, and take it to the head of the feast.  And the servants did so.

So, again, there seems to be no delay.  He immediately told them to take some from a pot and carry it to this person who was the head of the feast (it doesn't say it was the groom or the bride).  So the water seems to have changed to wine immediately; or, at least it happened within the time it took the servants to fill the pots.  And Jesus doesn't go out of his way to call attention to himself, or to this miracle.

Imagine the look on the servants' faces, when they dipped some out, knowing that they put in water and now they were pulling out what appears to be, and very likely smells like, wine.  (I wonder … was all the wine the same, or did Jesus do a different wine in each pot?)

So, the servants know what just happened.  I wonder if the disciples noticed what happened.  There doesn't seem to be any mention of it.  But I guess John knew, since he's the one writing this.  But did he know it that day; or did he find out later?

I wonder if Jesus had fun with it.  I think I would have had a lot of fun, watching the reactions.  Yes, being the Son of God has some serious advantages. :-)

I think there are major advantages for any child of God, from being adopted into His family (Gal 4:6-7).  There are probably way more advantages than we can possibly imagine.

Lord, thank you for adopting me into your family.  May I learn what an incredible gift that really is.  And may I never lose sight of that gift.

John 2:9

9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

It says the head of the feast tasted the wine.  And he did not know where it came from; but the servants that took the wine from the waterpot knew.  And when the head of the feast tasted the wine, he called over the bridegroom.

So there was something very significant about the taste of the wine.  So much so, that as soon as he tasted it, he had to speak with the bridegroom.

John 2:10

10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

It says the head of the feast told the bridegroom that normally everybody puts out the good wine at the beginning of the feast, and when everybody is pretty drunk, then they bring out the lower quality wine.  But he states that the bridegroom has waited until now to put out the good wine.

So the head of the feast is of the opinion that this is good wine, noticeably better than the wine that was served up until now.  And if the bridegroom followed custom, his good wine was put out first.

And evidently the wedding party had been going on for some time.  Long enough for them to run out of wine and for the head of the feast to notice that the bridegroom put out the lower quality wine and then waited a while before bringing out this "good" wine.

So, evidently, Jesus produced some pretty good wine, and lots of it.  They could serve around 700 people, four (6 fl oz) glasses of wine, maybe much more.

John 2:11

11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

It says that Jesus did this miracle in the city of Cana of Galilee, outwardly showing his glory.  It says this was the beginning of his miracles.  And his disciples believed on him.

So, Jesus' first miracle was at a party, a wedding party.  And for some reason we are told that it was in a city called Cana (well I'm assuming its a city; could be the name for an area).  It was not done in a way to draw a lot of attention.  He did it relatively quietly.  He didn't do some showing miracle in front of the temple in Jerusalem for tons of people to see him.  But it certainly made it clear, to those who saw what happened, that this is no ordinary guy with some nice wise-sounding talk.  This Jesus has some power that nobody else has.

These miracles, this power, it's part of his glory.

I wonder if the owner of this place, where Jesus did the miracle, or any of the wedding guests bragged about it later, when they found out he did this miracle there, being able to say "I was there".  Although, they could have been afraid to be associated wit him, and kept it to themselves.
And I wonder how quickly the word spread, just from the servants that served the wine.

It would also appear, that the first place he went with his disciples was a party, where he made a whole lot of wine … interesting.  He didn't start out by putting his disciples through a whole bunch of deep spiritual training.  Jesus went with them somewhere to have fun.  I like this guy. :-)

I guess it's not that surprising that his disciples believed on him, given this miracle.  It sounds like many of them were already pretty sure of Jesus to start with, the way there were bringing people to see Jesus, saying that he is the Messiah.  This miracle would be a pretty major clincher.

It would have been pretty cool to see Jesus do a miracle, up close, in the flesh.

Lord, thanks for the things you have shown me.  Thanks for doing miraculous things in my life: healing, and providing for my needs.

John 2:12

12 ¶ After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.

It says that after the wedding, he went down to the town of Capernaum.  He went with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples.  But they didn't stay there very many days.

So, he and his disciples traveled with his family.  I wonder what that was like.  If you are the brother of Jesus, and there's a bunch of guys traveling with you talking about how your brother is the Messiah, basically the Son of God, what would you think?  Something tells me that his brothers and sisters already knew that Jesus was different.  But I would imagine that they would be hesitant to accept that their own brother is the Messiah.
We know that Jesus' brother James did, eventually.  I wonder how that came about.  What was the final clincher for James?

John 2:13

13 ¶ And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,

It says the passover celebration of the Jews was soon, and that Jesus went to Jerusalem.

Evidently, the wedding, where Jesus turned the water to wine, was shortly before the passover celebration.

To walk from Capernaum to Jerusalem, would be about 40 - 50 hours of walking, at an easy pace (about 100 miles).

John 2:14

14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

It says that, in the temple, Jesus found people selling oxen, sheep, and doves, and people that handled money exchange, doing business.

Even though it doesn't actually say it, it appears that Jesus went to the temple, first thing.

People had set up shop in the temple, selling animals.  I assume the animals were to provide a sacrifice, for people that did not bring their own animals.

I imagine this state of affairs did not occur overnight.  It probably started with one banker offering to provide a service to exchange the Roman money for shekels, or something like that.  It is far too easy for us to get ourselves in trouble, when we try to do something that looks like it will be helpful, even though it really is crossing the line, even just a bit, over to something that is not right.

Lord, guide us, so we may avoid those decisions that look good on the surface, but turn out to get us into trouble.

John 2:15

15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;

It says Jesus made a whip out of some small ropes and used it to drive out all of the money changers and all the people that were selling animals, including the animals; and he poured out the changer's money and he knocked over the tables.

Instead of immediately starting to punch and kick to throw those people out of the temple, Jesus takes a moment or two to collect some small ropes and make a whip from them.  And he drives all of them out, every single one of them, along with all of their animals.  And Jesus doesn't just kick out those people, he dumps their money out on the ground and he knocks over the tables.
So, it seems like Jesus is rather deliberate about this.  He doesn't just react impulsively and start ranting and raving; he takes a minute to make a small whip.  And even though it doesn't actually say he was angry, Jesus was sure showing some intense passion.  So I would assume he was angry.
And obviously he didn't just get angry and stew over it.  Jesus decided that something needed to be done, or his Father in Heaven prompted him somehow that he needed to do this.  And if God the Father prompted Jesus, which I find easily possible and perhaps even likely, that means Jesus was paying enough attention, or was in tune with God enough, to recognize it despite his intense passion and/or anger.

Lord, I ask that you would grow my relationship with you, so much so, that I can be that in tune with you.  That I can hear from you, even when things are difficult or when I'm emotional.

John 2:16

16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.

It says that Jesus told the people selling doves to take the stuff away.  And he said not to turn his Father's house into a store.

I would expect the sheep and oxen could walk out on their own, but the doves (likely in cages) had to be carried away.

If somebody was really angry and out of control, they would likely just drive out the people selling doves and it would not occur to them that somebody had to carry the doves away.  I guess he could have just let all the doves go free.  But that could have been considered a form of theft.  So it would appear that Jesus had enough presence of mind to not do that.

And Jesus does not insult them.  He just tells them what they should be doing, sort of like they should know better.  And they probably did know better, really, if they had thought about it.  From what I understand, the sacrifice is between that person and God.  Each person is to pick out a "perfect" sheep or ox from their own herd, as a token of their personal faith in God.  They are not to go buy just any animal from some merchant.  At least in part, it says that, even though they are giving up some of the best parts of their possessions, they have faith that God will take care them.  God has blessed them with their flocks and herds; and in reality, they are giving back to God what already belongs to Him.  And perhaps the worst part of it is, by selling these animals actually at the temple, they are leading the people into doing something that is wrong.  They are actually promoting sin; which may be the main thing driving such passion in Jesus on this occasion.

Greed is devious and potent stuff.  You always need to be on your guard against greed (Luke 12:15).

Lord, give us the grace and discipline to always be on our guard against greed.

John 2:17

17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

It says that Jesus' disciples remembered that there was a saying that was written which says "The zeal of your house has eaten me up."

So the disciples had heard or read this saying somewhere.  And likely they had heard it more than once (probably many times), if they remembered it when this happened.  I think I would have been too distracted by all the commotion to be thinking about scripture.  The scripture must have been quite a big part of their lives, even though some of them were just fishermen.

I'm not sure that I can say that verses come to my mind very often.  I think that, more often, events from the bible come to mind, but not specific verses.  They do once in a while, but not often.  I generally have to make a deliberate effort to think about it.

I certainly would like passages from the bible to come to mind more readily.  And I hope this verse-by-verse walk through the bible will help me in that regard.

Lord, please open my heart and my mind.  Allow me to learn more, understand more, and recall more easily the things I read in Your word.

John 2:18

18 ¶ Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

It says the Jews replied to Jesus, asking what sign Jesus gives them, since he is doing this.

As one would expect, they want Jesus to identify himself.  They want to know who he thinks he is, to be kicking them all out of the temple.  They want to know what gives him the authority or the right to kick them out.

On the face of it, this seems like a reasonable question.  And I think it would be, ordinarily.  But in this case, the question is off base; because they should have known for themselves what they were doing was wrong (see notes on verse 16).  And they should not have been doing it in the first place.  So the question has no merit.  In a sense, every person that has placed their faith in God had (and has) the implicit authority (and perhaps in some way, explicit authority) to stop them from doing this.

I wonder how many times I have been doing something wrong, when I really knew better, if I had really thought about it.

Lord, help me stay focused on you.  And give me the strength and courage to follow your leading, so that I may follow when you lead me away from temptation, and protect me from evil.

John 2:19

19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

It says that Jesus replied to the Jews, telling them that if this temple is destroyed, he will raise it up in three days.

To me this seems like an odd response to the question "Who are you; what gives you the right to kick us out?"  From verse 21 we know Jesus is talking about his body, not the temple structure.  But it seems doubtful that Jesus really expected them to realize that.  So, even though his reply may provide the answer to their question, he is really making some kind of statement that he feels is more important.

The first thing that comes to my mind is that it sounds like a prophecy.  Even at this point, so early in his ministry, he knows that he is going to be killed and it will be done by someone causing major damage to his body.  And he knows that his body will lie dead for 3 days, and then he will be raised from the dead.  He may even know that some of these people he's talking to right now are some of the same people who will participate in having him crucified. (side note: I wonder why it's three days, not 5 days or 7 days?)
And maybe that's also part of the point.  Maybe he's telling them this so it will come to mind later, when he is raised from the dead.  So they will know that he knew what was coming all along, and he went through with it anyway.  And knowing what was coming, he still cured the deaf and dumb, the lame, the blind, and all kinds of diseases.  And he helped all kinds of people.

Knowing what the people were going to do to him, he still helped them.  I think anyone would be hard-pressed to argue that Jesus did not love those people.

Lord, thank you for loving us that much.

John 2:20

20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

It says that the Jews replied to Jesus, saying that the temple took 46 years to build, and they asked Jesus if he was saying that he would rebuild it in three days.

This seems to me to be the expected response.  Since they assume Jesus is talking about the temple structure, they react as one would expect.  To them, Jesus' statement sounds like the talk of a crazy man.  And they reply with the obvious question, like they are saying, "do you know how ridiculous that sounds."

It sure seems that Jesus would know how they were going to take his statement, and how they were going to react, and how it would make him look.  So his statement was important enough for him to say anyway, and just deal with their reaction.

I think that many times, when we are working on something that God has called us to, and there is something that we need to say, and we know we need to say it, we forget how important it is for us to speak up, particularly important for those listening.  And we back down, because it is going to sound crazy to our listeners, or it's going to make us look ridiculous.

Lord, give us the wisdom and insight to see when there is something important that needs to be said.  And give us the grace and the courage to say it, even if it sounds crazy or when it might make us look ridiculous.

John 2:21

21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

it says that Jesus was talking about the temple of this body.

So, the Jews thought Jesus was talking about the destruction of the temple building, but Jesus was actually talking about this own body that he would raise up in three days.

Evidently the body of Jesus is a temple.

John 2:22

22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

It says that, therefore, since Jesus said this, that when he had been raised from the dead, the disciples remembered that Jesus had said this.  And it says that the disciples believed the scripture and what Jesus said.

So after Jesus came back to life, his disciples remembered that he said this, and they believed what he said.  I don't find that to be any big surprise; I mean really … Jesus came back to life.  But it also says that they believed the scripture.  Why did they believe the scripture?  Is it because the disciples remembered (see verse 17) the scripture in Psalm 69:9?  I'm not sure.

Lord, let me understand this.

John 2:23

23 ¶ Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.

It says that while Jesus was still in Jerusalem at the passover, during the feast day, many people believed in his name, when they saw the miracles that Jesus did.

So, Jesus was doing miracles during the passover feast, there in Jerusalem.  And he was doing these miracles out in public, where many people could see.  And many people believed in Jesus' name, when they saw the miracles.

This appears to be the first time Jesus has done any major group of miracles out in public.

On the face of it, you'd think that pretty much everybody that saw the miracles would believe in Jesus.  But, evidently, there were many who did not believe.  If you're one of those who has seen the miracles, but you don't believe, what are you thinking?  What is it that is keeping you from believing?  Or maybe, who is it that is keeping you from believing?

If those Jews back then, who've been taught the scripture their whole life, did not believe in Jesus, even after they saw him performing miracles, then it's not much of a stretch to see how many people now don't believe, when they haven't seen Jesus perform miracles.

I wonder how the Holy Spirit works now, compared to how God was working back then, to bring people to a place where they believe in Jesus.

Lord, you know how much we all need you.  And you know the ones that I think about often.  I pray for them, that you would bring them to believe in Jesus.

John 2:24

24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,

It says that Jesus did not commit himself to them because he knew all men.

So, as for these new believers, it seems that Jesus did not entrust himself to them.  I'm not sure what it is Jesus would have been trusting them with.  But I guess there are plenty of things that Jesus would not have been able to commit tot hem or trust them with.  People are prone to lie, cheat, be selfish, and be unfaithful.  People routinely put there own agenda above everybody else.  And Jesus would certainly know that.  In fact, it says that Jesus knew them all; he knew all about them.  So it makes sense that Jesus would not commit himself to these new believers.

Does this mean that Jesus wanted to trust them?  Or was it more of the norm, that if people put their faith in you, then it was expected that you would entrust them with your mission, or your goals, or whatever?

Lord, give me the grace, strength, and courage to be faithful.

John 2:25

25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

It says that Jesus did not need anyone to testify about man, because he knew what was in man.

So Jesus has no need for any person to tell him about people.  He already knew about people.  He already knew what was in them, what they were capable of.

So Jesus already has this wisdom.  He already knows what is in man.

I find it interesting that it states this about there being something in man.  But even we know, there is something in people, something that keeps us from being able to trust them.  I wonder what it is, about what is in man, that is significant to what is happening here with these new believers, and how Jesus doesn't entrust himself to them.

So the Lord knows what is in me.  Particularly since, for those of us who have put our faith in Him, He has placed His Holy Spirit in us.  But despite knowing what was in us, Jesus died on the cross for us anyway.

Lord, thank you for your grace, for giving us what we did not deserve, for dying in our place and paying for our sins.


Copyright © 2011 John S. Nelson.  All rights reserved worldwide.