For an introduction to this series, click here.
April 15, 2007
This second chapter begins with John's first recorded miracle, the changing of water to wine. Many commentators conclude this was probably Jesus' first miracle, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. (I will explain why later, in a couple of days, hopefully.) Jesus comes to a wedding, which in all cultures and in all times is a big deal.
It seems Jesus is dragging His feet here when it comes to performing this miracle. It almost seems like Mary is talking Him into doing it. When Mary comes up to Jesus and tells Him they have no more wine, Jesus said, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour is not yet come." (2:4) But Mary ignores His objections and tells the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." (2:5)
Now we can have a discussion all night about whether or not the wine Jesus made was alcoholic. I personally think it is irrelevant, but some people make a big deal out of it. No matter what people say, you will not find a single verse of scripture that explicitly forbids drinking alcohol. We can also be quite sure that Jesus would not have been providing more booze for a drunken party. Being drunk is always a sin, no matter which way you slice it.
Debating whether or not the wine was alcoholic is really missing the point of the story. The point of the story is that Jesus provided what was needed. It came in a way no one anticipated, and it was more than enough. Jesus will provide our needs, as well. The provision may not be what, when, where and how we expect, but it will be what we really need.
Next we have the story of Jesus cleansing the Temple. The other Gospels record Jesus cleansing the Temple during the week before his crucifixion, but this is apparently very early in Jesus' ministry. I guess He did it twice, which only goes to prove the tendency everyone has, especially me, of drifting right back into our old ways. The Lord shows us something in our lives, and we change for a while, but then we fall back right into the same old routine. Jesus ran the money changers and the salesmen out of the temple once, and they came right back and set up shop soon after He left.
The last section of this chapter is an example of what I wrote about in the intro about John editorializing: "So the Jews said to him, 'What sign do you show us for doing these things?' Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' The Jews then said, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?' But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken." (2:18-22, ESV)
The Jews were furious with Jesus for what He did, and demanded to know on what authority Jesus was doing these things. Jesus did not give them a straight answer, but gives them a cryptic sign. The other gospels would have stopped right there. But John goes on to mention that after Jesus rose from the dead (Mark and Luke in a way try to keep the Resurrection a secret, telling the story through the viewpoint of the disciples) the disciples remembered this word and believed. John is saying this is what we believe, you need to believe it too.