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Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on John 2

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The Gospel According to John

Commentary by DAVID BROWN

CHAPTER 2

Jhn 2:1-12. FIRST MIRACLE, WATER MADE WINE--BRIEF VISIT TO CAPERNAUM.

      1. third day--He would take two days to reach Galilee, and this was the third.
      mother there--it being probably some relative's marriage. John never names her [BENGEL].

      3. no wine--evidently expecting some display of His glory, and hinting that now was His time.

      4, 5. Woman--no term of disrespect in the language of that day ( Jhn 19:26 ).
      what. . . to do with thee--that is, "In my Father's business I have to do with Him only." It was a gentle rebuke for officious interference, entering a region from which all creatures were excluded (compare Act 4:19, 20 ).
      mine hour, &c.--hinting that He would do something, but at His own time; and so she understood it ( Jhn 2:5 ).

      6. firkins--about seven and a half gallons in Jewish, or nine in Attic measure; each of these huge water jars, therefore, holding some twenty or more gallons, for washings at such feasts ( Mar 7:4 ).

      7, 8. Fill. . . draw. . . bear--directing all, but Himself touching nothing, to prevent all appearance of collusion.

      9, 10. well drunk--"drunk abundantly" (as Sgs 5:1 ), speaking of the general practice.

      10. the good wine. . . until now--thus testifying, while ignorant of the source of supply, not only that it was real wine, but better than any at the feast.

      11. manifested forth his glory--Nothing in the least like this is said of the miracles of prophet or apostle, nor could without manifest blasphemy be said of any mere creature. Observe, (1) At a marriage Christ made His first public appearance in any company, and at a marriage He wrought His first miracle--the noblest sanction that could be given to that God-given institution. (2) As the miracle did not make bad good, but good better, so Christianity only redeems, sanctifies, and ennobles the beneficent but abused institution of marriage; and Christ's whole work only turns the water of earth into the wine of heaven. Thus "this beginning of miracles" exhibited the character and "manifested forth the glory" of His entire Mission. (3) As Christ countenanced our seasons of festivity, so also that greater fulness which befits such; so far was He from encouraging that asceticism which has since been so often put for all religion. (4) The character and authority ascribed by Romanists to the Virgin is directly in the teeth of this and other scriptures.

      12. Capernaum--on the Sea of Galilee. (See on JF & B for Mt 9:1).
      his mother and his brethren--(See on JF & B for Lu 2:51, and JF & B for Mt 13:54-56).

      Jhn 2:13-25. CHRIST'S FIRST PASSOVER--FIRST CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE.

      14-17. in the temple--not the temple itself, as Jhn 2:19-21, but the temple-court.
      sold oxen, &c.--for the convenience of those who had to offer them in sacrifice.
      changers of money--of Roman into Jewish money, in which the temple dues (see on JF & B for Mt 17:24) had to be paid.

      15. small cords--likely some of the rushes spread for bedding, and when twisted used to tie up the cattle there collected. "Not by this slender whip but by divine majesty was the ejection accomplished, the whip being but a sign of the scourge of divine anger" [GROTIUS].
      poured out. . . overthrew--thus expressing the mingled indignation and authority of the impulse.

      16. my Father's house--How close the resemblance of these remarkable words to Luk 2:49; the same consciousness of intrinsic relation to the temple--as the seat of His Father's most august worship, and so the symbol of all that is due to Him on earth--dictating both speeches. Only, when but a youth, with no authority, He was simply "a SON IN His own house"; now He was "a SON OVER His own house" ( Hbr 3:6 ), the proper Representative, and in flesh "the Heir," of his Father's rights.
      house of merchandise--There was nothing wrong in the merchandise; but to bring it, for their own and others' convenience, into that most sacred place, was a high-handed profanation which the eye of Jesus could not endure.

      17. eaten me up--a glorious feature in the predicted character of the suffering Messiah ( Psa 69:9 ), and rising high even in some not worthy to loose the latchet of His shoes. ( Exd 32:19, &c.).

      18-22. What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?--Though the act and the words of Christ, taken together, were sign enough, they were unconvinced: yet they were awed, and though at His very next appearance at Jerusalem they "sought to kill Him" for speaking of "His Father" just as He did now ( Jhn 5:18 ), they, at this early stage, only ask a sign.

      19. Destroy this temple, &c.--(See on JF & B for Mr 14:58, 59).

      20. Forty and six years--From the eighteenth year of Herod till then was just forty-six years [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 15.11.1].

      21. temple of his body--in which was enshrined the glory of the eternal Word. (See on JF & B for Joh 1:14). By its resurrection the true Temple of God upon earth was reared up, of which the stone one was but a shadow; so that the allusion is not quite exclusively to Himself, but takes in that Temple of which He is the foundation, and all believers are the "lively stones." ( 1Pe 2:4, 5 ).

      22. believed the scripture--on this subject; that is, what was meant, which was hid from them till then. Mark (1) The act by which Christ signalized His first public appearance in the Temple. Taking "His fan in His hand, He purges His floor," not thoroughly indeed, but enough to foreshadow His last act towards that faithless people--to sweep them out of God's house. (2) The sign of His authority to do this is the announcement, at this first outset of His ministry, of that coming death by their hands, and resurrection by His own, which were to pave the way for their judicial ejection.

      23-25. in the feast day--the foregoing things occurring probably before the feast began.
      many believed--superficially, struck merely by "the miracles He did." Of these we have no record.

      24. did not commit--"entrust," or let Himself down familiarly to them, as to His genuine disciples.

      25. knew what was in man--It is impossible for language more clearly to assert of Christ what in Jer 17:9, 10, and elsewhere, is denied of all mere creatures.

Introduction to Luke ← Prior Book
Introduction to Acts Next Book →
Commentary on John 1 ← Prior Chapter
Commentary on John 3 Next Chapter →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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