John 2 – Conversion and Cleansing
A. Water into wine at a wedding.
1. (1-2) Jesus, His mother, and His disciples at a wedding.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.
a. On the third day: John continued the story from the previous chapter that noted happenings on a particular day (John 1:19-28), on the next day (John 1:29-34), the next day after that (John 1:35-42), the following day (John 1:43-51) and now on the third day.
i. “‘The third day’ is probably to be counted from the event last mentioned, the call of Nathanael. The reckoning is, as usual, inclusive; we should say ‘two days later’.” (Barclay)
b. Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding: This is the first of many stories suggesting that Jesus was always welcome among those having a good time. Jesus didn’t spoil the good time, and in the Jewish culture of that day a wedding was the best party of all.
i. One old tradition says that this was John the Gospel writer’s wedding, and he left his bride at the altar after seeing this miracle. This should be regarded as a pleasant but unlikely story.
ii. Mormons take this idea an absurd step further declaring this was Jesus’ wedding. Of course, this is against the plain meaning of this passage and all of the gospel records of the life of Jesus.
iii. The fact that Jesus was invited to this wedding has several implications:
· The invitation of Jesus to this wedding says something about the kind of man Jesus was.
· The invitation of Jesus to this wedding says something about the presence of Jesus at weddings. “Jesus comes to a marriage, and gives his blessing there, that we may know that our family life is under his care.” (Spurgeon)
· The invitation of Jesus to this wedding says something about what happens when we invite Jesus into the events of our life.
iv. “He was at this juncture fresh from the most disturbing personal conflict, His work awaited Him, a work full of intense strife, hazard, and pain; yet in a mind occupied with these things the marriage joy of a country couple finds a fit place.” (Dods)
v. And the mother of Jesus was there: “There is no mention of Joseph. The explanation most probably is that by this time Joseph was dead. It would seem that Joseph died quite soon, and that the reason why Jesus spent eighteen long years in Nazareth was that he had to take upon himself the support of his mother and his family. It was only when his younger brothers and sisters were able to look after themselves that he left home.” (Barclay)
2. (3-5) The wedding with no wine and a mother’s request.
And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
a. When they ran out of wine: This was a major social mistake, and could shame the couple for a long time. A wedding was supposed to be the best party of all, and for a host to fail in providing adequate hospitality (partially in the form of food and drink) was a great dishonor.
i. Some believe that the presence of the disciples – thought of as uninvited guests – made the wine run out faster than expected. The text gives no evidence of this. Morris has a better idea: “This may indicate that they were poor and had made the minimum provision hoping for the best.”
ii. “To fail in providing adequately for the guests would involve social disgrace. In the closely knit communities of Jesus’ day such an error would never be forgotten, and would haunt the newly married couple all their lives.” (Tenney)
iii. Additionally, rabbis of that day considered wine a symbol of joy. Therefore “to run out of wine would almost have been the equivalent of admitting that neither the guests nor the bride and groom were happy.” (Boice)
iv. “In the ancient Near East there was a strong element of reciprocity about weddings, and that, for example, it was possible to take legal action in certain circumstances against a man who had failed to provide the appropriate wedding gift…it means that when the supply of wine failed more than social embarrassment was involved. The bridegroom as his family may well have become involved in a heavy pecuniary liability.” (Morris)
b. They have no wine: We don’t know exactly why Mary brought this problem to her son Jesus. Perhaps she eagerly anticipated the day Jesus would miraculously demonstrate that He was the Messiah. When people saw that Jesus was the Messiah it would also vindicate Mary, who lived under the shadow of a pregnancy and birth that many people questioned.
i. It wasn’t wrong for Mary to sense that the time had come for her Son to enter public ministry. She knew He had been baptized by John and confirmed with a heavenly sign at His baptism. Mary knew He endured temptation in the wilderness. She knew Jesus had been publically introduced as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and had begun to gather disciples to Himself.
c. Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? Jesus spoke to His mother with a term of respect, but He did not call her “mother.” Jesus wanted to emphasize that now, at the beginning of His public ministry, He now had a different relationship with Mary.
i. Woman: “So far from being a rough and discourteous way of address, it was a title of respect. We have no way of speaking in English which exactly renders it; but it is better to translate it Lady which gives at least the courtesy in it.” (Barclay)
ii. It was not rude to say mother, but neither was it an expected way for a son to address a mother. “Yet we must bear in mind that it is most unusual to find it when a son addresses his mother. There appear to be no examples of this cited, other than those noticed in this Gospel.” (Morris)
iii. Jesus indicated that there was a new relationship between Him and Mary. “If she sought his help now, she must not seek it on the basis of their mother-and-son relationship.” (Bruce)
iv. Jesus seemed to say to Mary, “I won’t do it. It’s not time” – but then He went on to do it. What He really said to Mary was, “We now have a different relationship. Let me consult My heavenly Father.” Jesus must have prayed and then known what to do, because He later said in this Gospel:
· Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. (John 5:19)
· I can of Myself do nothing… I do not seek My own will, but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 5:30)
· I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. (John 8:28)
· For I always do those things that please Him. (John 8:29)
v. “He will indeed take action, as she was so very sure He would when she told the servants to do whatever He told them, but He will act in His own way, for His own reasons, and at His own time.” (Tasker)
vi. “Jesus in His public ministry was not only or primarily the Son of Mary, but ‘the Son of man’ who was to bring the realities of heaven to men. A new relationship was established. Mary must not presume.” (Morris)
vii. “With all loving respect, he yet very decidedly shuts out all interference from Mary; for his kingdom was to be according to the spirit, and not after the flesh. I delight in believing, concerning the mother of Jesus, that though she fell into a natural mistake, yet she did not for an instant persist in it; neither did she hide it from John, but probably took care to tell it to him, that no others should ever fall into similar error by thinking of her in an unfitting manner.” (Spurgeon)
viii. Trench was correct when he noted, “Christendom, Catholic or Orthodox, has long seen in this His first miracle the value our Lord attaches to His mother’s supplications and the pleasure He has in granting them.” Yet that is to misunderstand this work entirely. Jesus made it clear that He did not do this on the basis of the mother-son relationship.
ix. My hour has not yet come: “This expression, mine hour, is generally used in John of the time of the Death of Christ. But it is only so used because His death in those passages is the subject naturally underlying the narrative. It is, any fixed or appointed time; — and therefore here, the appointed time of His self-manifestation by miracles.”
d. Whatever He says to you, do it: The recorded words of Mary are few. However, it is good to pay attention to her words that were recorded because they consistently glorify Jesus, not Mary herself. It is wise for everyone to obey Mary’s direction, whatever He says to you, do it.
i. To deliberately go through Mary to get to Jesus is to regard Jesus as hardhearted, and Mary as tenderhearted. This concept “is totally alien from the Bible. It comes from mother-son ideas prevalent in pagan religions.” (Barnhouse)
ii. “The recorded words of Mary are few; these particular words have an application beyond the immediate occasion which called them forth.” (Bruce)
3. (6-7) Filling the waterpots.
Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.
a. Six waterpots of stone: Jesus began this miracle by using what was at hand. He could have supplied more wine any number of ways, but He started with what was there.
b. According to the manner of purification of the Jews: The waterpots are connected with the system of Law, because they were used in ceremonial purification.
i. Containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece: Spurgeon saw significance for preachers in John’s approximate number. “Let us always speak correctly; sometimes, ‘almost’ or ‘thereabouts’ will be words that will just save our truthfulness. Let us not speak positively when we do not know; and when the accuracy of a statement is necessary, and we cannot give it in terms that are definite, let us give it in words like these, ‘containing two or three firkins apiece.’” (Spurgeon)
c. Fill the waterpots with water: The servants under the direction of Jesus were in a unique place of blessing for this miracle. Jesus wanted the cooperation of men in this miracle. He could have filled the pots Himself, or just as easily created the liquid in the pots. But He knew that if the servants shared in the work, then they also shared in the blessing.
i. The servants did not do the miracle. Their efforts alone were completely insufficient. But because of their obedience to Jesus, they shared in the joy of the miracle.
ii. The servants were especially blessed because they obeyed without question, and to the fullest (they filled them up to the brim). This means that the miracle would be fulfilled in the greatest measure possible. If they were lazy and only filled the waterpots half full, there would have only been half as much wine.
d. They filled them up to the brim: The waterpots were filled to the brim – with no room to add any more – because Jesus wasn’t going to add something to the water; He was going to transform it.
i. This is a pattern for our faith and obedience. “When you are bidden to believe in him, believe in him up to the brim. When you are told to love him, love him up to the brim. When you are commanded to serve him, serve him up to the brim.” (Spurgeon)
4. (8-10) The water turned to wine, and the best wine.
And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
a. Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast: This took faith on behalf of the servants. Imagine how angry the master of the feast would be if they brought him water to taste! Yet in faith, they obeyed the word of Jesus.
i. “The architriklinos, then, when he had tasted the water which had now become wine, and did not know whence it had been procured, and was therefore impartially judging it merely as wine among wines.” (Dods)
ii. Jesus insisted that the miracle be put to the test, and right away. He didn’t command that the water made wine first be served to the guests, but to the master of the feast. Test it, by the proper authority, and do it right away.
iii. “In order for wine to be produced, we have the growth and ripening of the grape; the crushing of it in proper vessels; the fermentation; — but here all these are in a moment brought about by their results, by the same Power which made the laws of nature, and created and unfolded the capacities of man.” (Alford)
b. The servants who had drawn the water knew: The faithful servants who did their work to the full knew the greatness of the miracle. The master of the feast only knew it was good wine; he didn’t know it was a miracle. This knowledge was a special blessing for the servants.
i. We are not told exactly how Jesus performed this miracle. We assume that the transformation took place in the waterpots, but it also could have happened in the actual serving of the wine. Yet according to the record, Jesus did not say a word or perform a ceremony; He simply exercised His will and the miracle was done.
ii. “When Moses sweetened the bitter water it was by a tree which the Lord showed to him. When Elisha purged the springs he threw salt into the water. We have no instrumentality here.” (Spurgeon)
iii. “Is this not the signature of divinity, that without means the mere forth-putting of the will is all that is wanted to mould matter as plastic to His command?” (Maclaren)
iv. In the first temptation in the wilderness, the devil asked Jesus to turn stones into bread – for Himself. In this first sign, Mary asked Jesus to turn water into wine – for others. Jesus refused the first and did the second.
v. “It is manifest that one miracle proves the power to work every miracle. If Christ can turn water into wine by his will, he can do anything and everything. If Jesus has once exercised a power beyond nature, we may readily believe that he can do it again: there is no limit to his power.” (Spurgeon)
vi. The large quantity of wine – much more than a wedding party could consume – was deliberate. Selling the excess wine was a likely source of income for the newlyweds. Also, “It would furnish proof, after the marriage was over, that the transformation had been actual. The wedding guests had not dreamt it. There was the wine.” (Dods) “No small gifts fall from so great a hand.” (Trapp)
c. You have kept the good wine until now! The master of the feast paid the bridegroom a great and public compliment. Running out of wine would have meant social disgrace; the miracle of Jesus transformed that into a better wedding party than ever.
i. When Jesus made wine, it was good wine. It doesn’t mean that it had a particularly high alcohol content, but that it was well-made wine.
ii. Some go to great lengths to show that what Jesus made here was really grape juice. While some find that line of thinking convincing, it is not the opinion of the author. Good wine is good wine, not good grape juice. It is true that wine in that day (as commonly served) was diluted (two parts wine to three parts water, according to Barclay) and had a much lower content of alcohol than modern wine; but it was still wine.
iii. “As to the wine such as is commonly used in the East, a person must drink inordinately before he would become intoxicated with it. It would be possible, for there were cases in which men were intoxicated with wine; but, as a rule, intoxication was a rare vice in the Savior’s times and in the preceding ages.” (Spurgeon)
iv. “Are there not many things which Jesus brought to the world, the same in kind as the world had always had, yet overtopping them all in worth and excellence?” There was love and joy and kindness in the world before Jesus, but it was a different kind altogether after Jesus. (Morrison)
d. You have kept the good wine until now! There is a principle behind these words; the principle that for the people of God, the best is always yet to come.
i. “I can conceive you, brethren, in the very last moment of your life, or rather, in the first moment of your life, saying, ‘He has kept the best wine until now.’ When you begin to see him face toface, when you enter into the closest fellowship, with nothing to disturb or to distract you, then shall you say ‘The best wine is kept until now.’” (Spurgeon)
ii. “Without God the last is the worst…If sin conceals the worse behind tomorrow, may it not conceal the worse behind the grave?” (Morrison)
iii. “I shall bid you look within the doors of the devil’s house, and you will find he is true to this rule; he brings forth first the good wine, and when men have well drunk, and their brains are muddled therewith, then he bringeth forth that which is worse.” (Spurgeon)
5. (11-12) The beginning of signs.
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.
a. This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee: This beginning of signs in the Gospel of John (the first of seven) is a miracle of conversion, from the old ways of law, ceremony and purification to the new life of Jesus.
i. “But for him [John] the miracles are all ‘signs’. They point beyond themselves. This particular miracle signifies that there is a transforming power associated with Jesus.” (Morris)
ii. Moses turned water into blood, showing that the Law results in death (Exodus 7:17-21). But Jesus’ first miracle turned water into wine, showing the gladness and joy of His new work. This acts out what John said in John 1:17: For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
iii. We could say that the water is like a relationship with God under the Old Covenant, and the wine is like a relationship with God under the New Covenant.
· The wine was after the water, and the New Covenant is after the Old Covenant.
· The wine was from the water, and the New Covenant is from the Old Covenant.
· The wine was and better than the water; and the New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant.
iv. This beginning of signs is the first of seven signs presented in the Gospel of John, each designed to bring the reader to faith in Jesus Christ. John explained this purpose in John 20:30-31: And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
v. Most reckon the seven signs in the Gospel of John as:
· John 2:1-11 – Water into wine.
· John 4:46-54 – Healing of the nobleman’s son.
· John 5:1-15 – Healing at the pool of Bethesda.
· John 6:1-14 – Feeding the 5,000.
· John 6:15-21 – Jesus walks on water.
· John 9:1-12 – Healing of the man born blind.
· John 11:1-44 – Lazarus raised from the dead.
vi. The ancient Greek word semeion [sign] is used 74 times in the New Testament, and 23 of the 74 are in John’s writings. Most of the remaining are in the other gospels, with also some in Acts and Paul’s letters. “John has semeion in the formal sense of ‘sign’ or ‘pointer’… The semia establish faith, but God is the content of the faith, not the semeia.” (Kittel)
vii. “That the incident can be allegorised is no proof that it is only allegory and not history. All incidents and histories can be allegorised.” (Dods)
viii. Beginning of signs: “This assertion of St. John excludes all the apocryphal miracles of the Gospel of the Infancy, and such like works, from credit.” (Afford)
b. And manifested His glory: According to John 2:1, this miracle happened on the third day. John hints at the idea that Jesus showed His glory on the third day, and that His disciples believed in Him when they saw His glory.
i. The glory of Jesus is found in His compassion, and this was a miracle full of compassion. The wine was not an absolute necessity; no one would die drinking water. All at risk was the embarrassment, reputation, and perhaps the bank account of the bridal couple. Yet, Jesus – and His Father – counted that enough to do this first public miracle and sign.
c. His disciples believed in Him: Of course they believed before, but now their belief was deepened and re-expressed. This is typical in the Christian life. God does great things in our lives, and we believe in Him all over again.
i. “Will you that read your Greek Testament notice the expression here? Is it said, ‘His disciples believed him’? No. Is it ‘Believed in him’? No. ‘Believed on him’? Yes. It is so in our version; but into would be more correct. The Greek is ‘eis’: his disciples believed into him. They so believed that they seemed to submerge themselves in Jesus.” (Spurgeon)
ii. The faith of the disciples is significant, especially in comparison to the others present who benefited from the miracle, but of whom no specific belief is mentioned.
· The master of the feast didn’t believe.
· The bridegroom didn’t believe.
· Doesn’t even say that the servants believed.
· Those who were His disciples believed.
iii. Each of the persons around Jesus shows us something significant regarding Jesus and His work.
· Mary shows us to expect Jesus to do big things, but not to tell Him how to do them.
· The servants show us to obey Jesus without question and to the utmost, and to enjoy being part of the miracle.
· The bridegroom shows us that Jesus loves to save the day.
· The master of the feast shows us that Jesus saves the best for last.
· The disciples show us that this was for real.
d. After this He went down to Capernaum: On the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, the village of Capernaum was the adopted home of Jesus (Matthew 4:13).
i. “It appears that the holy family as a whole moved from Nazareth to Capernaum, where Jesus had his headquarters for the greater part of his Galilean ministry.” (Bruce)
ii. “The Greek text by the form of the sentence and its use of —– (singular) implies that this removal was owing to our Lord, and that the others named went because He went.” (Trench)
iii. His brothers: “The expression, ‘his brethren’ has been variously understood. The most natural way of taking it is to understand children of Joseph and Mary… The expression occurs several times in the Synoptic Gospels, and never with any qualification such as would be expected if the words were to bear any other meaning.” (Morris)
iv. “The word for cousin (anepsios) existed in the Greek language and could have been used if needed.” (Tenney) Two other passages, in the most plain sense, tell us that Jesus had half-siblings through Mary.
· Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth a son. (Matthew 1:25)
· Jesus was Mary’s firstborn son. (Luke 2:7)
B. The temple cleansed.
1. (13-17) Jesus drives out the moneychangers and sellers of sacrificial animals.
Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”
a. The Passover of the Jews was at hand: Jerusalem would be crowded with thousands of visitors coming at Passover. The temple mount would be particularly crowded, and Jesus saw many doing business in the outer courts of the temple.
i. “The very fact of the market being held there would produce an unseemly mixture of sacred and profane transactions, even setting aside the abuses which would be certain to be mingled with the traffic.” (Alford)
ii. The moneychangers doing business: “Astonishing as it may sound, it is likely that as many as two and a quarter million Jews sometimes assembled in the Holy City to keep the Passover.” (Barclay) According to Barclay, they all had to pay the temple tax, which was the equivalent of about two days wages for a working man – but had to be paid in the special temple coin. This is why the moneychangers did so much business.
iii. Many commentators say the reason why foreign coins were not allowed in temple contributions was because they bore the image of the emperor or pagan gods. But “Tyrian coinage was not only permitted, but expressly prescribed (Mishnah, Bekh. 8:7), and this bore heathen symbols.” (Morris). It seems that the issue was not what was on the coin, but what was in the coin, and only coinage that had a reputation for being of good weight and content was allowed.
iv. “Being familiar it became legitimate, and no one though of any incongruity in it until this young Nazarene felt a flash of zeal for the sanctity of His Father’s house consuming Him.” (Maclaren)
v. The Passover of the Jews: “Our Evangelist repeatedly refers to festivals as festivals ‘of the Jews’ – not because he himself was not a Jew by birth and upbringing (he was), but because many of his readers would be Gentiles, unacquainted with the details of the Jewish sacred year.” (Bruce)
b. When He had made a whip of cords: When Jesus drove those doing business out of the temple courts, He did not do it in a flash of anger. He carefully took the time to make a whip of cords, and thought carefully about what He would do.
i. Curiously, some commentators are confident that Jesus used the whip of cords only upon the animals, and others are confident that He used it upon both men and animals. Nevertheless, the sense is much more a display of Jesus’ authority than violence.
c. He drove them all out… poured out the changers’ money and overturned tables: Those doing business in the outer courts of the temple spoiled the only place where Gentiles could come and worship. This area (the court of the Gentiles) was made into a house of merchandise.
i. Remember that cleansing was part of the Passover celebration. Removing every speck of anything leavened (made with yeast) from the home was a symbol, a picture, of cleansing from sin.
ii. Matthew, Mark, and Luke each describe another cleansing of the temple performed by Jesus, towards the end of His earthly ministry. In both cases, the presence of these merchants in the temple courts spoiled the only place Gentiles could pray. In addition their dishonesty made their presence all the worse.
iii. “John is not correcting a supposed chronological blunder on the part of the earlier evangelists, nor deliberately altering their history in the interests of theological exposition, but, we may reasonably suppose, relating an additional ‘cleansing’.” (Tasker)
iv. “The evil in question was one which was likely to recur after a check. Jesus’ action, though salutary, is not likely to have put a permanent end to the practice.” (Morris)
d. Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up: The disciples remembered this line from Psalm 69:9 and connected it to the zeal Jesus had for the purity of God’s house and worship practiced there.
i. John began with a miracle of conversion (changing water into wine). Then he showed Jesus performing a work of cleansing (the cleansing of the temple). This is always how Jesus works in His people: conversion first, then cleansing.
2. (18-22) Jesus speaks of a new temple, and its destiny.
So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
a. What sign do You show to us, since You do these things? This wasn’t necessarily a bad question. Anyone who drove the merchants out from the temple courts claimed the authority to do it. The Jews wanted to know if Jesus really had this authority. The problem is that they demanded a sign from Jesus to prove it.
i. “Their request for a ‘sign’ was misguided: what sign could have been more eloquent than that which they had just witnessed?” (Bruce)
b. Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up: Jesus spoke here of the temple of His body. He probably even gestured to Himself as He said this. Jesus knew that these religious leaders would attempt to destroy His body, but He also knew that they would not succeed.
i. The irony is that the religious leaders themselves would be the means by which the prophecy was fulfilled. When Jesus said, “Destroy this temple,” He knew that they would in fact do their best to destroy it.
ii. At the trial of Jesus, one of the charges brought against Him was that He said He would destroy the temple (Matthew 26:60-61, Mark 14:57-59). When He died on the cross, the mockers reminded Jesus of what seemed to be an impossible promise (Matthew 27:40, Mark 15:29).
iii. Destroy this temple: Jesus wasn’t against the temple, but He certainly looked beyond it. He told the Samaritan woman that there was a day coming when people would no longer worship at a temple in Samaria or Jerusalem, but they would worship God in Spirit and in truth.
iv. The body of Jesus is still a temple. Ephesians 2:19-22 and 1 Peter 2:5 both connect the idea of the church – metaphorically called the body of Christ – with a temple built upon and built by Jesus Christ.
c. I will raise it up: Jesus confidently claimed the power to raise Himself from the dead, and He repeated the claim in John 10:18. It is interesting to note that the New Testament also claims that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 6:4 and Galatians 1:1), and that that Holy Spirit raised Him from the dead (Romans 1:4 and 8:11). The resurrection of Jesus was a work of each Person of the Trinity, each working together.
i. No mere man could make the claim to raise himself from the dead, even if one had confidence that God would raise him. The claim of Jesus is remarkable, audacious, and evidence of His self-awareness of Deity.
ii. “Jesus’ technique of using a paradoxical statement to bewilder his enemies, which he subsequently explained for his disciples, frequently appears in John’s Gospel.” (Tenney)
d. His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture: It was only after the death and resurrection of Jesus that His disciples understood and believed both the Scriptures and the specific promises of Jesus.
i. The Scripture they believed was primarily Psalm 16:10, the promise that God’s Holy One would not remain in the grave.
ii. They believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said: “The placing of Jesus’ saying alongside Scripture is interesting and its Christological implications should not be overlooked.” (Morris)
3. (23-25) Jesus does not entrust Himself to the many who believe.
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.
a. Many believed in His name when they saw the signs: Jesus knew that this was thin, superficial belief. It wasn’t based on anything other than an admiration of the spectacular. Knowing this, Jesus did not commit Himself to them.
i. “If belief is nothing more than admiration for the spectacular, it will create in multitudes applause; but the Son of God cannot commit Himself to that kind of faith.” (Morgan)
ii. A light or superficial faith may be better than none at all, but no one should think that it is enough – and Jesus knows. “It is what Luther calls ‘milk faith’ and may grow into something more trustworthy.” (Dods)
b. He knew what was in man: Knowing what was and is in humanity, Jesus still loves. He knew and knows the worst; yet also sees the image of God, even upon fallen men and women.
i. Jesus did not commit Himself to them: “Other leaders and teachers may be misled at times into giving their followers more credit for loyalty and understanding than they actually possess; not so Jesus, who could read the inmost thoughts of men and women like an open book.” (Bruce)
ii. “When many came to believe on Him He did not commit Himself to them. He was not dependent on man’s approval.” (Morris)
iii. He knew what was in man: “Nothing less than divine knowledge is here set forth…as the text now stands, it asserts an entire knowledge of all that is in all men.” (Alford)
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission