The Gospel of John Chronicles
In the second chapter of John, we read and experience the first miracle that Jesus performed. Jesus and his Disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana in Galilee. When Jesus’ mother saw that the wine had run out, she told Jesus that there was no more wine. He said to his mother, “What does this have to do with me, my hour has not yet come.” It reminded me of a son who will do what his mother wants him to do, while complaining. In the New Testament Commentary, it mentions that this is not a sixty-minute hour, but the long hour of Jesus’ glorification which is his crucifixion and exaltation. [i]
Jesus’ mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you to do.” They followed Jesus’ instructions and filled the water jars to the brim. They drew the best wine from the water jars. “The jars of water were used for ceremonial purposes to remove the impurities that kept people from being acceptable to God. The new wine is a symbol of salvation. The extravagance of the quantity of wine mimics the extravagance “expected in the messianic days of salvation, the earth yielding its fruit…” [ii]
In the other Synoptic gospels, the temple story is the last of the stories mentioned before Jesus’ death, while the writer of John places it at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus entered the temple when the time of the Passover was near. In the temple, people were selling and buying, with money changers handling transactions. Jesus made a cord with a whip and began to drive everyone out, even the animals. He was upset that they had made his Father’s house “a marketplace.” The Jews asked for a “sign” from Jesus to show why he did what he did. Jesus challenged them to destroy the temple, and after three days, he would raise it up. The intent of this story is to show that “Jesus promises to raise up a new temple, his body, the body of Christian believers, that represent the presence of God in the world.” [iii]
I wonder if Jesus entered our sanctuaries today, what would he find: bake sales, fish fries, arts and crafts sales, garage sales, and the list goes on and on. It calls into question the center and focus of our sanctuaries and places of worship. I read in one of the other synoptic gospels where Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer. But you have made it a den of thieves.” [iv]
Many believed in and followed Jesus because of the signs they saw him perform. John cautions us regarding the superficiality of believing because of signs. The signs point to the ultimate saving act of God in Christ Jesus, focusing on his death, burial, and resurrection. The Disciples remembered scriptures that confirmed the signs they saw Jesus perform. While many began to trust Jesus, Jesus did not trust them, because he knows the hearts of all people. He did not need anyone to testify about anyone at that point. The signs were used to point us to the ultimate sign: salvation in Jesus Christ.
[i] Boring, Eugene M., and Fred B. Craddock. The People’s New Testament Commentary, pg. 295.
[iii] Ibid, pg. 296.
[iv] Matthew 21:12.