Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | February 25, 2008

Lesson 6: John 2:1-25 – Jesus Begins His Public Ministry

Text: John 2:1-25

1On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

6Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

12After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.

13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22When 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.

23Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Brief Commentary on the Text:

As we continue in the broader segment of John’s Gospel that is characterized by the revelation of Christ we are transitioning from the calling of the disciples to the first events of Jesus’ public ministry after His baptism.  The apostle John makes this transition by reporting on unique events that are not included in the other synoptic Gospels.  As noted in the text above the scope of the events we will be covering include the wedding at Cana and the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem.  In the account of the wedding at Cana we encounter the first miracle of our Lord’s public ministry.  As we continue our examination of this text we will consider the significance of this sign building on the foundation of prior sections of this work.  We also encounter the mother of our Lord in this text, which for all intents and purposes appears to be a somewhat “awkward” dialogue.  Moreover, we not only have this “awkward” dialogue, but also our Lord turning water into wine, which was obviously to be consumed during this celebratory event.  For many of us this is not problematic, however this passage presents major problems for those who advocate an ascetic form of Christianity that prohibits the use of alcohol (i.e. prohibitionists).  Then an interesting question arises as we consider this entire passage about our Lord’s response at Cana versus His response in Jerusalem.  On both occasions our Lord is prompted to perform a miraculous sign and is selective in His response only performing a miracle in one of the situations.  Our Lord elects not to heed the demand for a sign from the Jews after the cleansing of the temple, but utters a prophecy instead.  We should note that this event is distinct from the temple cleansing performed during Palm Sunday recorded in the other synoptic Gospels (Matthew 21:12-17).  Thus, John here records a distinct temple cleansing that happened several years prior to the cleansing recorded in the other synoptic Gospels with its own significance and purpose for taking place.              

As the covenant Lord enters into the earthly covenant sanctuary, in the flesh, He is indignant in the state that caretakers of pure religion had allowed it to degenerate, cleanses it and utters a prophetic Word.  We see in this prophetic utterance by our Lord a particular significance that we would like to elucidate further in our subsequent examination of this text.  This prophetic utterance by our Lord is in an enigmatic fashion revealing to the audience His three-fold office as Prophet, Priest and King.  The Apostle’s commentary on our Lord’s statement illumines to us that it was a prophecy foretelling the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and its being reestablished in Him.  Thus, we have an example of our Lord in this text functioning in His prophetic office.  The content of the utterance and the Apostles inspired interpretation of it, manifest to us that our Lord is the anti-type of the temple.  Thus, our Lord is fulfilling the purpose of the temple in being the sole access between God and man through His earthly descent.  Consequently, the content of this prophecy points to our Lord’s priestly office as the true mediator between God and man.  As the true mediator He exclusively provides access into the heavenly holy of holies through His perfect priestly work (Hebrews 10:19-22).   

If the speaking of the prophecy points to our Lord’s prophetic office, the content of the utterance points to His priestly office, then the impact that the content would have had on the audience points to His kingly office.  The temple during the time of Jesus was built by or at least renovated by Herod_the_Great who identified himself as the king of the Jews (Matthew 2:1-3).  However, this was the task of God’s anointed king, who would solely possess the authority to construct the temple of the Lord (Zechariah 6:12-13 and 2 Samuel 7:12-13). Although, Herod was technically the king of the Jews at the time, he was not God’s anointed and thus not authorized to build the temple of the Lord.  By this utterance Christ is manifesting to His audience that He was God’s anointed who was authorized to not only construct the earthly temple, but the heavenly anti-type.  Moreover, to the audience hearing this statement it is hard not to assume that they would have known our Lord was implying that Herod was not authorized and performed this task of temple building illegitimately.   

Finally our text concludes with the Apostle John referring to “fair-weathered” followers of Christ.  As a result, of the signs, the excitement and “buzz” that surrounded the ministry of our Lord they “believed” in Jesus.  Nonetheless, it is apparent by our Lord’s hesitancy to embrace these “believers” that their faith was not genuine.  Thus, we are in the precarious situation of being presented with information from the Apostle John that suggests that it is possible for believers to fall away.  If this is the intent of the passage then it would be problematic to the confessional standards that we subscribe.  Consequently, we will be tasked with examining this situation further in light of the rest of Scripture in our subsequent elucidation of this text. 

Thus far, in our study we can see how the Apostle John had been laying the foundation in chapter one for the events presented in chapter two.  This is particularly evident in the exchange that occurs during the temple cleansing where our Lord points to Himself as the fulfillment of the temple.  Hence, we can see the purpose of our Lord equating Himself with the ladder of Jacob’s vision to prepare us for the statements made to the Jews about the temple.  As we now approach chapter two we can see the Apostle working in a similar fashion laying the foundation for our next chapter.  This is seen in the concluding verses that discuss the hearts of men, which are filled with deceit and rebellion that sabotage faith in Christ.  This leads into our Lord’s discussion with Nicodemus where He will announce that unless we are born again and our deceitful hearts regenerated we will not enter the kingdom of God.  Unless the monergistic work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:8) brings life to our spiritually dead souls (Ephesians 2:1-9) replacing our hearts of stone with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:25-26), we will be utterly hopeless to believe and receive God’s gracious promise.   

Study Questions:

1. What does the event at Cana teach us? 

2. Why does Jesus cleanse the temple? 

3. What is an interesting difference between the events at Cana and at Jerusalem? 

4. How does Jesus response to Jews point to His three-fold office?  

5. How is Christ a prophet?  

6. How is Christ a priest? 7. How is Christ a king?  

8. Do believers lose their salvation? 

9.  What did Jesus know about the hearts of men?



  1. What does the event at Cana teach us?

    This mean that lord Jesus Christ is a social person and not an anti-social person which other people observe him.

    as what he said that, light should be displayed and should not be keep.


  2. That’s a good point eyes 2 eyes.

  3. Why does Jesus cleanse the temple?

    Because the temple was corrupted by the lawkeepers.

    EYES (

  4. Eyes,

    Yes that is correct…your stealing my thunder 🙂 Just kidding.

    I will be answering these questions in more detail in the next several weeks. This has been the normal pattern for the study through John. If you didn’t realize before this is portion when all the questions are summarized.


  5. Ok, I will wait that bread for the thought that you are going to shared.


    EYES (

  6. […] we stated in the opening section to this text, it is our contention that the temple cleansing reported here by John is a separate account from […]

  7. […] we alluded to in the opening section of our passage we find the convergence of the munus triplex in the midst of this text.  We have […]

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