John 2

John 2
by Pastor David Groendyk

So far, Jesus has been identified as God himself but a distinct person from God, the Word of God manifested and made flesh, and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He has gathered his first few disciples. Now, his public ministry begins. John 1–11 is often called the “Book of Signs” because of John identifying certain miracles of Jesus’ as signs that especially show off his glory and demonstrate that he is the Christ, the Son of God.


Verses 1–12 recount Jesus’ first sign. He miraculously turns approximately 150 gallons of water into wine at a wedding after all the other wine ran out. What was the purpose of Jesus performing this miracle? It was to manifest his glory and show that he is the Son of God, but there is also a deeper symbolism as well. The key is in the six stone water jars. All of this water was used for ritual purification (v. 6), that is, ritual washings and cleanings before eating as required by Jewish law and custom. Jesus turns that water into wine, signifying that the old order of Jewish law and custom is being replaced by Jesus’ ministry. The age and kingdom he’s ushering in is not one of outward ritual and custom but something much more abundant. His ministry will be worthy of the richest and most lavish banquet ever held. It’s a ministry of forgiveness and redemption and new life, which the old age under Jewish law could never truly bring. Do you celebrate and rejoice with joy inexpressible at the salvation and new age that Jesus has brought about? Do you know and believe that God provides for you abundantly all that you need?


Verses 13–22 recount one of the times Jesus cleansed the temple. In this story we again see something old being replaced by something new. Jesus enters the temple and sees money-changers and animals flooding the courtyard, and so he makes a whip, drives everybody and everything out, and condemns all that he sees. What exactly is he condemning? The fact that God’s house of worship has become a house of commerce and business. Instead of prayer, worship, adoration, and meditation, the area is filled with money-changing and loud noise. Prayer, singing, and sacrifices could hardly be held in this place now. Worship had turned into business. After driving out all the money-changers and their animals, Jesus is naturally questioned about his authority to do such things. His response is puzzling: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (v. 19). What does that mean? Thankfully, John tells us. He’s referring not to the building but to his own body. Jesus would die and be raised to life again in three days. Essentially, Jesus is saying that his own body is the true temple, and the reason he has authority over the brick temple is because the brick temple is a type and symbol of his own person! This same theme is taught in Hebrews 8–9. The Old Testament tabernacle and temple were only ever meant to point to the One who embodies God’s dwelling with his people. God desires to be with his people. Hence, the temple in Israel and the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Now, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection (vv. 21–22), there is no need for a temple, because the people of God themselves are the temple wherein God dwells.


The Jews and the general population didn’t understand what Jesus was doing, although some people were quite attracted by the signs and miracles he performed. On the other hand, his disciples saw, understood, and believed. Both of these signs are meant to point to Jesus as the promised Messiah who is God incarnate and brings salvation for his people. That is the only proper response to this Jesus. Simply marveling at Jesus is not enough. After reading of these miracles, who do you say that he is?