Looking at the Light through John - Chapter 2

The Wedding in Cana

Following His immersion, Jesus embarked on an intense three and one-half years of life. The first day back from His forty days in the wilderness, He was announced as the Son of God. The next day, in the valley of the Jordan, He picked up Andrew, Peter, and John as disciples. Following that, Jesus trudged up to Galilee where on that day He found both Philip and Nathanael. "And on the third day, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee" (John 2:1). The Lord ushered Himself immediately into action, and the flurry of activity was to continue until He could utter His final words of human existence, "It is finished!"

Jesus’ working miracles is what proved Him to be the Son of God in Israel, as Peter would later say, "… a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs" (Acts 2:22). The apostle John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, made a special point of recording the first miracle of Jesus, turning water into wine at an upscale wedding in Cana of Galilee.



Inklings of Jesus’ Character

One of the main reasons Jesus came to earth was to demonstrate the character of God in an understandable human form. Love, truthfulness, kindness, etc., are the same qualities whether they are exhibited by the unseen hand in heaven or whether they are demonstrated by God in the flesh. But if these qualities can be demonstrated by God in the flesh, they can be more easily apprehended by that group of spectators called the human race. It was the plan of the Father, then, that His Son should be a spectacle to the world, that the spotlight of the word should detail the life of Jesus on earth and thus expose His character.

Jesus began to show forth the character of the Father, demonstrating His divinity in the midst of His compassion for a couple at their wedding feast, being patient with His earthly family while they were slow in coming to an understanding of who He was, and exhibiting the fiery zeal of God in the establishment and preservation of holy things.



"Trashing" the Temple?

Back in Jeremiah’s day, the people of Judah lost sight of the spiritual and in consequence grasped the physical. Through the prophet the Almighty warned those in Israel, "Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’ " (Jeremiah 7:4). Subtly, the Jews of that day had drifted into the mind-set that the building itself was holy apart from God and apart from the hearts of the people, and that it would therefore not be destroyed. God told them, "Do not trust in deceptive words." Just because the building was worth billions, and even because the Father had chosen to make His name dwell there, God was not going to withhold His terrifying judgment. Billions and buildings mean nothing to the Judge of all the earth; what matters is whether men have turned to Him with a whole heart. It was in the very same passage from Jeremiah that the Lord asked Judah of that day this rhetorical question: "Has this house, which has been called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight?" (Jeremiah 7:11).

Six centuries later, though the Jews should have learned the lesson from the destruction of Solomon’s temple at the hands of the Babylonians in 586 BC, the people lapsed into the same spiritual laxity. They held to the outward form of godliness, carrying out the rituals of sacrifice and feast days at the temple begun by Herod the Great in Jerusalem, delighting in appearance rather than substance. Jesus, white hot in His intensity, cleared out that den of thieves with a whip of cords which He personally had made.

The Jewish hierarchy felt that their authority was challenged by Jesus. The Lord, knowing what their obstinacy would eventually bring, met their challenge and then raised the stakes to a spiritual level. He charged forward; they were left wondering about His remarks about destroying the temple.



Raising the Temple

Jesus, as the great Teacher, was always laying the groundwork of understanding in the minds of those who would hear Him. When the Jews demanded a sign from Him in regard to His authority to cleanse the temple, He replied, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). The great Teacher pointed to the great sign: His resurrection from the dead; the raised up temple to which He referred was His body. Later scribes and Pharisees would approach Him, also saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." His response again was directed to His resurrection from the dead as that which established His authority to do and to say all that He did and said. "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign," He averred, "and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:38-40). The resurrection would ultimately be the only and sufficient sign to establish the authority, prophetic ability, and verity of King Jesus.

The fact that Jesus raised His "temple" from the dead was the powerful, powerful sign of His authority in heaven and on earth. That His resurrection - all the way to glory - produced a spiritual "temple" proves the entire scripture to be the word of God, and that which Jesus now speaks from heaven are the words of life and have the power to save.



Reader of Hearts

Not only did Jesus cleanse the temple at His first Passover following His immersion, but He also performed many other signs. The Jews had asked Him, after He cleared out the moneychangers and other money grubbers, "What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?" His answer was curt, pointing to the big, ultimate, and spiritually sufficient sign, His resurrection to glory: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." First His bodily resurrection from the dead, then His resurrection to the throne at the right hand of the Majesty on high, where He was set in place as the chief cornerstone of the "raised up" temple, the church of God. But our Lord was patient and was willing to perform many preparatory miracles so that the "big one" would be believable and comprehensible to those who were trying to follow His progress.

Jesus knew what was in man, and had to search for those who had workable hearts. He had to find those who would really submit to His agenda, and would trust no one until his character was altered and proven. Yes, He knew what was in the hearts of men. He still does.