John 2

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This article is about the chapter of the Bible. For people named John 2, see John II.

John 2 is the second chapter of the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It contains the famous stories of the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine and Jesus expelling the money changers from the Temple.

Water into Wine[edit]

Marriage at Cana
Main article: Marriage at Cana

The second chapter of John begins with the miracle of Jesus turning the water into wine at a marriage at Cana. He is attending a wedding with his disciples and the hosts run out of wine. His mother is also there and asks him to help. He seems annoyed that she would ask him for a miracle and says that it is not his time yet. Nevertheless, she still tells the servants to do whatever he asks, so he tells them to fill up the empty wine containers with water. Afterwards, the headwaiter of the wedding tastes it and remarks to the groom that they have saved the best wine for last. John tells his audience that the water was there for the Jewish rite of purification.

According to John, this was his first miracle (in Cana). It occurs immediately after Jesus has told Nathanael in chapter 1:50 that "You shall see greater things than that." According to the hypothesis of the Signs Gospel, this miracle was originally in that document. John uses the Greek word semeion meaning sign, or ergon meaning work, instead of the term the synoptics use, dynamis or act of power, for miracle (Brown 339).

This could be seen as John's fulfillments of prophecies in the Old Testament, such as in Amos 9:13-14 and Genesis 49:10-11 about the abundance of wine that there will be in the time of the messiah (Brown 340). Messianic wedding festivals are mentioned in Isaiah 62:4-5 (Brown et al. 954). One can also perhaps see this in the synoptics in for instance Mark 2:21-22 where Jesus speaks about "new wineskins". Jesus' mother, not named in the gospel, appears again in John 19:25-27 at Jesus' crucifixion. This begins a series of stories about Jesus's role as the new way that last until his second miracle or sign, the healing of the official's son in John 4.

It then says he went with his mother and brothers and disciples to Capernaum for a "few days" but does not relate what went on there. This miracle only occurs in John, not in any of the synoptics. They make no mention of Jesus attending the wedding before going to Capernaum, or that his mother or brothers went there with him. Luke 4 and Matthew 4 have Jesus going to Nazareth and then Capernaum after Jesus's baptism and temptation. Mark 1 has him going directly to Capernaum (from the temptation wherein he gathers his disciples, which were present at the famous wedding feast) and performing miracles in Capernaum (Mark 1:25, 31, 34). After the authority and power of Jesus had been demonstrated, He and His disciples went throughout Galilee preaching and casting out demons (Mark 1:38-39). Mark later records that they return to Capernaum, after going throughout the neighboring lands; Mark 2:1 (Cana is only several miles from Capernaum).

The money changers[edit]

Jesus vertreibt die Händler aus dem Tempel by Giovanni Paolo Pannini
Christ drives the Usurers out of the Temple, a woodcut by Lucas Cranach the Elder in Passionary of Christ and Antichrist.[1]

The story of Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers in the Temple is related. Jesus goes to Jerusalem for the Passover, the first of three in John, the others being John 7, where he goes to the Feast of Tabernacles, and the final Passover during which he is crucified. He enters the Temple courts and sees people selling livestock and exchanging money. He explodes:

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market! (15-16)

John says his disciples remembered Psalm 69:9, "zeal for your house will consumes me", perhaps a bit of wordplay interposing the ideas of "'demanding all my attention' and 'leading to my destruction'" (Miller 204) Whether the disciples remembered this during the incident or afterward is not clear.

He is asked to perform a "miraculous sign" to prove he has authority to expel the money changers. He replies "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days". The people believe he is talking about the official Temple building, but John states that Jesus meant his body, and that this is what his disciples came to believe after his resurrection. John then says that during the Passover Feast Jesus performed miraculous signs, but does not list them, that caused people to believe in him, but that he would "not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men". Perhaps John included this statement to show Jesus possesses a knowledge of people's hearts and minds, an attribute of God (Brown et al. 955).

This introduces the antagonism between Jesus and "the Jews", as John calls them, a sign perhaps of a non-Jewish audience. This is over the nature of the Temple. The Temple is already destroyed by the time of the writing of John, and John is trying to show right from the start that the old Temple has been replaced by the new Temple, Jesus' resurrected body and the new Christian and Johannine community. This shows to most scholars the split between John's community and Judaism in general. Some of the Dead Sea scrolls also speak of the community as the temple (Brown et al. 954).

John mentions the incident with the money changers as occurring at the start of Jesus's ministry, while the synoptic gospels have it occurring shortly before his crucifixion. Some scholars insist that this instead shows that Jesus fought with the money changers twice, once at the beginning and once at the end of his ministry. The incident in the synoptics occurs in Mark 11:12-19, Matthew 21:12-17, and Luke 19:45-48. Perhaps John has relocated the story to the beginning to show that Jesus' arrest was for the raising of Lazarus in John 11, not the incident in the Temple (Brown et al. 954).

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The references cited in the Passionary for this woodcut: 1 John 2:14-16, Matthew 10:8, and The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 8, Of the Church

References[edit]

  • Brown, Raymond E. (1997). An Introduction to the New Testament. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-24767-2. 
  • Brown, Raymond E.; et al. (1990). The New Jerome Biblical Commentary. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-614934-0. 
  • "John 2". NIV at biblegateway.com. Retrieved September 5, 2005. 
  • "John 2". KJV at etext.lib.virginia.edu. Retrieved September 5, 2005. 
  • Miller, Robert J. (1994). The Complete Gospels. Polebridge Press. ISBN 0-06-065587-9. 


Preceded by
John 1
Chapters of the Bible
Gospel of John
Succeeded by
John 3