JESUS' FIRST MIRACLE AND THE CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE

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    [John:2:1-25].

    Lesson No.: 
    28
    Class: 
    Senior
    Memory Verse: 

    "And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer?" (Mark 11:17).

    Cross References: 

    I The Marriage at Cana of Galilee
    1. Jesus' mother and brethren are present at the ceremony, [John:2:1,12].
    2. Jesus and His disciples are invited to the marriage, [John:2:2].
    3. Mary's request and Jesus' mild reproof, [John:2:3-4].
    4. "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it," [John:2:5]; [Matthew:7:24-27].

    II The Miracle Jesus Wrought at the Marriage
    1. Jesus commands the servants to fill the waterpots with water, [John:2:6-7].
    2. The water is changed to wine and taken to the governor, [John:2:8].
    3. Its excellency is greater than that of the former wine, [John:2:9-10].
    4. His glory is manifested to His disciples by the miracle, [John:2:11].

    III The Cleansing of the Temple
    1. Jesus journeys to Jerusalem for the Passover, [John:2:12-13].
    2. He finds oxen, sheep, doves, and money-changers in the Temple, [John:2:14].
    3. The offenders are driven out and the money-changers' tables overthrown, [John:2:15-16].
    4. "Make not my Father's house an house of merchandise," [John:2:16-17]; [Matthew:21:13].

    IV A Sign of Authority Demanded by the Jews
    1. "What sign shewest thou unto us?" [John:2:18]; [Matthew:12:38-42].
    2. "Destroy this temple, . . . I will raise it up," [John:2:19].
    3. "But he spake of the temple of his body," [John:2:20-22].
    4. Many professed to believe, but Jesus knew their hearts, [John:2:23-25].

    Notes: 

    In the account of the first miracle of Jesus we see Him in His human, social relations. Jesus did not lead an ascetic life. He mingled with the people. Sometimes He dined with publicans and sinners. Some people of His day thought He should hold Himself aloof, and called Him a "gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners" (Luke:7:34). He lived among men as one of them. Because of close relationship between Jesus and the people, Paul could say of Him: "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews:4:15). “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest" (Hebrews:2:17, 18).

    Jesus in His miracle at Cana lent His sanction to an institution, which God, not man, established ([Genesis:2:24]). His glory was also revealed to His disciples in this miracle (verse 11), Cana of Galilee was about four miles from Nazareth where Jesus was reared. Although Jesus had performed no miracles up to this time, His mother looked to Him in this time of need and said, "They have no wine." She believed He could do something about it. Mary knew that Christ was more than an ordinary person. She had pondered the things concerning Him in her heart ([Luke:2:19],[Luke:2:51]).

    Jesus, as the son of man, was the son of David and the son of Mary; but being the Son of God, He was the Lord of David, which David himself acknowledged ([Mark:12:35-37]; [Revelation:22:16]). He was also the Lord of His mother. When it came to His divine side He did not hesitate to take the position that belonged to Him. When it came to a matter of miracles, that bore relationship to His divine realm, His reply -- "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" -- seems to indicate that in expecting a miracle, Mary was entering into His divine realm, in which He was not subject to His mother.

    Mary said no more to Jesus, but her faith led her to say to the servants, “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."

    This miracle was wrought without any demonstration or show. Six water-pots with a capacity of eighteen to twenty-seven gallons each were standing near by. Jesus told the servants to fill them up with water, then draw and bear to the governor of the feast. The governor called it good wine. In all His ministry Christ did not work a single miracle to be seen of men, but He never failed to meet a need.

    Some people like to use the fact that Jesus turned water into wine as an excuse for social drinking and getting drunk. To produce a drink that would harm man, or the excess of which would cause intoxication, is contrary to the nature of Christ and all His works on earth. All His miracles were works of mercy. Drunkenness is condemned in the Bible: "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise" (Proverbs:20:1). "Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh" (Proverbs:23:20). "Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself alight" (Proverbs 23: 29-31). See also [Isaiah:5:11]; [Romans:13:13]; I Corinthians:6:10; and Ephesians:5:18.

    In the dictionary we read that the unfermented juice of any fruit or plant used as a beverage may be called wine. This water that was turned to wine by Jesus was served immediately and, no doubt, was still fresh and unfermented.

    After the wedding Jesus went with His mother and brethren and His disciples down to Capernaum on the shores of Galilee. Here was the home of Peter and Andrew and later the scene of many of the miracles of Christ. But the day came when Jesus condemned the people of this city because they did not repent. "And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained unto this day" (Matthew:11:23).

    From Capernaum Jesus went to Jerusalem to the first Passover of His public ministry. Upon arrival at the Temple He found it desecrated by the money-changers. The demand for animals to be used for sacrifices made it convenient for the merchants to sell these animals in the Temple. The changers of money were no doubt changing the money of the various countries from which the Jews had journeyed to go to the feast, into the half-shekel of the Temple. (See [Exodus:30:13-14]; [2 Chronicles:24:6], [2 Chronicles:24:9].) The greed for profits entered into these transactions. On a similar cleansing of the Temple three years later, Jesus said, "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves" (Matthew:21:13).

    The church should be held in respect and reverence as the house of God. Jesus did not let anyone carry a vessel through the Temple ([Mark:11:16]). Many people treat the house of God too lightly by transacting business or by doing unnecessary talking before or during the service. Many modern churches have lowered their respect for the house of God by holding bazaars, raffles, social functions, and have even introduced gambling into the church as a means of raising money. Children should not be allowed to be noisy, play, chew gum, or in any other way show a lack of regard for the house of God.

    The Jews asked for a sign. Jesus replied, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Another time they sought a sign and Jesus told them, "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew:12:40).

    Although neither the Pharisees nor the disciples seemed to understand these sayings when given, after His crucifixion the chief priests and Pharisees came to Pilate, saying, "Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, after three days I will rise again" (Matthew:27:63). They were, no doubt, referring to His words, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

    At His trial before the high priest, false witnesses had tried to bring testimony against Him by saying, "We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands" (Mark:14:58). No doubt, these false witnesses were among the number who sought a sign from Him in the Temple when He drove out those that would make merchandise of the house of God.

    It is evident from the request made to Pilate for a guard that the Jews knew that these words had reference to His body, but at the trial they had given these words a literal interpretation and used them against Him. Just so are many today watching every opportunity to bring accusations against a Christian.

    Jesus knew what was in man. Jeremiah testified of this when he wrote, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings" (Jeremiah:17:9, 10).

    Questions: 

    1. How old was Jesus when He wrought His first miracle?
    2. Where was the first miracle wrought,
    3. How far was this town from Nazareth where Jesus was brought up?
    4. Who was at the marriage?
    5. About how much water was turned into wine?
    6. Does "when men have well drunk" mean that they are intoxicated?
    7. How far is Capernaum from Cana? From Jerusalem?
    8. Name a disciple whose home was in Capernaum?
    9. Find some miracles that were wrought in Capernaum.
    10. Why did Jesus drive out the sheep and oxen from the Temple?
    11. When and by whom was this Temple built?
    12. What previous temples had been erected on the same site?