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Commentary On The Book of John
The Gospel of John Chapter 2
I will do the Gospel of John Commentary similar to my other Commentaries . . . in that I will bring the verse or verses in the KJV, followed by what it is saying to me. What I write will be a personal comment, it is NOT Scripture.
John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: (KJV)
"And the third day there was a marriage" . . . either from the second testimony bore by John the Baptist concerning Christ, and from the call of Simon Peter, which seem to be of the same date (Jn.1:35-36, 42-43), or from the "third day" of Christ's coming into Galilee; or from the conversation he had with Nathanael. It really does not matter from which date this is taken, it matters only that it happened! We should not dispute, like the Jews, the many rules about the times and days of marriage.
It is said that a virgin marries on the fourth day of the week, and a widow on the fifth, because the Sanhedrin sit in the cities twice in the week, on the second, and on the fifth days; so that if there is any dispute about virginity, the husband may come to the Sanhedrin.
Some think that the third day, mentioned here, refers to the third day of the marriage feast: such feasts lasting among the Jews seven days (Judg14:12,17-18).
"In Cana of Galilee". . . this is mentioned only in John's Gospel (2:1,11; 4:46; 21:2). We know some things about it: #1. Nathanael's home town. #2. Place of Jesus' first miracle. #3. It was close to Capernaum. "Cana of Galilee" . . . was a small city in the tribe of Asher (Josh.19:28), and by saying this was Cana of Galilee, the evangelist distinguishes it from another Cana, which was in the tribe of Ephraim, in the Samaritan country (Josh.16:8; 17:9).
"The mother of Jesus was there" . . . it seems that Mary was helping with the arrangements for the wedding. This can be seen by #1. her ordering the servants (v. 5) and #2. her concern over the refreshments (v. 3). These may have been relatives or family friends.
John 2:2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. (KJV)
"And both Jesus was called" . . . invited, as being a relation, according to the flesh.
And his disciples, to the marriage . . . who were invited, on His account; and these seem to be Andrew, and the other disciple, that followed Jesus, Simon Peter, Philip and Nathanael, who was of this area.
To attend a wedding, was considered by the Jews, an act of beneficence and kindness. Our Lord, being at this wedding, acted like Himself, and His general character, which was affable and courteous. He accepted the invitation, and did not refuse. It reveals His humility in not looking down on His poor relations, but being there at such a time. It also was a testimony to the institution of marriage, as honorable, and teaches us to rejoice with them that rejoice: and as this was at the first of Christ's ministry and miracles, it is possible the reason of the wrong opinion cast upon Him in. Matthew 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. (KJV)
John 2:3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. (KJV)
"And when they wanted wine" . . . not through the overindulgence of the guests, but instead through the poverty of the family, who were not able to provide very largely; and it could be that the reason was that a larger number of guests came than were expected. Whatever the reason, it was ordered by Divine Providence, that this be an opportunity for Christ to manifest forth His glory.
"The mother of Jesus saith unto him, they have no wine" . . . being concerned for the family, lest they should be put to shame and disgrace, and knowing the power of Christ to help in this time of necessity, she brings the problem to Him. I am sure that she did not make a big thing about it, most likely in a whisper, sitting next Him. "They have no wine" . . . although His mother probably had never seen her Son work a miracle before this time, it seems that she expected Him to do something extraordinary on this occasion. She must have formed some idea of His power and goodness in being His mother.
Christ Jesus never did a miracle, in the entire time of His public ministry, to support Himself, or His disciples, but always for others.
John 2:4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. (KJV)
"Jesus saith unto her, woman" . . . Jesus calling her "woman" was NOT being disrespectful. It was the usual way of speaking with the Jews, when they showed the greatest respect to the person spoken to; and was used by our Lord when He addressed His mother with the great tenderness, and strong affection.
Gal. 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (KJV)
John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! (KJV)
"What have I to do with thee?" . . . many think that this shows resentment and reproof, because this expression is sometimes used to mean indignation or contempt (Mat.8:29; Judg.11:12; 1 K.17:18). BUT . . . it is certainly NOT possible here! Our Saviour would NEVER insult His mother!
Could this be a mild reproof of Mary for attempting to control or direct Him in His power of working miracles? Some of the ancients think this to be the intention of Jesus. The words sound to us harsh, but they might have been spoken in a tender manner, and not have been intended as a reproof. It is clear that He did NOT intend to refuse to provide wine, but only to delay it a little; and His plan could have been to compose the anxiety of Mary because of the problem. Maybe our Lord meant: "My dear mother, don't be such a worry wart." I think we should understand it is as far from being a harsh reproof, but instead a mild warning for Mary to dismiss her fears and to put her trust in Him.
"Mine hour is not yet come" . . . Jesus' time for working a miracle was not yet fully come. What He did, He would do when necessary, at the right time. It is always the foolishness and sin of men that they find fault with Divine providence and Plan. According to these fools, God NEVER does any thing at the right time . . . He is always either far too early or too late. It is absolutely impossible for Divine wisdom to do wrong; or for the Divine goodness to delay what is necessary.
John uses this term "hour" in several ways: #1. for time (Jn.1:39; 4:6,52,53; 11:9; 16:21; 19:14; 19:27); #2. for the end time (Jn.4:21,23; 5:25,28) and #3. for Christ Jesus' last days, His arrest, trials, death (Jn. 2:4; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23,27; 13:1; 16:32; 17:1).
John 2:5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. (KJV)
"His mother said unto the servants" . . . Mary took His gentle reproof in a good way, by the words He said, and the manner in which He spoke them. She hoped that the thing she wanted be done; and therefore went immediately to the servants, and gave them the following instructions.
"Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it" . . . in other words, obey what He says. This is the obedience that we ALL owe to our Saviour Jesus!
Mary knew that Jesus was MUCH more than her human son . . . He was the Son of God. When we bring our problems to Christ, we may think we know how He should take care of them, but He may have a completely opposite plan than ours. Like Mary, we should submit and allow Him to deal with the problem as He sees fit.
John 2:6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. (KJV)
"And there were set six water pots of stone" . . . the six stone water jars were normally used for ceremonial washing. According to the Jews' ceremonial law, people became symbolically unclean by touching objects of everyday life. Before eating, the Jews would pour water over their hands to cleanse themselves of any bad influences associated with what they had touched.
"After the manner of the purifying of the Jews" . . . that is, for the washing of their hands and feet, and their vessels, pots, and cups, according to the traditions of the elders. Mark 7:2-4 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. (KJV)
"Containing two or three firkins apiece" . . . how large the "firkin", "metreta" or "measure" was, is not certain, but these water pots were thought to be about 20 to 30 gallons when full. Quite large.
John 2:7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. (KJV)
"Jesus saith unto them" . . . to the servants that waited at the feast,
"Fill the water pots with water" . . . to their brims, as they did. Christ chose the water pots, and not the vessels or bottles, now empty, that had contained the wine. WHY? That it might not be said that there was any wine left, which would have given color and flavor to the water.
"And they filled them up to the brim" . . . He ordered the water pots to be filled with water by the servants, that they might be witnesses, that nothing else, was put into them; and up to the brims, so that they could not he capable of having any other liquor infused into them
Consider: #1. Jesus' request to fill them up to the brim seems to have symbolic meaning, not just to provide more wine. #2. The huge amount of wine, which was far too much for a local wedding feast. #3. The wine was a symbol of the abundance of the new age (Jer. 31:12; Hos. 2:22; 14:7; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:12-14). #4. This miracle involved a huge amount of wine!
John 2:8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. (KJV)
"And he saith unto them, draw out now" . . . as soon as the water pots were filled with water, Jesus told the servants to draw out of those large pots, He does not say what, water or wine.
"And bear unto the governor of the feast". . . take some to the manager of the feast, or possibly the chief guest, as the word seems to imply.
"And they bore it" . . . after the servants took some out of the large stone pots, they took it to the above person. Some say that this person could be either #1. an honored guest who was in charge of the festival or #2. he could be a servant in charge of serving the guests.
"The governor" . . . is the one who presided over the occasion.
"Draw out now" . . . this command was given to the servants. It showed that the miracle had been done immediately. As soon as the stone pots were filled, the servants were told to take some to the governor of the feast. Jesus made no big deal about it, and it does not even appear that He was even close to the water pots. He simply spoke it and it was done (Gen.1:3,6,9,14, 20,24,26). This was a clear exertion of His Divine power, and made in such a way as to leave NO doubt of its happening.
John 2:9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, (KJV)
"When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water" . . . when he tasted that which was before water, but now was wine.
"And knew not whence it was" . . . . this is most likely said to indicate that his judgment was not biased by any favor, or any want of favor, toward Jesus. Had he known what had been done, he would have been less likely to have judged impartially. But, as it is, we do have his testimony that this was real wine, and of so fine a body and flavor as to surpass that which had been provided for the occasion. Everything in this miracle proves that there was no collusion or understanding between Jesus and any of the persons at the feast.
"Was made wine" . . . NOT in the way that the popes pretend that the bread and wine, in the Lord's Supper, are transubstantiated (changed) into the Body and Blood of Christ, by the action of the priest . . . after which they have the exact same properties of bread and wine as before . . . BUT . . . this water that was turned into wine, ultimately STOPPED being what it was before, and became what it was not! The "water" in the stone water pots was NO longer water! Jesus changed it, the color and taste of that water . . . was now wine, of which everyone at the wedding were judges.
"And knew not whence it was" . . . the water in the pots had been just that . . . WATER . . . before the miracle.
"But the servants which drew the water knew" . . . the servants knew that they had filled the water pots with water . . . and they knew that wine, which the ruler of the feast had in his hands, and commended as most excellent wine, was drawn out of them. There was NO juggling around, NO deceit whatsoever!
"The governor of the feast called the bridegroom to him" . . . out of the place where he sat, which might not be far from him.
John 2:10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. (KJV)
"And saith unto him" . . . the following words express the common custom used at feasts.
"Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine" . . . it was usual to first give the guests the best wine, not keep it for the last.
"And when men have well drank" . . . not to excess, but freely, so as that they are exhilarated; and their spirits cheerful, but their brains not intoxicated (Gen.43:34; Song 5;1).
"Then that which is worse" . . . not bad wine, but that which was not as good.
"But thou hast kept the good wine until now" . . . this proves the "govenor" knew nothing of the miracle that had been done. The Gospel of Jesus Christ may be compared to wine for its purity, pleasant taste and effects in reviving drooping spirits, refreshing weary persons and comforting distressed minds. In the days of old, it was published before the Coming of Christ, in the times of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and the prophets . . . but in a lower and weaker way; here a little and there a little.
John 2:11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. (KJV)
"This beginning of miracles" . . . this miracle of turning water into wine, was the first miracle Christ ever did, either in public or private.
"Did in Cana of Galilee" . . . this was only the first that Jesus did in that place; for He afterwards worked another there, curing a nobleman's son (Jn.4:46).
"And manifested forth his glory" . . . the glory of His deity and Divine Sonship, which was hidden by His assuming the form of Man, broke forth and showed itself in His miraculous operations, and particularly in this. "Manifested forth" . . . showed; exhibited "His glory" . . . His power, and His rightful character as the Messiah; showed that He had Divine power, and that God had certainly sent Him.
"And his disciples believed on him" . . . the five disciples whom He had called, and who were with Him at this wedding, and had seen this miracle. Although they believed in Him before, and had declared and professed Him to be the Messiah, of Whom Moses and the prophets spoke, and the Son of God, and King of Israel; yet they were, by this miracle, more confirmed in the faith of these things. "Believed on him . . . their faith was strengthened. They saw a miracle, and it satisfied them that He was Who he said He was, the Messiah. Before this they had simply believed on the testimony of John, and from conversation with Jesus (Jn.1:35-51). NOW they saw that He had Almighty power.
John 2:12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. (KJV)
"After this he went down to Capernaum" . . . after He had performed the miracle of turning water into wine; and after He had "manifested forth" the glory of His deity, and had confirmed the faith of His disciples, He departed from Cana, and went into the lower country of Galilee, to Capernaum, a city near the sea of Tiberias. From then on, Capernaum was the more usual place where he stayed, and therefore it is called "His own city"(Mat.9:1). This is not the same journey recorded in (Mat.4:12-13). That was after John was cast into prison, where this was before (Jn.3:24). He was accompanied by the following.
"He, and his mother" . . . Mary had been with Him at Cana, and was a main person at the wedding. She is now returning home. Jesus accompanies her to her own home, or to settle her in Capernaum, while He went about with His public ministry.
"And his brethren" . . . or close relatives. Matthew 13:54-56 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? (KJV)
"And his disciples" . . . as many as He had called so far, which were Andrew, and the disciple that followed Jesus with Him, Simon Peter, and Philip, and Nathanael,
"And they continued there not many days" . . . not because of the impenitence, unbelief and wickedness of the place, but for the reason following.
John 2:13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, (KJV)
"And the Jews' passover was at hand" . . . that feast which was kept on the fourteenth day of Nisan, in remembrance of the Lord's passing over the houses of the Israelites, when He slew the firstborn in Egypt: and it is called the Jews' passover (Ex.12:13).
"And Jesus went up to Jerusalem" . . . not alone, but His disciples with Him, as appears from (Jn.2:17), to keep the passover as the law required; and He being under the law, as a son of Abraham, and the surety of His people, He went to fulfil all righteousness, ceremonial, as well as moral laws, which He strictly observed. He is said to go "up to Jerusalem", because the city stood on higher ground than the low lands of Galilee, and was the only place where the passover might be kept (Deut.16:2). "The Passover" was the annual feast described in Exodus 12 and Deut. 16:1-6. This feast is the only way we have of dating Jesus' ministry. The Synoptic Gospels imply that Jesus ministered for only one year (one Passover mentioned). But John mentions three Passovers: #1. Jn.2:13,23; #2. Jn.6:4 and #3. Jn.11:55; 12:1; 13:1; 18:28,39; 19:14. There is also a possibility of a fourth in 5:1. We do not know how long Jesus' active public ministry lasted, but John's Gospel suggests that it was at least three years and possibly longer. It seems that John structured his Gospel around the Jewish feasts: Passover, Tabernacles and Hanukkah.
The cleansing of the Temple fits into John's overall theological purpose of Jesus' dealing with the Jewish nation first. This can be seen in His talk with Nicodemus in chapter 3 (orthodox Judaism). But, in chapter 4 Jesus begins to deal with a wider group, including a heretical group of sectarian Judaism, starting with the Samaritan woman.
John 2:14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: (KJV)
"And found in the temple" . . . NOT in the holy place, not in the court of the priests where the sacrifices were offered, not in the court of the women, not in the court of the Israelites, where the people worshipped . . . but in the court of the Gentiles, or the outward court, where all strangers might come; and with the passover now at hand, were here.
"Those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves" . . . the oxen, or bullocks, were for the Chagigah, or feast kept on the second day of the passover; and the sheep, or lambs, for the passover supper; and the doves were for the offerings of the poor.
People traveling a long distance needed to purchase sacrificially acceptable animals. The family of the high priest controlled these shops and charged outrageous prices for the animals. If people brought their own animals, the priests would say they were disqualified because of some physical defect. Therefore, they had to purchase their animals from these deceitful dealers.
"And the changers of money sitting" . . . those who changed foreign money into the current coin of the Jews, strangers coming, at this feast, from several parts of the world; and sometimes there was need of changing money. "The money changers" . . . there are two explanations of the need for these persons: #1. the only coin the temple would accept was a shekel. Since the Jewish shekel had long ceased to be coined, the temple accepted only the shekel from Tyre in Jesus' day or #2. no coin bearing the image of a Roman Emperor was allowed, and there was, of course, a fee!
John 2:15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; (KJV)
"And when he had made a scourge of small cords" . . . a scourge, a whip. This whip was made as an emblem of authority, and also for the purpose of driving from the temple the cattle which had been brought there for sale. There is NO evidence that Jesus used any violence to the men engaged in that unhallowed traffic. The original word implies that these cords were made of twisted rushes or reeds . . . probably the ancient material for making ropes.
"He drove them all out of the temple" . . . Jesus drove out "the men", the merchants, the sellers of oxen, sheep, and doves and the money changers, and He also drove out the sheep and cattle as well.
"And poured out the changers money" . . . off of the tables, or out of the boxes, or dishes, or drawers, or purses, where it was put.
"And overthrew the tables" . . . at which they sat, and on which they had their money. Jesus' anger can be clearly seen in this account. Anger in itself is NOT a sin! Paul's statement in Eph.4:26 is possibly related to this act. There are some things that SHOULD anger us, but does not!
John 2:16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. (KJV)
"And said unto them that sold doves" . . . since these were in pens, coups or cages, they could not be driven, as the sheep and oxen.
"Take these things hence" . . . not only the doves, but the pens, coups, or cages, in which they were. In other words, "Get them all out of here!"
"Make not my Father's house an house of merchandise" . . . the Temple was built as a House for God. Christ Jesus states that God, whose House this was, to be His Father, and Himself to be His Son, as NONE of the prophets that went before Him ever did. Matthew also recorded a like incident (Mat.21:12-13). Also see: (Isa.56:7; Jer.7:11; Zec.14:21).
John 2:17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. (KJV)
"And his disciples remembered that it was written" . . . Psalms 69:9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. (KJV) . . . The whole of Psalm 69 belongs to the Messiah, as is quite clear from the citations out of it in the New Testament, and the application of them to Christ, as in (Jn.15:25; 19:28; Rom.15:3). Christ is represented in it, as suffering for the sins of His people; for He Himself was innocent; and was "hated without a cause"; but having the sins of His people imputed to Him, He made satisfaction for them with the Father.
"The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up" . . . this Passage, as far as it is cited, agrees exactly, word for word, with the original text in (Ps.69:9). Such was Christ's regard to His Father's House, and too, His concern for His honor, ordinances and worship, that when He saw what was going on in the Temple, His zeal, which was a true and deep affection for God, was stirred up within Him, to such a degree, that it was like a consuming fire within Him. Jesus HAD to express it the way He did, by driving those traders out of it. Anger is always good, for right reasons!
John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? (KJV)
"Then answered the Jews, and said unto him" . . . they did not lay hands on Him, or take up stones to stone Him, as they afterwards did, when He asserted His deity. It is surprising that they did not try to kill Him because He really provoked them (Mat.21:23).
"What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing thou dost these things?" . . . When Moses came to deliver Israel, he gave signs, or miracles, that he was acting under a Divine commission. The Jews wanted to know "What miracle do you work to show us that you art vested with similar authority?" (Mat.12:38; 16:1). They insisted on a sign or miracle to be done, to prove that God was His Father, as He suggested; and that He was the proprietor and owner of the temple, and had a right to purge it, as He had done (1 Cor.1:22).
This was the main question the Jews had concerning Jesus. The Pharisees claimed Jesus' power came from the devil (Jn.8:48-49,52; 10:20). They were expecting the Messiah to do certain things in certain ways. When He did NOT perform these specific acts, they questioned Him (Mk.11:28; Lk.20:2), as did even John the Baptist (Mat.11:3).
John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. (KJV)
"Jesus answered and said unto them" . . . our Saviour refused to give them any sign, except that of His resurrection the third day from the dead. Mat.12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: (KJV) . . . The Jews always wanted signs!
"Destroy this temple" . . . Jesus speaks of His Body, NOT the literal Temple, but the Jews certainly did NOT understand that! "Destroy" . . . the dissolution of which, by death He means, the separation of His soul from His earthly Body, but NOT of His divine Person, for God CANNOT die! This really is a prophecy of what they would do; for He knew what they would do, destroy (KILL) His Body.
"In three days I will raise it again" . . . Jesus would be resurrected from the dead in 3 days, proving that He was the Son of God, with power . . . He had the power of laying down His life, and taking it up again!
The resurrection of Christ from the dead is usually attributed to the Father; but here Christ says that He would do it . . . the Spirit, by Whom He is said to have been quickened, equally proceeds both from the Father and the Son. It truly was the work of the Trinity, and so was the work of all the three Persons of our triune God.
Our Awesome Triune God: http://www.hisservants.org/triune_god_h_s.htm
Death, Then What?: . . . https://www.hisservants.org/death_then_what_1.1.htm
John 2:20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? (KJV)
"Then said the Jews" . . . they will argue! They always argued with Him!
"Forty and six years was this temple in building" . . . the Jews understood Jesus' Words to mean that temple in which they were at this time, which some interpreters think was the temple built by Ezra and Zerubbabel; but how to make it out that it was 46 years building, they are not agreed upon. The Jews did not know how our Saviour could rebuild in three days, what it took their forefathers 46 years to do.
"And wilt thou rear it up in three days?" . . . they thought that would be impossible! The Jews so often perverted our Saviour's meaning. The language which He used was often that of parables and since they wanted to misunderstand Him, they perverted His language. But, He often left them to their own delusions. Matthew 13:13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (KJV)
John 2:21 But he spake of the temple of his body. (KJV)
"But he spoke of the temple of his body" . . . Jesus' Body was the antitype of the material Temple; and might well be called so, since the bodies of the saints are called temples (1 Cor.3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor.6:16); and the human nature of Christ is called a tabernacle (Heb.8:2), and He Himself, in prophecy, is said to be , "for a sanctuary", or temple (Isa.8:14), and that because the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in Him bodily, the train of the divine perfections filled the temple with His human nature (Col.2:9; Isa.6:1).
John 2:22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. (KJV)
"When therefore he was risen from the dead" . . . that was three years after this.
"His disciples remembered that he had said this unto them" . . . either to the Jews, or to the disciples. The disciples really did not understand the doctrine of Christ's resurrection. He gave them hints afterwards, but until He was actually risen; did they then call to mind these words of His, along with others that came from Him on the subject.
"And they believed the Scripture" . . . that spoke of His resurrection (Ps.16:10), and about the third day (Hos.6:2).
"And the word which Jesus had said" . . . concerning His rising again the third day at this time, and at others, as in (Mat.16:21; 17:23; 20:19). And they believed His Word because it agreed with the Scripture and was founded on it.
John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. (KJV)
"Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover" . . . As a Jew, Jesus went to Jerusalem to observe the passover.
"In the feast day" . . . either on the day the Chagigah was eaten, which was sometimes emphatically called "the feast" (Num.28:16-17), "and in the fourteenth day of the first month, is the passover of the Lord; and in the fifteenth day of this month, is the feast"; the passover lamb was eaten on the fourteenth day of the month "Nisan", and the "Chagigah" was on the fifteenth; in the former only a lamb was eaten, in the other, cattle out of the herds; hence mention is made, both of flocks and herds, for the keeping the passover (Deut.16:2).
The passover here, seems to be the general name for the entire seven days of the festival; and the feast to be the particular feast of the first day of it, which was the fifteenth. It was on that day that all the males made their appearance in court, so it was a proper time for Christ to work His miracles, for there were many spectators.
"Many believed in his name" . . . that He was some great prophet, or "the prophet" or the Messiah . . . but, did they have saving faith? I would want to say, "No." The "believed" that He was someone special . . . but they had NO faith in His power to save them from Hell.
"When they saw the miracles which he did" . . . theirs was not saving a faith at all, they simply agreed that He was someone who did miracles, according to the prophecies of the Old Testament, were to be performed by the Messiah, such as giving sight to the blind, causing the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk. Isaiah 35:5-6 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. (KJV)
So, in reality, the miracles were expected by the ancient Jews, that they would be done by Him, when He came. Therefore these Jews, seeing such like wonderful things done by Jesus, concluded that He must be the Messiah.
For more information on the "Passover": http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11933-passover . . . and also: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6047-feasts
It seems that these superficial believers were drawn to Jesus by His miracles (Jn.2:11; 7:31). Their purpose was to affirm Jesus' Person and work. Faith in the mighty works of Jesus was never adequate, persevering belief (Jn.4:38; 20:29). The object of faith must be Jesus, Himself. Miracles are NOT automatically a sign of God (Mat.24:24; Rev. 13:13; 16:14; 19:20). Jesus' works were meant to lead people to faith in Him (Jn.2:23; 6:14; 7:31; 10:42); but so often people saw the sign but refused to believe (Jn.6:27; 11:47; 12:37).
Many: (Jn.3:2; 6:14; 7:31; 8:30-31; 12:42-24; Mat.13:20-21; Mk.4:16-17; Lk.8:13; Jam.2:19-20).
John 2:24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, (KJV)
"But Jesus did not commit himself unto them" . . . according to some of the ancients is, that He did not commit the whole of the Gospel to them; He did not make known to them all His mind and will; this He did only to the twelve apostles, His special disciples and friends. He did not intimately speak with them, or make any long stay among them; but soon withdrew Himself and went into other parts of Judea, and into Galilee.
"Because he knew all men" . . . good and bad! He knew that the bad ones were all profane sinners, and knew ALL their actions; not only their public ones, but those also that are done in the dark, and that are the most secret, meaning that He so knew them . . . totally, as to bring them into judgment. And He knew all the good men and women, the TRUE believers . . . He knows that they are His Father's own, His gift of them to Him, those whom He has purchased by His work on the cross, and as called by His grace. Jesus knows each and every person completely, as to judge them at the last day, and give the full account of every one of them to His Father. Eph. 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. (KJV)
He knows the worst of them, and the sin that dwells within them, their daily infirmities, all their secret personal sins, both of omission and commission, and He knows the hypocrisy in every person.
He knows the best of them, their graces, their faith, hope, love, patience, humility, self-denial, He knows their good works, and all their weaknesses and their desires: and He knows on what basis they profess Him, and what faith they place in that profession.
John 2:25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. (KJV)
"And needed not that any should testify of man" . . . Jesus knows if a person is good or bad; TRUE believer or hypocrite. He does NOT need the witness or testimony of any others.
"For he knew what was in man" . . . only Jesus (GOD) can possibly know what is in the spirit of a man; his inward thoughts, the secrets of his heart . . . so Christ knew the thoughts of the Scribes and Pharisees (Mat.9:4), for He is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb.4:12-13).
Christ Jesus, being God, knows ALL that is in man; that there is no good in man naturally. The only good comes from His Father, and is imparted by Himself (1 Cor.1:30), or implanted by His Spirit (Jn.14:16; Rom.8:9). He knows the wickedness there is in man, that his "heart is deceitful and desperately wicked" (Jer.17:9), and full of all manner of iniquities (Ps.51:5).
He knows the condition of the souls of ALL men and women, what their affections are set upon, whether earthly or heavenly.
We know only what is done by people. Christ knows what is in them, for He tries the heart and the reins. We are fools if we presume to judge men's hearts. Only Christ is fit to be the Saviour of mankind, and their Judge.
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