John 2:1-12 (Grape Expectations, Part One)

Yesterday, Nathanael trusted in Jesus after witnessing just a tiny display of his supernatural power:

John 1:48-49 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

Jesus’ response? You ain’t seen nothing yet:

John 1:50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.”

In today’s story, we see the first of these “greater things” – the miracle at the wedding at Cana.

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John 2:1-12 (Grape Expectations, Part Two)

Yesterday, we saw Jesus interrupt his plans to help out some of his mother’s friends. Facing the shame of running out of wine at a wedding, Jesus intervened, miraculously turning some water into wine of the highest quality. And in doing so, he showed his compassion for our everyday needs.

But, in true Jesus-style, he managed to turn this simple meeting of human need into a meaning-filled sign about his identity and his mission. How? Let’s look at some of the parts of the story we skipped over yesterday.

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John 2:13-17 (Housecleaning time)

Having performed his debut “sign” at a wedding in the backwaters of Cana (see last week), the next event John narrates has Jesus in a much more public place: the temple. Here, too, he performs a sign – not a miracle, but a sign of judgement.

John 2:13-16 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

What’s going on here? Is Jesus just having a bad day? What could have prompted him to do such a provocative, violent act?

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John 2:18-22 (Jesus brings down the house)

Yesterday, Jesus drove out the money-changers and animal traders from the temple – maybe as a protest against how it excluded Gentiles or exploited pilgrims, but most probably as a general sign of judgement on how it had become all about performing outward ritual rather than having a right heart before God.

Naturally, this didn’t go down too well with the powers-that-be.

John 2:18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

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