The Beginning of Jesus' Public Ministry
In the Gospel of John we will find evidence upon evidence of Jesus as the Son of God. This will through the many signs Jesus did which were recorded. In John 20:30-31 we read “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Today we will look at the first of the many signs Jesus performed. It should be observed that Jesus had not performed any miracle until this time at the wedding in Cana. John chapter 2 marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. It gives us two important tasks that Jesus came to perform: To establish a relationship with his people and to purify his bride the church. At the wedding in Cana they run out of wine and when Jesus had turned water into wine, the master of the feast said, to the bridegroom “you have kept the good wine until now.” He did not know where the wine has come from.
We read in verse 11: “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” This was the glory of the One and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). What was the purpose of the sign? We read in John 20:30-31 that: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Therefore, the purpose of the sign was that they may believe. What were they to believe? That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Why would they believe? “So that by believing they may have life in his name.” Salvation is found in no other name but that of Jesus Christ. We also see in verse 11 that this miracle showed the glory of Jesus as the sovereign Creator and ruler of the material universe and also as the merciful God who provides abundantly for his people’s needs. Furthermore, his disciples believed in him.
D A Carson on the purpose for Jesus’ miracles says: “Jesus’ miracles were never simply naked display of power, still less neat conjuring tricks to impress the masses, but signs significant displays of power that point beyond themselves to the deeper realities that could be perceived with the eyes of faith.”
Today many seek a Jesus who will be a provider of their temporary needs, overlooking their greatest need, reconciliation with God.
Signs were meant to point people to Christ, not to meet their temporary needs. Yes, he met people’s temporary needs as he performed signs, but that was not his main point of performing signs. They were meant to create faith in the Son of God who came to give his life as a ransom for sin.
In addition, the wedding in Cana was symbolic of the marriage banquet of the lamb. Marriage represents the relationship between Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.)
Quoting J. C. Ryle: "To attend a marriage feast, and cleanse the Temple from profanation were among the first acts of the Lord's ministry at His first coming. To purify the whole visible church and hold a marriage supper will be among His first acts, when He comes again."
A greater marriage feast than that of Cana will one day be held, when Christ himself will be the Bridegroom and believers will be his bride. A greater glory will one day be manifested, when Jesus shall take to himself his great power and reign. Blessed will they be in that day who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb! Revelation. 19:9 reads: ‘And the Angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Jesus is the Lamb who was slain. Who will be found at the marriage feast? It will be those who have acknowledged that they are sinners, rebels against a Holy God. Those who have realize their sinful state and the impending judgment and their need of a Saviour. Those who would have repented of sin and put their trust in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Those whose sin has been forgiven and washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, whose sin which had left a crimson stain has been washed as white as snow. Will you be found at this marriage banquet? If you are not sure see help.
Jesus and the disciples were invited to the wedding Cana. There was a crisis at the wedding in Cana, they ran out of wine. Mary, Jesus’ mother said to him, “they have no more wine” to which Jesus replied, “My hour has not yet come.”
Jesus had a divine schedule that he had to follow. Nothing that happened in his life was an accident, he was aware of this. In relation to time, there are times when he said, his time had not yet come, and later he would say my time has come.
What time was He talking about? The appointed time for Jesus’ death, exaltation and glorification had not yet come. Jesus speaks of this ‘time’ at the beginning of his earthly ministry predicting his death, the very reason he came to earth to die as a ransom helpless sinners. Therefore, his death was not an accident. It was planned in eternity past.
Every male Jew from the age of 12 and up was expected to attend the Passover at Jerusalem a feast to commemorate the deliverance of the people of Israel from the Egyptian bondage – the Exodus.
The prominence and the importance of the temple in Judaism are well known. Israel’s physical temple was sacred, the place in which God dwelt and where they met with God. The Israelites travelled to the temple to offer sacrifices to secure atonement.
“The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.” (John 2:13,14).
At the sight of this disorder, Jesus with righteous anger drove them all out. Jesus’ complaint was that they should not conduct their business in the temple area at all. “Instead of solemn dignity and murmur of prayer, there was bellowing of cattle and the bleating of sheep. Instead of brokenness and contrition, holy adoration and prolonged petition, there is noisy commerce.” D. A. Carson.
When the Jews asked for a sign to confirm Jesus’ authority. Jesus responded: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Jesus response was not understood the Jews who answered him in verse 20 that “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” and the disciples.
But the disciples later understood that by the temple he meant his body in verse 21, he said: “destroy the temple and in three days I will raise it up again. Those who tried Jesus and those who mocked on Jesus the cross quoted this statement against him.
The Jews destroyed the true temple when they crucified Jesus at the cross, but Jesus, raised up the new temple (his body) after three days. (John 2:19-21).
In the Old Testament worship was tied to a location, the temple in Jerusalem but now Jesus is the true temple, Jesus said “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24. Jesus is our temple.
When Christ died the veil in the temple was torn in two. Therefore, the physical temple and its entire practices ceased to have any meaning. Christ replaced the temple in that in him sinners can come to God without any sacrifice. For Christ himself was the perfect sacrifice.
(Hebrews 9:12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.)
The major point of Jesus’ mission is to cleanse the community of God from defilement and to restore the proper worship of God.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthian 6:19,20
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Titus 2:14 “who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. ”
1. How do we keep ourselves pure?
a. The word of God purifies us and makes us more like Jesus. We should be lovers of the Word of God.
b. Be zealous, a zealous person sees on thing cares for one thing, he lives for one thing and that one thing is to please God.
2. Jesus was angry at their going through the practice of religion, when their hearts were far away. Are we guilty of coming to church either filled with the business of the world while our hearts are in the world? Such worship is offensive to Christ.
3. When Jesus cleansed the temple He exposed their greed. While they appeared to provide a service for those who travelled to Jerusalem by selling them cattle, sheep, doves and currency required for sacrifice, at the root of it was what they benefited from it. What is it that pre-occupies us, what has captivated us other than Christ?
4. They hindered the Gentiles to worship the God of Israel (Mark 11:17)
He knew all men (John 2:24). This shows Jesus’ deity, only God can know what is in the heart of a person. Because of the manner in which his power was displayed they accepted him as a great prophet and perhaps as the Messiah, but they did not surrender their hearts to him. Their hearts were not right in the sight of God.
Jeremiah 17:9 reads: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” So guard your heart against offering worship that is not pleasing to God.
We see, lastly, in this passage, how perfect is our Lord Jesus Christ's knowledge of the human heart. We are told that when our Lord was in Jerusalem, the first time, He "did not commit Himself" to those who professed belief in Him. He knew that they were not to be depended on. They were astonished at the miracles they saw Him perform. They were even intellectually convinced that He could be the Messiah, whom they had long expected. But they were not "true disciples." (John 8:31.) They were not converted, and true believers. Their hearts were not right in the sight of God, though their feelings were excited. Their inward man was not renewed, whatever they might profess with their lips. Our Lord knew that nearly all of them were stony-ground hearers. (Luke 8:13.) As soon as tribulation or persecution arose because of the word, their so-called faith would probably wither away and come to an end. All this our Lord saw clearly, though the others around Him did not. Andrew, Peter, John, Philip and Nathanael, perhaps wondered that their Master (Jesus) did not receive these seemingly believers with open arms. While they could only judge things by the outward appearance, Jesus knew their inner hearts. He (Jesus) their Master could read their hearts and could not entrust himself to them. "He knew what was in man." Before him nothing was hidden, he is God incarnate.