John 2 - NIV Study Bible
2:1 third day. Cf. Ge 22:4 and note. wedding. Little is known of how a wedding was performed in the Holy Land in the first century, but clearly the feast was very important and might go on for a week. To fail in proper hospitality was a serious offense. Cana. Mentioned only in John’s Gospel (v. 11; 4:46; 21:2). It was west of the Sea of Galilee, but the exact location is uncertain (see map).
2:3 When the wine was gone. More than a minor social embarrassment, since the family had an obligation to provide a feast of the socially required standard. There was no great variety in beverages, and people normally drank water or wine.
2:4 Woman. See NIV text note. My hour has not yet come. Several similar expressions scattered through this Gospel (see 7:6,8,30; 8:20 and notes) picture Jesus moving inevitably toward the destiny for which he had come: the time of his sacrificial death on the cross and victorious resurrection from the dead (see 12:23,27 and notes; 13:1; 16:32; 17:1).
2:6 That John takes the time to describe these jars in an otherwise brief narrative suggests that Jesus may be contrasting the new “wine” of his ministry with the old “water” of Judaism (Mk 2:22). ceremonial washing. Jews became ceremonially defiled during the normal circumstances of daily life and were cleansed by, e.g., pouring water over their hands. For a lengthy feast with many guests a large amount of water was required for this purpose. holding. Refers to capacity, not to actual content.
2:8–9 master of the banquet. A function mentioned only here in the NT. Apparently he was one of the guests, charged with serving as master of ceremonies.
2:10 too much to drink . . . you have saved the best. Ordinarily, after the guests’ sensibilities were dulled, the “cheaper wine” was served.
2:11 signs. John always refers to Jesus’ miracles as “signs,” a word emphasizing the significance of the action rather than the marvel (see, e.g., 4:54; 6:14; 9:16; 11:47 and notes). There are seven (the number of completeness and perfection) such “signs” in the main body of this Gospel (see chart; see also chart); the large catch of fish in 21:1–11 is in the epilogue (see Introduction: Outline; cf. note on 6:35). They revealed Jesus’ glory (see 1:14 and note) and likely also pointed to the fullness of the salvation he came to effect. In his account of Jesus’ first display of “his glory” by providing an abundance of wine at a wedding feast, John probably was testifying that Christ’s saving mission would culminate in the redemption of the creation from all its distresses, so that the wine of joy would flow fully, as the prophets had announced (see Isa 35:1–2; Joel 3:18; Am 9:13 and notes; cf. Ge 49:11 and note). his disciples believed in him. See 1:7; 20:31 and notes.
2:12 went down. Situated on the shore of the lake, Capernaum was at a lower level than Cana. Capernaum. See notes on Mt 4:13; Lk 10:15; see also model and map. brothers. Or “brothers and sisters.” The Greek word can mean “siblings.” For the names of Jesus’ brothers, see Mk 6:3. See note on Lk 8:19.
2:13 Passover. See Ex 12 and notes on Ex 12:11–23; see also notes on Mt 26:17, 18–30; Mk 14:1,12; Lk 22:1 and chart. Passover was one of the annual festivals that all Jewish men were required to celebrate in Jerusalem. See notes on 5:1; Dt 16:16.
2:14 cattle, sheep and doves. Required for sacrifices. Jews who came great distances had to be able to buy sacrificial animals near the temple. The merchants, however, were selling them in the outer court of the temple itself, the one place where Gentiles could come to pray. exchanging money. Many coins had to be changed into currency acceptable to the temple authorities, which made money changers necessary (see note on Mk 11:15). They should not, however, have been working in the temple itself. See model.
2:17 His disciples remembered. Probably after Jesus’ crucifixion (v. 22)—when Ps 69 struck them as a prophecy of his suffering at the hands of those his “zeal” for the true worship of God had deeply antagonized (see introduction to Ps 69).
2:19 temple. The Jews thought Jesus was referring to the literal temple, but John tells us that he was not (v. 21). Just a few years later Jesus was accused of saying that he would destroy the temple and raise it again (see Mt 26:61; Mk 14:58 and notes), and mockers repeated the charge as he hung on the cross (Mt 27:40; Mk 15:29). The same misunderstanding may have been behind the charge against Stephen (see Ac 6:13 and note).
2:20 forty-six years. The temple was not finally completed until ad 64. The meaning is that work had been going on for 46 years. Since it had begun c. 19 or 20 bc, the year of the event recorded here is c. ad 27 (see chart).
2:22 recalled what he had said. See 12:16; see also 14:26 and note. Then they believed the scripture. See 20:9 and note. It is not clear whether reference here is to a particular passage from the OT (see, e.g., Ps 16:10; 17:15 and notes) or to the OT in general (cf. 1Co 15:4).