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The Gospel According to the Apostle John - Part 2
- The Gospel According to the Apostle John - Part 1
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
In John 1:15-34, John the Baptist comes on the scene preaching a five-fold message of the Christ. 1. We see his pre-emenance in verse 15. “…He that cometh after me is preferred before me…” 2. His pre-existence is shown in the rest of verse 15, “…for he was before me.” 3. We see His policy in verse 17, “…but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” 4. Notice His purpose in verse 29, “…Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” 5. Finally, we see His person in verso 30, “This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me."
Thus, John the Baptist preaches his main message. His ministry would be characterized by these five points. Everything he spoke of was about Christ. Everything he pointed to pointed to Christ. He decreased so that the God of Heaven clothed in human flesh would increase.
It is our responsibility to decrease so that God will clearly be seen by those around us. Our lives and our testimonies must ring clear. If they do not, Christ will be clouded by our sin and double mindedness. As we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, our friends, family, and neighbors will then be able to see the Light. Do not allow anything to darken it. “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
In chapter one we see the Lamb of God, God manifest in the flesh. In chapter two we will look at the power of God, especially as we see the first miracle that Christ performs in Cana. This is the first of seven miracles mentioned in the Gospel of John and the first of 35 miracles performed by Christ.
The purpose of miracles throughout Scripture is to demonstrate the credibility and authority of God’s man. There were three main time periods in Scripture where miracles played an important role.
Those three time periods were 1. During Moses’ ministry 2. During Elijah’s ministry, and 3. During Christ’s ministry. There will be a yet future exhibition of miracles during the Tribulation period. Now, to Jesus’ first miracle.
Jesus First Miracle
John 2-1-11 gives us the account of Jesus, His mother, and his disciples at a wedding feast. For the past thirty years, Jesus had not performed a single miracle, but now that would all change. Water would be turned into wine.
Remember that this is the power of God at work. He would not do anything contrary to His Father's will. That being the case, this is not alcoholic wine. Jesus would never endorse a wedding by His presence if it were not proper. Habakkuk 2:15 tells us, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, and puttest thy bottle to him….” Do you really think that God in the flesh would turn water into alcohol contrary to Old Testament teaching. Proverbs 23:31, 32 tells us plainly, “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.”
Certainly alcohol was not the plan. The Greek word “Oinos” is used here. It has to do with anything relating to grapes. That is, it could be relating to alcoholic wine. It could be relating to grape juice. It could even be relating to grapes or raisins. What Jesus is about to do is to turn the water into grape juice. I know that many people will not want to accept that, but again Jesus would not contradict His own teaching of the Old Testament. And yes, Jesus was involved in the Old Testament inspiration.
Verse 9 and 10 of John 2 says, “When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine…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.”
What is the “good” wine? It is wine that is “valuable or virtuous.” It also has to do with moral virtue. Again, there is no evidence of anything alcoholic. The comparison between “that which is worse” and “good wine” is a comparison of quality, not fermentation. “When men have drunk well” is not a reference to drunkenness, but to that of being satisfied and thirst being quenched.
Do you think Jesus turned the water into alcoholic wine?
Isaiah 65:8 gives us more insight. “Then saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not: for a blessing is in it….” The new wine, or good wine is fresh from the cluster, not contaminated by fermentation which is a rotting process. Jesus said in Matthew 26:29, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” The word “new” here means “new in respect of freshness.” In other words, the fruit of the vine was grape juice, not alcoholic wine.
Jesus did not promote the use of alcohol in any way, nor did He turn the water into alcoholic wine at Cana. This portion of Scripture really is not about the use of alcoholic beverages, though. It is here that the God of Heaven manifested in the flesh performs the first of many miracles that will validate Him as the Christ. Not only do His miracles in His ministry point to Him as being sent from God, but the miracles back up the message. You will see in the next section that Jesus claims to be the Christ sent from God as He foretells His resurrection - but first . . . .
Cleansing the Temple
The next event recorded by John is the first cleansing of the temple. This was an action repeated by Christ just before His crucifixion. You can read of this in John 2:13-22.
The folks at the temple were involved in money changing and selling of animal sacrifices. Both were for making worship easy. The temple only accepted Jewish coinage and rejected that which had the face of Rome. The trade-in value was not as high. Rather than someone raising their own sacrifice, it was easier to buy one. This made worship all too casual. Sound familiar?
Verse 15 says, “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.” You see, money was being made here in the temple. It was no longer a place of worship, but of merchandise (verse 16). It was at this point that the disciples remembered the prophesy of psalm 69:9, “For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.”
Righteous or Unrighteous Anger
There is a time for anger. Anger is a God given emotion. Ephesians 4:26 admonishes us to “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” The problem is that most of the time when we get angry we are not righteously angry and we end up in sin.
Anger never ought be an immediate reaction. If you feel someone has wronged you or that you have a “right” to be angry, spend much time in prayer about it before you react. Anger is meant to be an emotion, not a reaction. Secondly, never get angry at a person. You may be grieved over an act or sin that someone commits, but do not let anger grow towards the person. We have all been created in the image of God. Remember that. Thirdly, be quick to forgive and make things right. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath, but rather “…be ye kind one toward another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Pay special attention to that last part of the verse.
Jesus was not a wimp in any way. This is just one example. The most prominent example however, was when He laid down His life on a cruel, Roman cross for you and me. This, along with his resurrection is prophesied in verse 19. In answer to the Jews, Jesus proclaimed that as a sign He would raise from the dead. The term “raise it up” means to wake from sleep. John uses this term five other times in his gospel, and in each case it refers to an awakening from the dead. Paul also used this term in referring to a wakening from the dead—a resurrection.
Jesus, the Temple
Notice that in verse 14 and verse 21, the English word temple is used. Actually, there are two different Greek words used in these verses that are translated “temple”. In verse 14 the word has to do with the whole area. The temple was also the business center of town. Jesus makes a play on words in verse 21 because this temple represents a sacred dwelling, his body. Jesus made it picture perfect clear in verse 2:21, “But he spake of the temple of his body.”