John 2

1 Two days after this initial calling of disciples, the group arrived at Cana, Nathanael's hometown (John 21:2). Cana was about seven miles north of Nazareth, which was where Jesus' mother, Mary, resided. Mary was in Cana presumably to help with the wedding that they attended (John 2:3-5).
2 It is most likely that Jesus had known about this wedding before He was baptized, spent forty days in the wilderness, and called his first disciples. The disciples were probably invited as friends of Jesus.
3 Wedding celebrations often lasted seven days. Considering that Jesus brought unexpected guests, it may not be surprising that there were other unexpected guests as well. Weddings were supposed to be amply supplied with food and wine. It was a serious social gaff to run out of wine.
4 We do not know why Mary went to Jesus with this problem. It is likely that Jesus' adoptive father, Joseph, had already died, leaving Jesus as the head of the household. Mary, in charge of the accommodations for this wedding, would have normally gone to her husband to delegate this task, but now relied on Jesus.

It is apparent from Jesus' response that Mary expected Jesus to do something about the situation. Since money is not mentioned, Mary may have been requesting Jesus to go out and find someone who would donate some wine.

Jesus' response is cryptic. By indicating His "hour" had not yet come, it appears that Jesus is speaking of His ministry of miracles. However, no one at that moment would have understood what that meant.

Jesus addresses His mother as "woman." This was a common address, and was not meant as an insult or a sign of disconnection.

5 Despite Jesus' reply, Mary puts the responsibility for solving this problem on Him. Furthermore, she instructs the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them in order to attain more wine for the wedding.
6 The Jews had several traditions that required the frequent washing of hands, so it was necessary for them to have several large containers of water available. These pitchers would have been ceremonially clean. These jars were also special because they were made of stone, not clay.
7 Filling the jars with water must have seemed strange because it was not obvious how this would result in them finding wine for the wedding. Nonetheless, they filled the jars to capacity since Mary had given them strict instructions to obey Jesus.
8 Again, it was not clear to the servants how taking a cup of water to the master of ceremonies would accomplish the task of attaining wine. However, the servants were again obedient.

As Christians we have the advantage of knowing that God can do amazing things through our obedience. No matter how strange, inconsequential, or irrelevant the task seems, we should do whatever God tells us to do. Obedience is a vehicle for God's work in our lives.

9 The master of ceremonies was obviously pleased with the unexpected wine. He apparently did not ask for details on it origin, but the servants were undoubtedly astonished.
10 It was common to start with the tasty wines at weddings. After a few drinks, however, the guests' senses would dull and they would not be able to tell the fine, expensive wine from the cheaper varieties. Thus, it was unusual for this excellent wine to be served so late in the wedding.

When God makes wine, it is only the best.

Notice that the drinking of alcoholic beverages is never prohibited in the Bible (unless someone takes a special vow, Num 6:2-3). However, God always speaks against drunkenness (e.g., Deu 21:20-21). It is stated that drunkenness can occur at wedding feasts, but it is not condoned. Jesus' concern here seems to be more towards alleviating a social gaff at the request of Mary rather than worrying about contributing to alcoholism. Another purpose was to work His first physical miracle in order to bolster the faith of His disciples.

11 This is the first of seven miracles that John records. John also indicates that this is the first miracle Jesus ever performed. Stories about Jesus performing miracles in His youth are not true.
12 Capernaum became the headquarters for Jesus' ministry. It appears He moved His family there so they could be with Him whenever He was in town. Again, Jesus' adoptive father is not mentioned, indicating that Joseph had indeed died by the time Jesus began His ministry.
13 Jesus had probably gone to Jerusalem for every Passover, but this was His first visit as the revealed Messiah.
14 This is a picture of the corruption of the religious traditions of the Jews. The money offerings at the Temple were required to be in official Jewish shekels. Moneychangers would convert foreign currencies to shekels and charge a high exchange rate. The Law of Moses specified that only unblemished sacrifices could be offered. Thus, the priests would determine what unblemished animals were acceptable and sell them for a high price within the Temple grounds. In modern terms, we would call this kind of business a "conflict of interests." In God's eyes, it is hypocrisy.
15 Mal 3:1-3 prophesied about the day when God would suddenly appear at the Temple and cleanse it. Jesus cleansed the Temple at the beginning and end of His ministry. These are the only times He was physically violent. Note, however, there is no indication that anyone was physically injured in either incident.
16 The explanation is clear: the Temple was meant to be a place of worship, not an open market. Merchandising at the Temple was sacrilege. On one hand, the motives were wrong, and on the other, the place was inappropriate.

In recent years we have seen the commercialism of Christmas and Easter, and we must be wary that capitalistic attitudes do not invade (i.e., replace) our faith. Christian merchandise can help a person's relationship with God and provide witnessing tools, but they are not ends in themselves. For instance, a person may wear a cross on a necklace, but that does not necessarily mean that he is a Christian, even if he has been led to believe so. The cross symbol is not a substitute for witnessing about Jesus since many people mistakenly use it as a good luck charm or merely for decoration. The symbol of the cross can remind Christians of their relationship with God and can open doors to telling others about Jesus, but Christianity is in our hearts and actions, not our symbols.

It is right for Christians to receive compensation through their ministries (which can include merchandising), but money should not be the goal of their labor. Christian merchants must remember that Christianity is a relationship with God, not a marketing tool. It is also inappropriate to use a church or other religious gathering to "force" people to buy merchandise (i.e., "If you really are a Christian you will buy/contribute\i\u The use of guilt or strong-arm tactics to compel people to buy things is wrong. Using Christianity as a platform for such activities makes the organization involved openly hypocritical.

17 Jesus is incensed that the center of worship was being taken advantage of by greedy merchants. What made it worse is that the religious leaders sanctioned and enforced this activity.

The reverence is to Psa 69:9 -- a psalm about the Messiah.

18 Jesus was usurping the authority of the High Priest. The people felt that only a prophet could do such a thing, and a prophet could prove his authority only with a miraculous sign. Never mind that a simple reading of their Scriptures would prove that the Temple market was offensive to God. They did not need a prophet to tell them that.
19 Jesus does not cater to them by immediately performing a sign. Instead, He prophesied a sign that they would see. Notice that He did not say "If you destroy..." He stated it knowing that they would destroy "this temple."
20 Herod's Temple reconstruction project was nearly completed at this point. It first seemed ridiculous to the Jews that they would destroy their own Temple. Further, the idea that Jesus could do alone in three days what had taken many men forty-six years to do was preposterous.
21 1 Cor 6:19 clearly indicates that the human body serves as a temple, or dwelling place, for God. Jesus did not clarify at the time that He was speaking of His body. However, even in those terms it would be easier to believe that one could rebuild the Temple in three days than reconstruct a human body.
22 John, writing after the fact, notes that even the disciples did not understand what Jesus was talking about. This is only one of many such instances where the disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying until after His death and resurrection.
23 Several signs go unrecorded here. As mentioned before, only seven specific signs are fully described by John in this book. One reason for this is that there would simply not be enough time or paper to write the others down (John 21:25).
24 Several people believed that Jesus was the Messiah because of the miraculous signs He did. However, faith in signs can be shaky. Would they continue to believe if the signs stopped? Jesus knew they would not, so He did not entrust Himself to them. Other incidents show that some people developed strong faith without miraculous proofs, while other people refused to believe no matter how many miracles they saw.
25 Jesus was the Messiah and He did not need testimonials from people to bolster that claim. Jesus is still the Messiah today, but He graciously allows Christians to testify on His behalf since He is not physically present with us.