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2. First Miracle, Cleansing of Temple
1And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2and Jesus also was bidden, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3And when the wine failed, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4And Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6Now there were six waterpots of stone set there after the Jews' manner of purifying, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the ruler of the feast. And they bare it. 9And when the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and knew not whence it was (but the servants that had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast calleth the bridegroom, 10and saith unto him, Every man setteth on first the good wine; and when men have drunk freely, then that which is worse: thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed on him. 12After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples; and there they abode not many days. 13And the passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14And he found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15and he made a scourge of cords, and cast all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers' money, and overthrew their tables; 16and to them that sold the doves he said, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house a house of merchandise. 17His disciples remembered that it was written, Zeal for thy house shall eat me up. 18The Jews therefore answered and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? 21But he spake of the temple of his body. 22When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he spake this; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. 23Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, during the feast, many believed on his name, beholding his signs which he did. 24But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men, 25and because he needed not that any one should bear witness concerning man; for he himself knew what was in man.
11. This beginning of miracles. The meaning is, that this was the first of Christ’s miracles; for when the angels announced to the shepherds that he was born in Bethlehem, (Luke 2:8,) when the star appeared to the Magi, (Matthew 2:2,) when the Holy Spirit descended on him in the shape of a dove, (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; John 1:32,) though these were miracles, yet, strictly speaking, they were not performed by him; but the Evangelist now speaks of the miracles of which he was himself the Author. For it is a frivolous and absurd interpretation which some give, that this is reckoned the first among the miracles which Christ performed in Cana of Galilee; as if a place, in which we do not read that he ever was more than twice, had been selected by him for a display of his power. It was rather the design of the Evangelist to mark the order of time which Christ followed in the exercise of his power. For until he was thirty years of age, he kept himself concealed at home, like one who held no public office. Having been consecrated, at his baptism, to the discharge of his office, he then began to appear in public, and to show by clear proofs for what purpose he was sent by the Father. We need not wonder, therefore, if he delayed till this time the first proof of his Divinity. It is a high honor given to marriage, that Christ not only deigned to be present at a nuptial banquet, but honored it with his first miracle. There are some ancient Canons which forbid the clergy to attend a marriage. The reason of the prohibition was, that by being the spectators of the wickedness which was usually practiced on such occasions, they might in some measure be regarded as approving of it. But it would have been far better to carry to such places so much gravity as to restrain the licentiousness in which unprincipled and abandoned men indulge, when they are withdrawn from the eyes of others. Let us, on the contrary, take Christ’s example for our rule; and let us not suppose that any thing else than what we read that he did can be profitable to us.
And manifested his glory; that is, because he then gave a striking and illustrious proof, by which it was ascertained that he was the Son of God; for all the miracles which he exhibited to the world were so many demonstrations of his divine power. The proper time for displaying his glory was now come, when he wished to make himself known agreeably to the command of his Father. Hence, also, we learn the end of miracles; for this expression amounts to a declaration that Christ, in order to manifest his glory, performed this miracle. What, then, ought we to think of those miracles which obscure the glory of Christ?
And his disciples believed on him. If they were disciples, they must already have possessed some faith; but as they had hitherto followed him with a faith which was not distinct and firm, they began at that time to devote themselves to him, so as to acknowledge him to be the Messiah, such as he had already been announced to them. The forbearance of Christ is great in reckoning as disciples those whose faith is so small. And indeed this doctrine extends generally to us all; for the faith which is now full grown had at first its infancy, nor is it so perfect in any as not to make it necessary that all to a man should make progress in believing. Thus, they who now believed may be said to begin to believe, so far as they daily make progress towards the end of their faith. Let those who have obtained the first-fruits of faith labor always to make progress. These words point out likewise the advantage of miracles; namely, that they ought to be viewed as intended for the confirmation and progress of faith. Whoever twists them to any other purpose corrupts and debases the whole use of them; as we see that Papists boast of their pretended miracles for no other purpose than to bury faith, and to turn away the minds of men from Christ to the creatures.