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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.
12. He went down to Capernaum. The Evangelist passes to an additional narrative; for having resolved to collect a few things worthy of remembrance which the other three had left out, he states the time when the occurrence which he is about to relate took place; for the other three also relate what we here read that Christ did, but the diversity of the time shows that it was a similar event, but not the same. On two occasions, then, did Christ cleanse the temple from base and profane merchandise; once, when he was beginning to discharge his commission, and another time, (Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15; Luke 19:45,) when he was about to leave the world and go to the Father, (John 16:28.)
To obtain a general view of the passage, it will be necessary briefly to examine the details in their order. That oxen, and sheep, and doves, were exposed to sale in the temple, and that money-changers were sitting there, was not without a plausible excuse. For they might allege that the merchandise transacted there was not irreligious, but, on the contrary, related to the sacred worship of God, that every person might obtain, without difficulty, what he might offer to the Lord; and, certainly, it was exceedingly convenient for godly persons to find oblations of any sort laid ready to their hand, and in this way to be freed from the trouble of running about in various directions to obtain them. We are apt to wonder, therefore, why Christ was so highly displeased with it. But there are two reasons which deserve our attention. First, as the Priests abused this merchandise for their own gain and avarice, such a mockery of God could not be endured. Secondly, whatever excuse men may plead, as soon as they depart, however slightly, from the command of God, they deserve reproof and need correction. And this is the chief reason why Christ undertook to purify the temple; for he distinctly states that the temple of God is not a place of merchandise
But it may be asked, Why did he not rather begin with doctrine? For it seems to be a disorderly and improper method to apply the hand for correcting faults, before the remedy of doctrine has been applied. But Christ had a different object in view: for the time being now at hand when he would publicly discharge the office assigned to him by the Father, he wished in some way to take possession of the temple, and to give a proof of his divine authority. And that all might be attentive to his doctrine, it was necessary that something new and strange should be done to awaken their sluggish and drowsy minds. Now, the temple was a sanctuary of heavenly doctrine and of true religion. Since he wished to restore purity of doctrine, it was of great importance that he should prove himself to be the Lord of the temple. Besides, there was no other way in which he could bring back sacrifices and the other exercises of religion to their spiritual design than by removing the abuse of them. What he did at that time was, therefore, a sort of preface to that reformation which the Father had sent him to accomplish. In a word, it was proper that the Jews should be aroused by this example to expect from Christ something that was unusual and out of the ordinary course; and it was also necessary to remind them that the worship of God had been corrupted and perverted, that they might not object to the reformation of those abuses
And his brethren. Why the brethren of Christ accompanied him, cannot be determined with certainty, unless, perhaps, they intended to go along with him to Jerusalem. The word brethren, it is well known, is employed, in the Hebrew language, to denote cousins and other relatives.