World Wide Study Bible


a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

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.

Select a resource above

23. Many believed. The Evangelist appropriately connects this narrative with the former. Christ had not given such a sign as the Jews demanded; and now, when he produced no good effect on them by many miracles — except that they entertained a cold faith, which was only the shadow of faith — this event sufficiently proves that they did not deserve that he should comply with their wishes. It was, indeed, some fruit of the signs, that many believed in Christ, and in his name, so as to profess that they wished to follow his doctrine; for name is here put for authority. This appearance of faith, which hitherto was fruitless, might ultimately be changed into true faith, and might be a useful preparation for celebrating the name of Christ among others; and yet what we have said is true, that they were far from having proper feelings, so as to profit by the works of God, as they ought to have done.

Yet this was not a pretended faith by which they wished to gain reputation among men; for they were convinced that Christ was some great Prophet, and perhaps they even ascribed to him the honor of being the Messiah, of whom there was at that time a strong and general expectation. But as they did not understand the peculiar office of the Messiah, their faith was absurd, because it was exclusively directed to the world and earthly things. It was also a cold belief, and unaccompanied by the true feelings of the heart. For hypocrites assent to the Gospel, not that they may devote themselves in obedience to Christ, nor that with sincere piety they may follow Christ when he calls them, but because they do not venture to reject entirely the truth which they have known, and especially when they can find no reason for opposing it. For as they do not voluntarily, or of their own accord, make war with God, so when they perceive that his doctrine is opposed to their flesh and to their perverse desires, they are immediately offended, or at least withdraw from the faith which they had already embraced.

When the Evangelist says, therefore, that those men believed, I do not understand that they counterfeited a faith which did not exist, but that they were in some way constrained to enroll themselves as the followers of Christ; and yet it appears that their faith was not true and genuine, because Christ excludes them from the number of those on whose sentiments reliance might be placed. Besides, that faith depended solely on miracles, and had no root in the Gospel, and therefore could not be steady or permanent. Miracles do indeed assist the children of God in arriving at the truth; but it does not amount to actual believing, when they admire the power of God so as merely to believe that it is true, but not to subject themselves wholly to it. And, therefore, when we speak generally about faith, let us know that there is a kind of faith which is perceived by the understanding only, and afterwards quickly disappears, because it is not fixed in the heart; and that is the faith which James calls dead; but true faith always depends on the Spirit of regeneration, (James 2:17, 20, 26.) Observe, that all do not derive equal profit from the works of God; for some are led by them to God, and others are only driven by a blind impulse, so that, while they perceive indeed the power of God, still they do not cease to wander in their own imaginations.