Ministry Of Jesus Begins
11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.
13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”
18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”
19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them;[c] and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them because He knew all men, 25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. (John 2:11-25, NKJV)
1:11 Beginning Of Signs
So this first miracle was enough to get the five disciples who were with Him to believe that this guy was more than He appeared to be.
It is interesting to me that Moses turned water into blood in order to demonstrate the judgment of God, but Christ turned water into wine to demonstrate the glory of God.
From here, we see that the ministry of Jesus begins.
1:12 Jesus’ Brothers
Down in Capernaum, Jesus stayed with His mother, disciples, and brothers. Brothers? I thought Mary was a perpetual virgin! How could Jesus have brothers? The answer is that Mary was not a perpetual virgin.
In chapter 7 we read:
For even His brothers did not believe in Him. (John 7:5)
After the resurrection, they not only ended up believing in Him but became leaders in the church. Paul tells the Galatians of his trip to Jerusalem, saying:
But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. (Galatians 1:19)
Jesus’ brother James becomes a leader in the church at Jerusalem. Another of Jesus’ brother’s names was Judas or Jude. Jude writes in his epistle,
Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, (Jude 1:1)
Jude claimed brotherhood with James to validate his authority, but servanthood of Jesus to validate his ministry.
We also see in 1Corinthians that the Lord’s brothers were married, and apparently were missionaries:
Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? (1 Corinthians 9:5)
So there is quite a bit of Scripture that points to the fact that Mary gave birth to children that were half-brothers and half-sisters of Jesus.
1:13 Jesus Observes Passover
Jesus goes us to Jerusalem for the Passover holiday. Remember we’ve been seeing in Exodus that this was one of three holidays that every Jewish male had to attend: Passover (which was also called the feast of Unleavened Bread), the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Although Jesus often broke man’s religious traditions, He never violated the Law of God.
1:14-17 Driving Out The Sellers And Moneychangers
There were two things going on in the temple by the time of Christ: people selling sacrificial animals, and people exchanging foreign currency for the temple money.
The Law dictated that your sacrifice couldn’t have a defect – it had to be unblemished by sickness, lameness, blindness, or any such thing. There was also the difficulty of traveling such a long way with sacrificial animals. The solution? Why not just sell pre-approved animals right at the temple! Unfortunately, people’s greed often corrupts good ideas.
Huge profits were made by these sellers, capitalizing on people’s desire to be right with God.
Then there were the moneychangers. People bringing money to give their tithes and offerings to God needed to pay with the temple shekel. And again, capitalizing on people’s desire to please God, they would charge exorbitant exchange rates.
This abuse of God’s people was enough to send Jesus into a rage. The violence here is not to be missed. Jesus ran from table to table, flipping them over, driving out these corrupt dealers with a scourge of cords, knocking over their chairs. Causing a stampede of sheep and oxen, pouring out their moneyboxes, littering the ground with coins, shouting, “Stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise! This should be a house of prayer, but you’ve turned it into a house of thieves!”
This isn’t the only time Jesus will do this. The last time He goes to Jerusalem, two or three years later, He will do it again.
Jesus was consumed with zeal. John quotes Psalm 69 here:
Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, (Psalms 69:9)
This entire Messianic psalm speaks volumes of the ministry of Jesus.
1:18-22 Destroy This Temple
Now the Jewish leadership was none too happy about this cleansing of the temple. They confront Jesus, saying, “You’d better have some awesome sign of authority to justify your actions here!”
And Jesus told them:
Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19)
He was obviously speaking of His body. That would be His sign to them and to the world that validated everything He said and did. But in their hard-hearted state, they believed He was speaking of the temple.
King Herod began the renovation and rebuilding of Zerubbabel’s temple around 20 BC. It wasn’t finished yet – it wouldn’t be finished until 64 AD; just six years before it would be completely destroyed during the siege of Jerusalem by the armies of Titus Vespasian. The Jewish historian Josephus tells us much about this rebuilding – that there were 18,000 men employed in the project, and that some of the stones used weighed as much as 140 tons.
So it is no wonder that they thought what He said was ridiculous. But after He raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this, and must have been speaking of His body.
1:23-25 He Knew What Was In Man
At this point, the ministry of Jesus begins; healing the sick, casting out demons, and ministering to the multitudes. Many people were believing and following based on His amazing actions. But Jesus knew how fickle man can be. He had told Jeremiah the prophet,
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
The amazing thing to me is the fact that, in spite of how wicked we are, how untrustworthy we are, how little He can depend on us, the Lord loves us anyway! However, we have seen that the ministry of Jesus begins.