|<< John 2 >>|
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
And the third day - On the third day after his conversation with Nathanael.
Cana - This was a small town about 15 miles northwest of Tiberias and 6 miles northeast of Nazareth. It is now called Kerr Kenna, is under the government of a Turkish officer, and contains perhaps 300 inhabitants, chiefly Catholics. The natives still pretend to show the place where the water was turned into wine, and even one of the large stone water-pots. "A Greek church," says Professor Hackett ('Illustrations of Scripture,' p. 322), "stands at the entrance of the town, deriving its special sanctity, as I understood, from its being supposed to occupy the site of the house in which the marriage was celebrated to which Jesus and his friends were invited. A priest to whom we were referred as the custodian soon arrived, in obedience to our call, and unlocked the doors of the church. It is a low stone building, pair." "The houses," says Dr. Thomson ('The Land and the Book,' vol. ii. p. 126), "were built of limestone, cut and laid up after the fashion still common in this region, and some of them may have been inhabited within the last fifty years. There are many ancient cisterns about it, and fragments of water-jars in abundance, and both reminded us of the 'beginning of miracles.' Some of my companions gathered bits of these water-jars as mementoes witnesses they could hardly be, for those of the narrative were of 'stone,' while these were baked earth." The place is now quite deserted. Dr. Thomson says: "There is not now a habitable house in the humble village where our blessed Lord sanctioned, by his presence and miraculous assistance, the all-important and world-wide institution of marriage." It was called "Cana of Galilee" to distinguish it from another Cana in the tribe of Ephraim, Joshua 16:9. This was the native place of Nathanael, John 21:2.
The mother of Jesus - Mary. It is not improbable that she was a relative of the family where the marriage took place.
2And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
His disciples - Those that he had made when in Judea. These were Peter, Andrew, Philip, and Nathanael. They were not yet called to be apostles, but they believed that he was the Messiah. The miracle performed here was doubtless to convince them more fully that he was the Christ.
3And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
When they wanted wine - A marriage feast among the Jews was commonly observed for seven or eight days. It is not probable that there would be a want of wine at the marriage itself, and it is possible, therefore, that Jesus came there some time during the marriage feast.
They have no wine - It is not known why Mary told this to Jesus. It would seem that she had a belief that he was able to supply it, though he had as yet worked no miracle.
4Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
Woman - This term, as used here, seems to imply reproof, as if she was interfering in that which did not properly concern her; but it is evident that no such reproof or disrespect was intended by the use of the term "woman" instead of "mother." It is the same term by which he tenderly addressed Mary Magdalene after his resurrection John 20:15, and his mother when he was on the cross, John 19:26. Compare also Matthew 15:28; John 4:21; 1 Corinthians 7:16.
What have I to do with thee? - See the notes at Matthew 8:29. This expression is sometimes used to denote indignation or contempt. See Judges 11:12; 2 Samuel 16:10; 1 Kings 17:18. But it is not probable that it denoted either in this place; if it did, it was a mild reproof of Mary for attempting to control or direct him in his power of working miracles. Most of the ancients supposed this to be the intention of Jesus. The words sound to us harsh, but they might have been spoken in a tender manner, and not have been intended as a reproof. It is clear that he did not intend to refuse to provide wine, but only to delay it a little; and the design was, therefore, to compose the anxiety of Mary, and to prevent her being solicitous about it. It may, then, be thus expressed: "My mother, be not anxious. To you and to me this should not be a matter of solicitude. The proper time of my interfering has not yet come. When that is come I will furnish a supply, and in the meantime neither you nor I should be solicitous." Thus understood, it is so far from being a "harsh reproof," that it was a mild exhortation for her to dismiss her fears and to put proper trust in him.
Mine hour ... - My time. The proper time for my interposing. Perhaps the wine was not yet entirely exhausted. The wine had begun to fail, but he would not work a miracle until it was entirely gone, that the miracle might be free-from all possibility of suspicion. It does not mean that the proper time for his working a miracle, or entering. on his public work had not come, but that the proper time for his interposing there had not arrived.
5His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
His mother saith ... - It is evident from this verse that his mother did not understand what he had said as a harsh reproof and repulse, but as an indication of his willingness at the proper time to furnish wine. In all this transaction he evinced the appropriate feelings of a son toward a mother.
6And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
Six water-pots of stone - Made of stone; or, as we should say, stoneware.
After the manner - After the usual custom.
Of the purifying - Of the "washings" or ablutions of the Jews. They were for the purpose of washing the hands before and after eating Matthew 15:2, and for the formal washing of vessels, and even articles of furniture, Luke 11:39; Mark 7:3-4.
Two or three firkins - It is not quite certain what is meant here by the word "firkins." It is probable that the measure intended is the Hebrew "bath," containing about 7 12 gallons.
7Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
With water - This was done by the servants employed at the feast. It was done by "them," so that there might be no opportunity of saying that the disciples of Jesus had filled them with wine to produce the "appearance" of a miracle. In this case there could be no deception. The quantity was very considerable. The servants would know whether the "wine" or "water" had been put in these vessels. It could not be believed that they had either the power or the disposition to impose on others in this manner, and the way was therefore clear for the proof that Jesus had really changed what was known to be water into wine.
To the brim - To the top. So full that no wine could be poured in to give the appearance of a mixture. Further, vessels were used for this miracle in which wine had not been kept. These pots were never used to put wine in, but simply to keep "water" in for the various purposes of ablution. A large number was used on this occasion, because there were many guests.
8And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
Draw out now - This command was given to the servants. It showed that the miracle had been performed immediately. As soon as they were filled the servants were directed to take to the governor of the feast. Jesus made no parade about it, and it does not even appear that he approached the waterpots. He willed it, and it was done. This was a clear exertion of divine power, and made in such a manner as to leave no doubt of its reality.
The governor - One who presided on the occasion. The one who stood at the "head" or upper end of the table. He had the charge of the entertainment, provided the food, gave directions to the servants, etc.
9When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
And knew not whence it was - This is said, probably, to indicate that his judgment was not biased by any favor, or any lack of favor, toward Jesus. Had he known what was done, he would have been less likely to have judged impartially. As it is, we have his testimony that this was real wine, and of so fine a body and flavor as to surpass that which had been provided for the occasion. Everything in this miracle shows that there was no collusion or understanding between Jesus and any of the persons at the feast.
10And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
Every man - It is customary, or it is generally done.
When men have well drunk - This word does not of necessity mean that they were intoxicated, though it is usually employed in that sense. It may mean when they have drunk sufficient, or to satiety; or have drunk so much as to produce hilarity, and to destroy the keenness of their taste, so that they could not readily distinguish the good from that which was worse. But this cannot be adduced in favor of drunkenness, even if it means to be intoxicated; for,
1. It is not said of those who were present "at that feast," but of what generally occurred. For anything that appears, at that feast all were perfectly temperate and sober.
2. It is not the saying of Jesus that is here recorded, but of the governor of the feast, who is declaring what usually occurred as a fact.
3. There is not any expression of opinion in regard to its "propriety," or in approval of it, even by that governor.
4. It does not appear that our Saviour even heard the observation.
5. Still less is there any evidence that he approved such a state of things, or that he designed that it should take place here. Further, the word translated "well drunk" cannot be shown to mean intoxication; but it may mean when they had drunk as much as they judged proper or as they desired. then the other was presented. It is clear that neither our Saviour, nor the sacred writer, nor the speaker here expresses any approval of intemperance, nor is there the least evidence that anything of the kind occurred here. It is not proof that we approve of intemperance when we mention, as this man did, what occurs usually among men at feasts.
Is worse - Is of an inferior quality.
The good wine - This shows that this had all the qualities of real wine. We should not be deceived by the phrase "good wine." We often use the phrase to denote that it is good in proportion to its strength and its power to intoxicate; but no such sense is to be attached to the word here. Pliny, Plutarch, and Horace describe wine as "good," or mention that as "the best wine," which was harmless or "innocent" - poculo vini "innocentis." The most useful wine - "utilissimum vinum" - was that which had little strength; and the most wholesome wine - "saluberrimum vinum" - was that which had not been adulterated by "the addition of anything to the 'must' or juice." Pliny expressly says that a good wine was one that was destitute of spirit (lib. iv. c. 13). It should not be assumed, therefore, that the "good wine" was "stronger" than the other: it is rather to be presumed that it was milder.
The wine referred to here was doubtless such as was commonly drunk in Palestine. That was the pure juice of the grape. It was not brandied wine, nor drugged wine, nor wine compounded of various substances, such as we drink in this land. The common wine drunk in Palestine was that which was the simple juice of the grape. we use the word "wine" now to denote the kind of liquid which passes under that name in this country - always containing a considerable portion of alcohol not only the alcohol produced by fermentation, but alcohol "added" to keep it or make it stronger. But we have no right to take that sense of the word, and go with it to the interpretation of the Scriptures. We should endeavor to place ourselves in the exact circumstances of those times, ascertain precisely what idea the word would convey to those who used it then, and apply that sense to the word in the interpretation of the Bible; and there is not the slightest evidence that the word so used would have conveyed any idea but that of the pure juice of the grape, nor the slightest circumstance mentioned in this account that would not be fully met by such a supposition.
No man should adduce This instance in favor of drinking wine unless he can prove that the wine made in the waterpots of Cana was just like the wine which he proposes to drink. The Saviour's example may be always pleaded just as it was; but it is a matter of obvious and simple justice that we should find out exactly what the example was before we plead it. There is, moreover, no evidence that any other part of the water was converted into wine than that which was "drawn out" of the water-casks for the use of the guests. On this supposition, certainly, all the circumstances of the case are met, and the miracle would be more striking. All that was needed was to furnish a "supply" when the wine that had been prepared was nearly exhausted. The object was not to furnish a large quantity for future use. The miracle, too, would in this way be more apparent and impressive. On this supposition, the casks would appear to be filled with water only; as it was drawn out, it was pure wine. Who could doubt, then, that there was the exertion of miraculous power? All, therefore, that has been said about the Redeemer's furnishing a large quantity of wine for the newly-married pair, and about his benevolence in doing it, is wholly gratuitous. There is no evidence of it whatever; and it is not necessary to suppose it in order to an explanation of the circumstances of the case.
11This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
This beginning of miracles - This his first public miracle. This is declared by the sacred writer to be a "miracle" - that is, an exertion of divine power, producing a change of the substance of water into wine, which no human power could do.
Manifested forth - Showed; exhibited.
His glory - His power, and proper character as the Messiah; showed that he had divine power, and that God had certainly commissioned him. This is shown to be a real miracle by the following considerations:
1. Real water was placed in the vessels. This the servants believed, and there was no possibility of deception.
2. The water was placed where it was not customary to keep wine. It could not be pretended that it was merely a mixture of water and wine.
3. It was judged to be wine without knowing whence it came. There was no agreement between Jesus and the governor of the feast to impose on the guests.
4. It was a change which nothing but divine power could effect. He that can change water into a substance like the juice of the grape must be clothed with divine power.
Believed on him - This does not mean that they did not believe on him beforehand, but that their faith was confirmed or strengthened. They saw a miracle, and it satisfied them that he was the Messiah. "Before this" they "believed" on the testimony of John, and from conversation with Jesus John 1:35-51; now they saw that he was invested with almighty power, and their faith was established.
From this narrative we may learn:
1. That marriage is honorable, and that Jesus, if sought, will not refuse his presence and blessing on such an occasion.
2. On such an occasion the presence and approbation of Christ should be sought. No compact formed on earth is more important; none enters so deeply into our comfort in this world; perhaps none will so much affect our destiny in the world to come. It should be entered into, then, in the fear of God.
3. On all such occasions, our conduct should be such that the presence of Jesus would be no interruption or disturbance. He is holy. He is always present in every place; and on all festival occasions our deportment should be such as that we should welcome the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. "That is not a proper stale of feeling or employment which would be interrupted by the presence of the Saviour."
4. Jesus delighted to do good. In the very beginning of his ministry he worked a miracle to show his benevolence. This was the appropriate commencement of a life in which he was to go about doing good. He seized every opportunity of doing it; and at a marriage feast, as well as among the sick and poor, he showed the character which he always sustained - that of a benefactor of mankind.
5. An argument cannot be drawn from this instance in favor of intemperate drinking. There is no evidence that any who were present on that occasion drank too freely.
6. Nor can an argument be drawn from this case in favor even of drinking wine such as we have. The common wine of Judea was the pure juice of the grape, without any mixture of alcohol, and was harmless. It was the common drink of the people, and did not tend to produce intoxication. "Our" wines are a "mixture" of the juice of the grape and of brandy, and often of infusions of various substances to give it color and taste, and the appearance of wine. Those wines are little less injurious than brandy, and the habit of drinking them should be classed with the drinking of all other liquid fires.
The following table will show the danger of drinking the "wines" that are in common use:
Wine Alcohol Content Brandy has fifty-three parts and 39 hundredths in a hundred of alcohol, or 5339 percent Rum 5368 percent Whisky Scotch.. 5432 percent Holland Gin. 5160 percent Port Wine, highest kind 583 percent Port Wine, lowest kind 140 percent Madeira, highest kind 2942 percent Madeira, lowest kind 934 percent Lisbon 894 percent Malaga 726 percent Red Champagne 130 percent White 280 percent Currant Wine 2025 percent
It follows that a man who drinks two glasses of most of the wines used has taken as much alcohol as if he had taken one glass of brandy or whisky, and why should he not as well drink the alcohol in the brandy as in the wine? What difference can it make in morals? What difference in its effects on his system? The experience of the world has shown that water, pure water, is the most wholesome, safe, and invigorating drink for man.
12After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.
To Capernaum - See the notes at Matthew 4:13.
Not many days - The reason why he remained there no longer was that the Passover was near, and they went up to Jerusalem to attend it.
13And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
The Jews' passover - The feast among the Jews called the Passover. See the notes at Matthew 26:2-17.
And Jesus went up to Jerusalem - Every male among the Jews was required to appear at this feast. Jesus, in obedience to the law, went up to observe it. This is the first Passover on which he attended after he entered on the work of the ministry. It is commonly supposed that he observed three others one recorded Luke 6:1; another John 6:4, and the last one on the night before he was crucified, John 11:55. As his baptism when he entered on his ministry had taken place some time before this - probably not far from six months - it follows that the period of his ministry was not far from three years and a half, agreeably to the prophecy in Daniel 9:27.
14And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
Found in the temple ... - The transaction here recorded is in almost all respects similar to that which has been explained in the notes at Matthew 21:12. This took place at the commencement of his public ministry; that at the close. On each occasion he showed that his great regard was for the pure worship of his Father; and one great design of his coming was to reform the abuses which had crept into that worship, and to bring man to a proper regard for the glory of God. If it be asked how it was that those engaged in this traffic so readily yielded to Jesus of Nazareth, and that they left their gains and their property, and fled from the temple at the command of one so obscure as he was, it may be replied,
1. That their consciences reproved them for their impiety, and they could not set up the "appearance" of self-defense.
2. It was customary in the nation to cherish a profound regard for the authority of a prophet; and the appearance and manner of Jesus - so fearless, so decided, so authoritative led them to suppose "he" was a prophet, and they were afraid to resist him.
3. Even then, Jesus had a wide reputation among the people, but it is not improbable that many supposed him to be the Messiah.
4. Jesus on all occasions had a most wonderful control over people. None could resist him. There was something in his manner, as well as in his doctrine, that awed men, and made them tremble at his presence. Compare John 18:5-6. On this occasion he had the manner of a prophet, the authority of God, and the testimony of their own consciences, and they could not, therefore, resist the authority by which he spoke.
Though Jesus thus purified the temple at the commencement of his ministry, yet in three years the same scene was to be repeated. See Matthew 21:12. And from this we may learn:
1. How soon people forget the most solemn reproofs, and return to evil practices.
2. That no sacredness of time or place will guard them from sin. In the very temple, under the very eye of God, these people soon returned to practices for which their consciences reproved them, and which they knew that God disapproved.
3. We see here how strong is the love of gain - the ruling passion of mankind. Not even the sacredness of the temple, the presence of God, the awful ceremonials of religion, deterred them from this unholy traffic. So wicked men and hypocrites will always turn "religion," if possible, into gain; and not even the sanctuary, the Sabbath, or the most awful and sacred scenes, will deter them from schemes of gain. Compare Amos 8:5. So strong is this grovelling passion, and so deep is that depravity which fears not God, and regards not his Sabbaths, his sanctuary, or his law.
15And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
A scourge - A whip.
Of small cords - This whip was made as an emblem of authority, and also for the purpose of driving from the temple the cattle which had been brought there for sale. There is no evidence that he used any violence to the men engaged in that unhallowed traffic. The original word implies that these "cords" were made of twisted "rushes" or "reeds" - probably the ancient material for making ropes.
16And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
17And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
It was written ... - This is recorded in Psalm 69:9. Its meaning is, that he was affected with great zeal or concern for the pure worship of God.
The zeal of thine house - "Zeal" is intense ardor in reference to any object. The "zeal of thine house" means extraordinary concern for the temple of God; intense solicitude that the worship there should be pure, and such as God would approve.
Hath eaten me up - Hath absorbed me, or engaged my entire attention and affection; hath surpassed all other feelings, so that it may be said to be the one great absorbing affection and desire of the mind. Here is an example set for ministers and for all Christians. In Jesus this was the great commanding sentiment of his life. In us it should be also. In this manifestation of zeal he began and ended his ministry. In this we should begin and end our lives. We learn, also, that ministers of religion should aim to purify the church of God. Wicked men, conscience-smitten, will tremble when they see proper zeal in the ministers of Jesus Christ; and there is no combination of wicked men, and no form of depravity, that can stand before the faithful, zealous, pure preaching of the gospel. The preaching of every minister should be such that wicked men will feel that they must either become Christians or leave the house of God, or spend their lives there in the consciousness of guilt and the fear of hell.
18Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
What sign ... - What "miracle" dost thou work? He assumed the character of a prophet. He was reforming, by his "authority," the temple. It was natural to ask by what authority this was done; and as they had been accustomed to miracles in the life of Moses, and Elijah, and the other prophets, so they demanded evidence that he had authority thus to cleanse the house of God.
Seeing that thou doest - Rather "by what title or authority thou doest these things." Our translation is ambiguous. They wished to know "by what miracle" he had shown, or could show, his right to do those things.
19Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Destroy this temple - The evangelist informs us John 2:21 that by "temple," here, he meant his body. It is not improbable that he pointed with his finger to his body as he spoke. The word "destroy," used here in the "imperative," has rather the force of the "future." Its meaning may thus be expressed: "You are now profaners of the temple of God. You have defiled the sanctuary; you have made it a place of traffic. You have also despised my authority, and been unmoved by the miracles which I have already performed. But your wickedness will not end here. You will oppose me more and more; you will reject and despise me, until in your wickedness you will take my life and 'destroy' my body." Here was therefore a distinct prediction both of his death and the cause of it. The word "temple," or "dwelling," was not unfrequently used by the Jews to denote the "body" as being the residence of the spirit, 2 Corinthians 5:1. Christians are not unfrequently called the temple of God, as being those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells on earth, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16. Our Saviour called his body a temple in accordance with the common use of language, and more particularly because "in him the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily," Colossians 2:9. The temple at Jerusalem was the appropriate dwelling-place of God. His visible presence was there especially manifested, 2 Chronicles 36:15; Psalm 76:2. As the Lord Jesus was divine - as the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in him so his body might be called a "temple."
In three days I will raise it up - The Jews had asked a "miracle" of him in proof of his authority that is, a proof that he was the Messiah. He tells them that a full and decided proof of that would be his "resurrection from the dead." Though they would not be satisfied by any other miracle, yet by this they ought to be convinced that he came from heaven, and was the long-expected Messiah. To the same evidence that he was the Christ he refers them on other occasions. See Matthew 12:38-39. Thus early did he foretell his death and resurrection, for at the beginning of his work he had a clear foresight of all that was to take place. This knowledge shows clearly that he came from heaven, and it evinces, also, the extent of his love that he was "willing" to come to save us, knowing clearly what it would cost him. Had he come "without" such an expectation of suffering, his love might have been far less; but when he fully knew all that was before him, when he saw that it would involve him in contempt and death, it shows compassion "worthy of a God" that he was willing to endure the load of all our sorrows, and die to save us from death everlasting. When Jesus says, "'I' will raise it up," it is proof, also, of divine power. A mere "man" could not say this. No deceased "man" can have such power over his body; and there must have been, therefore, in the person of Jesus a nature superior to human to which the term "I" could be applied, and which had power to raise the dead - that is, which was divine.
20Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
Then said the Jews ... - The Jews, either from the ambiguity of his language, or more probably from a design to cavil, understood him as speaking of the temple at Jerusalem. What he said here is all the evidence that they could adduce on his trial Matthew 26:61; Mark 14:58, and they reproached him with it when on the cross, Matthew 27:40. The Jews frequently perverted our Saviour's meaning. The language which he used was often that of parables or metaphor; and as they Sought to misunderstand him and pervert his language, so he often left them to their own delusions, as he himself says, "that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand," Matthew 13:13. This was a case which they "might," if they had been disposed, have easily understood. They were in the temple; the conversation was about the temple; and though he probably pointed to his body, or designated it in some plain way, yet they chose to understand him as referring to the temple itself; and as it appeared so improbable that he could raise up that in three days, they sought to pervert his words and pour ridicule on his pretensions.
Forty and six years ... - The temple in which they then were was that which was commonly called "the second temple," built after the return of the Jews from Babylon. See the notes at Matthew 21:12. This temple Herod the Great commenced repairing, or began to rebuild, in the eighteenth year of his reign - that is, sixteen years before the birth of Christ (Jos. 'Ant.,' b. xv. Section 1). The main body of the temple he completed in "nine years and a half" (Jos. 'Ant.,' xv. 5, 6), yet the temple, with its outbuildings, was not entirely complete in the time of our Saviour. Herod continued to ornament it and to perfect it even until the time of Agrippa (Jos. 'Ant.,' b. xx. chapter viii. Section 11). As Herod began to rebuild the temple sixteen years before the birth of Jesus, and as what is here mentioned happened in the thirtieth year of the age of Jesus, so the time which had been occupied in it was "forty-six years." This circumstance is one of the many in the New Testament which show the accuracy of the evangelists, and which prove that they were well acquainted with what they recorded. It demonstrates that their narration is true. Impostors do not trouble themselves to be very accurate about names and dates, and there is nothing in which they are more liable to make mistakes.
Wilt thou ... - This is an expression of contempt. Herod, with all his wealth and power, had been engaged in this work almost half a century. Can you, an obscure and unknown Galilean, accomplish it in three days? The thing, in their judgment, was ridiculous, and showed, as "they" supposed, that he had no authority to do what he had done in the temple.
21But he spake of the temple of his body.
22When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
When he was risen from the dead ... - This saying of our Saviour at that time seemed obscure and difficult. The disciples did not understand it, but they treasured it up in their memory, and the event showed what was its true meaning. Many prophecies are obscure when spoken which are perfectly plain when the event takes place. We learn from this, also, the importance of treasuring up the truths of the Bible now, though we may not perfectly understand them. Hereafter they may be plain to us. It is therefore important that "children," should learn the truths of the sacred Scriptures. Treasured up in their memory, they may not be understood "now," but hereafter they may be clear to them. Every one engaged in teaching a Sunday school, therefore, may be imparting instruction which may be understood, and may impart comfort, long after the teacher has gone to eternity.
They believed - That is, "after" he rose from the dead.
The scripture - The Old Testament, which predicted his resurrection. Reference here must be made to Psalm 16:10; compare Acts 2:27-32; Acts 13:35-37; Psalm 2:7; compare Acts 13:33. They understood those Scriptures in a sense different from what they did before.
The word which Jesus had said - The prediction which he had made respecting his resurrection in this place and on other occasions. See Matthew 20:19; Luke 18:32-33.
23Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
Feast-day - Feast. During the celebration of the Passover, which continued eight days.
Miracles which he did - These miracles are not particularly recorded. Jesus took occasion to work miracles, and to preach at that time, for a great multitude were present from all parts of Judea. It was a favorable opportunity for making known his doctrines and showing the evidence that he was the Christ, and he embraced it. We should always seek and embrace opportunities of doing good, and we should not be "deterred," but rather "excited," by the multitude around us to make known our real sentiments on the subject of religion.
24But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
Did not commit himself - The word translated "commit" here is the same which in John 2:23 is translated "believed." It means to put "trust" or "confidence in." Jesus did not put "trust" or "reliance" in them. He did not leave himself in their hands. He acted cautiously and prudently. The proper time for him to die had not come, and he secured his own safety. The reason why he did not commit himself to them is "that he knew all men." He knew the "inconstancy" and "fickleness" of the multitude. He knew how easily they might be turned against him by the Jewish leaders, and how unsafe he would be if they should be moved to sedition and tumult.
25And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
Should testify of man - Should give him the character of any man.
He knew what was in man - This he did because he had made all John 1:3, and because he was God, John 1:1. There can be no higher evidence than this that he was omniscient, and was therefore divine. To search the heart is the prerogative of God alone Jeremiah 17:10; and as Jesus knew what was in "these disciples," and as it is expressly said that he knew what was in man - that is, in "all people" - so it follows that he must be equal with God. As he knows "all," he is acquainted with the false pretentions and professions of hypocrites. None can deceive him. He also knows the wants and desires of all his real friends. He hears their groans, he sees their sighs, he counts their tears, and in the day of need will come to their relief.