Gospel Of John – Advance Study (Part 3)

John 2

1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When 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, 10 And 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. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Doctrine of Wine: They ‘wanted’ wine refers to the fact that they were running out of wine (or ran out).

The “good wine” Jesus made at Cana was “good” not because of its high alcoholic content, but because it was fresh, unfermented grape juice. The more alcohol content in wine the less ‘good taste’ there is. Grape juice has much more taste than standard alcoholic wine. If they were drinking alcoholic wine, they would not be able to discern at this point that they were setting out the ‘good wine’; they would have had their senses dulled too much to notice. Moral consistency demands that Christ could not have miraculously produced between 120 to 160 gallons of intoxicating wine for the use of men, women and children gathered at the Cana’s wedding feast, without becoming morally responsible for prolonging and increasing their intoxication, for it was near the end of their long celebration.

If the wine had been alcoholic, then the people would have been intoxicated, or nearly so. Jesus Christ would then have been making almost drunk people completely drunk! Such would not agree with the statement in verse 11: “and manifested forth his glory”. I firmly believe that the Bible supports total abstinence from alcohol. What is your stance?

Doctrine of Miracles:

‘This is the first of seven signs which reveal Jesus’ character and power (chapters 2-11): 1. water into wine (2:1-11); 2 – healing of boy (4:46-54); 3 – healing of lame man (5:1-18); 4 – Feeding of the multitude (6:1-15); 5 – walking on water (6:16-21); 6 – healing of blind man (9:1-41); 7- raising of Lazarus (11:1-57)’ [Bob Utley].

The occurrence of a miracle in the Bible meant that God worked outside the laws of nature. W.E. Vine stated that “miracle” (dunamis) is used in the New Testament of “works of a supernatural origin and character, such as could not be produced by natural agents and means”. A miracle in the Bible was not an event that was astonishing, incredible, extraordinary, or unusual (e.g., the birth of a baby, [the beauty of] a flower, or the narrow avoidance of an accident). A miracle in the Bible was a supernatural act. It was an event that was contrary to the usual course of nature (Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, p. 755). In the Apocrypha it is stated that Jesus as a boy performed some miracles; there is no reference to this in the scriptures, and this verse flatly denies this possibility. It took a miracle for His disciples to believe on Him. Does it take this for you, also?….

12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. 13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15 And 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; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. 17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

Doctrine of the Old Testament Temple: ‘There has been much discussion among NT scholars as to how many times Jesus cleansed the Temple. John records the cleansing quite early in Jesus’ ministry, while the Synoptics (Matt. 21:12; Mark 11:15 and Luke 19:45) describe a cleansing during the last week of Jesus’ life. Based on the differences of the two accounts, there seem to be two cleansings of the Temple, not one.’ [Bob Utley]

‘Because of the imperial Roman portraits they carried, Roman denarii and Attic drachmas were not permitted to be used in paying the half-shekel temple-tax [the portraits were considered idolatrous]. The money-changers in the Temple courts exchanged these coins for legal Tyrian coinage at a small profit.’ [W. Hall Harris]

‘People traveling from a long distance needed to purchase sacrificially acceptable animals. However, the family of the high priest controlled these shops and charged exorbitant prices for the animals. We also know that if people brought their own animals the priests would say they were disqualified because of some physical defect. Therefore, they had to purchase their animals from these dealers.’ [W. Hall Harris]

Doctrine of Jesus Christ: Is it right for a Christian to show his zeal and ‘righteous anger’ in the same manner that Jesus did here? If you saw something blasphemous going on within your church’s building, would you react in a similar manner? Jesus Christ’s zeal was so great for His Father’s house that He became very physically aggressive.

Doctrine of Money: I believe that this clearly portrays that God ‘hates’ when a church makes money on ‘ministering to people’. Examples of this include: selling music CD’s or preaching tapes, and charging for teen events, conferences, and the like.

18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21 But he spake of the temple of his body. 22 When 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.

Doctrine of the Resurrection: His own physical body was the temple of the Holy Ghost. He would raise up His own physical body, Himself…Jesus was in fully in control of His death and His resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection was a ‘sign’ unto the Jews, and it caused the disciples to believe the Bible (afterwards).

‘According to Josephus, work on this Temple was begun in the 18th year of Herod the Great’s reign, which would have been 19 b.c.. Forty-six years later would be the Passover of a.d. 27.’ (W. Hall Harris)

23 Now 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. 24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

John 3

1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Doctrine of Salvation: Most today have a very poor understanding of what being ‘born-again’ really means. Many think it is a radical faction of Christianity [‘you’re not one of those born-againers are you?’]; many think it refers to being baptized [Church of Christ, Catholics, etc]; many think it just refers to ‘reformation’ [desiring a change, turning over a new leaf, etc]; and still others think it refers to some tremendous ‘encounter’ with God [tongues, healing, vision, warm feeling, etc]. Well none of these are what being ‘born again’ is about. On the other end of the spectrum, there are many who think like Nicodemus and don’t think being born again is part of being saved; they don’t understand it; their salvation is based on what they themselves have done, or what some other man or organization of men has done [churches]. The last part of verse 3 and 5 is paramount to understand: you cannot go to Heaven without being born again!!!

Nicodemus’ confusion was not involving baptism or the Word of God, but in contrasting the two ‘births’. In physical birth there is copious amounts of water involved (amniotic, blood, etc). “Water” here is not referring to the “Word of God”: why not use a more literal term like “Word”?; they were not talking about the Word at all; it doesn’t fit with verse 4’s answer and verse 6’s further clarification. “Water” is simply referring to physical birth. Verse 4’s statement is directly answered by this, and verse 6’s clarification is perfectly in line with this definition (i.e. a fleshly birth).

Inherent in the term ‘born again’ is the words “born” and “again”. “Born” refers to the beginning of something brand new. “Again” refers to another similar occurrence; born once (physical birth) and born another way (again) (spiritually). Thus a comparison is made here between the two births. The water birth is not referring to ‘baptismal regeneration’ as the Church of Christ, etc, folks wrongly assume. “Baptism” isn’t even mentioned in this conversation that is taking place.

This clarifies well the distinction between the two births. A flesh birth and a spiritual birth. This is the main problem that Nicodemus had that would prevent him from understanding salvation.

8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

Doctrine of the Holy Ghost: The Spirit of God is likened unto the wind blowing: you can see the effects thereof, but you can’t tell when He is coming or going in His work; it is all done invisibly. People struggle so much with the ‘unseen’ spiritual world; if they can’t see it or touch it they apparently can’t (or won’t) believe it. It all comes down to ‘faith’.

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Doctrine of Christ: There has only been one who 1) ascended to heaven, and 2) came down from heaven again…i.e. Jesus. Many say that Elijah did this: caught up into heaven and then returned on the mountain top with Moses. But Elijah probably went into the 1st and 2nd heavens only and then went to Paradise, where all departed saints of God were.

Doctrine of Salvation: The O.T. has much typology pointing to the antitype which is found in the N.T.. The ‘serpent’ was pictured as ‘accursed’; the poison of the snake is likened to the curse of sin (i.e. Hell); ‘lifted up’ refers to crucifixion. One just needs to look to He who bore our sins in His own body on the tree…for salvation.

“Whosoever” is absolutely anybody. “Believeth in Him” refers to who He was and what He did. “Not perish” in Hell forever. “Eternal life” in Heaven; spiritual life never ends; spiritual death never ends once one experiences physical death. You can’t ‘unborn’ someone (it’s like trying to unpop already popped popcorn!).

Jesus Christ’s main reason for coming to earth was to suffer, die, and then resurrect from the dead so that the world might be saved. God wants the whole ‘world’ to be saved (not just the so-called ‘elect’ of Calvinism)!

Everyone that is not saved is in a state of ‘condemnation’; they have already been condemned to Hell. The only way out of this condemnation is to believe in the name of the Son of God. The reason people do not want to be saved is because the light (Jesus, and His truth) will expose their darkness (evil, sin); they want to continue in darkness, in evil, in sin.

22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. 23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. 24 For John was not yet cast into prison. 25 Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. 26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. 27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

Doctrine of Baptism: Some say that Jesus never baptized, but that it was Jesus’ disciples doing the baptizing (Jn 4:2). There were two main groups baptizing: John’s and Jesus’. John’s group would soon fade away in significance.

‘Deep water’ (or open water) baptism is scriptural: it involves an open body of water that is deep enough to fully submerge a person. Are ‘baptistery’ baptisms scriptural? Well, there is no support for them, but, neither is there any command given against them.

The people here were coming in order to be baptized; they travelled to the ‘baptizer’. There wasn’t a big effort to manipulate the people into being baptized.

‘Purification’ rites were common in many religions of that era; they involved a form of baptizing with water.

John’s disciples (and baptizees) were concerned about Jesus and His disciples’ authority to baptize; they had a strong conviction on who should be allowed to baptize. John’s answer explained that no-one has the authority to baptize unless it was given to them directly from Heaven. It appears, by his answer, that Jesus and His disciples had authority to baptize. Of course, Jesus’ authority to baptize was received from John, who received it directly from the Father (given from heaven). Jesus passed this authority on to His disciples (the church).

28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. 32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. 33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. 34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. 35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. 36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Doctrine of John the Baptist: He was not the Christ; he was sent before him, preparing the way of the Lord. John was the ‘friend of the bridegroom’. He would be assisting in the marriage between the Groom (Jesus Christ) and the Bride (the Lord’s churches). Some believe that the ‘friend’ here includes all O.T. saints. After Jesus’ baptism, John understood that he was to decrease in importance and eventually go away (die).

Doctrine of Christ: Jesus is from Heaven. He is above all. Jesus is speaking to the world all that His Father has instructed Him to. He has an ‘unlimited’ measure of the Spirit, whereas we apparently have a limited measure. The Father has given all things into Jesus’ hand (control).