« PreviousContinue »
in the duties of his ministry, her parental authority not extending to these matters. Therefore he very justly gave her this gentle rebuke, in which he insinuated that his miracles were not to be performed at the desire of his relations, for civil and private reasons, but in pursuance of the great ends he had in charge, the conversion and salvation of mankind. But though Mary had only private reasons of conveniency for asking this miracle, so that she acted improperly in making the request; yet Jesus knowing that it would tend to the confirmation of his disciples faith, and to the advancement of his mission, * thought proper to comply; being not the less willing to exert his power,
that Our Lord's furnishing wine for this feast by miracle, sheweth that on some occasions a more than ordinary cheerfulness, arising from the use of the creatures which God's power has formed, and his bounty bestowed on men, is by no means inconsistent with piety, but rather conducive to it, when the benefits are sanctified to us by the word of God and prayer, 1 Tim, iv. 4, 5. that is, when they are used in moderation, as the word of God directs, and with due expressions of thankfulness.-- The quantity of wa. ter turned into wine on this occasion deserves notice. The six water-pots in which the wine was formed, being appointed for such purifications or washings as required the immersion of the whole body, were of a large capacity, holding about two or three firkius a piece ; so that being filled to the brim, there was abundance of wine furnished. But the Deists, a sort of people who look on all Christ's actions with an evil eye, have not let this escape their censure ; making the subject of ridicule, which might have been spared, had they considered that the speech made by the governor of the feast to the bridegroom, ver. 10. does not imply that any of the company was drunk, as they would have us to believe. It is only a comparison between the order in which he had produced his liquor, and that commonly observed by other people. For whereas it was usual at entertainments to give the best wine first, before the taste of the guests was blunted by drinking, he, contrary to custom, had given the worst first. Besides, it ought to be considered, that Jesus did not order all the wine he furnished, to be drank at this solemnity, though, according to the customs of Judea, it lasted a whole week, Judges xiv. 12, &c. It is probable that he designed to provide for the future occasions of the new married couple, making them a valuable and seasonable nuptial present, in this modest though miraculous manner. And surely he who in the first creation made such liberal provision for the necessities of men, might, on a particular occasion, when he was forming nourishment for the natural life of his friends, do it plentifully ; because thus the favour was enhanced, and by the quantity furnished, he both shewed his own exuberant goodness, and gave such magnificence to the miracle, as removed it beyond all possibility of fraud. Whereas, had the quantity been considerably less, u ho knows but thie ene. mies of Christianity might have affirmed there was no miracle here at all, but that the water was artfully carried away, and wine put into its place ; an impossible cheat in so large a quantity, especially as the transinutation happened the moment the vissels were filled. We need not then dispute with the Deists for the smallness of the measure (retenons) mentioned by the evangelist, in the account he has given of the capacity of the water. pots. Let them make it as large as they please, let them suppose it was the Attic measure of that name equal to our firkin, and that each water-pot heid three of those measures; the miracle will still be decent, and in all respects worthy both of the wisdom and goodness of him who performed it.
that his friends would reap some benefit from the matter of the miracle. Ordering the servants, therefore, to fill six water-pots, that were at hand, to the brim with water, the instant the pots were filled, he converted the whole mass of the fluid into excellent wine; then desired that some of it might be drawn out, and carried to the governor of the feast, or entertainer of the company, John ii. 5. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. It seems Jesus had said something to her, which made her believe he would perform the miracle desired, though the evangelist does not take notice of it. 6. And there were set there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews: they were placed there, some of them for the cleansing of cups and tables, and others for such purifications as required the immersion of the whole body. (See on Mark vii. 3. § 64.) They were therefore of great capacity, containing two or three firkins a-piece. 7. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water-pots 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. Among the Greeks, Romans, and Jews, it was usual at great entertainments, especially marriage feasts, to appoint a master of ceremonies, who gave directions, not only concerning the form and method of the entertainment, but likewise prescribed the laws of drinking. Jesus therefore ordered the wine which he had formed, to be carried to the governor of the feast, that by his judgment passed upon it in the hearing of all the guests, it might be known to be genuine wine of the best kind.-The governor of the feast, on tasting the wine, was highly pleased with its flavour and richness, but did not know how it had been procured. Wherefore, addressing himself to the bridegroom in the hearing of all the guests, he commended it as far preferable to what they had been drinking, and praised him for the elegance of his taste, and for his civility, in giving the company better wine during the progress of the entertainment than at the beginning of it, which shewed that he did not grudge the quantity they might use. 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 vine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but
* Ver. 1o. And when men have well drunk.] orav udvodwoi, when men have drank to satisfaction. Thus, Gen. xliii. 34. we are told that Joseph's brethren drank and were merry with him; in the LXX. it is quvoncav MET OUT, which, considering the circumstances of the case, cannot possibly siify that they got drunk with so great a man as the governor of Egypt. Besides, the word is applied to meat as well as to drink, Hos. xiv. 7.
but thou hast kept the good wine until now.-These words no doubt surprised the bridegroom, who knew nothing of the matter, and occasioned an enquiry to be made about it. It is reasonable, therefore, to suppose, that the servants were publicly examined, and that the company received an account of the miracle from them. For it is expressly said, that by it Jesus manifested his glory, i. e. demonstrated his power and character to the conviction of the disciples, and of all the guests. 11. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory, and his disciples believed on him. Being the first miracle they had ever seen Jesus perform, it tended not a little to the confirmation of their faith, and made his fame spread over all the neighbouring country.
From Cana, Jesus went with his disciples to Capernaum, and from Capernaum to Jerusalem to the passover, which it seems was approaching. 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.-None of the evangelists mention the particulars of our Lord's history between his baptism, and this which was the first passover in his ministry. But his transactions at the feast itself are mentioned by John. It is therefore probable, that though Christ's ministry really commenced immediately after his baptism, it began to be more publicly exercised at this passover.
μεθυσθήσονται σιτων Wherefore, 1 Cor. xi. 21. ος μεν πειναος δε μείνει ought to be translated, one is hungry and another is filled, viz. with meat and drink, as is plain from its being set in opposition to xuva; not to mention that if the Corinthians had been guilty of coming drunk to the table of the Lord, the apostle would not have passed over the matter so slightly as we find him doing.
* Ver. 13. And the Jews passover.] This was the chief of all the Jewish festivals, being instituted and celebrated the first time in Egypt, on the night when God destroyed the first-born of that land, but spared the children of Israel; the destroying ange! pasing over the houses, whose doorposts were sprinkled with the blood of the paschal sacrifice, called for that reason the passover. This feast, therefore, was observed by the Jews in all succeeding ages with great solemnity, bringing to their remembrance the wonderful deliverance which God had wrought for the nation in Egypt.
§ XX. THE FIRST PASSOVER.
Sir Isaac Newton, following the example of other harmony writers, places the first passover that happened in our Lord's ministry here. But Lamy places it immediately before the first second day Sabbath mentioned Luke vi. 1. And because this first passover, with the other transactions mentioned in the gospel of John, till we come to chap. iii. 24. are said to have happened before the Baptist's imprisonment, at which period the three evangelists begin their history, he fancies the Baptist was twice imprisoned, once by the Pharisees in the beginning of his ministry, and again by Herod a while after the first passover, to which he assigns the place in the history mentioned above. He thinks Matthew and Mark speak of the
former, in the beginning of their histories, and John of the latter, chap. iii. 24. To prove this, he affirms that no good account can be given of the Baptist's message to Jesus, Art thou be that should come, or do we look for another unless it was sent during his first confinement by the Pharisees, before he had received full proof of Christ's being the Messiah. But it is certain that Jesus was returned from his temptations, the day after the Pharisees called John's authority in question, John i. 26. His interview therefore with the Pharisees, consequently his imprisonment, (for he could not be imprisoned before the interview) happened at least forty days after our Lord's baptism, his temptation in the wilderness having lasted so long. If so, the Baptist, before his supposed imprisonment by the Pharisees, must have been witness to the miraculous testimonies in consequence of which he declared three several times, that Jesus was the Messiah. He had then seen the descent of the Spirit, and heard the voice from heaven; and therefore his message is equally hard to be understood on Lamy's scheme as on the common one. See the proper solution of the difficulty, sect. 42.
The writers of harmonies generally espouse the order of the history observed by some one of the evangelists, transposing the rest wherever they judge it necessary. Yet there are some who do not approve of the order kept by any of the sacred historians, but transpose them all. And these transpositions they make, notwithstanding the parts of the history which they disjoin, are linked together by connections which expressly determine the facts narrated to have happened at the times, and in the order assigned them. Sir Isaac Newton, and before him Lamy, thought the order observed by Matthew and John the most authentic, because they were eye-witnesses of the things they have related; for which reason they have transposed Mark and Luke. On the other hand, Le Clerc, Whiston, &c. follow the order of the latter, because they agree between themselves in most particulars, and are not inconsistent with John: also, because Luke affirms in his preface, that he wrote in the order of time. But then, because this makes it necessary to transpose Matthew in places where he has expressly affirmed his own order, Mr Whiston has fallen on a very singular method of obviating the difficulty. He supposes his gospel was originally composed in the order observed by the rest, but that through some accident or other, it has been quite disturbed, from the beginning of chap. iv. to the end of chap xiii.
Jesus drives the traders out of the temple: foretels his own sufferings and resurrection the first time, (see sect. 70.) And converses with Nicodemus. John ii. 13,-25. iii. 1,—21.
WHILE Jesus was at the first passover, he signalized himself in the metropolis, by driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple, and by pouring out the changers money, and overturning their tables. 13. 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. It seems the officers, whose province it was to take care of the temple, permitted a market of oxen, sheep, doves, and other things necessary for sacrifice, to be kept in the court of the Gentiles; by which means, there was VOL. I. 3 F often
Ver. 14. The changers of money ] The changers of money (xoddubiszı) were people who gave the Jews from foreign countries, current money of Judea, in lieu of the money of the countries froin whence they had come: and for that service took a small pemium, in which the profits of their business consisted.
often such a bustle and confusion there, that the proselytes who came up to worship, could not but be much disturbed in their devotions.---These being gross profanations of a place set apart for the worship of God, Jesus thought fit to correct them; and he had a right to do it, because the temple was his own house, Mal. iii. 1. 15. And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep and the exen, and poured out the changers money, and overthrew the tables. 16. And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence : TAUTA, the cages wherein the pigeons were exposed to sale, pointing to them--make not my Father's house an house of merchandise ; make not the temple, which is dedicated to the worship of God, a place for carrying on low traffic. It is remarkable, that the persons in the fault did not offer to make the least resistance ; probably consciousness of guilt restrained them, or the wonderful things which Jesus had performed at this festival, made them afraid to resist him. Or they may have been intimidated by the energy of our Lord's miraculous power on their minds.--Nevertheless, in the apprehension of the disciples, he exposed himself to great danger, by turning out a body of factious men, whom the priests and rulers supported. On this occasion, therefore, they called to mind that text in the Psalms where it is said, “ The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up," imputing their Master's action to such a concern for the purity of God's worship, as the psalmist of old was animated by. 17. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.—The truth is, this affair had the marks of an extraordinary zeal, a zeal nothing inferior to what the prophets were famed for, which was the reason that the rulers came to him, and desired to know by what authority he had undertaken singly, to make such a reformation in the house and worship of God; especially in reference to matters which had been declared lawful by the council, and the doctors of greatest reputation. And if he had any real authority for doing such things, they required him to shew it them, by working a greater miracle than any he had hitherto done, (see ver. 23.) 18. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, What sign she west thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things ? - Jesus replied, by referring them to the miracle of his own resurrection. Only in appealing to it as a proof of his mission from God, he prudently expressed himself in terms somewhat obscure, that the Jews might not be hindered from accomplishing the divine purpose. 19. Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up: pointing perhaps to his body, which with the greatest propriety he called a temple, * on account of the Divinity residing in it. .
Called a temple on account of the Divinity residing in it.] By a like