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OneBook: The Gospel of John

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  1. Introduction

    Welcome to the OneBook Daily-Weekly
  2. Week One - Jesus Changes Water into Wine and Clears the Temple Courts
    Week One: Introduction
  3. Week One: Day One - Wedding Faux Pas
  4. Week One: Day Two - Saving The Best for Last
  5. Week One: Day Three - Trailing Clouds of Glory
  6. Week One: Day Four - Temple Tantrum
  7. Week One: Day Five - A Temple Raised in Record Time
  8. Week One: Gathering
  9. Week Two - Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
    Week Two: Introduction
  10. Week Two: Day One - Night Vision
  11. Week Two: Day Two - Twice Born
  12. Week Two: Day Three - Lifted Up
  13. Week Two: Day Four - Love's Gift
  14. Week Two: Day Five - Final Verdict
  15. Week Two: Gathering
  16. Week Three - Jesus Talks with a Samaritan Woman
    Week Three: Introduction
  17. Week Three: Day One - Oh, Well
  18. Week Three: Day Two - Thirst Quencher
  19. Week Three: Day Three - All Will Be Revealed
  20. Week Three: Day Four - Food for Thought
  21. Week Three: Day Five - The Test of Testimony
  22. Week Three: Gathering
  23. Week Four - Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
    Week Four: Introduction
  24. Week Four: Day One - Born Blind
  25. Week Four: Day Two - Holy Spit!
  26. Week Four: Day Three - Prophet and Loss
  27. Week Four: Day Four - Passing the Buck
  28. Week Four: Day Five - Redeemer to the Rescue
  29. Week Four: Gathering
  30. Week Five - The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
    Week Five: Introduction
  31. Week Five: Day One - Sheep-Stealing
  32. Week Five: Day Two - Calling Them by Name
  33. Week Five: Day Three - Abandon Doubt, All Ye Who Enter Here
  34. Week Five: Day Four - The Owner Versus the Hired Hand
  35. Week Five: Day Five - Other Sheep Not of This Fold
  36. Week Five: Gathering
  37. Week Six - Lazarus Raised from the Dead
    Week Six: Introduction
  38. Week Six: Day One - A Dire Situation
  39. Week Six: Day Two - Martha Confronts Jesus
  40. Week Six: Day Three - Mary, Did You Know?
  41. Week Six: Day Four - An Heir-Raising Incident
  42. Week Six: Day Five - The Plot Thickens and Sickens
  43. Week Six: Gathering
  44. Week Seven - Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
    Week Seven: Introduction
  45. Week Seven: Day One - A Prophetic Anointing
  46. Week Seven: Day Two - When Love Comes to Town
  47. Week Seven: Day Three - The Greeks Come Calling
  48. Week Seven: Day Four - A Voice from on High
  49. Week Seven: Day Five - Crowd Control
  50. Week Seven: Gathering
  51. Week Eight - The Last Supper
    Week Eight: Introduction
  52. Week Eight: Day One - Prime Time
  53. Week Eight: Day Two - Peter Puts His Foot in His Mouth
  54. Week Eight: Day Three - The Imitation of Christ
  55. Week Eight: Day Four - "Lord, Is It I?"
  56. Week Eight: Day Five - Simon Says
  57. Week Eight: Gathering
  58. Week Nine - Farewell Discourse
    Week Nine: Introduction
  59. Week Nine: Day One - The Genuine Divine Vine
  60. Week Nine: Day Two - The Love Command
  61. Week Nine: Day Three - Hate Crimes
  62. Week Nine: Day Four - The Advocate
  63. Week Nine: Day Five - Unbearable Truths
  64. Week Nine: Gathering
  65. Week Ten - The Death of Jesus
    Week Ten: Introduction
  66. Week Ten: Day One - The King and the Governor
  67. Week Ten: Day Two - The Son of Abba and the Son of God
  68. Week Ten : Day Three - No King but Caesar
  69. Week Ten: Day Four - The Title and the Robe
  70. Week Ten: Day Five - The Last Will and Testament of the King
  71. Week Ten: Gathering
  72. Week Eleven - Jesus' Resurrection and Appearances
    Week Eleven: Introduction
  73. Week Eleven: Day One - Tomb Raiders
  74. Week Eleven: Day Two - Mary, Mary Extraordinary
  75. Week Eleven: Day Three - The First Sunday Night Appearance
  76. Week Eleven: Day Four - Just Another Sunday Night, Until...
  77. Week Eleven: Day Five - The Purpose of This Good News
  78. Week Eleven: Gathering
  79. Week Twelve - Jesus' Appearance by the Sea of Galilee
    Week Twelve: Introduction
  80. Week Twelve: Day One - Let's Go Fishing
  81. Week Twelve: Day Two - The Light Dawns
  82. Week Twelve: Day Three - Breakfast by the Sea
  83. Week Twelve: Day Four - Do You Really Love Me?
  84. Week Twelve: Day Five - Don't Look Back
  85. Week Twelve: Gathering
Lesson 2 of 85
In Progress

Week One: Introduction

John 2:1–25

Jesus Changes Water into Wine and Clears the Temple Courts


In John, the Fourth Gospel, we have a highly schematized presentation of the story of Jesus, with seven “I am” sayings linked to seven “I am” discourses, all presaged and prepared for by the seven sign narratives, which are miracle stories found in the first half of this gospel (between John chapters 2–12). Seven was the number of perfection, and lest we think the author just didn’t have enough source material, he tells us clearly in the last verse of this gospel (John 21:25) that Jesus did many other things as well. So we have a carefully chosen and arranged series of materials, including miracle tales, in this gospel. Nothing happens by accident in Jesus’ ministry—everything is ordered in a specific way to show the plan of God. Thus, in John 2, we have two crucial stories—the miracle at the wedding feast in Cana, and the action of Jesus in the temple. It is not clear whether the action in the temple was meant to be seen as a sign in the same way as the miracle at Cana, but as we shall see, both are symbolic actions.

Scholars have long noted that the placement of the temple story in John is at a very different juncture in the narrative compared to where the same story is placed in the other three canonical Gospels. In the latter, the story is part of the Passion narrative—the telling of the events that happened during the last week of Jesus’ ministry. Here the story is found at the outset of the narrative. Why the difference? Concerning this event, most scholars would agree that: it did not likely happen twice; indeed, no single gospel suggests that it did (and if it had happened early in the ministry, it is hard to believe Jesus would have even been allowed on the temple precincts thereafter by the Jewish officials); and the placement in the Fourth Gospel seems to be theological rather than chronological. One of the major themes of this gospel is that Jesus replaces or fulfills the major institutions in himself—he is the Passover Lamb, he is the Temple where God dwells, he is the purifying waters, he is the sacred bread, he is God’s peace/Sabbath for humankind, and so on. The Fourth Evangelist wants to make this clear from the beginning of his story, and so he puts this temple action at the outset of his narrative.

One final point: the mother of Jesus appears in only two stories in this gospel—once at the outset of his ministry, and once at the conclusion, when he is on the cross. In a sense, then, the Evangelist presents Jesus in his rela- tionship to his mother and his disciples together as bookend stories in this gospel. We will explore the reason for this later.

General Comments. All seven of the miracle stories in John are worth studying. One consistent feature in all of them is that we do not see any particular interest in describing how the miracles happen, or for that matter, any interest in the miracles themselves. The interest is in what they point to outside of themselves—namely, the presence of King Jesus.
There are a variety of kinds of miracles in the Gospels; the miracle in John 2 is a nature miracle, so called because it involves doing something miraculous with inanimate matter. Other nature miracles would be the cursing of the fig tree (the only negative miracle in the Gospels), the walking on water, and presumably the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Other types of miracles include: healings of various sorts; exorcisms; and raising people from the dead. It is notable that in this gospel there are no exorcisms at all. Furthermore, there is only one ministry miracle tandem in this gospel that is also found in the Synoptic Gospels—namely, the feeding of the five thousand coupled with Jesus’ walking on water. Synoptic Gospels, or Synoptics, refers to the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They are so called because they contain much of the same material and often in the same order. This gospel writer does not focus on Galilean miracles in the same way or to the same degree that the Synoptics do. Instead, he tells us unique stories about miracles in and around Jerusalem and its suburbs, such as Bethany. Instead we have the healing of the cripple at the pool of Bethesda (John 5), the healing of the man born blind (John 9), and the raising of Lazarus (John 11). To judge from the miracle stories, this gospel was likely written by a Judean disciple of Jesus, and one with a connection to Mary. I would suggest that the person in question is the Beloved Disciple, who is probably not John son of Zebedee, not least because none of the special Zebedee stories are found in this gospel—not the calling of the Zebedees by the lake, not their witness- ing of the raising of Jairus’s daughter, not their presence at the transfiguration, and not their request for the box seats in the kingdom. Indeed the name Zebedee itself never comes up in the Fourth Gospel, save once, in the appendix in passing in John 21.
Miracles in the Fourth Gospel bear witness to who Jesus truly is, but do not provide absolute proof that he is divine, not least because prophets before Jesus and the apostles after Jesus performed many of the very same sort of miracles, including raising the dead. One cannot be impressed into the kingdom of God; rather, one has to embrace the truth by faith (as the purpose statement in John 20 suggests). In fact, in this gospel Jesus says that the disciples will one day do greater works than he has done, and this probably includes the signs or miracles. The story of Thomas in John 20 is a cautionary tale. He represents the seeing-leads-to-believing crowd. And Jesus will turn around and say that it is believing that truly leads to seeing.
Day 3. In the Fourth Gospel these miracles are called semeion (signs), whereas in the Synoptics they are called dunameis (mighty works). A sign, by its very nature, points outside of itself to something more important—in this case to the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, is on the scene.
The term doxa (glory), from which we get doxology, has as its Hebrew equivalent Shekinah, which refers to the shining presence of God, or better said, the bright physical manifestation of the presence of God when he comes into close encounter
with human beings. Glory does not normally refer in the New Testament to fame or fortune or human accomplishments; it refers to an attribute or effect of God and his presence. It seems probable that when the gospel writer said, “We have seen his glory” or “Jesus revealed his glory,” what he meant is that they had seen evidence that Jesus was indeed God incarnate, a manifestation of the divine in human form.
Day 5, verse 21. Notably, there are more parenthetical explanations by the Evangelist in this gospel than in any other gospel, again probably because it was intended to be used in evangelism and to train converts, or new disciples.