Introduction: Last week we learned that God became a human and lived
with us. ( John 1:14) This God, Jesus, is not only your Creator, but
by recognizing and receiving Him into your life you can become a
child of God. ( John 1:10-13). This week John begins to take us on a
journey that will not only reveal who Jesus is, but help you to
better understand your God. John’s first two stories are about wine
and violence. How does that lead us in the right direction? Let’s
dive into our study and find out!

  1. Wedding Wine

    1. Read John 2:1-2. What kind of event is a wedding? (A time
      of celebration.)

      1. John’s first story about Jesus shows Him
        participating in a celebration, a party. Why?

      2. Notice that verse 2 tells us that Jesus and His
        disciples “had also been invited.” What does that
        suggest to you? (This sounds so typical to me. The
        parents of the couple getting married are working
        over the invitation list for the wedding. They invite
        their friends, and figure they should also invite
        their friends’ children. Jesus’ mother, rather than
        Jesus, is most likely the reason He was invited.)

        1. How did Jesus’ disciples get invited? (Well, add
          the friends of the children. The wedding guest
          list is getting worrisomely long.)

    2. Read John 2:3-4. I think John has left out a little dialog
      here. We have no recorded answer to Jesus’ question in
      verse 4. What do you think is the answer to Jesus’
      question? (How about, “You twelve thirsty young men have
      been making a real dent in the wine supply?”)

      1. Even if that were true – that the “additional guests”
        had been undercutting the advance planning – how
        could Jesus do anything about this? (This shows us
        without any doubt that Mary believed that Jesus had
        powers beyond the ordinary. She hardly thought He
        would go out and pick and squash some grapes.)

    3. Look at both the second half of John 2:4 and add verse 5.
      Pretend you are standing right next to Jesus and His
      mother, Mary. Has Jesus agreed to do anything to help?
      (This sure sounds like “no” to me.)

      1. Does Jesus respond, “What do you expect Me to be able
        to do?” (No. Jesus knows He can fix this problem. He
        can perform a miracle. The issue is simply one of

      1. How do you explain Mary’s instructions in verse 5?
        (It does not sound like a meeting of the minds to me.
        Jesus says, “no,” and Mary presses Him to do
        something anyway.)

    1. Read John 2:6-9a. Jesus says, “no,” Mary says, “I want you
      to,” and Jesus performs the miracle. Remember that this is
      John’s first miracle story. What important lesson is John
      trying to teach us about Jesus? What is God trying to
      teach us about Himself? (God is flexible. God works with

      1. Is a moral principle involved here? (No. I am not
        convinced that God is flexible when it comes to
        obedience to His law. He expects us to obey. But
        everything else seems flexible, open to negotiation.)

      2. If I am right on this, why is this such an important
        point for John (and God)? (Have you ever asked God
        for guidance on where to live, what job to hold – and
        God did not seem to answer? Without a clear answer
        did you just drift without purpose? Where you live
        and what you do, in most instances, is not a moral
        issue. In matters like this, if you desire to do
        God’s will, and you do not have a clear direction
        from Him, then do what you think best. If God will
        work with you when He thinks “no,” is the best answer
        (as in the case of this wedding), He certainly will
        work with you when He reveals no opinion at all.)

      3. Consider John 1:10&14 when you contemplate the
        flexibility of God. What does this teach us about
        God’s flexibility? (The Word created us perfect, gave
        us His law, and we failed miserably. The
        uncomplicated, inflexible, correct answer to this
        problem was destruction for humans. The answer of our
        flexible and loving God was: Come to earth, take
        human form as a peasant, live the perfect life humans
        should have lived, be tortured and put to death. God
        has shown the ultimate flexibility in His dealings
        with us. Notice that even in this, God was very
        careful to observe the requirements of His law. No
        wonder John starts out with this point about how God
        works with us!)

    2. Before we move on, notice in John 2:6 we are told that the
      jars used for the newly created wine were for “ceremonial
      washing.” Why is that point noted in this story? Was this
      just happenstance? (This gives us another hue of color for
      our flexibility picture. The ceremonial washing was part
      of the Mosaic law – sin is taken away by a ceremony that
      results in the death of an animal. Wine, as Jesus points
      out at the Last Supper, represents the shedding of His
      blood. ( Matthew 26:27-29) Jesus’ sacrifice fulfilled the
      symbolism of the ceremony of the Mosaic law. His blood
      spares us from eternal death – another reminder of God’s

    3. Read John 2:9-10. What kind of wine did Jesus make for
      this wedding? (“Choice wine.”)

      1. What does this teach you for your life?

    4. Revisit John 2:6 for a minute. How much wine did Jesus
      make for this wedding? (Between 120 and 180 gallons!)

      1. What does this teach you for your life? (No, the
        answer is not drink lots of wine. It shows that God
        is generous in His blessings to us.)

    5. Read John 2:11. What important role did this miracle play
      in the work of Jesus and His disciples? (The looked at
      this, and decided to put their faith in Jesus. It was both
      a practical blessing to Mary and the wedding couple and it
      was a spiritual blessing for the relationship between
      Jesus and His disciples.)

      1. How about you, friend? Does this miracle help
        strengthen your faith in Jesus? Does it make you
        feel more encouraged about the nature of the God you

  1. Temple Cleaning

    1. Read John 2:13-16. What do you think about the second
      picture of Jesus given to us by John? Is Jesus kind and

      1. What causes Jesus to be upset? (The text (v.16) tells
        us that Jesus was very unhappy that His “Fathers’
        house” had been turned into a marketplace.)

      2. Read Matthew 21:12-13. What does this account suggest
        has Jesus upset? (This continues the same concern
        about a place of prayer being turned into a
        marketplace. However, it adds the information that
        people are being robbed. William Barclay, in his
        commentary on John (p. 110), reveals that both those
        who changed the money and those who sold the animals
        were ripping off the poor traveling pilgrims coming
        to the Temple for Passover. There is nothing
        intrinsically wrong with changing money or selling
        animals. However, doing those things dishonestly and
        in God’s House are serious problems. Performing a
        legitimate service is one thing, ripping off
        travelers is quite another.)

      3. In our churches and our towns we encourage people to
        call the police and not take matters of justice into
        their own hands. Why is Jesus taking this into His
        own hands? (Two reasons. First, “the authorities”
        were part of the problem. The annual profit to the
        Temple, according to Barclay, was so large that when
        the Temple fell under the Roman attack some years
        later, the Temple treasury contained millions of
        dollars. Second, Jesus was the legitimate authority.
        It was His Father’s house that was being defiled.)

    2. If Jesus is standing up for the “little guy” traveler, how
      does that make you feel about Him?

      1. Is this like the Cana wedding miracle in any way?

    3. Let’s turn to the reactions of those who were present.
      Read John 2:17-18. Compare the thoughts of the disciples
      with the thoughts of the Jewish officials? (For Jesus’
      disciples, it boosted their faith in His authority because
      they remembered the words of Psalms 69:9 – which is a
      Messianic prophecy. For the Jewish officials, they
      challenged what business, what authority, Jesus had to do

      1. Does the Jewish officials’ question seem odd to you?
        Imagine you asking this question of a police officer
        the next time you get pulled over for speeding. (They
        asked for a miracle because Jesus said the Temple was
        His “Father’s house.)

    4. Read John 2:19-21. Is Jesus’ answer responsive to the
      Jewish leaders’ question? (Sort of. They said, “Show us a
      miracle so that we will know you have the authority to do
      this.” Jesus responds that He can perform the miracle of
      raising the temple in three days.)

      1. Jesus and the Jews seem to be talking about two
        different things. Are they? (Yes and no. They are
        talking about stone and Jesus is talking about flesh.
        However, the entire sacrificial system, of which the
        Temple was the centerpiece, was all a symbol (a
        prophecy, an acted-out parable)of what Jesus would do
        to take away our sins. The Temple symbolized the
        coming crucifixion. Jesus was the embodiment of the
        Temple and He was going to fulfill all of the
        purposes of the Temple when He rose after three

    5. Read John 2:22. What was the result of the disciples
      being present during this event? (It strengthened their
      faith in the Bible and Jesus’ words.)

    6. Friend, does this second story strengthen your faith? Do
      you feel more attracted to Jesus who is an indignant
      defender of His Father and the poor?

  2. Next week: Grace Is All-Inclusive.