Devotional Readings

John 2 – The Purpose of Miracles

Early in John’s gospel we find what drives Jesus’ performance of miracles.

At the end of chapter 1 we read:
Joh 1:50  Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

And here we see him turning water into the best wine….this is impossible for man to do, and not just the conversion to grape juice….but making the wine the best, implying the perfect growth, harvest, blending and aging…processes that take years to complete. All done instantly.

Think about this as a micro-image of what God did in creating the world described in Genesis 1, complete and aged….if you can believe one you can believe the other, different scales but same idea.

Joh 2:6  And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

Joh 2:7  Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

Joh 2:8  And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

Joh 2:9  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,

Joh 2:10  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.

BTW:back in verse 6 we have one of those strange KJV words..firkins; used to defined  containers large enough to hold what 2 or 3 firkins would be, up to 20-30 gals. A perfect way to communicate to the English people, what these were.



Thayer Definition:

1) a measurer, the name of a utensil known as a amphora, which is a species of measure used for liquids and containing somewhat less the nine English gallons or about (40 l)

From G3354; a measurer, that is, (specifically) a certain standard measure of capacity for liquids: – firkin.

It’s a useful word though we don’t use it much today. Perhaps not unlike how we use “keg” for a beer container. I found this on the Internet.

Image result for firkin keg
“I get asked a lot what the heck a firkin is and why do people serve beer in one. Well, here is the answer. A firkin is a unit of measure and also the size of a particular kind of keg used for cask conditioning; one quarter of a barrel, 72 pints, 9 imperial gallons. Firkins can be wooden or metal.”
Much as I like beer, that is not the point….it’s a good translation in context into the English equivalent. And though we don’t hear it today, it doesn’t invalidate the KJV.
We next see the result or purpose….to bring forth belief to his disciples here in this verse.
Joh 2:11  This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
And later in Jerusalem.

Joh 2:22  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.

Joh 2:23  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.

The chapter ends with this chilling statement…and even today he knows his sheep,..and our condition.

Joh 2:24  But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,

Joh 2:25  And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

We will read much more about Jesus knowing us, and the impact of miracles on true and false faith in the chapters to come.
Old John Gill has an excellent commentary on this…

But Jesus did not commit himself unto them,…. The sense according to some of the ancients is, that he did not commit the whole of the Gospel to them; he did not make known to them all his mind and will; this he only did to the twelve apostles, his special disciples and friends; nor was the time come, that he would make known, or have made known, the things concerning his person, office, obedience, sufferings, death, and resurrection from the dead: 

but rather the meaning is, that he did not trust himself with these persons, who believed in him, on the basis of his miracles; he did not take them into the number of his associates; he did not admit them to intimacy with him; nor did he freely converse with them, or make any long stay among them; but soon withdrew himself from hence, and went into other parts of Judea, and into Galilee:

because he knew all men: good and bad: all openly profane sinners, and all their actions; not only their more public ones, but those that are done in the dark, and which are the most secretly devised, and levelled against the saints; and he so knew them, as to bring them into judgment: 

and all good men, true believers; he knows their persons, as they are his Father’s choice, his gift of them to him, his own purchase, and as called by his grace; and so as to distinguish them at the last day, and give up the full account of every one of them to his Father: 

he knows the worst of them, the sin that dwells in them, their daily infirmities, their secret personal sins; their family sins, both of omission and commission; and their church sins, or which are committed in the house of God; and takes notice of them, so as to resent them, and chastise them for them; 

he knows the best of them, their graces, their faith, hope, love, patience, humility, self-denial, &c; 

he knows their good works, and all their weaknesses and their wants: and he knows all nominal professors, on what basis they take up their profession, and what trust they place in it; 

he can distinguish between grace and mere profession, and discern the secret lusts which such indulge, and the springs and progress of their apostasy: 

he knew all these men, that upon seeing his miracles, professed at this time to believe in him; he knew the hypocrisy and dissimulation of some of them; 

and he knew the notions they had of a temporal Messiah, and the temporal views they had in believing in him; and their design to set him up as a temporal prince, as some afterwards would have done: knew the flashy affections of others, who were like John’s hearers, that were pleased for a while; 

he knew what sort of faith it was they believed in him with, that it would not hold long, nor they continue with him; for he knew not only all persons, but παντα, “all things”, as some copies read here; see Joh 21:17.

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