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An Exposition Of The Gospels by The Most Rev. John Macevilly D.D.

In this chapter is recorded the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee, at which our Lord, His Blessed Mother and disciples were present (1, 2). The miracle of the conversion of the water into wine, with all its circumstances (3–11). Our Lord’s brief visit to Capharnaum (12). The wonderful display of His Majesty in driving the profane traffickers out of the Temple of Jerusalem, whither He ascended to celebrate the Pasch (13–16). Its effect on His disciples (17). His reply to the Jews, who called for some sign, as a proof of His authority (18–21). The happy result of His miracles, in gaming over many to the Faith (22–25).

Commentary

1. After having explained the mystery of the Incarnation and recorded several testimonies, among them, that of the Baptist, regarding the Divinity and mission of our Lord, as the long expected Messiah, the Evangelist now proceeds to record the first public miracle wrought by Him, after having gathered round Him some few followers.

“The third day” is commonly computed from that on which our Lord set out for Galilee, the same on which He called Philip (1:42), this being the last point of time definitely described by the Evangelist.

“Marriage.” marriage feast.

“Cana of Galilee.” Lower Galilee in the tribe of Zabulon, to distinguish it from Cana near Cidon in the Tribe of Aser (Jos. 19:28) in Upper Galilee, commonly known as Galilee of the Gentiles. The “Cana” mentioned was quite near Nazareth, about six miles distant from it.

“The Mother of Jesus was there.” Very likely, she came beforehand, more as a friend, who took particular interest in managing and making arrangements for the feast, than as an invited guest. It is not said, that she was “invited,” as is said of others. She, likely, came of herself as a friend of the family (v. 5). The Evangelist, very likely, makes special mention of her, on account of her part in the subsequent miracle. Who the bride and bridegroom were, cannot be known for certain. It is generally thought, they were relations of the Blessed Virgin. From the absence of all allusion to him, it is conjectured that Joseph, by this time, was dead.

2. “And His disciples.” Probably, the four referred to in the preceding chapter, were among them with the Evangelist himself, who minutely describes the whole scene. These followed our Lord for some time, and afterwards returned to their boats and the ordinary occupation of fishermen. Being called again by our Lord they clung to Him. (Matthew 4)

Our Lord assisted at the marriage, 1st, as a matter of social civility; 2ndly, to bless and sanctify, by His presence, the holy state of matrimony, of which He was the founder, and to obviate the objections raised against it at future times by Heretics (1 Tim. 4:3). Marriage has been always regarded in the Catholic Church as “a great Sacrament in Christ,” a holy state. Still, however, as a state, inferior to virginity. (1 Cor. 7)

3. “The wine failing,” or beginning to fall short. The pious and tender solicitude of the Virgin Mother and her merciful consideration for the feelings of the hosts are here displayed. Likely, as a friend of the family, taking special interest in the management of things, she was among the first to be apprised, by the waiters, of the apprehended failure of the wine. She did not wait till the wine was exhausted, and the hosts put to the blush; but relying on the power of Her Son, in whose Divinity and omnipotence she so firmly believed, she at once, unasked, spontaneously anticipates any embarrassment on the part of the entertainers, by gently hinting the state of things to her Divine Son, from whom, as appears from the context, she confidently expected miraculous relief (v. 5).

“They have no wine” remaining. The wine is about being exhausted. In these words, she mildly hints and tacitly requests the exercise of His sovereign power, to consult for the feelings of the hosts. Similar was the modest proceeding on the part of the sisters of Lazarus, who, without directly preferring a request for the resuscitation of their brother, simply say, “Lord, behold he whom Thou lovest is sick” (John 11:3).

4. “Quid mihi et tibi?” Whatever meaning may be attached to these words—and they have taxed the learning and ingenuity of the ablest commentators, ancient and modern—we must reject every interpretation that would imply, that they convey a censure, of any kind, on our Blessed Lady, or that our Lord, in any way, reprimanded her. In truth, the feelings of every Catholic would at once recoil from such a supposition. It is the doctrine of the Catholic Church (Council of Trent, SS. vi., Can. xxiii.) that “the B. Virgin, by a special privilege of God, had avoided all, even venial, sins, during her whole life.” The great light and Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, (Lib. de natura et gratia c. xxxvi.) says, “When we speak of sin, I wish to have no question whatever, of the B. Virgin.” It would not be reverential to say, that our Lord would administer a reproof to that mother whom He loved so tenderly, without some fault on her part. There was no fault committed here to call for a reprimand of any sort. The whole action of the Virgin was dictated by charity and a merciful consideration for the hosts, suggested by the necessity of the case. She merely informed her Divine Son, in the most modest way, at a seasonable time, of how matters stood. No doubt, a request is implied—but in a spirit of conformity to God’s holy will—that He would seasonably interpose by an exercise of Divine power. If the object of this implied request were censurable, surely, our Lord would not immediately accede to it, as He had done. The same is to be said of all its circumstances, time, place, etc., for the same reason.

Moreover, from the instructions given by her to the waiters (v. 5), it is clear the Virgin Mother did not regard her Son’s words, whatever be their meaning, which, at this remote period, it is difficult to determine, as conveying reproof or reprimand of any kind.

The manner of uttering them, likely, most tender, the tone of voice, would remove all appearance of acerbity.

The word, “woman,” (γυναι) is frequently used as a term of respect, signifying Mistress, Lady, as appears from its use, in this sense, by Pagan authors. (Xenophon, Cyroped, vii. 3, 4; Homer, Odyss. 221, 555, etc.) Even the most respectable Protestant commentators are in accord with us, on this point. Our Lord himself, who loved his beloved Mother with such filial tenderness, addresses the term to her, on the most affecting occasion, when hanging on the cross, on the point of breathing His last, on taking His final farewell, He says, in the presence of His beloved disciple, John, “WOMAN, behold thy Son” (John 19:26).

The phrase, τι μοι και σοὶ—“Quid mihi et tibi,” literally translated, would be, “what to me and to thee?” leaving the verb, “is,” out altogether. Hence, the words are not faithfully rendered, either in the Douay or Authorized Version. It might have been better to translate the words literally from the Greek, without adding or taking away from them; and then, leave the meaning to be determined, from either the context or any other available source of interpretation. The phrase is sometimes used in the Old Testament as well as in the New. The instances being so well known, it is unnecessary to quote them here at any length. In no one instance, can it be shown that they convey censure or reproof of any kind. The context clearly shows, as has been already stated, that here, they could not possibly imply censure or reproof

“My hour is not,” etc. The Word, “hour,” though generally referring to our Lord’s Passion, when He speaks of “My hour,” is not necessarily to be restricted to that meaning. It signifies in general, a time suitable for accomplishing any event. Circumstances are to determine what that suitable time may be, as, for instance, in (c. 7:6), “My time,” (the same as, “My hour, is not yet come”) it refers to His going up to attend the Festival at Jerusalem. Here, it most probably means, the time marked out, in the eternal decrees of his Father’s Providence, for publicly working miracles, and thereby manifesting His Divinity to the world. That time, so far as God’s general decree was concerned, had not yet come. But, simultaneously and concurrently with this general decree, was another Eternal decree, ordering that in view of the merits of his Immaculate Mother, our Lord, breaking through the ordinary arrangement of His Providence, would perform this miracle, at the request of His Blessed Mother, without which request, preordained from eternity, He would not have performed the miracle so soon. Both decrees are perfectly consistent and compatible.

The precise meaning of the phrase, owing to the many and conflicting interpretations given regarding it, can hardly be determined with certainty. But, at the same time, it may be said, that the determination of its precise meaning, however important, must be secondary to the grave consideration of vindicating our Lord’s filial devotion to His Blessed Mother, and her most powerful Intercessory influence with her Divine Son. The words, “My hour is not come,” would seem to suggest that, however charitable her views, however praiseworthy her motives, the working of the miracle, was attended with some difficulty, arising from the general arrangements of God’s Providence; however, according to the decree of God, it could not be refused, because she requested it. The most probable meaning of the words would then seem to be, “My Lady, the miracle, regarding which thou givest me a suggestive hint, is a work which cannot emanate from My human nature, received from thee, which alone, therefore is “common to you and to Me,” “quid mihi et tibi.” It is a work peculiar to my Divine nature. There is some difficulty in the way, arising from the decrees of My Father’s Providence as to the time, “the hour,” for My public manifestation to the world, is not yet come.” But, thy powerful intercession cannot be frustrated; thou askest it, let it, therefore, be done.” Accordingly, fully understanding the views of her Divine Son, she gave instructions to the waiters (v. 5).

What more calculated to inspire all her children with the greatest confidence in the wonderful intercessory power of the Blessed Virgin?

Patrizzi observes here: “From the narrative given in this place, we are taught, that God, out of respect for the prayers of this Virgin, has decreed that certain things would be done otherwise, than He would have decreed, had the Virgin not interposed her prayers.” (See John 19:26. Commentary.)

Considering the profundity of SS. Scripture, and the manifold lessons it conveys in several passages, it may be held, that these words in themselves, most respectful and devoid of all reproof, were meant by our Lord, to convey to all future generations a declaration of His Divinity, in virtue of which alone He performed miracles. For this Divinity or Divine nature, he was not indebted to His Blessed Mother. “Quid mihi et tibi, mulier.”

The words may also be meant to convey to parents, at all times, a lesson, as to how they should act in regard to their children, when duty to God and a regard for their own perfection would demand a sacrifice, such as is involved in embracing a religious life, and giving up all to follow Christ.

Similar is the meaning of the words of our Lord to His parents, when on being found, after an anxious and diligent search, in the Temple, He said: “Did you not know, that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49)

5. From the action of the Virgin, as recorded in this verse, it is clear, she did not regard the words referred to, as in any way reproachful, or her implied request, as untimely. In verse I, it is not said, she was an invited guest, like the others. From this, as well as from her mode of acting, as mentioned here, it is inferred, she was present, as a friend of the hosts, charitably undertaking to superintend the management of the Feast. From her instructions to the waiters, it is clear, she knew her Divine Son would perform the miracle in compliance with her request; that although “His hour,” looking to God’s general decree in reference to our Lord’s manifestation to the world, and apart from her interposition, was “not come,” in the first instance; still, so far as the will of God, in relation to her interposition, was concerned, it was come, in the second instance. Hence, she wished, by issuing timely instructions to the waiters, that they should be ready at a call to remove every obstacle, and have everything ready for the performance of the miracle.

Whence the Blessed Virgin derived the knowledge, or rather foreknowledge of what was to occur, it is not easy to conjecture; whether it was from revelation or supernatural knowledge, contained in the fulness and abundance of heavenly gifts conferred on her; or from some private intimation which her Divine Son might have given her, cannot be fully ascertained. One thing is certain that she knew all about the coming miracle; and also, that she could not have regarded the words addressed to her by her Son, as reproachful. It was also wisely arranged to hold communication beforehand with the waiters only, to prevent any suspicion of collusion between our Lord and the hosts.

6. The Evangelist now commences to describe the miracle with all its circumstances.

“Six water pots of stone,” destined for holding water and not wine; and hence, is removed the suspicion that some wine could have remained in these vessels, which might impart to water mixed with it the flavour of wine without having any new wine superadded, or, change effected. They were “set” or fixed there; this, together with their being of large and capacious size, removed all ground for suspecting, that they were carried there, full of wine for the purpose of deception.

“After the manner of the purification of the Jews.” They were placed there, that the Jews might perform the usual ablutions practised by them at their feasts, washing their hands before and after meals (Matthew 15:2). Washing vessels and furniture (Luke 11:39), was quite common with them. This is more minutely described by Mark (7:1–5). The purifications referred to here, were not those prescribed for legal uncleanness in the Law; but rather ablutions in connexion with meals, as handed down from the traditions of the ancients. The legal uncleanness contracted from contact with a corpse, or with a leper, etc., were not removed by purifications through water. It remained till evening.

“Containing two or three measures each.” Some contained two measures; some, three. It is difficult to determine the precise quantity, contained in each measure. Likely, it is the same as the Hebrew measure, Bath, used for liquids, and generally supposed to be equal to seven and a half gallons. The quantity of wine must, therefore, have been very large, which showed the splendour, of the miracle and the munificence of our Lord. Bath and Epha were measures of the same capacity; the former, for liquids; the latter, for solids.

7.—“Jesus saith to them,” the servants—“Fill the water pots with water.” So that no room would be left for pouring in wine to mix with the water. Likely, the banquet being by this time nearly over, the pots were emptied of water owing to the frequent purifications during the banquet; and now He tells the servants “to fill them up,” which they did, “to the brim,” so that there could be no possibility of a mixture or addition of any other ingredient. Moreover, the servants, indifferent disinterested witnesses, are employed, so that it could not be said that either our Lord Himself or His disciples brought the wine to give the colour of a miracle to the whole occurrence.

“Water pots,” never employed for holding wine, but only for holding water for ablution purposes; which served to remove all suspicion of any fraud or deception.

8. “Draw out now,” immediately after the pots were filled with water. This shows that the miracle was wrought on the spot, without any delay; and it, therefore, demonstrates the Divine power. And in order to guard against any suspicion of deception, the servants are ordered to carry it, not to the host or bridegroom; but “to the chief steward of the feast,” the man who presided at the head of the table; who having charge of the entertainment, gave instruction to the servants in attendance, and from his office was bound to practise sobriety. He was, therefore, the best judge of the quality of the wine, after tasting it.

9. “And knew not whence it was.” This circumstance gives great weight to his spontaneous evidence. It shows, that the judgment borne by him to the reality and superior excellence of the wine produced, was free from bias or prejudice. His was, therefore, a most important testimony, in regard to the reality of the miracle wrought, without any form of words, or any external action of our Blessed Lord, who effected the change immediately, in virtue of the same Omnipotent Power, by which He evoked all things out of nothing, “Quia ipse dixit et facta sunt; ipse mandavit et creata sunt” (Psa. 148.)

“He calls the bridegroom.” “The chief steward of the feast” was seated or reclined at the upper end or top of the table to see what was going on, and give instructions to the attendants. The bridegroom was, probably, going about and attending to his guests. Hence, “the chief steward” of the feast calls to him.

10. He charges him with want of tact and practical knowledge, in departing from the practice usually observed in supplying wine at feasts. The usual practice was to serve up the best wine at the beginning; and then, after the guests had drunk freely, and their palates had become, to some extent, blunted—this is the meaning of, “have drunk well” “inebriati sunt”—they, serve up an inferior kind of wine. From this, it by no means follows, that there was any intemperance at this feast. They are the words, not of our Lord, but the chief steward of the feast, stating what usually occurs, without any reference to the present feast. Neither do they express any toleration, much less approbation of intemperance. They simply refer to a fact or common occurrence.

11. “This beginning of miracles,” etc. This was the first of public miracles wrought by our Lord, and wrought in Cana of Galilee. There seems to be no good grounds for interpreting the words to mean, that this was the first of the miracles wrought by our Lord in Cana of Galilee, as if He afterwards performed other miracles there. The Greek construction however, would bear this meaning. There is no reason, why the Evangelist should refer to His miracles at Cana any more than to His miracles at Capharnaum or Jerusalem. I, said “public miracles,” as there is nothing to prevent us from thinking, that He might have privately manifested His Divine power to His parents in their home at Nazareth. Of this, however, there is no evidence. The result of this His first public miracle was, as He intended, twofold. 1st, To “manifest His glory,” to show His Divine attributes of omnipotence and goodness. The end of all His miracles was “the glory of God, that the Son of Man may be glorified” (10:4). This was the effect, so far as He was concerned, which His miracles were calculated to produce. If men did not correspond, this was the result of their own perversity. 2ndly, To increase the faith of His disciples so that they not only believe Him to be the promised Messiah, relying on the testimony of John and their own conversation with him; but now, on witnessing an exercise of Divine Power, that He was also the Eternal Son of God. Faith may be more or less intense. “Lord increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). The very fact of their being His disciples shows that they had already believed in Him. Now, their faith is increased or strengthened on witnessing this miracle, which is the meaning of the words. “believed in Him.” The faith of His Divine Mother, who was “full of grace,” needed no increase.

12. Probably, He proceeded at once from Cana to Nazareth, His native home. For, we have no account of His brethren being at the marriage feast. So, He met them at Nazareth; and thence went down with them to Capharnaum, which was situated in a lower place, on the brink of the Lake of Galilee. He remained there only for a short time. This is, therefore, different from His visit there, when after returning from Judea, He made it His permanent place of abode, the centre of His missionary excursions to the surrounding districts (Matthew 4:13).

“Capharnaum.” See Matthew 4:13 (Commentary).

“His brethren.” See Matthew 13:55, 56 (Commentary).

“Remained there not many days.” We have no record of any miracles being performed on this occasion, as we have, when He afterwards fixed His abode there; nor of His preaching, though likely, He employed His time in privately teaching and attracting disciples to Himself. Leaving Nazareth, where He knew He would not be received with proper respect, and His teaching might be disregarded and undervalued, He selects Capharnaum, as the theatre of His preaching and miracles (Matthew 4:13).

13. “And the Pasch of the Jews,” etc. “And” signifies, because, for, as assigning a reason why our Lord tarried not for any time on this occasion, at Capharnaum. He says, “of the Jews,” because when St. John wrote, the Christians kept their Pasch also. The Pasch was the most solemn of the three great Jewish Festivals, viz., Pasch, Pentecost, Tabernacles, on which the Lord commanded every male among the Jews, from every quarter, to adore and sacrifice in Jerusalem (Exodus 23; Deut. 16). They were allowed to offer sacrifice nowhere else.

“Went up to Jerusalem.” Jerusalem was on a higher elevation than Capharnaum.

14. This ejection of the profane traffickers from the Temple, recorded by St. John only, took place at the opening of our Lord’s mission. The other, which took place three years after, recorded by St. Matthew 21:12 (see Commentary), and the two other Evangelists (Mark 11:11; Luke 19:45) occurred at the close of His mission; and as the lesson administered here was forgotten and the offenders more culpable, in the second instance, on account of their greater resistance to grace, than in the former recorded here; hence, the language of reproach addressed to them is stronger and more severe. Here, He only charges them with turning the house of His Father into a mart of traffic; in St. Matthew, He charges them with converting it into “a den of robbers.” See Commentary. (Matthew 21:12, etc.)

“The house of my Father.” As Son of God, He here claims His strict right, to defend from profanation, the house of His Heavenly Father.

15. “Having made, as it were, a scourge,” etc. This is not mentioned by the other Evangelists, on the occasion of His second visit, before His Passion. The scourge was evidently intended for the cattle only, but not for the people; since, after casting out the cattle, etc., He says, “take hence these things,” etc., which supposes the people to have remained. “Take these things hence,” refers to the doves which could not be driven out. Their possessors were ordered to carry them away. It may seem surprising that these profane traffickers should at once yield such obedience to the commands of our Lord, whom they could hardly regard as vested with any authority. (See in explanation St. Jerome’s words. Matthew 21:13, Commentary.)

Speaking on this subject, St. Jerome observes, “For my part, I regard what occurred here, as the most marvellous of all the miraculous signs of our Lord’s power. A man, who was looked upon with scorn and was treated as the last of men, so as to be crucified, has the power to banish with a simple whip of cords so great a multitude, upset their tables and do other things, which an armed force could hardly accomplish; and this, in the presence of the Pharisees and Doctors of the Law, transported with rage against Him, as well as of those whose traffic He ruined. The eyes of the Saviour must have emitted some sparks of fire and heavenly rays, and the splendour of Divine Majesty on His countenance must have completely overwhelmed them, igneum enim quiddam ac sidereum radiebat in oculis ejus; et Divinitatis Majestas radicbat in facie.”

17. “His disciples remembered,” etc. Our Lord’s disciples, who heard the SS. Scriptures, and especially the Psalms, read in the Synagogues, on the Sabbath days, were sufficiently versed in sacred knowledge—Nathanael was so in an especial way—so as to remember the words spoken in the person of David, which they were aware were predicted of Christ, whom they knew to be the Messiah promised in the Law and the Prophets. These words, as applicable to Christ, came before their minds on seeing the extraordinary zeal which our Lord so courageously displayed in vindicating the honour of His Father’s house on this occasion.

“The zeal of Thy house,” etc. The burning anxiety and intense solicitude for the honour of Thy Temple, the dwelling place of Thy glory, the “house” wherein Thou dwellest, the indignation I have conceived against its profaners, “hath eaten me up,” is the chief, absorbing, burning thought of My mind, the great object of My solicitude. Our Lord commences and closes His sacred mission with a remarkable display of power, in vindicating the honour of His Father’s house; thus leaving a memorable lesson of instruction to stimulate the zeal of all who have charge of our Churches in which the glorious but veiled Majesty of God is substantially and personally present. Woe to those who are indifferent in regard to God’s glory and interests in this matter. “If any man violate the temple of God, him will the Lord destroy” (1 Cor. 3:17).

18. “The Jews, therefore, answered,” etc. “Therefore.” On seeing the wonderful zeal displayed by our Lord and its results in driving the profane traffickers out of the Temple, “answered.” This word frequently means, to begin to speak (Matthew 11:25).

“What sign dost Thou shew unto us,” etc.? The Jews, blinded by avarice, and seeing their temporal emoluments interfered with, regarded our Lord’s action in a different light from that in which the Apostles, remembering the words of David, regarded it. They ask for some miracle or supernatural sign, to prove His authority for doing “these things.” Similar are the words (Matthew 21:23). “By what authority dost Thou these things?” The whole occurrence, in connexion with the expulsion from the Temple—all concerned tamely submitting; while the authorities of the Temple were probably looking on—was, in itself, the greatest sign that He could exhibit, and was amply sufficient to convince them of His Divine authority, without asking any other, if their hearts were not hardened and their eyes blinded by passion and prejudice.

19. Our Lord well knew, that if He were to work a new miracle in proof of His Divine mission to convince men, whom this last exhibition of power, with all its circumstances, did not move; they would not, owing to their malignity, believe Him. He now refers, under the metaphor of a body representing a temple—St. Paul often addresses the body of a Christian as the temple of the Holy Ghost—to an overwhelming proof of His power, as well as the most convincing proof, He could give of His Divinity. He speaks of the resuscitation of Himself, by His own power, from the dead; and this, after minutely describing beforehand all its circumstances. No doubt, the Prophets sometimes raised others from the dead. But, this they did, by the Divine Power granted to them. Whereas, our Lord raised Himself by His own innate power, which God only could do. This is the great proof of our Lord’s Divinity constantly adduced, and deservedly so, by St. Paul thoughout his Epistles.

Our Lord gives this sign, however, only in an enigmatical, obscure way, a thing not unusual with Him, when dealing with obstinate, carping unbelievers, “that seeing, they may not see,” etc. (Luke 8:10.)

The Temple in which they were, suggested the idea of His own body, which is often represented by a Temple. For, as God resides in His Temple, our Lord dwelt personally in the plenitude of the Divinity, within His own body.

“Destroy this temple,” is not a precept; but, a mere prediction of what they would do. It is, what is called, a permissive imperative, like “quod facis, fac citius.” Some suppose, that in uttering the words, “this temple,” He pointed to His own body.

“And in three days I will raise it up.” This was the sign our Lord gave the unbelieving Jews on more than one occasion; “the sign of the Prophet, Jonas.” (Matthew 12:40; John 8:28, etc.)

They “destroyed” His life, by separating His soul in death from His body, His Divinity being always inseparably united to each.

20. The Jews understood our Lord, who spoke enigmatically, as treating of the material Temple. It may be, they did so on purpose, with a view of cavilling, and ridiculing His razing the Temple and building it up in three days; and hence, they laugh at His claims to authority. They quote His words on this occasion, or rather pervert them, as the ground of a charge against Him at His trial (Matthew 26:61; 27:40).

The Temple spoken of here is commonly understood of the second or Zorobabelic Temple, built after the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity. The first Temple built by Solomon in eight years (3 Kings 6:38), was utterly demolished by the Chaldeans. There is, therefore, no question of Solomon’s Temple here; but, of the second Temple, which it took forty-six years to rebuild, from the time they began to rebuild it, in the second year of Cyrus, to the ninth year of Darius Hystaspes, when it was finished. The work was frequently given over, during that period, owing to several obstacles, so that forty-six years were not spent in building it. But, from the commencement to the close of the building, a period of forty-six years elapsed. In the time of Herod, this second Temple was in a condition bordering on dilapidation. Hence, Herod undertook the work of repairing it on a magnificent scale. The work of rebuilding, which Herod commenced in the eighteenth year of his reign, sixteen years before the birth of Christ, was still going on, at this time—viz., the thirtieth year of our Lord. Hence, a period of forty-six years elapsed from the time Herod first began to rebuild or repair it, up to the present time. It was called the second Temple still; because it was still, the Zorobabelic Temple repaired by Herod. We are not bound to vindicate the accuracy of this statement. They are the words, not of our Lord; but, of the Jews, uttered by them, perhaps, inaccurately, as on another occasion, they implied that our Lord was bordering on forty years. “Quadraginta annos nondum habeset Abraham vidisti.”

“Wilt Thou raise it up,” etc.? This is asked scornfully, as if a poor, despised man could accomplish in three days, what it took potentates, with all their wealth and influence, over forty years to accomplish. Hence, they fancied that this assertion of His, proved, He had no authority for what He was after doing in the Temple.

21. The Evangelist mentions this to guard us against the mistake the Jews fell into regarding the material Temple, and to show that the accusation made by the Jews at His Passion (Matthew 26), “I can destroy the temple of God,” was a calumny. He did not say, “the temple of God,” but only, “this temple,” probably indicating at the time, by some gesture, what temple He referred to.

22. The disciples did not then, fully understand the words of our Lord. But, after His Resurrection, they remembered what He said on this occasion when He predicted His death and Resurrection, and they believed all that He said to be true.

“They believed,” not only our Lords words, regarding His death and Resurrection; but also, “the Scripture,” not the Scriptures in general which they always believed to be true; but, they believed that the portion of the Scripture of the Old Testament, which predicted our Lord’s death and Resurrection, was fully verified and accomplished in Christ.

23. “At the Pasch, on the Festival day.” During the continuation of the festival, which lasted for eight days (John 6). The Evangelist does not record the miracles wrought by our Lord, on this occasion. But, whatever they were, they had a very salutary effect. “Many”—in consequence of these signs—“believed in His name,” that is, believed Him to be the Christ, the promised Messiah. Our Lord wrought many miracles not recorded by the Evangelists. (See also 4:45; 6:2.)

24. He did not confide or place too much trust in them. He acted with prudent caution, withdrawing and keeping aloof from them, as the appointed hour of His death had not yet come. He, possibly, foresaw that some of those, who now believed in Him, would again give up the faith, and persecute Him at the instigation of the Jewish leaders, whom He knew to be incensed against Him, though still concealing their hatred and rancour.

“He knew all men,” their inconstancy and fickleness.

25. “He needed not that any man should give testimony,” etc. Unlike most men placed in authority, who must derive information from others, He needed not this; “for He knew what was in man.” He saw not only the exterior, but, the very secrets, the inmost recesses, of the human heart; nay, even man’s future line of free action. As God, He knew the secrets of man’s hearts, the future, as well as the present. Hence, He knew of Himself, how far man was to be trusted. This is a strong testimony in favour of His Omniscient Divinity. For God alone can search the heart. (Jeremiah 17:10; 3 Kings 8:39; 1 Par. 27:9; Job 42:2; Psa. 7:10, etc.)








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