On the Gospel of John 2

John 2  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
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That which follows, in chapter 2, reveals in principle what will happen when the Lord takes His place of authority over the Jews; the wine of gladness of the wedding will take the place of the water of purification, and Christ will purify His Father's house by judgment. But it will be a risen Christ who will accomplish these things. It is the resurrection that is presented to us, the fact of having left all His relationships with the world, and with His people down here according to the flesh, and of having placed man in quite a new position, the position which bears witness to His rights to execute the judgment of God. But notice, He was already the true temple. Jehovah was no longer really in the temple at Jerusalem, although that temple was owned as an outward thing by the Lord Himself until judgment was executed: only, at the time of His death, He no longer calls it His Father's house, but their house. God, in fact, was in Him; His body was the true temple.
These words of the Lord terminate this presentation of His Person, and of the position that He took in this world until the end, showing us at the same time that it was in resurrection that His glory should be accomplished. He declares also here that He would raise Himself up; He had, therefore, perfect right to judge the corrupt and defiled temple.
What follows speaks of the relationship of the Lord with others; the subject begins from verse 22. It is a question of man's state, and of the work that God was doing in him, and for him. The great principle that all blessing belongs to the resurrection-state, or is based upon it, man in his natural state being left completely behind, recurs constantly in John, as one may see in chapters 5, 6, and indeed all through the Gospel. We have then, here, the two great foundations of Christianity, as far as our state is concerned; that is, the new birth and the cross, both being absolutely necessary for our salvation; but the second going further than that which was necessary, according to the nature even of God, and introducing us into heavenly things.
To have a part in the kingdom, one must have an entirely new life. Even faith in Jesus, as founded upon a demonstration which could be addressed to human intelligence, was worth nothing. Men might be truly convinced (there were such at that time, and there are still such), whether by education, or by the exercise of their mind, but in order to be in relationship with God, there must be a new nature-a nature which can know Him, and which answers to His own. Many believed in Jesus when they saw the miracles that He did (v. 23); they concluded, like Nicodemus, that a man could not do what Jesus was doing, if He were not what He pretended to be. The conclusion was perfectly right. Passions to be overcome, prejudices to be laid aside, or interests hard to sacrifice were not concerned in the question. Man's reason judged rightly enough of the proofs given, the rest of his nature was not aroused. But the Lord knew man; He knew, with divine intelligence, what was in him. There was no lack of sincerity, perhaps, but what there was with these men was but a conclusion, a human conviction, which had no power over man's will, nor against his passions, nor against the wiles of the prince of this world. " Jesus did not trust himself to them." There must be a divine work, and a divine nature, to enjoy divine communion, and to walk in the divine path across the world. That which follows is very distinct.