The Gospel of John

J. N. Darby.

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(Notes and Comments Vol. 6.)

John 2

A thing done rightly of God, if done with the associations of this life, is done wrongfully. Men would call this perverse but it would defeat the mind of God. It was as important to dissociate that as to do the miracle. The miracle would have lost all its proper place, had this not been done; nay (as we know now), the minister of evil. We have the value of this conduct now in all things. I have never to mind the judgment of man.

I have not fully estimated the value and importance of this miracle. I have sometimes thought that it was typical of the latter day blessings, when He should drink wine new with them in the kingdom of His Father; but I know not as yet Verses 1, 2, 3, 4, is the direct bringing into association Himself and His mother, her association with the world, and His now with His disciples, and consequently His dissociation simply with her. Thus He was manifested. Yet it was no personal failing or hatred but, so to speak, official, as we see at the close of the circumstance. It was important as showing that all His relationship, as ministering in the world, was with the Father. The disciples were given Him of the Father; they were His brother and sister and mother. Here was the first primary manifestation. Having received disciples of the Father, He threw off, in this ministry, all other relationship. Being come to do His will, and nothing else, Him only He owned.

17 The passage appears to show that the bridegroom, etc., were some family connection or acquaintance of the mother, or nominal natural parentage of the Lord. "The mother of Jesus was there." Jesus therefore and His disciples (the association not being wholly broken) were invited to it (the marriage of the parties). This was the occasion of His manifesting forth His glory, of His breaking the association, and showing it in connection with that in which He had come to do His Father's will; that He had those which were new, and His own. But observe the perfectness of our blessed Lord. It was not by avoiding the circumstances, but by the perfectness of the association of His own heart with the Father's will that He thus walked separate; for not only here, but His mother and His brethren went down with Him to Capernaum. I have no doubt that in this, that is, the leading principles of the marriage feast, there is a typical development of His relationship with the Jewish Remnant, as Isaiah 8 and 49.

- 13. Then He comes to act in the exercise of this conscious place, and while in consciousness, yet in no way in assumption of His own glory, but zeal for His Father's honour, forgetful of men, and leading them rather indeed to call Him to account for it; for the power was not yet revealed.

- 14. At the Passover, these things were bought for the feast.

- 15. This is a remarkable transaction. The point of it is distinctly noticed: the consciousness of Sonship (in Him as a Man) making Him zealous for His Father's honour. The point of this book is here distinctly shown out. The world would blame this also, but when there is energy of the Spirit, zeal (which might seem beside itself) when the matter is undeniable for God's honour, is not rejected. It was right to be done; whether it was right to do it in another sense is another question. Here it is left on its right ground: "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up." It was witness, too, of that day when, as Son indeed with power, He shall purge the temple of all that defiles it; that blessed day when all shall be cleared away that hinders the Father's glory, and the free access of His love. Now was His time, indeed, to suffer, but still the great result to which this all leads, the purpose of God, known and set in His heart, was breaking forth even out of its time; for it was strange to Him also to suffer, but the great results were not strange. But God gave Him (most glorious Jesus!) the tongue of the learned, to speak a word in season to them that were weary. He wakened His ear morning by morning, He wakened His ear to hear as the learned. But I pass beyond my subject.

18  - 16. Observe too here the association of Sonship with Judaism, and the cleansing of His Father's house (the temple). "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son"; and this explains also what follows in that place; although also, it is true, the glory, and we in it, is set above the heavens, and so they (that is, the Jews) recognise in that Psalm (8). But how few will understand this! The answer of our Lord, too, has peculiar appropriateness. It was the act of Sonship in power, and vindicating the intrinsic holiness of His Father's house (compare the last verse or verses of Zechariah). Now, in the resurrection He was declared to be "the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness." Here, then, precisely was vindicated "the sign that justified" (as indeed morally it was ever justifiable, whoever did it) His doing these things.

- 17. Compare Psalm 69, and note verses 12 and 14. Our Lord was evidently now progressing into the full separation of His glory. I have somewhere else a note as to His apparently growing, or more elicited sense of the glory of His place and character. This is deeply interesting; and note, this is the development in John precisely of this, as declared in chapter 1:1-13, etc.; and note accordingly verse 16, and Luke 2:49.

- 18. This was the act of entitled Sonship (yet a zealous duty and honour to His Father, due properly always, for it was always wrong that God should be dishonoured), so to speak, out of its time. Its evidence was where the Lord set it. He was "declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." Nevertheless, for those acts which flow from a title not now exhibited, we cannot look that God should give present vindication, which note. Nevertheless this was, properly speaking, a righteous act. The holiness and honour of God's house was carelessly, or wilfully, at any rate obnoxiously, and most guiltily profaned, and He was vindicating it. But His enemies enquire not as to the occasion, the righteousness displayed, or the result, but the title to do it; and for this we must often wait till God's time. Yet let us take heed that it is such as will be established to be righteousness, when we shall be so manifested in that day, that it is done from a secret communion with God, which will justify it when the day cometh; that it is His will, and done for His honour simply.

19 And, observe, the Lord does it, not without being able to appeal at once to that which entitled Him. Their not understanding it was nothing to the purpose. The act was a praiseworthy act. The same energy of the Spirit which led Him forward in the zeal of God's house, gave Him the consciousness of the title in which He was acting, and which God would justify in that day.

- 22. The acts of Christ are the confirmation of the Scriptures, which are the mind of God exhibited in those acts. The resurrection of Jesus puts the seal upon the whole association, vindicating the application of the words to His Person and His words, as indeed we are there in setting to our seal that God is true.

This is an important and interesting passage for the connection and development of the Scriptures. The principle, easily deducible in these words, is the key to all Scripture, the resurrection being the great key to both, the link that unites and develops both the preceding testimonies as to their object, and when they find, and under what circumstances, that development; for even the sufferings of Jesus all get their character from this, and all the subsequent glory of the kingdom based on that which was evinced by His resurrection, and accomplishing all His words, the glory being not yet come. The Scripture itself would have wanted its proof of truth, if Jesus had not come, for it testified of Him; but, He being come, we know what was in the mind of the Spirit in the Scripture, and we believe it, and that not merely in the things actually done by Jesus, for these get their value by His resurrection, but also being that it is by His resurrection all the glory of the Kingdom, not yet fulfilled, and the words which He spake concerning that Kingdom, and all that was to come, is verified by that great seal. All Scripture therefore is prophecy; that is, in its object it is prophetic of Jesus, it expounds Jesus, and is fulfilled by Jesus, the sufferings of Jesus, and the glory that should follow.

20 This was the first manifestation of Jesus to the Jews in His Sonship to them as a nation. It was not merely the house of Israel, to the poor of which He came witnessing that the kingdom of heaven was at hand (that, indeed, was His great message in love and ministry); but He was sent, in respect of the manifestation of His Person and Messiahship, to the Jews, the restored tribes from Babylon, who constituted properly the Jewish nation in respect of their existing relationship to God, though still "Lo-ammi" (not My people), yet still put in this specialty and responsibility of place in which Messiah was presented to them as a restored people under special favour. He did many miracles now, and many believed on His name; they were done before the nation as such; for at this time they came up from all parts to the feast.


The Gospel of John shows more what Jesus was down here. I speak of the beginning. He was light, life. It is what He was in the world; Himself, as before the world was. The epistle presents Him as the manifestation of what God is, and that in the same character, that by Him we may have fellowship with the Father; adding therefore His work. Further, I judge verses 19-34 of John 1 go together, and present the Lord first as such (John being His forerunner), and therefore as coming to Israel in that character; and then what He was savingly as regards any blessed in virtue of His work before God; and as, in fine, taking away the sin of the world: Lamb of God; baptiser with the Spirit; and Son of God. Then verse 35 to the end (with which chapter 2 is associated) go together, being the gathering of a Remnant in Israel; then by John's introductory testimony, and by going with Christ Himself, and thus in the latter day. This introduces the marriage feast, when the water is changed into the good wine of joy, and the house of God judicially purged; this to the end of verse 22; from verse 18 being a discussion of title, which the Lord founds on divine power in resurrection: destroy this temple, and I will raise it up.