What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him
To those who sold doves, he said, “Get these out of here! Stop making my father’s house into a market!
(John 2:11, 16 NIV)
When we compare the gospel of John to the other three gospels we find a lot of differences – not a difference of emphasis – not a different understanding of Jesus’ ministry, of what he was about– but a different way of presenting him and his ministry.
The differences show up immediately: there is a different perspective on the calling of the disciples in chapter one; then in chapter two we have a miracle not reported in the other gospels and the cleansing of the temple, which the other gospels place at the end of his ministry, in his last week on earth. What gives, especially there in chapter two?
I suggest that John has chosen to highlight the wedding at Cana, Jesus’ first miracle, and has reported the temple cleansing out of chronological order (one of his last actions) in order to tell us what Jesus’ ministry is all about. What happened at Cana? Transformation! The transformation of water into wine. Jesus has not come to save us from our sins and then leave us in them. No, he has come to transform us from the children of the devil, trapped in our own selfishness to children of the Father – free to live like him.
But how is such transformation possible? How can the Spirit of God take up residence in us – hovels filled with sin? It is when the “temples” of our hearts are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb! That’s what the Cross was, and is, all about. Forgiven and cleansed, we can become the home of the Spirit – we can be transformed.
In that second chapter, John has told us what the ministry of Jesus is all about. He has told us “the secrets of the Kingdom” (Matt 13:11). He has come to cleanse us and transform us. Good News!