Richard Burridge: John Chapters 1-2

John 1:19-23 "The Jews" want to know, more than 70 times in John they ask questions which become more aggressive until each accuses the other of being demonic (John 8:44; 8:48). "Jew" is a term usually used of leaders; but Jesus is a Jew and all who come to believe are. John's use reflects the bitterness of the split between synagogue and church.

John 1:24-34. Perhaps there is no account of Jesus' baptism to avoid the implication that the baptiser was greater than the baptised. The "Lamb of God" recalls the Passover (Exodus 12) and the suffering servant (Isaiah 53:4-7). In inter Testamental times the lamb symbolised the destruction of evil. John baptises with water, Jesus with the Holy Spirit. He is the "Son of God".

John 1:35-42. Jesus' first words are "What are you looking for?" which reflects Mary Magdalene (John 20:15). So often with Jesus it is a gracious question; then "Come and see."

John 2:1-8. At Cana Jesus calls Mary "woman" as he does on the Cross (John 19:26); a miracle through the persistence of Mary and the obedience of servants.

John 2:9-12. The quantity was approximately 800 bottles, signifying Messianic abundance (Amos 9:13; Hosea 14:7; Jeremiah 31:12; Isaiah 25:6). The first of his signs reveals his glory and his disciples believed in him.

John 2:13-17. Jesus has three Passovers in John. The incident in the temple has to come near the end of the Synoptics as that is the only time Jesus is in Jerusalem, e.g. Luke 9:51-19:27 concerns the journey to Jerusalem. Jesus' presence in the Temple is central to John, so this is a symbolic cleaning that might also reflect Malachi 3:1-4.

John 2:17-20. The temple event foreshadows the Crucifixion; alluding to Hosea 6.2, Jesus says he will destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. John, using irony, has the Jews taking Jesus literally.

John 2:21-25. Cana and the Temple are linked to convey the "New age" of Jesus. Only after the Resurrection could this and the "three days" be understood. John, fascinated by time, describes Jesus looking forward while he is also looking back.

Taken from:

Burridge, Richard: John: The People's Bible Commentary, The Bible Reading Fellowship, revised 2008, ISBN 978 1 84101 570 5.


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