While Jesus was absent, John continued his ministry as before.
He was not literally Elias, nor any other departed prophet. The Jews did not see the true import of the promises which foretold the coming of the Messiah’s forerunner, but vainly expected Elijah to return in person.
Jesus is the Word, John only the voice declaring the word.
For Sadducees in their unbelief would have taken no interest in such things.
So did he honour his Lord that he felt unworthy to perform the menial service of unloosing and carrying his shoes. To do anything for Jesus is a great honour.
This was a true gospel note. Jesus is the great victim sacrificed for human guilt, not a lamb but the Lamb, and the Lamb of God—”God-ordained, God-given, God-accepted.” The sin of the world is viewed as one huge burden which he takes away as a sacrifice. This verse is the substance of the gospel message, and is the burden of all true preaching.
Jesus and John had lived apart, and John did not know Jesus till the Spirit had spoken to him; there was therefore no collusion between them, and the witness of John is rendered all the more valuable.
That is good preaching, which leads men away from the preacher himself to his Lord.
Meaning, “We desire to converse with thee in some quiet place, and learn what John means.”
Blessed is the man who having found the Lord for himself brings his brother also. These first disciples were John and Andrew; John says nothing about himself, but is careful to record the zealous act of Andrew; true humility is as glad to display the virtues of others as it is anxious to conceal its own. Andrew brought to Jesus a convert of greater mark than himself, and so may the least be the means of the conversion of the greatest.
That simple word won the heart of the fourth disciple. Has Jesus never said the same to us?
So the good work goes on by one telling another. If each Christian would try to bring another to Jesus, how much would be done!
Nathanael who is elsewhere called Bartholomew
A man of a simple-hearted, frank, open spirit.
There he had probably been seeking divine light by much earnest secret prayer, and the Lord Jesus knew this. How startled must Nathanael have been when his secret habit was thus openly spoken of.
Like a guileless Jacob, he had believed, and like him he shall see the mediatorial ladder which connects earth with heaven. Those who are willing to learn shall be graciously taught. Very quiet was the work of Jesus, and yet he had in two days gathered five choice men, who became his faithful disciples, and the pioneers of his kingdom. Jesus now removed from the Judean valley to Galilee. The journey would occupy him two days.
Marriage was thus honoured. Jesus would not have his people despise social joys and duties.
The word for “Woman” in the Greek is far more respectful than would appear from the English; but still the sentence was a rebuke, and was meant to prevent Marys overstepping her position. No human relationship could give any man or woman the right to dictate, or even suggest what Jesus should do.
By turning water into wine our Lord showed the difference between his teaching and that of John, and also drew a line between his spiritual kingdom and the sects whose righteousness lay in meats and drinks.
So the presence of Jesus elevates our household joys and turns them from water into wine.