My personal opinion is that there was one temple cleansing but John was rearranging the order and positioning his account differently, changing the content to suit his purpose. That is typical of John and his interaction with the other gospels. He has only selected the temple cleansing story and he retained the authority segment to go with it. The rest he discards to highlight his purpose. I am not sure if he has deliberately substituted the vineyard pericope with the story of changing the water to wine at the Cana wedding but my hunch is that is exactly what he has done. It seems too much of a coincidence to think otherwise.
John clearly knows exactly what the others have written. Remember his was the last gospel to be written. There are 12 other times when John writes in parallel with the other gospel writers. But he always has different things to say or a different point to make or new information to add. Remember too that John was in the inner circle with Peter and James. They did things the other disciples didn’t do and were privy to things the other disciples didn’t know about. And John was the closest to Jesus it seems, naming himself “the disciple that Jesus loved”.
Note also that John is the only one in all of scripture to name the Passover, the Jewish Passover, or the Passover of the Jews. This term is found nowhere else in Scripture. He has abandoned the term the Lord’s Passover in favour of the Jewish Passover. Clearly this is a comment on Judaism and the establishment.
There is much to be made of the time (kairos). It was not yet his time at Cana. But when was his time? His time was at the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The only time while He was on earth that He was recognised to be The Messiah. John is pointing that out by lifting the story out of context. Remember he wanted you to know that Jesus is Messiah. In lifting out the temple cleansing story he is combining with it all the other detail that goes with it. Wow. This is huge. It fits with Luke’s comments (Lk 19:39-44) related to not recognizing the time of God’s coming to you. When is His time, the moment all Scripture is pointing to. It is what Daniel talked about when he said
Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there shall be seven sevens, and sixty two sevens . . . After sixty two sevens, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.Daniel 9:25-26
Luke knows, John knows. John is linking Jesus’ mother’s comment at the wedding to the time of his appearing. If no-one says anything the stones will cry out says Luke. There is much we could say about that. Luke links it to the Daniel prophecy by his subtle change of words and his stones theme. John has removed the temple cleansing story from something that happened late in Jesus ministry when the crowds all cried out “Messiah Messiah” and he has placed it early to highlight the timing and the significance of the appearing of the Messiah. BECAUSE HE WANTS YOU TO KNOW WHO THIS MESSIAH IS. HE TOLD YOU THAT.
I am aware that I haven’t told you the significance of how this relates to the 70 weeks of Daniel and the prophesying of the exact time when the Christ would appear – WHICH HAPPENED ON THE DAY OF JESUS TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM! But that will have to wait until we are working through Luke or Daniel. Or go to a God’s Awesome Book seminar or get the video. Ultimately I will post video segments of the God’s Awesome Book seminar on this website.
But not only that he sets it in opposition to the Jewish establishment in naming the Passover – the Passover of the Jews. Only John does this. He may even be using the idea of the new wine and the quality of it, set in juxtaposition to the quality of Judaism and temple worship where Jesus has to flush it all out. Is he also playing with the Synoptics pericope of “new wine skins”? I am not certain but it is a strong possibility. Ask him when you see him.
I have had a moment of revelation this morning as I have been writing this. A series of new connections and aha moments have happened for me. Some I have shared with you, some I haven’t. Now I will be faced with the challenge of reducing this all down to bite sized Twitter chunks. Aduh
People’s lives can be measured by the size of the things it takes to get their goat.Anon
Jesus taught profound truth in simple ways. We do the opposite. Many “deep” teachers are actually just muddy!Rick Warren