Since we got through the foundation of chapter one, we have truly picked up the pace! I can’t believe we were able to get through all of chapter 2 so quickly! The storytelling nature of the Gospel of John helps to simplify the story of Jesus. It is not a theological treatise. Rather it is a persuasive argument utilizing the various signs and miracles Jesus performed to compel the reader to believe on the Lord Jesus.
Can I just pause here for a moment to tell you how rewarding and fulfilling it is to teach my kids the Word of God? Because it is! The time we have spent diligently learning together has been the most valuable thing we have done in our home. And to see my children learning about Jesus? There is nothing better. I find it fitting that John, the author of this gospel, later wrote these words in 3 John 4:
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
The encouragement I get from seeing my kids learn and know the life of Christ is ineffable. And that I have the privilege of being the one to shepherd them through the word? Beyond words.
Having said that. I wanted to note something really quick regarding this series. I write this for other parents to have tools they can utilize in their family Bible time. I write this as a record of the Holy Spirit’s faithfulness to teach His word through an imperfect leader like me. And I humbly hope it blesses one person. I am not an authority on anything, but I hope to be a blessing, nonetheless.
Alright, enough of the introductions and notes. Let’s get to chapter 2!
We began our conversations about chapter 2 with review! Review is wonderful if you have taken a bit of a break from daily instruction (say for a school break or illness) because kids get to tell you what they remember and you get to remind them of the gaps. The reminders I focused on for our review this day were who was John the Baptizer? What was his job? What happened when John met Jesus? Who started following Jesus? And what did Jesus tell Nathanael he would see?
As we move forward in the book of John there is a sort of map, a series of signs that all point to Jesus. I want my kids to be on the lookout for signs such as these AND I want them to be watching for the “greater things than these” Jesus told Nathanael he would see.
Day One – Chapter 2, verses 1-10
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.
What is a wedding? (a thing where a man and a woman get married)
Yes! and it is a big celebration! Who does John the author say was at the wedding in Cana? (Jesus’s mother, Mary and the disciples) (I drew these people on the chalkboard table)
Let’s read on (verses 3 and 4):
When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.”
What is the problem that happens at the wedding, the big celebration? (they have no more wine) (I drew a wine jar (of sorts on the table) and showed very little wine at the bottom of it.) Let’s see what Mary does about this problem. (verse 5)
His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
There are servants at the wedding serving the wedding guests (they are like waiters at a restaurant). What does Mary tell them to do? (whatever He says to do) What is that called? (OBEDIENCE!) Let’s read on (verses 6 and 7):
Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim.
I am going to draw a picture of this, you tell me how many waterpots to draw. (I followed their instructions for drawing the waterpots). Now, how full is to the brim? (all the way to the top) And how much water does each pot hold? (20 or 30 gallons) We chose which pots had 20 and which pots had 30 gallons and labeled them accordingly. Let’s see what happens next to solve the problem of no more wine. (verse 8)
And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him.”
Now what has Mary told the servants to do? (Obey Jesus!) Did they do what Jesus told them to do? (YES!) What did they put in the waterpots? (Water) And what did Jesus tell them to take out of the waterpots to take to the headwaiter? (water) Does He say “water?” Let’s read it again. (No, he says “some.”)
Hmmm….let’s see what happens next! (verses 9 and 10)
When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
What happened to the water? (it turned into wine!) Who did that?!?! (JESUS!!) But how? Did you see in the story where it said he touched the wine, the water, the winepots, the ladle? (No) Then how did he do it? (He is powerful and He can do anything!)
This – this turning water into wine – is a miracle! Do you know what a miracle is? (I wrote the word miracle on the board and wrote down their answers word for word). Who can do miracles? (GOD!! and JESUS!!) That’s right!!
Why can God and Jesus perform miracles? (This last question is meant as a discussion question. The ultimate answer is because God is Creator and Governor over all creation. He is in charge and everything in His creation must obey His will.)
Day Two – 2:1-12
Today served as a review of the story from day one. We walked through the story and as my kids told me the story, I drew it on the table. It looked much like the day one board. But then I wanted to hone in on the quality of Jesus’s miracle.
What did the headwaiter say about the wine usually served at weddings? Do you remember? Let’s read it: (verse 10)
and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.”
What kind of wine do they serve at weddings first? (good wine) (I wrote the word Good on the table with room above and below it. I drew a line under good and wrote “poor” under the line.)
What kind of wine do they serve next at a wedding? (poorer wine) If this (pointing to the table) is a scale of good wine to poorer wine, where would I put the poorer wine? (under the poor wine) (I wrote the word “poorer” under “poor”)
Where would the wine that ran out go on this scale? (they pointed and I drew an arrow from “poorer” to the empty wine pot; I also added the word “poorest” to the scale.
How does the headwaiter describe the water that had been turned to wine? (the good wine) But the good wine has already been served at this wedding right? And they even have gone through what they would call poorer wine, too?
The headwaiter is comparing the wines that have come before (the good and the poorer) and he is saying that this new wine is what? Is it better or worse than the good wine? (BETTER!) So where would I put that? (they pointed and I wrote the words “better” and “best” above “good”)
So, if you had to describe the quality of the wine (which used to be water) which word would you use? (Better! or BEST!!)
Note: my kids are very fond of infinitives – everything is “the best in the whole world!” This was no exception. In this instance, I agree with them.
Wrapping it up
Let’s read verses 11-12 to hear about the response to this MIRACLE:
This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him. After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and they stayed there a few days.
John, the author, uses a word here that is going to become a key word throughout the Gospel of John – signs. (I drew a big box around the table.)
When we are driving down the road and we see a sign, what is it for? (to tell us something) Right! When we see a STOP sign, what does it mean we need to do? (STOP!) And when we see a sign that points in a direction to get on the freeway, what do we need to do to get on the freeway? (go that way)
Signs ALWAYS point to something or someone. They draw your attention to themselves so they can tell you something. In the Bible, and in the Gospel of John, signs are often Jesus’s miracles. And they point to something. What do you think the signs point to? (JESUS!!)
What did the author John say about this miracle at the wedding in Cana? Let’s read it again. (he said it was the beginning of His signs) What number do we say when we begin counting? (one) (I wrote “#1” on the table).
What did this sign do? What did it accomplish? Let’s read. (it manifested His glory) And what was the reaction of the people who saw this sign? (they believed) Did they? Did all the people who saw this believe? Does it say the servants who put the water in the waterpots believed? (no)
Day Three – 2: 13-17
It is virtually impossible for me to dive right into teaching my kids the Bible. I ALWAYS start with review. In review, I only ask the easiest questions. The ones I KNOW (based on our previous conversations) they know. Today, I focused on drawing out the new concept of “signs.” And let them know to be looking for another sign along the way.
Cleansing the Temple
Let’s start our day by reading the story of what happened next. (verses 13-14)
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.
Note: Today’s lesson requires quite a bit of exposition. This is how I presented it to my kids. Obviously, you can present it how you prefer. These are the simple concepts I wanted to share with my kids.
Jesus is going up to Jerusalem for a very important feast. All of His people, the Jews, were called by God to go to Jerusalem to celebrate this feast. And they came from all over everywhere to the temple. Now the temple was a very important place. It is the place where God’s people came (because God told them to) and sacrificed animals to Him. (I drew a temple as I talked and labeled it)
God told them that they needed to take their own, perfect animals and sacrifice them as a covering for their sins. (This sounds strange because we didn’t live back then, but this is what God told them to do – and He required obedience). Now when they came and they obeyed God by sacrificing their own perfect animals, God forgave them of their sins and they celebrated with feasts. The Passover was one of these feasts. (I wrote the word Passover next to the temple)
Now, in Jesus’s time the Jews lived all over the place and they didn’t always bring their own animals to Jerusalem to sacrifice to God and celebrate the feast. Sometimes they would come to Jerusalem and use the money of their land to buy an animal to sacrifice to God. And now there were people who made their money by bringing a whole bunch of animals to the temple to sell to the visitors.
Let’s read the passage again and draw what we see. (We read and then added the tables for oxen and sheep and doves and the money changers)
This is the place Jesus and His disciples have come to. This is the scene. Let’s see what Jesus thinks of it. Verses 15 and 16
And He made a scourge of cords and drove them all out of the temple with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”
Now, a scourge of cords is a sort of a whip. It is something to get their attention and GET THEM OUT! They would not want to come into contact with the whip. What does Jesus do with the scourge of cords? (He drove them out of the temple) Just the people or also the animals? (the people and the animals)
What else did He do? (He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables) And what about the doves? (he told them to take them away)
Why did He do this? What did He say to them? (Stop making My Father’s house a place of business.) What did Jesus call the temple? (My Father’s house) He did this because the Temple was a HOLY place. It was a special place. It was God’s house. The business owners that were doing business in God’s house weren’t treating it like it was God’s house, like it was HOLY.
Let’s read verse 17:
His disciples remember that it was written, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.”
When we see “it was written” it is referring to the Old Testament. And when we see the words in all capital letters, it is a direct quote from the Old Testament. It says exactly what the Old Testament says. What did the disciples remember the Old Testament said? (Zeal for Your house will consume me.)
Zeal is a very special word. It is HOLY anger. God’s house was supposed to be a HOLY place, a place that was different than other places. A place where people could meet with God! But these people who were selling animals and changing money in God’s house, do you think they were keeping God’s house special? (no)
Their actions in the temple made Jesus angry. Not because he was selfish, not because everything wasn’t just the way He wanted it; but because He wanted God’s house, His Father’s house to be HOLY. He wanted it to be the special place God meant for it to be. He was zealous for God’s house.
And His disciples knew the Old Testament, they knew there was a verse that spoke about someone who would come and “Zeal for [God’s] house would consume [Him]. Tomorrow we will see another sign that points to Jesus that came as a result of this event, this zealous act of Jesus.
Day Four – 2:18-25
Our day began with review of the sign/miracle of Cana and the events of cleansing the temple. I reminded the kids that we are looking for signs that point to Jesus. Let’s get to the verses; verse 15:
The Jews then said to Him, ‘What sign do You show us as Your authority for doing these things?
Where is Jesus at this time? (at the temple) (I drew a large temple in the center of our table) Yes, and the Jews are there also. They have a question for Jesus (because they don’t know Him – “He came to His own and those who were His own did not receive Him” – 1:11), what question is it? (What sign do You show us as Your authority for doing these things?)
They want a SIGN! They want to know what exactly Jesus is pointing at! They want to know His authority. Let’s talk about that word. (I wrote the Jews’ question on the table) What smaller word do you see in the word authority? (author!) The author is the one who is in charge of telling the story or the books we read. When you are the one who writes the story, you get to decide what happens in the story – you are in charge. Authority means Jesus is in charge.
What did Jesus do to show His authority over the temple? What did he just do that we read about yesterday? (He drove the oxen and the sheep and the birds and the money people out of the temple!) Yes! He showed He was in charge in His Father’s house and He wanted it to be HOLY.
Let’s see what Jesus said to the Jews who questioned His authority, verse 19:
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in 3 days I will raise it up.”
Ummm….does that seem like a strange sign to you? (YES!) He didn’t do a miracle like He did at the wedding, did He? (No!) Let’s figure out a way to show what His sign was on our table. (Draw cracks in the temple like it is falling down!) Ok, and maybe an arrow showing that it is going down? (Yes!) And then what did Jesus say would happen after the temple was destroyed? (He would raise it up again in 3 days)
Note: At this point my oldest had a lightbulb moment! She got so excited and said, “I know what He means!!” He is talking about His body! He is going to be killed and three days later He will rise again!!” THIS IS THE REASON WE DO THIS!
Now do the Jews understand what Jesus was saying? Did they see and understand the sign? Let’s look at what they said, verse 20:
The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?”
How long did it take to build the temple? (46 years) (I wrote this in the middle of the temple) Can Jesus build it in three days if He wanted to? (Yes! He can do anything!)
Let’s read on, verse 21:
But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
What was He referring to? (His body! Yes, and He is going to be killed on a cross and He will be buried in a tomb and then He will be raised again in 3 days) (I drew pictures as they told the resurrection story) Yes!! Amen!! You’ve got it!
But we know Jesus is speaking of the resurrection because we know that is what happened. Has all that happened at this moment in time? (No!) So, can they know all He says here about the temple is about Himself? (No!) Let’s read the next verse, verse 22:
So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.
When did the disciples understand what Jesus had said? (After He had been raised) And did everyone who was there at the temple that day remember and believe? (No, it was just His disciples) Yes. They remembered this day after the resurrection. What did remembering what Jesus said here in the temple cause them to do? (believe!!)
Day 5 – Concluding Chapter 2
Let’s read the last few verses of this chapter, verses 23-25
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.
Here we see more signs that the author, John, doesn’t even tell us about. But others who were in Jerusalem were seeing the signs Jesus did and they were believing in Him. Do you think those signs were miracles like the one at the wedding in Cana? (yes!) And what do all the signs point to? (Jesus)
As Jesus goes along, He is performing MANY signs, so many that John will tell us that he couldn’t even write them all down. And some see the signs and believe in Jesus. Others see the signs and they don’t understand. They don’t believe in Jesus.
Those last couple of verses in chapter 2 mention that Jesus KNOWS all men. He KNOWS what they believe about Him. He KNOWS whether they are following Him to see the miracles or because they believe He is God. Jesus can see their hearts. Why can Jesus see into men’s hearts? (because He is GOD!) Amen!