Jesus as Torah in John 2:1-22 -- By: Dan Lioy
Conspectus 4:1 (March 2007) p. 23
Jesus as Torah in John 2:1-221
An examination of John 2:1–22 affirms the Fourth Gospel’s emphasis on Jesus being the divine, incarnate Torah. The miracle of changing water into wine at a humble peasant wedding in Cana of Galilee revealed that the Logos is the Creator of all things. In order to bring about overflowing joy associated with the fulfilment of the law’s messianic promises, it was necessary for Jesus to atone for the sins of humanity, particularly through the shedding of His blood on the cross. Jesus’ clearing the temple courts in Jerusalem validated His claim to be greater than this shrine and to have authority over all the religious institutions associated with it. By His bold act, the one who is the culmination of the Tanakh4 signaled that the judgment of God rested on the established civil and religious authorities. They were giving way to the new order of forgiveness from sin and fellowship with the Lord.
Conspectus 4:1 (March 2007) p. 24
A major premise of this essay is that the Fourth Gospel presents Jesus as the divine, incarnate Torah. Expressed differently, He is portrayed as the realization of all the Mosaic law’s redemptive-historical types, prophecies, and expectations (cf. the discussion in Casselli 1997; Lioy 2007). The Evangelist’s goal was to convince people to trust in Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, and consequently find eternal life in Him (John 20:30–31). The inclusion of seven signs (2:11), or attesting miracles, in the first 12 chapters of the Fourth Gospel help to accomplish that overarching purpose. The wondrous deeds persuasively demonstrate the messianic identity, power, and authority of the Lord Jesus.
2. Jesus as torah changing of water into wine (John 2:1–11)
John 2:1–11 records the first of 12 miracles performed by Jesus during His earthly ministry. Johns (1994:521) maintains that the “signs consistently play a positive role for faith throughout the Fourth Gospel”. Against the backdrop of the “juridical motif” that “dominates the Fourth Gospel”, the “miracles help make the case” for the messianic identity of the Son (527; cf. Cook 1979:55–56; Kim 2001:62–64, 81–82). Just as in the period of Moses, the great lawgiver and leader of Israel, God intervened in human history, so no...
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