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Perhaps this was the method which Jesus himself had taken to confirm Peter and Andrew, Philip's instructors, in the good opinion they had conceived of him, by means of the testimony which their master, John the Baptist, had given concerning him, though the evangelist had not thought fit to mention this circumstance. And Nathaniel said unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? a proverb by which the rest of the Israelites ridiculed the Nazarenes. Nathaniel, on this occasion, applied it the rather, that Messiah's nativity had been determined, by the prophet Micah, to Bethlehem. Philip saith unto him, come and see: come and talk with him yourself, and you will soon be convinced that he is Messiah. Nathaniel being a man of a candid disposition, resolved to go and converse with Jesus, that he might judge, with the more certainty, concerning his pretensions. He was coming, therefore, with Philip, on this errand, when Jesus, who knew his thoughts, honoured him with the amiable character of a true Israelite, in whom there was no guile; a plain, upright, honest man; one free from hypocrisy, and open to conviction; one who not only derived his pedigree from Abraham, but who inherited his virtues. Jesus saw Nathaniel coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in_whom there is no guile! Nathaniel saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? I am a perfect stranger to you, how came you to know my character? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee. Though I was at so great a distance from thee, that it was impossible for me to see thee with my bodily eyes, yet I knew both where thou wast, and what thou wast doing. The character that I just now gave thee is founded on what I saw thee doing there. Nathaniel answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, thou art the king of Israel. I am sensible of the truth of what you have told me, and am certain that you have discovered unto me a matter beyond the reach of human knowledge, and therefore can no longer doubt your being Messiah. I acknowledge you to be the long expected king of Israel, who is the Son of God. Jesus answered and said unto him, because I said I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. Spencer thinks he had, here, in his eye, some visions of ministering angels, which, in the course of his public life, his disciples were to behold, though the evangelists have not mentioned them. For that angels did minister to Jesus is certain from the accounts we have of his temptation and resurrection. And that they might be made visible to the disciples was a possible privilege, and such as holy men of old had enjoyed, particularly the prophets, who saw the heavenly hosts surrounding even the throne of God. Or we may suppose that our Lord, in this passage, is speaking of the angels who waited on him at his resurrection and ascension. Thus he shall have referred his disciples to the greatest of his miracles, his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, by which the truth of his mission is put beyond all doubt.
Our Lord having thus, in the beginning of his ministry, proved his mission, and made several disciples at Jordan, departed from Galilee, accompanied by Philip, [John i. 48.] probably, also, by Simon, Andrew, and Nathaniel. The persons called his disciples, who were with him at the marriage in Cana, with him, also, in Jerusalem, and who accompanied him to the distant parts of Judea, and baptized those who offered themselves to his baptism, [John iii. 32. iv. 1.] were, probably, no other than the four just now mentioned. For, as these transactions happened before the Baptist's imprisonment, [John iii. 24.] we cannot think the disciples present at them had followed Jesus in consequence of the call given near the sea of Galilee,
[Mat. iv. 18.] or the call spoken of by Luke, v. 1, because it is certain that neither the one nor the other was given till after the Baptist was silenced.
On the third day after Jesus and his disciples arrived in Galilee they went to a marriage that was at Cana. Here Jesus furnished wine for the feast by miracle, by the desire of his mother, who was also bidden. Dr. Clarke thinks our Lord, in the course of private life, had sometimes exerted his divine power for the relief of his friends; and that his mother, having seen or heard of these miracles, knew the greatness of his power, and so applied to him on this occasion. Or we may suppose she had heard him speak of the miracles he was to perform for the confirmation of his mission, and the benefit of mankind, and begged him to favour his friends with one in the present necessity. Probably, Mary interested herself in this matter because she was a relation, or an intimate acquaintance of the new married couple, and had the management of the entertainment committed to her care, so was anxious to have every thing gone about with decency. Or she might make the case known to her son, being desirous to see him perform a miracle before such a numerous company of friends. [John ii. 1..4. And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. We have no reason, as Dr. Doddridge observes, to conclude that there was any rudeness in his addressing his mother thus. For though, indeed, it is a manner of expression that is very unusual among us, to call a person woman when we are speaking to her, if she be one to whom we think that any respect is due, yet some of the politest writers of antiquity make the most well-bred accomplished princes use it in their addressing ladies of the highest quality; and even servants too are sometimes represented as speaking of their mistresses in the same language. Mary was, without doubt, blameable, for presuming to direct her son in the duties of his ministry, her parental authority not extending to these matters. Therefore, he very justly gave her this gentle rebuke, in which he insinuated that his miracles were not to be performed at the desire of his relations, for civil and private reasons of conveniency, so that she acted improperly in making the request; yet Jesus, knowing that it would tend to the confirmation of his disciples' faith, and to the advancement of his mission, thought proper to comply, being not the less willing to exert his power, that his friends would reap some benefit from the matter of the miracle Ordering the servants, therefore, to fill six water-pots, that were at hand, to the brim, with water, the instant the pots were filled he converted the whole mass of the fluid into excellent wine; then desired that some of it might be drawn out, and carried to the governor of the feast, or entertainer of the company. [John ii. 5.] Among the Greeks, Romans, and Jews, it was usual at great entertainments, especially marriage feasts, to appoint a master of ceremonies, who gave directions, not only concerning the form and method of the entertainment, but likewise prescribed the laws of drinking. Jesus, therefore, ordered the wine, which he had formed, to be carried to the governor of the feast, that, by his judgment passed upon it in the hearing of all the guests, it might be known to be genuine wine of the best kind. The governor of the feast, on tasting the wine, was highly pleased with its flavour and richness, but did not know how it had been procured. Wherefore, addressing himself to the bridegroom in the hearing of all the guests, he commended it as far preferable to what they had been drinking, and praised him for the elegance of his taste, and for his civility in giving the company better wine during the progress of the entertainment, than at the beginning of it, which shewed that he did not grudge the quantity they might use. This information,