1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the feast. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4 Jesus then said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with me and you? My time has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now there were six stone water jars near by for purifications according to Jewish customs, each holding two or three metretes. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill those jars with water.” And they filled them to the top. 8 Then Jesus said to them, “Now pour out a drink and take it to the head waiter.” They did as he instructed them. 9 Now when the head waiter tasted the water made wine, and not knowing where it came from (although the servants knew, since they had drawn the water), he called the groom over 10 and said to him, “People usually serve the choice wines first, and when the guests have had their fill, then they bring out inferior wine; but you have saved the best wine until now.” 11 This beginning of signs Jesus worked in Cana of Galilee; and Jesus revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
335 Above, the Evangelist showed the dignity of the incarnate Word and gave various evidence for it. Now he begins to relate the effects and actions by which the divinity of the incarnate Word was made known to the world. First, he tells the things Christ did, while living in the world, that show his divinity. Secondly, he tells how Christ showed his divinity while dying; and this from chapter twelve on.
As to the first he does two things. First, he shows the divinity of Christ in relation to the power he had over nature. Secondly, in relation to the effects of grace; and this from chapter three on. Christ’s power over nature is pointed out to us by the fact that he changed a nature. And this change was accomplished by Christ as a sign: first, to his disciples, to strengthen them; secondly, to the people, to lead them to believe (2:12). This transformation of a nature, in order to strengthen the disciples, was accomplished at a marriage, when he turned water into wine. First, the marriage is described. Secondly, those present. Thirdly, the miracle performed hy Christ.
330 In describing the marriage, the time is first mentioned. Hence he says. On the third day there was a wedding, i.e., after the calling of the disciples mentioned earlier. For, after being made known by the testimony of John, Christ also wanted to make himself known. Secondly, the place is mentioned; hence he says, at Cana in Galilee. Galilee is a province, and Cana a small village located in that province.
337 As far as the literal meaning is concerned, we should note that there are two opinions about the time of Christ’s preaching. Some say that there were two and a half years from Christ’s baptism until his death. According to them, the events at this wedding took place in the same year that Christ was baptized. However, both the teaching and practice of the Church are opposed to this. For three miracles are commemorated on the feast of the Epiphany: the adoration of the Magi, which took place in the first year of the Lord’s birth; secondly, the baptism of Christ, which implies that he was baptized on the same day thirty years later; thirdly, this marriage, which took place on the same day one year later. It follows from this that at least one year elapsed between his baptism and this marriage. In that year the only things recorded to have been done by the Lord are found in the sixth chapter of Matthew: the fasting in the desert, and the temptation by the devil; and what John tells us in this Gospel of the testimony by the Baptist and the conversion of the disciples. After this wedding, Christ began to preach publicly and to perform miracles up to the time of his passion, so that he preached publicly for two and one half years.
338 In the mystical sense, marriage signifies the union of Christ with his Church, because as the Apostle says: “This is a great mystery: I am speaking of Christ and his Church” (Eph 5:32). And this marriage was begun In the womb of the Virgin, when God the Father united a human nature to his Son in a unity of person. So, the chamber of this union was the womb of the Virgin: “He established a chamber for the sun” (Ps 18:6). Of this marriage it is said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who married his son” (Mt 22:2), that is, when God the Father joined a human nature to his Word in the womb of the Virgin. It was made public when the Church was joined to him by faith: “I will bind you to myself in faith” (Hos 2:20). We read of this marriage: “Blessed are they who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rv 19:9). It will be consummated when the bride, i.e., the Church, is led into the resting place of the groom, i.e., into the glory of heaven.
The fact that this marriage took place on the third day is not without it own mystery. For the first day is the time of the law of nature; the second day is the time of the written law. but the third day is the time of grace, when the incarnate Lord celebrated the marriage: “He will revive Lis after two days: on the third day he will raise us up” (Hos 6:3).
The place too is appropriate. For “Cana” means “zeal and “Galilee” means “passage.” So this marriage was celebrated in the zeal of a passage, to suggest that those persons are most worthy of union with Christ who, burning with the zeal of a conscientious devotion, pass over from the state of guilt to the grace of the Church. “Pass over to me, all who desire me” (Sir 24:26). And they pass from death to life, i.e., from the state of mortality and misery to the state of immortality and glory: “I make all things new” (Rv 21:5).
339 Then the persons invited are described. Mention is made of three: the mother of Jesus, Jesus himself, and the disciples.
340 The mother of Jesus is mentioned when he says, the mother of Jesus was there. She is mentioned first to indicate that Jesus was still unknown and not invited to the wedding as a famous person, but merely as one acquaintance among others; for as they invited the mother, so also her son. Or, perhaps his mother is invited first because they were uncertain whether Jesus would come to a wedding if invited, because of the unusual piety they noticed in him and because they had not seen him at other social gatherings. So I think that they first asked his mother whether Jesus should be invited. That is why the Evangelist expressly said first that his mother was at the wedding, and that later Jesus was invited.
341 And this is what comes next: Jesus was invited. Christ decided to attend this wedding, first of all, to give us an example of humility. For he did not look to his own dignity, but “just as he condescended to accept the form of a servant, so he did not hesitate to come to the marriage of servants,” as Chrysostom says. And as Augustine says: “Let man blush to be proud, for God became humble.” For among his other acts of humility, the Son of the Virgin came to a marriage, which he had already instituted in paradise when he was with his Father. Of this example it is said: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29).
He came, secondly, to reject the error of those who condemn marriage, for as Bede says: “If there were sin in a holy marriage bed and in a marriage carried out with due purity, the Lord would not have come to the marriage.” But because he did come, he implies that the baseness of those who denounce marriage deserves to be condemned. “If she marries, it is not a sin” (1 Cor 7:36).
342 The disciples are mentioned when he says, and his disciples.
343 In its mystical meaning, the mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin, is present in spiritual marriages as the one who arranges the marriage, because it is through her intercession that one is joined to Christ through grace: “In me is every hope of life and of strength” (Sir 24:25). Christ is present as the true groom of the soul, as is said below (3:29): “It is the groom who has the bride.” The disciples are the groomsmen uniting the Church to Christ, the one of whom it is said: “I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor 11:2).
344 At this physical marriage some role in the miracle belongs to the mother of Christ, some to Christ, and some to the disciples. When he says, When the wine ran out, he indicates the part of each. The role of Christ’s mother was to superintend the miracle; the role of Christ to perform it; and the disciples were to bear witness to it. As to the first, Christ’s mother assumed the role of a mediatrix. Hence she does two things. First, she intercedes with her Son. In the second place, she instructs the servants. As to the first, two things are mentioned. First, his mother’s intercession; secondly, the answer of her Son.
345 In Mary’s intercession, note first her kindness and mercy. For it is a quality of mercy to regard another’s distress as one’s own, because to be merciful is to have a heart distressed at the distress of another: “Who is weak, and I am not weak?” (2 Cor 11:29). And so because the Blessed Virgin was full of mercy, she desired to relieve the distress of others. So he says, When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him.
Note, secondly, her reverence for Christ: for because of the reverence we have for God it is sufficient for us merely to express our needs: “Lord, all my desires are known by you” (Ps 37:10). But it is not our business to wonder about the way in which God will help us, for as it is said: “We do not know what we should pray for as we ought” (Rom 8:26). And so his mother merely told him of their need, saying, They have no more wine.
Thirdly, note the Virgin’s concern and care. For she did not wait until they were in extreme need, but When the wine ran out, that is, immediately. This is similar to what is said of God: “A helper in times of trouble” (Ps 9:10).
346 Chrysostom asks: Why did Mary never encourage Christ to perform any miracles before this time? For she had been told of his power by the angel, whose work had been confirmed by the many things she had seen happening in his regard, all of which she remembered, thinking them over in her heart (Lk 2:5 1). The reason is that before this time he lived like any other person. So, because the time was not appropriate, she put off asking him. But now, after John’s witness to him and after the conversion of his disciples, she trustingly prompted Christ to perform miracles. In this she was true to the symbol of the synagogue, which is the mother of’ Christ: for it was customary for the Jews to require miracles: “The Jews require signs” (1 Cor 1:22).
347 She says to him, They have no more wine. Here we should note that before the incarnation of Christ three wines were running out: the wine of justice, of wisdom, and of charity or grace. Wine stings, and in this respect it is a symbol of justice. The Samaritan poured wine and oil into the wounds of the injured man, that is, he mingled the severity of justice with the sweetness of mercy. “You have made us drink the wine of sorrow” (Ps 59:5). But wine also delights the heart, “Wine cheers the heart of man” (Ps 103:15). And in this respect wine is a symbol of wisdom, the meditation of which is enjoyable in the highest degree: “Her companionship has no bitterness” (Wis 8:16). Further, wine intoxicates: “Drink, friends, and be intoxicated, my dearly beloved” (Sg 5:1). And in this respect wine is a symbol of charity: “I have drunk my wine with my milk” (Sg 5:1). It is also a symbol of charity because of charity’s fervor: “Wine makes the virgins flourish” (Zec 9:17).
The wine of justice was indeed running out in the old law, in which justice was imperfect. But Christ brought it to perfection: “Unless your justice is greater than that of the scribes and of the Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20). The wine of wisdom was also running out, for it was hidden and symbolic, because as it says in 1 Corinthians (10:11): “All these things happened to them in symbol.” But Christ plainly brought wisdom to light: “He was teaching them as one having authority” (Mt 7:29). The wine of charity was also running out, because they had received a spirit of serving only in fear. But Christ converted the water of fear into the wine of charity when he gave “the spirit of adoption as sons, by which we cry: ‘Abba, Father’” (Rom 8:15), and when “the charity of God was poured out into our hearts,” as Romans (5:5) says.
348 Then when he says, Jesus said to her, the answer of Christ is given. This answer has been the occasion for three heresies.
349 The Manicheans claim that Christ had only an imaginary body, not a real one. Valentinus maintained that Christ assumed a celestial body and that, as far as his body was concerned, Christ was not related to the Virgin at all. The source of this error was that he understood, Woman, what does that have to do with me and you? as if it meant: “I have received nothing from you.” But this is contrary to the authority of Sacred Scripture. For the Apostle says: “God sent his Son, made from a woman” (Gal 4:4). Now Christ could not be said to have been made from her, unless he had taken something from her. Further, Augustine argues against them: “How do you know that our Lord said, What does that have to do with me and you? You reply that it is because John says so. But he also says that the Virgin was the mother of Christ. So, if you believe the Evangelist when he states that Jesus said this to his mother, you should also believe him when he says, and the mother of Jesus was there.”
350 Then there was Ebion who said that Christ was conceived from a man’s seed, and Elvidius, who said that the Virgin did not remain a virgin after childbirth. They were deceived by the fact that he said, Woman, which seems to imply the loss of virginity. But this is false, for in Sacred Scripture the word “woman” sometimes refers merely to the female sex, as it does in “made from a woman” (Gal 4:4). This is obvious also by the fact that Adam, speaking to God about Eve, said: “The woman whom you gave me as a companion, gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (Gn 3:12); for Eve was still a virgin in Paradise, where Adam had not know her. Hence the fact that the mother of Christ is here called “woman” in this Gospel does not imply a loss of virginity, but refers to her sex.
351 The Priscillianists, however, erred by misunderstanding the words of Christ, My time has not yet come. They claimed that all things happen by fate, and that the actions of men, including those of Christ, are subject to predetermined times. And that is why, according to them, Christ said, My time has not yet come.
But this is false for any man. For since man has free choice, and this is because he has reason and will, both of which are spiritual, then obviously, as far as choice is concerned, man, so far from being subject to bodies, is really their master. For spiritual things are superior to material things, so much so that the Philosopher says that the wise man is master of the stars. Further, their heresy is even less true of Christ, who is the Lord and Creator of the stars. Thus when he says, My time has not yet come, he is referring to the time of his passion, which was fixed for him, not by necessity, according to divine providence. What is said in Sirach (33:7) is also contrary to their opinion: “Why is one day better than another?” And the answer is: “They have been differentiated by the knowledge of the Lord,” i.e., they were differentiated from one another not by chance, but by God’s providence.
352 Since we have eliminated the above opinions, let us look for the reason why our Lord answered, Woman, what does that have to do with me and you? For Augustine, Christ has two natures, the divine and the human. And although the same Christ exists in each, nevertheless things appropriate to him according to his human nature are distinct from what is appropriate to him according to his divine nature. Now to perform miracles is appropriate to him according to his divine nature, which he received from the Father; while to suffer is according to his human nature, which he received from his mother. So when his mother requests this miracle, he answers, Woman, what does that have to do with me and you? as if saying: I did not receive from you that in me which enables me to perform miracles, but that which enables me to suffer, i.e., that which makes it appropriate for me to suffer, i.e., I have received a human nature from you. And so I will recognize you when this weakness hangs on the cross. And so he continues with, My time has not yet come. As if to say: I will recognize you as my mother when the time of my passion arrives. And so it was that on the cross he entrusted his mother to the disciple.
353 Chrysostom explains this differently. He says that the Blessed Virgin, burning with zeal for the honor of her Son, wanted Christ to perform miracles at once, before it was opportune; but that Christ, being much wiser than his mother, restrained her. For he was unwilling to perform the miracle before the need for it was known; otherwise, it would have been less appreciated and less credible. And so he says, Woman, what does that have to do with me and you? As if to say: Why bother me? My time has not yet come, i.e., I am not yet known to those present. Nor do they know that the wine ran out; and they must first know this, because when they know their need they will have a greater appreciation of the benefit they will receive.
354 Now although his mother was refused, she did not lose hope in her Son’s mercy. So she instructs the servants, Do whatever he tells you, in which, indeed, consists the perfection of all justice. For perfect justice consists in obeying Christ in all things: “We will do all that the Lord commanded us” (Ex 29:35). Do whatever he tells you, is fittingly said of God alone, for man can err now and then. Hence in matters that are against God, we are not held to obey men: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). We ought to obey God, who does not err and cannot be deceived, in all things.
355 Now Christ’s completion of the miracle is set forth. First, the vessels in which the miracle was performed are described. Secondly, the matter of the miracle is stated (v 7). Thirdly, we have how the miracle was made known and approved (v 8).
356 The miracle was performed in six vessels; Now there were six stone water jars near by. Here we should note, that as mentioned in Mark (7:2), the Jews observed many bodily washings and the cleansing of their cups and dishes. So, because they were in Palestine where there wis a shortage of water, they had vessels in which they kept the purest water to be used for washing themselves and their utensils. Hence he says, there were six stone water jars near by, i.e., vessels for holding water, for purifications according to Jewish customs, i.e., to use for purification, each holding two or three metretes of liquid, that is, two or three measures; for the Greek “metrete” is the same as the Latin “mensura.”
These jars were standing there, as Chrysostom says, in order to eliminate any suspicion about the miracle: both on account of their cleanliness, lest anyone suspect that the water had acquired the taste of wine from the dregs of wine previously stored in them, for these jars were standing there for purifications according to Jewish customs, and so had to be very pure; and also on account of the capacity of the jars, so that it would be abundantly clear that the water in such jars could be changed into wine only by divine power.
357 In the mystical sense, the six water jars signify the six eras of the Old Testament during which the hearts of men were prepared and made receptive of God’s Scriptures, and put forward as an example for our lives.
The term metretes, according to Augustine, refers to the Trinity of persons. And they are described as two or three because at times in Scripture three persons in the Trinity are distinctly mentioned: “Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19), and at other times only two, the Father and the Son, in whom the Holy Spirit, who is the union of the two, is implied: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him” (below 14:23). Or they are described as two on account of the two states of mankind from which the Church arose, that is, Jews and Gentiles. Or three on account of the three sons of Noe, from whom the human race arose after the deluge.
358 Then when he says that Jesus instructed them, Fill those jars with water, he gives the material of the miracle. Here we might ask why this miracle was performed with already existing material, and not from nothing. There are three reasons for this. The first reason is literal, and is given by Chrysostom: to make something from nothing is much greater and more marvelous than to make something from material already existing; but it is not so evident and believable to many. And so, wishing to make what he did more believable, Christ made wine from water, thus condescending to man’s capacity.
Another reason was to refute wrong dogmas. For there are some (as the Marcionists and Manicheans) who said that the founder of the world was someone other than God, and that all visible things were established by such a one, that is, the devil. And so the Lord performed many miracles using created and visible substances in order to show that these substances are good and were created by God.
The third reason is mystical. Christ made the wine from water, and not from nothing, in order to show that he was not laying down an entirely new doctrine and rejecting the old, but was fulfilling the old: “I have not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it” (Mt 5:17). In other words, what was prefigured and promised in the old law, was disclosed and revealed by Christ: “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” (Lk 24:45).
Finally, he had the servants fill the jars with water so that he might have witnesses to what he did; so it is said, the servants knew, since they had drawn the water.
359 Then, the miracle is made known. For as soon as the jars were filled, the water was turned into wine. So the Lord reveals the miracle at once, saying: Now pour out a drink and take it to the head waiter. First, we have the command of Christ selecting who is to test the wine; secondly, the judgment of the head waiter who tasted it.
360 Then Jesus said to them, i.e., to the servants, Now pour out a drink, that is, of wine, from the jars, and take it to the head waiter (arch itriclin us). Here we should note that a triclinium is a place where there are three rows of tables, and it is called a trichinium from its three rows of dining couches: for cline in Greek means couch. For the ancients were accustomed to eat reclining on couches, ais Maximus Valerius recounts. This is the reason why the Scriptures speak of lying next to and lying down. Thus the architriclinus was (fie first and chief among those dining. Or, according to Chrysostom, the architriclinus was the one in charge of the whole banquet. And because he had been busy and had not tasted anything, the Lord wanted him, and not the guests, to be the judge of what had been done, so some could not detract from the miracle by saying the guests were drunk and, their senses dulled, could not tell wine from water. For Augustine, the architriclinus was the chief guest, as was inentioned; and Christ wanted to have the opinion of this person in high position so it would be more acceptable.
361 In the mystical sense, those who pour out the water are preachers: “With joy you will draw water from the springs of the Savior” (Is 12:3). And the architriclinus is someone skilled in the law, as Nicodenius, Gamaliel or Paul. So, when the word of the Gospel, which was hidden under the letter of the law, is entrusted to such persons, it is as though wine made from water is poured out for the architriclinus, who, when he tastes it, gives his assent to the faith of Christ.
362 Then the judgment of the one examining the wine is given. First, he inquires into the truth of the fact; secondly, he gives his opinion.
He says, Now when the head waiter tasted the water made wine, and not knowing where it came from, because he did not know that the water had miraculously been made wine by Christ, although the servants knew, the reason being, since they had drawn the water, he called the groom over, in order to learn the truth and give his opinion of the wine. Hence he adds: People usually serve the choice wines first, and when the guests have had their fill, then they bring out inferior wine.
Here we should consider, according to Chrysostom, that everything is most perfect in the miracles of Christ. Thus, he restored most complete health to Peter’s mother-in-law, so that she arose at once and waited on them, as we read in Mark (1:30) and Matthew (7:14). Again, he restored the paralytic to health so perfectly that he also arose immediately, took up his mat, and went home, as we read below (5:9). And this is also evident in this miracle, because Christ did not make mediocre wine from the water, but the very best possible. And so the head waiter says, People usually serve the choice wines first, and when the guests have had their fill, then they bring out inferior wine, because they drink less, and because good wine consumed in quantity along with a quantity of food causes greater discomfort. It is as though he were saying: Where did this very good wine come from which, contrary to custom, you saved until now?
363 This is appropriate to a mystery. For in the mystical sense, he serves good wine first who, with an intent to deceive others, does not first mention the error he intends, but other things that entice his hearers, so that he can disclose his evil plans after they have been intoxicated and enticed to consent. We read of such wine: “It goes down pleasantly, but finally it will bite like a serpent” (Prv 23:3 1). Again, he serves good wine first who begins to live in a saintly and spiritual manner at the start of his conversion, but later sinks into a carnal life: “Are you so foolish as, having begun in the Spirit, to end in the flesh?” (Gal 3:3).
Christ, however, does not serve the good wine first, for at the outset he proposes things that are bitter and hard: “Narrow is the way that leads to life” (Mt 7:14). Yet the more progress a person makes in his faith and teaching, the more pleasant it becomes and he becomes aware of a greater sweetness: “I will lead You by the path of justice, and when you walk you will not be hindered” (Prv 4:11). Likewise, all those who desire to live conscientiously in Christ stiffer bitterness and troubles in this world: “You will weep and mourn” (below 16:20). But later they will experience delights and joys. So he goes on: “but your sorrow will be turned into joy.” “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, which will be revealed in us,” as is said in Romans (8:18).
364 Then when he says, This beginning of signs Jesus worked in Cana of Galilee, he gives the disciples’ acknowledgment of the miracle. We can see from this the falsity of the History of the Infancy of the Savior, which recounts many miracles worked by Christ as a boy. For if these accounts were true, the Evangelist would not have said, This beginning of signs Jesus worked. We have already given the reason why Christ worked no miracles during his childhood, that is, lest men regard them as illusions.
It was for the reason given above, then, that Jesus performed this miracle of turning water into wine at Cana of Galilee; and this was the first of the signs he did. And Jesus revealed his glory, i.e., the power by which he is glorious: “The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory” (Ps 23:10).
365 And his disciples believed in him. But how did they believe? For they already were his disciples and had believed before this. I answer that sometimes a thing is described not according to what it is at the time, but according to what it will be. For example, we say that the apostle Paul was born at Tarsus, in Cilicia; not that an actual apostle was born there, but a future one was. Similarly, it says here that his disciples believed in him, i.e., those who would be his disciples. Or, one might answer that previously they had believed in him as a good man, preaching what was right and just; but now they believed in him as God.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum together with his mother, his brethren and his disciples; but they did not remain there many clays. 13 The Jewish Passover was near at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple precincts he came upon merchants selling oxen, sheep and doves, and moneychangers seated at tables. 15 And when he had made a kind of whip from cords, he drove everyone, including sheep and oxen, out of the temple, swept away the gold of the money changers, and knocked over their tables. 16 To those selling doves he said, “Get Out of here! And stop making my Father’s house into a marketplace.” 17 His disciples then remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house consumes me.”
366 Above, the Evangelist presented the sign Christ worked in order to confirm his disciples; and this sign pertained to his power to change nature. Now he deals with the sign of his resurrection; a sign pertaining to the same power, but proposed by Christ to convert the people.
The Evangelist does two things as to this miracle. First, he mentions its occasion. Secondly, the prediction of the miracle (v 18). As to the first he does two things. First, he describes the place. Secondly, he tells of the incident which was the occasion for proposing this miracle (v 14). Now the place where this happened was Jerusalem. And so the Evangelist recounts step by step how the Lord had come to Jerusalem. First, then, he shows how he went down to Capernaum. Secondly, how he then went up to Jerusalem. As to the first he does three things. First, he mentions the place to which he went down. Secondly, he describes his company. Thirdly, he mentions the length of his stay.
367 The place to which Christ went down was Capernaum; and so he says, After this, i.e., the miracle of the wine, he went down to Capernaum. Now as far as the historical truth is concerned, this seems to conflict with Matthew’s account that the Lord went down to Capernaum after John had been thrown into prison (Mt 4:12), while the entire series of events the Evangelist refers to here took place before John’s imprisonment.
I answer that in order to settle this question we should bear in mind what is learned from the Ecclesiastical History, that is, that the other Evangelists, Matthew, Mark and Luke, began their account of the public life of Christ from the time that John was thrown into prison. Thus Matthew (4:12), after describing the baptism, fast and temptation of Christ, began at once to weave his story after John’s imprisonment, saying: “When Jesus heard that John had been arrested.” And Mark (1:14) says the same: “After John had been arrested, Jesus came into Galilee.” John, who outlived the other three Evangelists, approved the accuracy and truth of their accounts when they came to his notice. Yet he saw that certain things had been left unsaid, namely, things which the Lord had done in the very first days of his preaching before John’s imprisonment. And so, at the request of the faithful, John, after he began his own Gospel in a loftier manner, recorded events that took place during the first year in which Christ was baptized before John’s imprisonment, as is plain from the order of the events in his Gospel. According to this, then, the Evangelists are not in disagreement. Rather, the Lord went down to Capernaum twice: once before John’s imprisonment (which is the one dealt with here), and once after his imprisonment, which is dealt with in Matthew (4:13) and Luke (4:31 ).
368 Now “Capernaum” means “very pretty village,” and signifies this world, which has its beauty from the order and disposition of divine wisdom: “The beauty of the land is mine” (Ps 49:2). So the Lord went down to Capernaum, i.e., this world, with his mother and brethren and disciples. For in heaven the Lord has a Father without a mother; and on earth a mother without a father. Thus, he significantly mentions only his mother. In heaven he does not have brothers either, but is “the Only Begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father” (above 1:18). But on earth he is “the Firstborn of many brothers” (Rom 8:29). And on earth he has disciples, to whom he can teach the mysteries of the divinity, which were not known to men before: “In these days he has spoken to us in his Son” as we read in Hebrews (1:1).
Or, “Capernaum” means “the field of consolation”; and this signifies every man who bears good fruit: “The odor of my son is like the odor of a fruitful field” (Gn 27:27). Such a person is called a field of consolation because the Lord is consoled and rejoices in his achievement: “God will rejoice over you” (Is 62:5), and because the angels rejoice over his good: “There is joy in the angels of God over one repentant sinner” (Lk 15:10).
369 His companions were, first of all, his mother. So he says, with his mother, for because she had come to the wedding and had brought about the miracle, the Lord accompanied her back to the village of Nazareth. Nazareth was a village in Galilee, whose chief town was Capernaum.
370 Secondly, his companions were his brethren; and so he says, his brethren (fratres, brothers, brethren). We must avoid two errors here. First, that of Elvidius, who said that the Blessed Virgin had other sons after Christ; and he called these the brothers of the Lord. This is heretical, because our faith maintains that just as the mother of Christ was a virgin before giving birth, so in giving birth and after giving birth, she remained a virgin. We must also avoid the error of those who say that Joseph fathered sons with another wife, and that these are called the brothers of the Lord; for the Church does not admit this.
Jerome refutes this opinion: for on the cross the Lord entrusted his virgin mother to the care of his virgin disciple. Therefore, since Joseph was the special guardian of the Virgin, and of the Savior too, in his childhood, one may believe that he was a virgin. Consequently, it is a reasonable interpretation to say that the brothers of the Lord were those related to his virgin mother in some degree of consanguinity, or even to Joseph, who was the reputed father. And this conforms to the custom of Scripture which generally refers to relatives as brothers. Thus we read: “Let us not quarrel, for we are brothers” (Gn 13:8), as Abram said to Lot, who was his nephew. And note that he distinguishes between relatives and disciples, because not all of Christ’s relatives were his disciples; hence we read: “Even his brethren did not believe in him” (below 7:5) .
371 Thirdly, his disciples were his companions; hence he says, and his disciples. But who were his disciples? For it seems, according to Matthew, that the first ones to be converted to Christ were Peter and Andrew, John and James; but they were called after John’s imprisonment, as is clear from Matthew (4:18). Thus it does not seem that they went down to Capernaum with Christ, as it says here, since this was before John’s imprisonment.
There are two answers to this. One is from Augustine, in his De Consensu Evangelistarum, namely, that Matthew does not follow the historical order, but in summarizing what he omitted, relates events that occurred before John’s imprisonment as though they happened after. So, without any suggestion of a time lapse he says, “As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers” (Mt 4:18), without adding “after this” or “at that time.” The other answer, also by Augustine, is that in the Gospel not only the twelve whom the Lord chose and named apostles are called disciples of the Lord (Lk 6:13), but also all who believed in him and were instructed for the kingdom of heaven by his teaching. Therefore, it is possible that although those twelve did not yet follow him, others who adhered to him are called disciples here. But the first answer is better.
372 His stay there was short; hence he says, but they did not remain there many days. The reason for this was that the citizens of Capernaum were not eager to accept the teachings of Christ, being very corrupt, so that in Matthew (11:23) the Lord rebukes them for not doing penance in spite of the miracles done there and of Christ’s teaching: “And you Capernaum, will you be lifted up to heaven? You will go down to hell. For if the mighty works that were done in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have stood until this day.” But although they were evil, he went there to accompany his mother, and to stay there for a few days for her consolation and honor.
373 As for its mystical sense, this signifies that some cannot remain long with the many words spoken by Christ; a few of these words are enough for them, to enlighten them, because of the weakness of their understanding. Hence as Origen said, Christ reveals few things to such persons, according to “I have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now” (Jn 16:12).
374 Then when he says, The Jewish Passover was near at hand, he mentions the place to which he went tip. And concerning this he does two things. First, the occasion is given. Secondly, the going up.
375 Now the occasion for his going up was the Jewish Passover. For in Exodus (13:17) it is commanded that every male be presented to the Lord three times a year; and one of these times was the Jewish Passover. So, since the Lord came to teach everyone by his example of humility and perfection, he wished to observe the law as long as it was in force. For he did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it (Mt 5:17). And so, because the Passover of the Jews was at hand, he went up to Jerusalem. So we, after his example, should carefully observe the divine precepts. For if the Son of God fulfilled the decrees of a law he himself had given, and celebrated the great feasts, with what zeal for good works ought we both to prepare for them and observe them?
376 It should be noted that in John’s Gospel mention is made of the Passover in three passages: here, and in (6:4), when he worked the miracle of the loaves, where it is said: “Now the Jewish Passover was near at hand” , and again in (13:1), where it says: “Before the feast day of the Passover.” So, according to this Gospel, we understand that after the miracle of the wine Christ preached for two years plus the interval between his baptism and this Passover. For what he did here occurred near the Passover, as it says here, and then a year later, near the time of another Passover, he performed the miracle of the loaves, and in the same year John was beheaded. Thus John was beheaded near the time of the Passover, because we read in Matthew (14:13) that immediately after John was beheaded Christ withdrew to the desert, where he worked the miracle of the loaves; and this miracle took place near Passover time, as stated below (6:4). Nevertheless, the feast of this beheading of John is celebrated on the day his head was found. It was later, during another Passover, that Christ suffered.
So, according to the opinion of those who say that the miracle worked at the wedding and the events being discussed here occurred in the same year in which Christ was baptized, there was an interval of two and one half years between Christ’s baptism and his passion. So, according to them, the Evangelist says, The Jewish Passover was near at hand, in order to show that Christ had been baptized just a few days before.
But the Church holds the opposite. For we believe that Christ worked the miracle of the wine on the first anniversary of the day of his baptism; then a year later, near Passover time, John was beheaded; and then there was another year between the Passover near which John was beheaded and the Passover during which Christ suffered. So between the baptism of Christ and the miracle of the wine there had to be another Passover which the Evangelist does not mention. And so, according to what the Church holds, Christ preached for three and one half years.
377 He says, the Jewish Passover, not as though the people of other nations celebrated a Passover, but for two reasons. One, because when people celebrate a feast in a holy and pure way, it is said that they celebrate it for the Lord; but when they celebrate it in neither of those ways, they do not celebrate it for the Lord, but for themselves: “My soul hates your new moons and your feasts” (Is 1:14). It is as though he said: Those who celebrate for themselves and not for me, do not please me: “When you fasted, did you fast for me?” (Zec 7:5), as if to say: You did not do it for me, but for yourselves. And so because these Jews were corrupt and celebrated their Passover in an unbecoming manner, the Evangelist does not say, “the Passover of the Lord,” but the Jewish Passover was at hand.
Or, he says this to differentiate it from our Passover. For the Passover of the Jews Was symbolic, being celebrated by the immolation of a lamb which was a symbol. But our Passover is true, in which we recall the true passing [passion] of the Immaculate Lamb: “Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7).
378 The journey was to Jerusalem, and so he says, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Note here that according to the historical order, Jesus went up to Jerusalem near the time of the Passover and expelled the merchants from the temple on two occasions. The first, before John’s imprisonment, is the one the Evangelist mentions here; the other is mentioned by Matthew (21:13) as occurring when the Passover and the hour of his passion were at hand. For the Lord frequently repeated works that were similar. For example, the two cases of giving sight to the blind: one in Matthew (9:28) and another in Mark (10:46). In like manner he twice cast merchants from the temple.
379 In the mystical sense, Jesus went up to Jerusalem, which is translated as the “vision of peace,” and signifies eternal happiness. It is to here that Jesus ascended, and he took his own with him. There is no lack of mystery in the fact that he went down to Capernaum and later went up to Jerusalem. For if he did not first go down, he would not have been suited to go up, because, as it is said: “He who descended is the same as he who ascended” (Eph 4:10). Further, no mention is made of the disciples in the ascent to Jerusalem because the ascent of the disciples comes from the ascent of Christ: “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man, who lives in heaven” (below 3:13).
380 Then when he says, In the temple precincts he came upon merchants selling oxen, sheep and doves, the Evangelist sets down what moved Christ to propose the sign of the resurrection. He does three things with this. First, he exposes the faulty behavior of the Jews. Secondly, he discloses Christ’s remedy (v 15). Thirdly, he gives the announcement of the prophecy (v 22).
381 With respect to the first, we should note that the devil plots against the things of God and strives to destroy them. Now among the means by which he destroys holy things, the chief is avarice; hence it is said: “The shepherds have no understanding. All have turned aside to their own way; everyone after his own gain, from the first one to the last” (Is 56:11). And the devil has done this from the earliest times. For the priests of the Old Testament, who had been established to care for divine matters, gave free rein to avarice. God commanded, in the law, that animals should be sacrificed to the Lord on certain feasts. And in order to fulfill this command, those who lived nearby brought the animals with them. But those who came a long distance were unable to bring animals from their own homes. And so because offerings of this kind resulted in profit for the priests, and so animals to offer would not be lacking to those who came from a distance, the priests themselves saw to it that animals were sold in the temple. And so they had them shown for sale in the temple, i.e., in the atrium of the temple. And this is what he says: In the temple precincts he came upon merchants selling oxen, sheep and doves.
Mention is first made of two land animals, which according to the law could be offered to the Lord: the ox and the sheep. The third land animal offered, the goat, is implied when he says “sheep”, similarly, the turtle-dove is included when he says “doves.”
382 It sometimes happened that some came to the temple not only without animals, but also without money to buy them. And so the priests found another avenue for their avarice; they set up moneychangers who would lend money to those who came without it. And although they would not accept a usurious gain, because this was forbidden in the law, nevertheless in place of this they accepted certain “collibia”, i.e., trifles and small gifts. So this also was turned to the profit of the priests. And this is what he says, moneychangers seated at tables, i.e., in the temple, ready to lend money.
383 This can be understood mystically in three ways. First of all, the merchants signify those who sell or buy the things of the Church: for the oxen, sheep and doves signify the spiritual goods of the Church and the things connected with them. These goods have been consecrated and authenticated by the teachings of the apostles and doctors, signified by the oxen: “When there is an abundant harvest the strength of the ox is evident” (Prv 14:4); and by the blood of the martyrs, who are signified by the sheep: so it is said for them: “We are regarded as sheep for the slatighter” (Rom 8:36): and by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, signified by the doves, for as stated above, the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove. Therefore, those who presume to sell the spiritual goods of the Church and the goods connected with them are selling the teachings of the apostles, the blood of the martyrs, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, it happens that certain prelates or heads of churches sell these oxen, sheep and doves, not overtly by simony, but covertly by negligence; that is, when they are so eager for and occupied with temporal gain that they neglect the spiritual welfare of their subjects. And this is the way they sell the oxen, sheep and doves, i.e., the three classes of people subject to them. First of all, they sell the preachers and laborers, who are signified by the oxen: “Happy are you who sow beside all the streams, letting the ox and the donkey range free” (Is 32:20);.because prelates ought to arrange the oxen, i.e., teachers and wise men, with the donkeys, i.e., the simple and uneducated. They also sell those in the active life, and those occupied with ministering, signified by the sheep: “My sheep hear my voice” (below 10:27); and as is said in 2 Samuel (24:17): “But these, who are the sheep, what have they done?” They also sell the contemplatives, signified by the doves: “Who will give me wings like a dove, and I will fly?” (Ps 54:7).
Thirdly, by the temple of God we can understand the spiritual soul, as it says: “The temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” (1 Cor 3:17). Thus a man sells oxen, sheep and doves in the temple when he harbors bestial movements in his soul, for which he sells himself to the devil. For oxen, which are used for cultivating the earth, signify earthly desires; sheep, which are stupid animals, signify man’s obstinacy; and the doves signify man’s instability. It is God who drives these things out of men’s hearts.
384 The Lord’s remedy is at once set forth (v 15). Here the Lord’s remedy consisted in action and in words, in order to instruct those who have charge of the Church that they must correct their subjects in deed and in word. And he does two things with respect to this. First, he gives the remedy Christ applied by his action. Secondly, the remedy he applied by word (v 16).
385 As to the first he does three things. First, he drives the men out. Secondly, the oxen and sheep. Thirdly, he sweeps away the money.
He drives the men out with a whip; and this is what he says, when he had made a kind of whip from cords. This is something that could be done only by divine power. For as Origen says, the divine power of Jesus was as able, when he willed, to quench the swelling anger of men as to still the stornis of minds: “The Lord brings to nought the thoughts of men” (Ps 32:10). He makes the whip from cords because, as Augustine says, it is from our own sins that he forms the matter with which he punishes us: for a series of sins, in which sins are added to sins, is called a cord: “He is bound fast by the cords of his own sins” (Prv 5:22); “Woe to you who haul wickedness with cords” (Is 5:18). Then, just as he drove the merchants from the temple, so he swept away the gold of the moneychangers and knocked over their tables.
386 And mark well that if he expelled from the temple things that seemed somehow licit, in the sense that they were ordained to the worship of God, how much more if he comes upon unlawful things? The reason he cast them out was because in this matter the priests did not intend God’s glory, but their own profit. Hence it is said: “It is for yourselves that you placed guardians of my service in my sancturay” (Ez 44:8)
Further, our Lord showed zeal for the things of the law so that he might by this answer the chief priests and the priests who were later to bring a charge against him on this very point. Again, by casting things of this kind out of the temple he let it be understood that the time was coming in which the sacrifices of the law were due to cease, and the true worship of God transferred to the Gentiles: “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you” (Mt 21:43). Also, this shows us the condemnation of those who sell spiritual things: “May your money perish together with you” (Acts 8:20).
387 Then when he says, To those selling doves he said, he records the treatment which the Lord applied by word. Here it should be noted that those who engage in simony should, of course, first be expelled from the Church. But because as long as they are alive, they can change themselves by free will and by the help of God return to the state of grace, they should not be given up as hopeless. If, however, they are not converted, then they are not merely to be expelled, but handed over to those to whom it is said: “Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness” (Mt 22:13). And so the Lord, attending to this, first warns them, and then gives the reason for his warning, saying, stop making my Father’s house into a marketplace.
388 He warns those selling the doves by reproaching them, for they signify those who sell the gifts of the Holy Spirit, i.e., those who engage in simony.
389 He gives his reason for this when he says, stop making my Father’s house into a marketplace. “Take away your evil from my sight” (Is 1:10). Note that Matthew (2 1:13) says: “Do not make my house a den of thieves,” while here he says, a marketplace. Now the Lord does this because, as a good physician, he begins first with the gentler things; later on, he would propose harsher things. Now the action recorded here was the first of the two; hence in the beginning he does not call them thieves but merchants. But because they did not stop such business out of obstinacy, the Lord, when driving them out the second time (as mentioned in Mark 11:15), rebukes them more severely, calling robbery what he had first called business.
He says, my Father’s house, to exclude the error of Manicheus, who said that while the God of the New Testament was the Father of Christ, the God of the Old Testament was not. But if this were true, then since the temple was the house of the Old Testament, Christ would not have referred to the temple as my Father’s house.
390 Why were the Jews not disturbed here when he called God his Father, for as is said below (5:18), this is why they persecuted him? I answer that God is the Father of certain men through adoption; for example, he is the Father of the just in this way. This was not a new idea for the Jews: “You will call me Father, and you will not cease to walk after me” (Jer 3:19). However, by nature he is the Father of Christ alone: “The Lord said to me: ‘You are my Son’ “ (Ps 2:7), i.e., the true and natural Son. It is this that was unheard of among the Jews. And so the Jews persecuted him because he called himself the true Son of God: “the Jews tried all the harder to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath rest, but even called God his own Father, making himself equal to God” (below 5:18). But when he called God his Father on this occasion, they said it was by adoption.
391 That the house of God shall not be made a marketplace is taken from-Zechariah (14:21): “On that day there will no longer be any merchants in the house of the Lord of hosts”; and from the Psalm (70:16), where one version has the reading: “Because I was not part of the marketplace, I will enter into the strength of the Lord.”
392 Then when he says, His disciples then remembered, he sets down a prophecy which was written in Psalm 69 (v 9): “Zeal for your house consumes me.” Here we should remark that zeal, properly speaking, signifies an intensity of love, whereby the one who loves intensely does not tolerate anything which is repugnant to his love. So it is that men who love their wives intensely and cannot endure their being in the company of other men, as this conflicts with their own love, are called “zelotypes.” Thus, properly speaking, one is said to have zeal for God who cannot patiently endure anything contrary to the honor of God, whoin he loves above all else: “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts” (1 Kgs 19:10). Now we should love the house of the Lord, according to the Psalm (25:8): “O Lord, I have loved the beauty of your house.” Indeed, we should love it so much that our zeal consumes us, so that if we notice anything amiss being done, we should try to eliminate it, no matter how dear to us are those who are doing it; nor should we fear any evils that we might have to endure as a result. So the Gloss says: “Good zeal is a fervor of spirit, by which, scorning the fear of death, one is on fire for the defense of the truth. He is consumed by it who takes steps to correct any perversity he sees; and if he cannot, he tolerates it with sadness.”
18 At this the Jews responded and said, “What sign can you show us authorizing you to do these things?” 19 Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.” 20 The Jews then retorted, “This temple took forty-six years to build, and you are going to raise it up again in three days!” 21 He was speaking, however, of the temple of his body. 22 When, therefore, he had risen from the dead, his disciples recalled that he had said this; they then believed the Scriptures and the statement Jesus had made. 23 While he was in Jerusalem during the Passover feast, many people, seeing the signs he was working, believed in his name. 24 But Jesus did not trust himself to them, for he knew all men, 25 and he did not need anyone to give him testimony about men. He was well aware of what was in man’s heart.
393 Having set forth the occasion for showing the sign, the Evangelist then states the sign which would be given. First, he gives the sign. Secondly, he mentions the fruit of the signs Christ performed (v 23). As to the first he does three things. First, the request for the sign is given. Secondly, the sign itself (v 19). Thirdly, the way the sign was understood (v 20).
394 The Jews ask for a sign; and this is what he says: What sign can you show us authorizing you to do these things?
395 Here we should note that when Jesus drove the merchants Out of the temple, two things could be considered in Christ: his rectitude and zeal, which pertain to virtue; and his power or authority. It was not appropriate to require a sign from Christ concerning the virtue and zeal with which he did the above action, since everyone may lawfully act according to virtue. But he could be required to give a sign concerning his authority for driving them out of the temple, since it is not lawful for anyone to do this unless he has the authority.
And so the Jews, not questioning his zeal and virtue, ask for a sign of his authority; and so they say, What sign can you show us authorizing you to do these things? i.e., Why do you drive us out with such power and authority, for this does not seem to be your office? They say the same thing in Matthew (21:23): “By what authority are you doing these things?”
396 The reason they ask for a sign is that it was the usual thing for Jews to require a sign, seeing that they were called to the law by signs: “There did not arise again in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom, the Lord knew face to face, with all his signs and wonders,” as is said in Deuteronomy (34:10), and “The Jews require signs,” as we find in 1 Corinthians (1:22). Hence David complains for the Jews saying: “We have not seen our signs” (Ps 73:9). However, they asked him for a sign not in order to believe, but in the hope that he would not be able to provide the sign, and then they could obstruct and restrain him. And so, because they asked in an evil manner, he did not give them an evident sign, but a sign clothed in a symbol, a sign concerning the resurrection.
397 Hence he says, Jesus replied, and he gives the sign for which they asked. He gives them the sign of his future resurrection because this shows most strikingly the power of his divinity. For it is not within the power of mere man to raise himself from the dead. Christ alone, who was free among the dead, did this by the power of his divinity. tie shows them a similar sign in Matthew (12:30): “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign. And a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah the prophet.” And although he gave a hidden and symbolic sign on both occasions, the first was stated more clearly, and the second more obscurely.
398 We should note that before the incarnation, God gave a sign of the incarnation to come: “The Lord himself will give you a sign. A virgin will conceive, and give birth to a son” (Is 7:14). And in like manner, before the resurrection he gave a sign of the resurrection to come. And he did this because it is especially by these two events that the power of the divinity in Christ is evidenced. For nothing more marvelous could be done than that God become man and that Christ’s humanity should become a partaker of divine immortality after his resurrection: “Christ, rising froni the dead, will not die again ... his life is life with God” (Roin 6:9), i.e., in a likeness to God.
399 We should note the words Christ used in giving this sign. For Christ calls his body a temple, because a temple is something in which God dwells, according to “The Lord is in his holy temple” (Ps 10:5). And so a holy soul, in which God dwells, is also called a temple of God: “The temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” (1 Cor 3:17). Therefore, because the divinity dwells in the body of Christ, the body of Christ is the temple of God, not only according to the soul but also according to the body: “In him all the fulness of the divinity dwells bodily” (Col 2:9). God dwells in us by grace, i.e., according to an act of the intellect and will, neither of which is an act of the body, but of the soul alone. But he dwells in Christ according to a union in the person; and this union includes not only the soul, but the body as well. And so the very body of Christ is God’s temple.
400 But Nestorius, using this text in support of his error, claims that the Word of God was joined to human nature only by an indwelling, from which it follows that the person of God is distinct from that of man in Christ. Therefore it is important to insist that God’s indwelling in Christ refers to the nature, since in Christ human nature is distinct from the divine, and not to the persom, which in the case of Christ is the same for both God and man, that is, the person of the Word, as was said above.
401 Therefore, granting this, the Lord does two things with respect to this sign. First, he foretells his future death. Secondly, his resurrection.
402 Christ foretells his own death when he says, Destroy this temple. For Christ died and was killed by others: “And they will kill him” (Mt 17:22), yet with him willing it: because as is said: “He was offered because it was his own will” (Is 53:7). And so he says, Destroy this temple, i.e., my body. He does not say, “it will be destroyed,” lest you suppose he killed himself. He says, Destroy, which is not a command but a prediction and a permission. A prediction, so that the sense is, Destroy this temple, i.e., you will destroy. And a permission, so that the sense is, Destroy this temple, i.e., do with my body what you will, I submit it to you. As he said to Judas: “What you are going to do, do quickly” (below 13:27), not as commanding him, but as abandoning himself to his decision.
He says Destroy, because the death of Christ is the dissolution of his body, but in a way different from that of other men. For the bodies of other men are destroyed by death even to the point of the body’s returning to dust and ashes. But Such a dissolution did not take place in Christ, for is it is said: “You will not allow your Holy One to see corruption” (Ps 15:10). Nevertheless, death did bring a dissolution to Christ, because his soul was separated from his body as a form from matter, and because his blood was separated from his body, and because his body was pierced with nails and a lance.
403 He foretells his resurrection when he says, and in three days I will raise it up again, that is, his body; i.e., I will raise it from the dead. He does not say, “I will be raised up,” or “The Father will raise it up,” but I will raise it up, to show that he would rise from the dead by his own power. Yet we do not deny that the Father raised him from the dead, because as it is said: “Who raised Jesus from the dead” (Rom 8:11); and “O Lord, have pity on me, and raise me up” (Ps 40:10). And so God the Father raised Christ from the dead, and Christ arose by his own power: “I have slept and have taken my rest, and I have risen, because the Lord has taken me” (Ps 3:6). There is no contradiction in this, because the power of both is the same; hence “whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise” (below 5:19). For if the Father raised him up, so too did the Son: “Although he was crucified through weakness, he lives through the power of God” (2 Cor 13:4).
404 He says, and in three days, and not “after three days,” because he did not remain in the tomb for three complete days; but, as Augustine says, he is employing synecdoche, in which a part is taken for the whole.
Origen, however, assigns a mystical reason for this expression, and says: The true body of Christ is the temple of God, and this body symbolizes the mystical body, i.e., the Church: “You are the body of Christ” (1 Cor 12:27). And as the divinity dwells in the body of Christ through the grace of union, so too he dwells in the Church through the grace of adoption. Although that body may seem to be destroyed mystically by the adversities of persecutions with which it is afflicted, nevertheless it is raised up in “three days,” namely, in the “day” of the law of nature, the “day” of the written law, and the “day” of the law of grace; because in those days a part of that body was destroyed, while another still lived. And so he says, in three days, because the spiritual resurrection of this body is accomplished in three days. But after those three days we will be perfectly risen, not only as to the first resurrection, but also as to the second: “Happy are they who share in the second [sic] resurrection” (Rv 20:6).
405 Then when he says, The Jews then retorted, we have the interpretation of the sign he gave. First, the false interpretation of the Jews. Secondly, its true understanding by the apostles (v 21).
406 The interpretation of the Jews was false, because they believed that Christ was saying this of the material temple in which he then was; consequently, they answer according to this interpretation and say: This temple took forty-six years to build, i.e., this material temple in which we are standing, and you are going to raise it up again in three days!
407 There is a literal objection against this. For the temple in Jerusalem was built by Solomon, and it is recorded in 2 Chronicles (6:1) that it was completed by Solomon in seven years. How then can it be said that this temple took forty-six years to build? I answer that according to some this is not to be understood of the very first temple, which was completed by Solomon in seven years: for that temple built by Solomon was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. But it is to be understood of the temple rebuilt under Zerubbabel, after they returned from captivity, as recorded in the book of Ezra (5:2). However, this rebuilding was so hindered and delayed by the frequent attacks of their enemies on all sides, that the temple was not finished until forty-six years had passed.
408 Or it could be said, according to Origen, that they were speaking of Solomon’s temple: and it did take forty-six years to build if the time be reckoned from the day when David first spoke of building a temple and discussed it with Nathan the prophet, as we find in 2 Samuel (7:2), until its final completion under Solomon. For from that first day onward David began preparing the material and the things necessary for building the temple. Accordingly, if the time in question is carefully calculated, it will come to forty-six years.
409 But although the Jews referred their interpretation to the material temple, nevertheless, according to Augustine, it can be referred to the temple of Christ’s body. As he says in The Book of Eighty-tnree Questions, the conception and formation of the human body is completed in forty-five days in the following manner. During the first six days, the conception of a human body has a likeness to milk; during the next nine days it is converted into blood; then in the next twelve days, it is hardened into flesh; then the remaining eighteen days, it is formed into a perfect outlining of all the members. But if we add six, nine, twelve and eighteen, we get forty-five; and if we add “one” for the sacrament of unity, we get forty-six.
410 However a question arises about this: because this process of formation does not seem to have taken place in Christ, who was formed and animated at the very instant of conception. But one may answer that although in the formation of Christ’s body there was something unique, in that Christ’s body was perfect at that instant as to the outlining of its members, it was not perfect as to the quantity due the body; and so he remained in the Virgin’s womb until he attained the due quantity.
However, let us take the above numbers and select six, which was the first, and forty-six, which was the last, and let us multiply one by the other. The result is two hundred seventy-six. Now if we assemble these days into months, allotting thirty days to a month, we get nine months and six days. Thus it was correct to say that it took forty-six years to build the temple, which signifies the body of Christ; the suggestion being that there were as many years in building the temple as there were days in perfecting the body of Christ. For from March twenty-five, when Christ was conceived, and (as is believed) when he suffered, to December twenty-five, there are this number of days, namely, two hundred seventy-six, a number that is the result of multiplying forty-six by six.
411 Augustine (as is plain from the Gloss) has another mystical interpretation of this number. For he says that if one adds the letters in the name “Adam,” using for each the number it represented for the Greeks, the result is forty-six. For in Greek, A represents the number one, since it is the first letter of the alphabet. And according to this order, D is four. Adding to the sum of these another one for the second A and forty for the letter M, we have forty-six. This signifies that the body of Christ was derived from the body of Adam.
Again, according to the Greeks, the name “Adam” is composed of the first letters of the names of the four directions of the world: namely, Anathole, which is the east; Disis, which is the west; Arctos, which is the north; and Mensembria, the south. This signifies that Christ derived his flesh from Adam in order to gather his elect from the four parts of the world: “He will gather his elect from the four winds” (Mt 24:31).
412 Then, the true interpretation of this sign as understood by the apostles is given (v 2 1). First, the way they understood it is given. Secondly, the time when they understood it (v 22).
413 He says therefore: The Jews said this out of ignorance. But Christ did not understand it in their way; in fact, he meant the temple of his body, and this is what he says: He was speaking, however, of the temple of his body. We have already explained why the body of Christ could be called a temple.
Apollinaris misunderstood this and said that the body of Christ was inanimate matter because the temple was inanimate. He was mistaken in this for when it is said that the body of Christ is a temple, one is speaking metaphorically. And in this way of speaking a likeness does not exist in all respects, but only in some respect, namely, as to indwelling, which is referred to the nature, as was explained. Further, this is evident from the authority of Sacred Scriptuire. when Christ himself said: “I have the power to lay down my life,” as we read below (10:18).
414 The time when the apostles acquired this true understanding is then shown by the Evangelist when he says, When, therefore, he had risen from the dead, his disciples recalled that he had said this. Prior to the resurrection it was difficult to understand this. First, because this statement asserted that the true divinity was in the body of Christ; otherwise it could not be called a temple. And to understand this at that time was above human ability. Secondly, because in this statement mention is made of the passion and resurrection, when he says, I will raise it up again; and this is something none of the disciples had heard mentioned before. Consequently, when Christ spoke of his resurrection and passion to the apostles, Peter was scandalized when he heard it, saying, “God forbid, Lord” (Mt 16:22). But after the resurrection, when they now clearly understood that Christ was God, through what he had shown in regard to his passion and resurrection, and when they had learned of the mystery of his resurrection, his disciples recalled that he had said this of his body, and they then believed the Scriptures, i.e., the prophets: “He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up” (Hos 6:3), and “Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” (Jon 2:1). So it is that on the very day of the resurrection he opened their understanding so that they might understand the Scriptures and the statement Jesus had made, namely, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.
415 In the anagogical sense, according to Origen, we understand by this that in the final resurrection of nature we will be disciples of Christ, when in the great resurrection the entire body of Jesus, that is, his Church, will be made certain of the things we now hold through faith in a dark manner. Then we shall receive the fulfillment of faith, seeing in actual fact what we now observe through a mirror.
416 Then (v 23) he sets forth the fruit which resulted from the signs, namely, the conversion of certain believers. Concerning this he does three things. First, he mentions those who believed on account of the miracles. Secondly, he shows the attitude of Christ to them (v 24). Thirdly, he gives the reason for this (v 25).
417 The fruit which developed from the signs of Jesus was abundant, because many believed and were converted to him; and this is what he says, While he was in Jerusalem during the Passover feast, many people, seeing the signs he was working, believed in his name, i.e., in him.
418 Note that they believed in two ways: sorne on account of the iniracles they saw, and sonic oil account of the revelation and prophecy of’ hidden things. Now those who believe oil account of doctrine are more commendable, because they are more spiritual than those who believe on account of signs, which are grosser and on the level of sense. Those who were converted are shown to be more on the level of sense by the fact that they did not believe on account of the doctrine, as the disciples did, but seeing the signs he was working: “Prophecies are for those who believe” (1 Cor 14:22).
419 One might ask which signs worked by Jesus they saw, for we do not read of any sign worked by him in Jerusalem at that time. According to Origen, there are two answers to this. First, Jesus did work many miracles there at that time, which are not recorded here; for the Evangelist purposely omitted many of Christ’s miracles, since he worked so many that they could not easily be recorded: “Jesus did many other signs, and if every one was written, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that would be written” (below 21:25). And the Evangelist expressly shows this when he says, seeing the signs he was working, without mentioning them, because it was not the intention of the Evangelist to record all the signs of Jesus, but as many as were needed to instruct the Church of the faithful. The second answer is that among the miracles the greatest could be the sign in which Jesus by himself drove from the temple a crowd of men with a whip of small cords.
420 The attitude of Jesus to those who believed in him is shown when he says, But Jesus did not trust himself to them, i.e., those who had believed in him. What is this, men entrust themselves to God, and Jesus himself does not entrust himself to them? Could they kill him against his will? Some will say that he did not trust himself to them because he knew that their belief was not genuine. But if this were true, the Evangelist would surely not have said that many believed in his name, and yet he did not trust himself to them. According to Chrysostom, the reason is that they did believe in him, but imperfectly, because they were not yet able to attain to the profound mysteries of Christ, and so Jesus did not trust himself to them, i.e., he did not yet reveal his secret mysteries to them; for there were many things he would not reveal even to the apostles: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (below 16:12), and “I could not speak to you as spiritual persons, but as sensual” (1 Cor 3:1). And so it is significant that in order to show that they believed imperfectly, the Evangelist does not say that they believed “in him,” because they did not yet believe in his divinity, but he says, in his name, i.e., they believed what was said about him, nominally, i.e., that he was just, or something of that sort.
Or, according to Augustine, these people represent the catechumens in the Church, who, although they believe in the name of Christ, Jesus does not trust himself to them, because the Church does not give them the body of Christ. For just as no priest except one ordained in the priesthood can consecrate that body, so no one but a baptized person may receive it.
421 The reason Jesus did not trust himself to them arises from his perfect knowledge; hence he says, for he knew all men. For although one must ordinarily presume good of everyone, yet after the truth about certain people is known, one should act according to their condition. Now because nothing in man was unknown to Christ and since he knew that they believed imperfectly, he did not trust himself to them.
422 The universal knowledge of Christ is then described: for he knew not only those who were on close terms with him, but strangers too. And therefore he says, for he knew all men; and this by the power of his divinity: “The eyes of the Lord are far brighter than the sun” (Sir 23:28). Now a man, although he may know other people, cannot have a sure knowledge of them, because he sees only what appears; consequently, he must rely on the testimony of others. But Christ knows with the greatest certainty, because he beholds the heart; and so he did not need anyone to give testimony about men. In fact, he is the one who gives testimony: “Look, my witness is in heaven” (Jb 16:20)
His knowledge was perfect, because it extended not only to what was exterior, but even to the interior; thus he says, He was well aware of what was in man’s heart, i.e., the secrets of the heart: “Hell and destruction are open to the Lord: how much more the hearts of the children of men” (Prv 15:11).