Select Page
Read Introduction to John


12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.


Verse 12 indicates that Jesus’ time in Capernaum was an interlude between Cana and Jerusalem.

12 After this

The words “after this” mark a transition between the miracle at Cana and the cleansing of the temple by Christ. These words are often used as a connective between narratives in this gospel. Note the use of these words in the sense of “soon after” (Jn 11:7, 11; 19:28). The word “and” translated “now” begins the next verse, showing connection between the events in Capernaum and Jerusalem. There are some who claim that John’s report of an earlier cleansing of the temple is error. Those who hold this view undermine the doctrines of inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture.

This is the next event that occurred after Jesus’ performing the sign miracle at Cana. The synoptics report on another cleansing of the temple at the end of the three-year ministry of Christ. There is a problem in this verse for those who hold that this cleansing is not different from the synoptic cleansing. The “this” in this verse and the “now” in verse 13 refer to the change of events from Cana to Jerusalem. If we did not have these verses, we could consider that John did not use chronology in presenting his pericopes.

John gives an account of the first cleansing. The synoptic gospels give yet another account of the cleansing of the temple (Mt 21:12-13; Mr 11:15-17; Lu 19:45-46).

John’s material is embedded in a section of non-synoptic material, making it independent from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The exception is the material about John the Baptist, but even this information is vastly different from the synoptics. We find nothing else in the first five chapters of John that compares to the synoptic gospels. Jesus was not well known at this time in His ministry because He was just beginning to reveal Himself to the world.

Details of the two accounts differ greatly. John also mentions the command to depart, the animals, and the whip of cord. In the gospel of John, Jesus did not quote the Old Testament as did the synoptics. The synoptics quote Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11 (Mt 21:13; Mr 11:17; Lu 19:46). John does not mention a prohibition of using the temple as a shortcut (Mr 11:16). Neither does John use Jesus’ judicial condemnation (Mt 23:38). The synoptics do not mention the statement about destroying the temple in three days (Jn 2:19). The synoptics also do not deal with the early Judean period as does the gospel of John.

He went down to Capernaum,

The town “Capernaum” was on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee 18 miles from Cana. This is the place Jesus made His base of operations, a town of considerable importance. It was located on a major trade route from Damascus to the Mediterranean Sea. It was a descent from about 1,000 feet above sea level in Cana to about 600 feet below sea level in Capernaum.

He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples;

Evidently Jesus, His mother, brothers, and all His disciples moved to Capernaum. His “brothers” here were His physical half-brothers (Mr 6:3).

and they did not stay there many days.

Jesus’ entourage did not stay in Capernaum for long. It was an interlude before the next major phase in His ministry.


Jesus had brothers and sisters.


The idea of Mary’s perpetual virginity occurred in the second century. That would mean that Mary had no other children than Jesus (Mr 6:3). Some held that Joseph had children by another marriage. However, Matthew 1:25 and Luke 2:7 argue against this. Joseph did not have sex with Mary until Jesus was born (Mt 1:25). Luke says that Jesus was Mary’s “firstborn,” indicating that she had more children. In addition, there are a number of verses that state that Jesus had brothers and sisters.