Tuesday, October 28, 2014

See God {Day 28: Jesus and His First Miracle}

I am about to launch into a daunting task. I want to share with you about the time that Jesus first revealed His glory: His first miraculous sign. How on earth do I write about this topic of Jesus's first glimpse of glory in a way that brings Him glory? It is precious. It is holy. I am praying for an anointing over my brain cells and fingertips as I proceed...because if it is His first display of glory, then there must be a huge underlying message, right?

And that is where things seem tricky. You see, Jesus didn't perform this miracle for the masses in order to convince people that He was the Messiah. In fact, most bystanders didn't even know what had occurred. It wasn't time to reveal Himself as the Messiah, but He was also humble. Ever true to his nature, he was humble. But, I am getting ahead of myself; so let's back it up a bit.

Imagine with me that you are Jewish. You live among customs that believe marriages should be richly celebrated and in fact, they take 7 days to do just that. Wine (probably a much less alcoholic content of wine than what we have today) flowed freely for the entire week long banquet. And then, gasp! You are all the sudden out of wine. The custom for that day would have said that you were not a good host and that you could even be sued for such an act of rudeness.

Enter: Mary, the mother of Jesus. Knowing that her Son is fully capable of handling this disaster, she tells him that they are out of wine. Whether she was helping at the wedding or was friends with the bridal party, I don't know, but what she says next hits me. She speaks towards the servants and tells them to do whatever Jesus asks of them.

Enter: Jesus. He spots 6 stone water jars. These were used for ritualistic washing. The Old Testament gave laws about being purified before entering the temple, etc., and these water pots are what would hold that water. Remember how numbers are significant in the Bible? Well, 6 stands for incompletion and also the number of "man." I think I want to weep, because on their quest for purity, only Jesus could once and for all make them clean. Otherwise, they would just have to keep washing with water...which would always be an imperfect type of clean...a substitute, if you will.

Now, I love this: Jesus turns that water into wine. Wine, being the symbol of His shed blood for us on the cross. He turns their imperfect clean into the only true clean: His blood which can wash away our sins. Beautiful that this is the first miracle, don't you think? It totally points to His purpose and the plan that was laid out before him. He is showing them that a new covenant is about to dawn...one that says you can be clean through his blood (once and forever) and not through ritualistic cleansings that never quite do the trick.

Enter: servants. Imagine with me that you are poor and desperately need every penny that being a servant at a wedding would provide. You know that one blunder could be the demise of being able to feed your family that day. All of the sudden, this Mary lady tells you to do whatever Jesus instructs. You may or may not have heard rumors about Jesus at this point.

You are willing to listen to what Jesus has to say, after all, your job may be on the line. But, then He tells you to fill the jars with water. So, you haul almost 200 gallons of water to the base of the stone jars. And you dump almost 200 gallons of water into the stone jars. And, with obedient hearts, you even fill them to the brim, even though that wasn't a requirement.

But, then, Jesus tells you to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. I would have been like, "Um, hello, our jobs are on the line here." Can't we just get a little sip here and see what is going on? What if it were white wine and there was nothing visual to distinguish it from water? It wasn't as if Jesus had even done anything. He didn't touch the water or even speak a blessing over the water. When did the change take place and is this guy really powerful enough to conquer such a feat? Those are the thoughts that would have been coursing through my mind.

But, the servants seemed to have different thoughts running through their minds. After Jesus asked them to draw some out and take it to the master, it simply says, "they did so." No arguing, no odd stares, no hands on the hips. They simply obeyed. The master takes a big swig and doesn't even realize where the wine had come from. But, the servants knew. Could it be that they were the very first ones to get a glimpse of the glory of Jesus Christ? They were humble and obedient and it drew them straight to a position where they could behold Him.

Could it be that when faithful servants obey, God's glory shines forth? Even when others don't have a clue as to what went down? Perhaps if we live humbly, His glory will be made manifest in our lives!

Enter: the wine. The more expensive wine was usually served first and the cheaper wines later, after the guests had had their fill. But, Jesus does everything backwards. He saves the best until last. This concept is so opposite from what Satan and the world teach. They offer the short lived pleasures of sin first and then the wages and consequences last. Satan taunts us by telling us that we need this or that now. He tells us that youth is better than age and wisdom. He tells us that the this earth is all there is and that we don't need to think about the afterlife.

But Jesus is good. He is smart. He is wise. He is saving the best wine til last. He asks us to suffer with Him before we can reign with Him. He asks us to go through the wilderness before we can come into the joyful inheritance. He gives us hope that one day nothing will interfere with fellowship with Him. It will be the best wine. And it will flow forevermore. I just want to jump up and down! He is saving the best for last and He is true to His word.

I was pondering the fact that hardly anyone that day recognized what Jesus did. His glory was on display for the first time that day and most people didn't even know it. The servants, disciples, and his mother are probably the only ones who got it. It made me wonder what I am missing out on. I have always wanted to see His glory and I have to wonder if pride in my heart or a disobedient spirit has ever hindered that.

I thought the below would be a good check for my heart...it is from Spurgeon

1. When Christ is about to bestow a blessing, He gives a command. "When Jesus is about to bless, He challenges men's obedience by issuing His royal orders."

2. Christ's commands are not to be questioned, but to be obeyed. (People want wine and He tells them to fill the pots with water...His ways are not our ways.)

3. Whenever we get a command from Christ, it is always wisdom to carry it out zealously. (We should throw our souls into what He asks of us and fill things to the brim.)

4. Our earnest action in obedience to Christ is not contrary to our dependence upon Him, but is necessary to our dependence upon Him.

5. Our action alone is not sufficient (No power until Jesus displays His glory.)

6. Although human action in itself falls short of the desired end, yet it has its place, and God has made it necessary by His appointment.

When your glory is on display, Lord, I want to see it! Give me grace to be a willing and obedient servant.

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