Thursday, August 10, 2006

Jesus Changes Water to Wine

I've heard several times that if someone knows nothing about Jesus or Christianity, a good place to start is reading the fourth gospel, John. A while back I started going through the Book of John, section by section to experience it from that point of view. What would one come away with if they read John with no presuppositions? Personally, I tell people to not take my word for what God says, but to take His word. Let's continue with chapter two.

1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."

4 "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."

This is a cryptic reference that in hindsight will make sense to someone who knows the whole story, but it wasn't meant to be picked up here by his audience, and probably not by the reader as well.

5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

7 Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.

8 Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."

They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."

11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

With Jesus' first miracle, He starts the theme of old becoming new. Jesus' glory is revealed in that the old is replaced by the new, the stony heart with a heart of flesh, water with wine, old wineskins with new, Old Testament with New Testament, Law with Grace. What we think we can do on our own, God can make infinitely better.

On the same note, the master in the story here remarks that everyone else does it in a way that seems to make sense, but Jesus does just the complete opposite of what we would imagine. All other religions make the way to heaven by our own good works earning our way, but Jesus turns that idea on it's side and gives forgiveness as a free gift. This stands in stark opposition to those that say that all religions are the same. Jesus never allowed for that. Jesus revealed Himself in His glory standing in stark opposition to all other man made religions.

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