Saturday, July 18, 2015

Random ponderings on John 2

I read through the second chapter of the Gospel of John tonight. I've never really spent much time in deep thought about what happened when Jesus and the disciples went to a wedding in Cana along with Jesus' mother.  Until tonight.

The story, if you aren't familiar, goes like this:  Jesus, His mother, and His disciples were invited to a wedding feast in Cana, in Galilee.  While they were there, the guests drank all of the host's wine. Jesus' mom, Mary, came to tell him the wine had run out.  Jesus responded, "What's that to me and you? My hour has not yet come."  But Mary goes to the servants and tells them to do whatever Jesus says. So Jesus tells them to fill these huge jugs with water and serve it to the headwaiter.  The water became wine - the best wine of the day, in fact.  This was the start of the miracles Jesus performed and showed His glory for the first time, and the disciples believed in Him.

I've heard this passage preached many times, but tonight I had some new questions.

1. Did Mary actually expect Jesus to do something "supernatural" about the wine problem?  John states that this was the first miracle, "sign," that Jesus performed. So did Mary tell Jesus about the problem and expect a miracle?

Or is it possible that Mary expected something far more practical, like sending Philip and Andrew to the market in Cana to buy more wine?   The text doesn't really say.  There's part of me that chuckles at the possibility that Mary was telling Jesus because she thought He'd do something "normal," and then He responds by miraculously changing water to wine.  Granted, I think it is likely that Mary, who knew that Jesus was God in the flesh, was asking for a supernatural act.  But it still makes me giggle.

2. Why did Jesus perform the miracle at all?  I mean, when Mary first came to Him, He responded that it really wasn't His problem, and that His hour hadn't come.  If Jesus really didn't want to start performing miracles on that day, He certainly could have done nothing.  He hadn't performed any signs before that day, so I'm sure another day wouldn't have been a big deal.  So why do it at all?

My husband joked that it was the power of a nagging Jewish mother to get her son to act. :-)  Again, chuckles. It makes for a funny scene in my head, that's for sure!

While I don't have a secure answer to my question, I suspect that there's a clue to the answer in John 2:11- "This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him."

According to the first chapter of John, Andrew was following Jesus because he had been a disciple of John the Baptist and was there when John declared that Jesus was the Lamb of God.  Peter came to follow Jesus because Andrew told him that they had found the Messiah.  Philip received a personal invitation from Christ to follow Him.  And Nathanael was in the group because Philip told Him they had found the one of whom the prophets and the Law spoke - the Messiah - and Jesus told Nathanael things he couldn't have known if he were simply a man.

But none of these disciples had "seen His glory" in person.  They were all following Jesus on the hope that He was, really, the promised Messiah.  They thought He was, but this was the first time that Jesus was revealing His power and glory, and so they believed in Him.

No matter what the true answers to my questions, I am comforted by the fact that Jesus never rebuked his mom for telling the servants to obey Him.  Jesus could have simply not acted on the problem, or used a practical solution, or He could have told the servants that it wasn't His problem and to figure it out on their own.  I am glad that He was willing to intervene in a seemingly insignificant problem.

It gives me more confidence that I can come to Him with my own petty, insignificant problems.  He won't turn me away or tell me to figure it out for myself, or tell me that it's not worth His time.  God cares for me, and that means that I can come to Him about everything.

Don't take my word for it - take God's word:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  ~ Philippians 4:6

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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