Jesus’ first miracle: water becomes wine: John 2:1-12
Jesus Clears the Temple Courts as his ministry begins: John 2:13-25
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Water Becomes Wine
Max Lucado spoke at Exponential East this year and provided some great insight into this passage of scripture, in particular, he honored Mary’s careful comments to Jesus during the wedding festival. His talk inspired me to relook at the story through different eyes…always appreciate the insight of those who have devoted their lives to studying God’s word!
To begin with, somehow “Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding” (John 2:2). I don’t know all the customs of the day, though some suggest a wedding was a week-long event that celebrated the union of man and woman with great distinction. Jesus was invited and his mother Mary was there with the disciples, the rest of his family as well (see John 3:12).
Mary’s first recorded interaction is simple: “They have no more wine” (2:3). No demand, no elbow to the ribs, just a statement, but one spoken to Jesus from his mother that knew beyond doubt who Jesus was. I wish we could see her eyes when she spoke the words. Jesus’ reaction provides an idea: “Woman, why do you involve me?” (2:4). Obviously whatever she said was beyond just a simple observation. Her reaction is equally remarkable: “Do whatever he tells you” (2:5). By this statement I believe Mary fully meant “whatever” in the true sense of the word. Jesus could have said, have a nice day or sucks to be the groom, and left it or he could have done what he did. Mary was in complete submission to Jesus in this interaction.
To say that Jesus didn’t disappoint Mary would be a mistake. I fully believe she was open to whatever he chose to do at this point. Jesus chose to turn the water into wine and we are all amazed to be sure, but it’s more significant than this incredible miracle. Lord, help me to ask “whatever” and truly mean it, that your will be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Give me the insight to ask at the right time for the right reasons.
Jesus Clears the Temple
The second passage in this post shows Jesus clearing the temple courts, something Matthew, Mark and Luke record toward the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth, but John provides this report at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.
The first thing I notice is the lack of resistance on the part of those selling goods in the temple courts. Sure, they question Jesus about his authority, but there is no denial that what they are doing is wrong. They respond with a questions: “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” (2:18). Jesus points to a time in the future with a statement that is somewhat confusing, certainly at the time it was given, he tells them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (2:19). The Jews assume he’s talking about the brick and mortar of the temple, but Jesus is referring to his death and resurrection. The conversation ends here. Jesus is not about to honor their questions with his explanation for they are clearly out of line. They scatter, along with the coins and tables, and Jesus continues his ministry.
No doubt there are whispers and rumors beginning to spread, but all are framed in the context of this incredibly wise teacher who didn’t come from the scholar’s bootcamp, from Levitical teaching, this man was from the lowly town of Nazareth. The Jews were trapped by the rules created to help them remember how to serve the Lord, lost in their own bureaucracy, no longer leading others to God; rather, leading others to follow rules and regulations. Some, I hope, had good intentions, but the system was out of control. Martin Luther saw this in the Catholic church in his day and the theses he presented essentially turned over the tables of the Pope as the Reformation was ignited. Today, we all try to get along, try to remain politically correct, not to ruffle feathers. I wonder if Jesus would be impressed.
The trap is set for those who want to step in as a modern Messiah and show a new order for churches, the real right way. I say this is a trap because I think Satan would love for us all to bicker and fight over theology and dogma. As we do this in organized churches we simply spread the skepticism that is rampant among those who profess there is no God, no Christ, no salvation. Lord, keep us far from this trap. Help us to simply focus on you as Jesus wanted in the temple courts long ago. To God be the glory in all things!