Jesus was God in human flesh. This joining of God with flesh is a mystery. Many do not believe it. Many have tried to explain it.
There are those who recognize that Jesus was a great teacher. Many do not know what to think. Jesus lived among us in a body like ours two thousand years ago, and He is still talked about, written about, hated and loved around the world.
Two thousand years ago, when He was among us, the people that he lived among faced a unique challenge. They saw Jesus physically. They saw His eyes and, if they were attentive, they could have told us what color His eyes were. They saw His hair and they could have told us how He wore His hair. The challenge they faced was to see past the physical and see God.
His glory was hidden.
We have an account of Jesus showing a small part of His glory on what is known as the Mount of Transfiguration. Matthew 17:2 says, “As the men watched, Jesus' appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.”[i] However, this transfiguration was seen by only three men: James, Peter and John. These men were Jesus’ closest disciples. For the rest of those who saw Jesus, He looked normal. The prophet Isaiah told us in advance that, “There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.” (Isaiah 53:2)
Since my youngest days, I have heard that Jesus turned water into wine. Usually, it was in the context of someone making an argument for the drinking of alcoholic beverages. However, Jesus did not make water into wine to give tacit approval to the abuse of alcohol, no more than He created sex to give approval to its abuse. Everything God has created is appropriate and good for its intended purpose and in its place. By focusing on the wine, we miss the whole point.
The Apostle John, one of the three who was on the Mount of Transfiguration, was the one who told us about Jesus turning water into wine. He tells us the reason Jesus did this. He says, “This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:11, NLT)
If we look carefully at what John wrote, we see three reasons Jesus did this.
First, it was a miraculous sign.
The definition of a sign given by Google is:
-an object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else.[ii]
The presence of something else indicated by the sign that Jesus gave was His Divine Nature.
The second reason Jesus turned the water into wine, according to John, was it revealed His glory.
Again, I will refer to the definition of reveal given by Google. To reveal means:
make (previously unknown or secret information) known to others[iii]
Jesus lived among us with His glory hidden. It was secret information, and this miraculous sign made it known to others.
This leads us to the third reason John gives us for this miracle. John says, “And his disciples believed in him.”
Jesus confirmed or strengthened the faith of His followers. Jesus strengthened those who already believed. This miracle was hidden from all but a few at the wedding.
The Jewish leaders who opposed Jesus challenged Jesus to prove that He was the Messiah by giving them a sign, and Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.” (Matthew 12:39, NLT) Notice, Jesus says there will be a sign given, but He calls into question their motives.
In the Apostle John’s account, the Gospel of John, He records seven signs. Therefore, Jesus was not saying there would be only one sign. However, He was saying that to the evil and adulterous generation that demanded a miraculous sign only one sign would be given. The resurrection of Jesus is enough for the unbelieving that demand proof. If a person will not believe based on the resurrection, they will not believe.
I have often heard the question, “Do miracles still occur?”
For believers like me, even the asking of the question is incredible. Of course, they still occur. The only reason someone would not see them is that they do not believe.
God makes wine every day. Usually, He uses natural processes. The sun shines on the earth. The grape vine combines water, nutrients from the soil, sunlight and carbon dioxide to make grapes. When the grapes are ripe, they are harvested. The juice is squeezed out and then allowed to ferment. The whole process takes months. John tells us of an occasion when God bypassed the months. The change took place somewhere between the servants filling the water jars and when they drew the wine out.
Most miracles are like this. God performs in a short time what He normally does over time. God has built the body so that it heals. Therefore, when a person with physical or medical problems is healed, the unbelieving find an explanation. There are fakers and liars, but that does not mean that all accounts of the miraculous are fake. People are saved from death, healed of diseases and have their needs provided for all the time. These miracles sometimes convince the seeker, but most often, they strengthen the faith of the believer.
We can apply some truths about miracles from the record in John chapter 2.
First, our crises are not God’s crises.
When told about the problem with the wine, Jesus responded, “Dear woman, that’s not our problem.” (John 2:4, NLT)
God knows everything. He is looking out for our good. We all must die sometime. Whenever that time approaches, it is a crisis for us, but not for God. God does not operate according to our crises, but according to His plan. He does not give us everything we ask for because not everything we ask for is for our best.
The second truth about miracles is, God works on His own schedule.
This is closely related to the first truth. When told about the problem with the wine, the second half of Jesus’ reply was, “My time has not yet come.”
We think we know what God needs to do.
Mary knew who Jesus was. She wanted the world to know. (We want the world to know.) Jesus points this out by saying, “My time has not yet come.” Mary was pushing Jesus to fulfill His mission, and Jesus was saying, “Not yet.”
We know that God wants us to be healthy. We know that God wants us to be happy. He tells us He will wipe away every tear, and heal all our diseases. However, we also know that in this world we will have trouble. If God’s promise to heal all our diseases meant that we could demand a miracle and receive it every time, then none of us would ever die. It is not His time. He is working to bring all things into subjection to Christ, and at the same time He is patiently waiting for us to repent because He is not willing that any should perish. (2 Peter 3:9) There is a day coming when none of us will ever get sick again or have to face death again. But, it is not yet.
The third truth is, God responds to the trusting heart.
Jesus said, “Dear woman, that’s not our problem. My time has not yet come.” And, Mary did not argue. Mary turned to the servants and said, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Refused and rejected, she was not dissuaded or discouraged. Her faith makes me laugh with joy. Such complete trust is what I wish for. She trusted Jesus and did not insist on her own way. She left the matter entirely in His hands. Jesus taught us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. In the Scripture, God tells us to pray. He wants us to tell Him our desires and needs, and then to trust Him. Our worries, cares and sorrows are important to Him. He tells us they are. He tells us that he is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” (Hebrews 4:15, KJV) In the midst of our weakness, He is moved by the heart that trusts Him.
This does not mean one will get healing every time. It means one is willing to trust God for the best.
The fourth truth is God is willing to make Himself known.
John says is 2:11, “This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.”
This is the first time. The gospel accounts are full of miraculous signs. Jesus walked on water, healed the blind, fed 5,000 with three loaves and two fishes, calmed storms, raised the dead and cast out demons.
When He turned the water into wine, only a few knew. When He calmed the storm, only those in the boat knew. There is a principle in this. Jesus taught, “For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8) Not everyone receives, because not everyone asks.
There are two things that we should walk away with. These two things will change your life.
[i] Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation. Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Steam, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.