The end of the first eventful journey
It was about 60 miles from where John was baptizing to Jesus’s hometown of Nazareth. He and his first disciples took three days to walk to his home. We move at such a fast and hurried pace today that is hard to imagine what it was like when walking was more common. For three entire days these first followers talked and listened to Jesus and he began to prepare them for the adventure that followed.
Jesus had been away from Nazareth for at least a month and a half. He had walked three days and was baptized by John. He spent 40 days in the desert where he fasted, prayed, and was tempted by Satan as he prepared for his work as Messiah. He returned to where John was baptizing. John pointed him out to his disciples and some of them had left John to follow Jesus. (John 1:43-2:1)
Wine at a wedding
Jesus returned to his mother with his first disciples. The day he returned they walked about two hours to the village of Cana to attend a wedding.
In that era, a wedding celebration could last a week and was paid for by the groom. They ran out of wine and Mary told Jesus. In a familiar story Jesus turns 120 to 180 gallons of water used for purification rites into fine wine. (John 2:1-11)
My time has not come yet
Part of Jesus’s response to Mary was that his time had not yet come. She knew who Jesus was and that Elizabeth’s son, John, would prepare people for Jesus. Jesus had left to go to John and returned with his first followers who had been John’s followers waiting for Messiah
She had assumed that it was time. It was and it wasn’t. One of the emphases of John’s Gospel is that Jesus was in control of his Messianic ministry. At various times in the Gospel, John records that the time had not yet come. Beginning in John 13:1 the tone changed and from then on we’re told the time had come. Jesus tried to set a balance that his public ministry had begun but it was not time for his ultimate sacrifice. (John 2:4; 7:6; 8:30; 8:20; 12:23; 13:1; 16:32; 17:1)
Miracles are signs not showy entertainment
Some of Jesus’ miracles were seen by many people but the changing of the water into wine was not. Miracles were signs that pointed to God’s vindicating power in his creation.
There were three times recorded in the Bible where miracles demonstrated God’s power against focused evil. At the time of the Exodus God confronted the false gods of Egypt. During the ministries of Elijah and Elisha, God confronted the Canaanite fertility cults. And during the ministry of Jesus and the early church, God vindicated Jesus’ messianic ministry. Another focused encounter with evil is predicted in the end times.
This miracle had witnesses, the servants and the disciples. The disciples, who had just begun their journey with Jesus, believed. (John 2:11)
Faith, miraculous signs, and witnesses are themes that John will develop throughout the book. In the half-century between Jesus’ resurrection and when he wrote the gospel, John confronted those who claim they had secret revelation from God. For John, Christianity was a public display of the redemptive power of God. There were signs. There were events. And, there were witnesses. The miraculous signs pointed to Jesus, the Messiah.
Questions for consideration:
Have you ever been out of touch with someone during a period of great change in their lives? What was it like to try to reconnect with them?
Many significant events of great eternal importance are hidden from most people. There are few witnesses but people are greatly changed. Is that hard to accept? Do you wish everyone knew?
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