He Revealed His Glory

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A Blogged Bible Study entry:

Every time I read about the miracle at Cana it brings back a flood of memories from my childhood, along with a very popular song at the time, “He Turned the Water into Wine” by Johnny Cash.  You see, it was “against my religion” to drink, and for the life of me, at the tender age of seven, I could not understand why He (Jesus) would do such a thing, when it was not suppose to be done in the first place, at least not by the rules of my church.  Well…somebody had to be wrong and it couldn’t be my church so…?

Hopefully, this illustration is causing some to laugh and remember how you’ve possibly distorted scripture by placing suppositions, your own interpretations, onto the Word of God.  About twenty years later I began to see I needed to let scripture speak for itself, to not add my cultural distortions.  It is work, but so much is revealed when we take the time to let the Word speak (and now I know I can drink wine – heehee ).

Coming to this week’s reading for our Blogged Bible Study I chose not to be bound by the chapter and verse divisions which can skew the point John is making.  It would be easy to question many parts of this passage from my cultural perspective, but I would rather draw your attention to what John says about the “WHY” of this miracle at Cana.

In the first chapter of John, many titles for Jesus are given:

The Word
The Light
The Life
The Lamb of God
The Chosen One of God
Rabbi (Teacher)
The Messiah (Christ)
The Son of God
The King of Israel

Yet at the end of the chapter, when Jesus speaks (v.51)

Jesus…said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

He uses the title, “Son of Man.”  This was not an obscure title to the Jews.  In the Prophets, the book of Daniel, this term is given to the One who will have an everlasting dominion, it is a specific prophecy of the coming Messiah.

I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him.   And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed ~Daniel 7:13-14

Jesus’ disciples had asked Him if He was the Messiah and He answered by saying He is the Son of Man, a title given in the prophecies concerning Messiah, His dominion and His authority.

Three days later we see Jesus and His disciples at a wedding in Cana and the resulting miracle of turning water into wine is performed.  Let’s skip to the end of the story:

When the head steward tasted the water that had been turned to wine, not knowing where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine when the guests are drunk. You have kept the good wine until now!” Jesus did this as the first of his miraculous signs, in Cana of Galilee. In this way he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. (New American Standard)

He revealed/manifested  – to uncover, lay bare, reveal

His glory – primarily signifies an opinion, estimate, and hence, the honor resulting from a good opinion. It is used of the nature and acts of God in self-manifestation,…it was exhibited in the character and acts of Christ in the days of His flesh, Joh. 1:14; Joh. 2:11; at Cana both His grace and His power were manifested, and these constituted His “glory”

and His disciples believed in Him – to believe,” also “to be persuaded of,” and hence, “to place confidence in, to trust,” signifies, in this sense of the word, reliance upon, not mere credence…”to believe,” also means “to entrust”

Wow.  This speaks volumes.  Why water into wine?  Not for His mother…not for a wedding…not for little things in our lives…not to teach me I can drink wine…Why did He do this?

To lay bare His grace and His power to His disciples.  To give His disciples the correct estimate of who He is, the Son of Man.  He manifested Himself as Creator, as God.  And what was their response?

They entrusted themselves to Him, they were persuaded and placed their confidence in Him…they believed.

God reveals Himself to whomever He wishes.  At the time He determines, He manifests Himself to us and we are to be persuaded, to put our confidence in and to trust Him…to believe.

It reminds me of the verse in Galatians about Paul’s conversion experience.  He had been a persecutor of the people of the Way…But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…

It is at God’s pleasure that He does the revealing, in His time. Then we are given the chance to entrust ourselves to Him…to believe.

Amazing.

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32 responses »

  1. Wow. Neat. I love this part especially: At the time He determines, He manifests Himself to us and we are to be persuaded, to put our confidence in and to trust Him…to believe. I would love to know why He picked turning the water into wine as the first of the miracles to show his power. I’m sure it is very significant. I would love to know that answer.

    I was just looking in Daniel yesterday with my other friend, Michelle. 🙂 Very cool stuff, the book of Daniel. Ok. The whole 66 books are all cool stuff. 🙂

    Great post, Michelle!

  2. You know, Annie, looking into all the spiritual implications of why water into wine (which was my first question), I came across others explanations of hospitality, being gracious, caring about the ceremony (possibly familial relations not being embarrassed). The part I found most interesting was the understanding that these were pots of water used for purification in the Old Covenant, but in the New Covenant we are filled with new wine, the Spirit’s work in us. I thought that was cool, I just wondered if it was too speculative. I try to stick with the clear meaning…but…it is a really cool thought!

    I LOVE the book of Daniel…”the people who know their God will be strong and do exploits” LOVE IT!!

    Thanks for commenting, Annie, love your input! 😉

  3. “Not the little things”. Great now I need to re-write my post for this week… 😉 🙂

    What I like Michelle is that you didn’t let the discipline of not drinking get in the way of digging into the Truth of this miricle. You are able to see his Grace and Power in your life(His Glory), and you are able to see it revealed in his word for your life.

    Very Nicely written.

  4. This is amazing. I love the way you have really unpacked the revelation aspect of this miracle. Jesus “lay[ing] bare His grace and His power” and the disciples response of entrusting themselves to Him as they understood Who He is.

    The other thing that really speaks to me in this passage is the way that Jesus is able to change the fundamental nature of something. This has often gven me real hope …

    Thanks for this Michelle, God bless.

  5. No, no, no Carl!! That was NOT my point, I think all of the other things revealed to us are good (like now I know I can drink, although I’ve yet to take advantage of that knowledge), I was just surprised at the answer being right there in the text and yet I’d NEVER seen it before. Do NOT rewrite your post!!! It was very well written and encouraging to know He does care about the details of our lives. Truly. 😉

    Good morning, Birgit. Thank you. I love that aspect too, He certainly reveals Himself as Creator, doesn’t He? Blessings to you. 🙂

  6. I find it thought provoking that in this particular instance, Jesus remarked “my time has not yet come” and can be said to have directed a mild reproof at His mother. Yet he still performed the miracle and demonstrated His glory. However, unlike his more public miracles, this one was done privately and quietly because the time for more public demonstrations of His power had in fact not yet come, speaking of God’s timing for those, and all that went with them – the resistance of the religious ‘elite’ leading eventually to His death and resurrection.

    Would he have performed the miracle if the wedding feast’s wine-tender had asked? Why or why not?

    Just asking. . .

  7. I think so, Dan. Why? It was for the disciples to see who He really was/is. And I think the timing was significant for the disciples, at the beginning of His ministry. I think the reason for it being a private miracle had much to do with His time not being right, of course, doesn’t His time refer to His hour of death and resurrection, the revelation of His glory to all?

    In His sovereignty He knew the day and the hour it pleased Him to reveal His glory to His disciples…that’s what I think.

    What do you think?

  8. I think you are right. It was a perfect opportunity to demonstrate to His disciples his glory and divinity.

    I used to think it was just because His mother made the request. Because it was His mother he COULD keep it private, but probably wouldn’t have been able to keep it that way if it had been the wine-tender. Whatever the ‘unknown’ details are, God was in control of the whole thing anyway.

  9. Dan.. Michelle.. Don’t for get they were at a wedding… As for shadowing of the marriage between Christ and his Church. Christ saying, I will make ordinary water the best wine ever, with out any bitter flavor… Christ saying to his Disciples I will make you the best ever, and you will be my Bride pure and spotless.

  10. The foreshadowing of the wedding of Christ and the church…mmmm good thoughts…

    I do love how HE displayed HIS glory, and HIS mother and disciples were witness to it…I also love how sometimes HIS glory is apparent to those who are looking for it, although HE will remain nameless to the ones who are partaking of the goodness, and oblivious to where it comes from. I know I am way off again..but Jesus says you need to love me…no shooting just loving 😉

  11. ck,

    Didn’t forgt that bit, my friend, it’s just one of the most well known takes on it, so didn’t mention it. Good point – save the best wine for last. I never thought about that in terms of believers – good wine to better/best wine. I’m not sure I was even at the level of even ‘good wine’ when He gave life to my Eph 2 DEAD spirit. Was I even a good grape? Just a thought 🙂

    darla,

    not way off, He shows His glory to all creation and His goddness to all – it’s called ‘common grace’ extended to all in contrast to His special love and saving grace extended to the elect of God – those whom the Father is giving to the Son. . .just a thought

  12. Great points! I did say this to Annie:

    The part I found most interesting was the understanding that these were pots of water used for purification in the Old Covenant, but in the New Covenant we are filled with new wine, the Spirit’s work in us.

    Pots of earth and six in number, the number of man…lots could be said…is it THE point? Don’t know.

    Love you too, Darla! (and Dan and Carl and Annie) 😆

  13. ooo! ooo! ooo!

    And Dan…it was from pottable water, not drinkable water, that He created the best wine…so there is the thought of “unworthiness” to newness of life…

    What do you think?

  14. Well played Michelle on the Pottable water. That is what they use on airplanes. Fine to wash your hands with, but not to drink.

  15. OK, I so don’t want to post tomorrow… *sigh* This is unbelievable Michelle…and your comment 15….wow…

    “God reveals Himself to whomever He wishes. At the time He determines, He manifests Himself to us and we are to be persuaded, to put our confidence in and to trust Him…to believe.”

    One of the things I love most about you is the gentleness in which you speak truth in love to reach people. To this I say Amen…
    Love you!

  16. And why don’t you want to post tomorrow, Deb? I love reading everyone’s insights. We are all coming from different perspectives and the diversity I find among Christians is much of the iron sharpening iron…I learn…you learn…hopefully we’re ALL learning.

    I do believe in contending earnestly for the faith, especially in these latter days when destructive heresies are being introduced more than the Word, as was foretold. But we can do it in a spirit of love, kindness, patience, self-control…always preserving peace among the body of believers, I hope…???

  17. Just feeling a bit inadaquate after reading yawls (lol) Maybe because I’m studying the same scripture and the whole things is impacting me so…..love you guys…and yes Carl the post is ready. 😉

  18. I know the feeling, Debs! Looking forward to what He has placed upon your heart. 😉

    Carl!! Call off your guys! 😆

  19. Carl 🙂

    HEY!! No one mentioned the Johnny Cash song from you tube?!?!?

    He’s singing in San Quentin…kinda 😎

  20. Hey Michelle – sorry I’m just now checking back in here.

    Wow – some really great thoughts swimming around here. I’ve got a few things in my head……

    1) I have heard many of those same analogies about the water into wine. I think all of them may be true (in that God layers His Word with so many meanings that any one thing can mean SO many different (and yet cohesive) things – the Spirit breathes life), but I’m thinking in more of a ‘what did it mean to the people of the day’ way. For instance. Something you won’t get out of the text unless you know the history … when Jesus raised the widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11-16), it was in the town of Nain, which is about 4 miles from the town of Shunem where Elisha had also raised a widow’s son from the dead some 700 years previously (2 Kings 4:8-37). Elisha was the last great prophet the land had seen. There were other prophesying prophets, but not miracle working prophets. So this was the great story of this region: “In the times of the Kings, the great prophet Elisha raised a widow’s son from the dead in our town.” Now, here comes Jesus and does the same thing, just on the other side of the hill from where Elisha’s miracle was performed. To the people this was jaw dropping! Someone with the power of Elisha and Elijah had come!! Another great prophet in the power of Elijah! There were prophesies about such a prophet! You see, it was much more than just a spectacular miracle. It meant something personally to the people in the town where it was performed. This is what I am looking for with the water and the wine. I’m quite sure it was significant in a way to the people who saw it that they may have taken for granted that their audience knew. See what I mean? I do love the thought about the purification and the new wine, though.

    2) The bit about his Mom. How to look at this? Well … I see it this way. Jesus said that He did only what He saw His Father doing, and said only what He heard His Father saying, right? This is a very close, moment-by-moment obedience. So in the moment when Mary said, “They have no wine,” He didn’t hear an instruction. So He answered by saying, “My time has not yet come.” (Which, by the way, wasn’t a ‘no’. Which I think Mary heard.) Mom has an intuition. She senses something herself and is sure that Jesus was going to act as God in that moment. She didn’t press Him or force Him, but simply made everything ready for Him when God did speak (wow, that’s a sermon). I see in this interaction here some laughter between Jesus and His Mom. “What have I to do with you, woman?” sounds somewhat harsh to our ears. But it is so similar to a phrase we use all the time, “What am I going to do with you?” I hear it this way: Jesus is calmly watching the proceedings and enjoying the wedding feast. He probably notices a mild commotion, and feels the Spirit brewing … but no instructions. Mom sees this as well – she can see her son’s Spirit being stirred when possibly no one else can. So she anticipates, and goes to Him first.

    Mary leans over to whisper close, “They have no wine.” Expectation fills her eyes, drawing from Him what she expects.

    “What am I going to do with you, woman?” He laughs and chucks her on the chin. Looking past her to the servants whispering among themselves he says, “My time has not yet come.”

    Mary leans back, and looks her son in the eye for a steady moment. Certainty fills her. She lifts her head and turns to the head servant. “Whatever He says to do, do it.”

    The rest follows.

    Did it really happen this way? I don’t know. The Bible doesn’t give us so many specifics. But I think it likely. Mary was an observer, a ponderer. She had been pondering in her heart all of the prophesies and the destiny she saw in her eldest son. Is it a far reach to conclude in this moment that she percieved what was coming? It’s a nice way of looking at it, I think.

    3) LOVE that passage in Daniel. So much there. “Those who know their God.” Mmmmmm munch, munch, munch

    4) Deb – don’t be intimidated by anyone else in the things you post about. As much as it may seem that others are cleverer (is that a word?) or better at writing, or just find more ‘cool’ things than you think you do (I don’t know what intimidates you – these are my imagining what it might be) … none of us ever shares of ourselves with any real impact. It doesn’t matter how smart or how cool we are – our brains don’t figure this stuff out. Everything is by the Spirit of God – something you have as well, without measure! I know for myself that when I write a post out of my head, it goes over like a ton of bricks. When I share something alive that God is showing me … that life is what gets passed on. And that is all by the Spirit of God. Nothing I can claim except being honest with myself and God and sharing the life that He is currently giving me with others. You have that! You have that life! And the things you have from God may be just the thing that lifts a reader up to a new way of seeing things. So be encouraged!

    Ok, I think that’s all. 🙂 I can be quite long-winded. 😀

  21. Michelle,

    I love the Cash video… I watched it on the Blackberry, so when I came back to read and comprehend your post something else caught my heart to comment on.

  22. Hi Michelle – EXCITING NEWS!! I got to meet up with Gchyayles at Heathrow on her way back to America! God is amazing, I’m so excited about it – have written about it and put up a pic today, just in case you’d like to see, lots of love.

  23. Michelle,
    Like your post and commenters.
    My mother says hello in response to your comment.
    The relatives are in town celebrating my sister’s 50th birthday.
    -Sam

  24. Annie, just a few thoughts swimming around in your head…hmmm…? I wonder what happens when you get a brainstorm!

    I understand your thinking on the people at the time, the meaning being something specific to them…it certainly was very meaningful to the disciples, having then placed their trust in Him.

    I wonder how Mary and Jesus interacted…? I also wonder about how Jesus was with his other siblings, especially when reading the epistles of James and Jude (His half brothers)

    Interesting thoughts, Annie!

    Carl, you’re too nice! I think you’re the only one who mentioned Johnny Cash – I guess that video really dates me! 😯

    Hello Birgit. Thanks for telling me. I’m so glad you were able to meet up with Gchyayles – the photo is wonderful!! Someday I’m coming to London…someday! 🙄

    Hey, Sam! Have a great time with your family. 😉

  25. Michelle,
    I couldn’t agree more with you…that miracle was explicitly for the disciples.
    I actually wrote about about this on my post (but not as eloquently as you). This miracle makes me think of two things at the moment:
    1. This was the first “recorded” miracle of Jesus. It seems that perhaps he had demonstrated his power before. How else did Mary know he had the ability?
    2. I would have needed to see this miracle to believe in Jesus. If I were a Jew living in Palestine when Jesus was ministering in person, I doubt I would have believed. Thank God I was born in 1979 and 10ad.
    Great post!

  26. Hey, Nate. It would be interesting to know what kind of a childhood and young adult life Jesus had, to know if He manifested Himself to his mother earlier. I don’t really think he did though because His brothers certainly were unaware of anything spectacular about Him. Unless of course she kept everything to herself. I would have needed a miracle too.

    Thanks for coming over, I finally got to yours too. 😳

  27. Hey Michelle – on that thought. I was thinking about it. Can you imagine being a Mom to a son who never sinned?

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