Jesus’ First Sign- John 2

Writing about Scripture has proved to be more challenging than I thought. My task was simple, to read through the gospel of John and write about words that

My Mom and me
My Mom and me

Jesus spoke and the context of when He used the word believe.  I was planning to go through a chapter a day, but there is so much in each chapter and organizing my thoughts and ideas has not been easy.  I am not a Bible teacher, simply a student of God’s word who loves practically all of it and thinks it’s all important.  Plus my blog has technical issues, it isn’t organized in a way that makes sense to me, it looks better when there is a picture with the post, the formatting doesn’t look quite right…my distractions could go on and on, if I’d allow them and I’m not even going touch on the thoughts that run through my brain on what others will think about what I’m writing. Isn’t life like that though?  Full of distractions to keep us from what is truly important?  A lot of times we can be consumed by the details and miss the big picture.  I want to be taught by God from His word and for my writing to reflect what He is teaching me.  I’m hoping my words will reflect what is in my heart and in some way encourage others to read the Bible and learn more God’s great love story.

I’ve been listening to the chapters of John while reading along, highlighting Jesus’ words, and putting a box around the word believe to try to help stay focused.  Yesterday I went through this process with chapter two and three and find that most of chapter three (vs. 3-21 ) is now highlighted!  One of my biggest struggles as a student has and continues to be summarization.  I’ve always over highlighted and struggled with deciding what is the most important. I found the word believe three times in John 2; verses 11, 22 and 23.   I’m going to focus on just the first 11 verses today and attempt to organize what I’ve learned.

In the beginning of the chapter, we encounter Jesus’ first miracle turning water into wine. I love how His mom, Mary, came to Jesus when they ran out of wine at the wedding. She knew who to go to in a crisis situation.  This reminds me that she knew Jesus; she was His mother after all.  Although I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be the mother of Jesus, I am a mother and I know my children, so I can identify with Mary, the mother and this ‘hostess-type’ role she seems to be in. (The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke give accounts of Jesus from conception to birth and some information on Him when he was a boy, but John starts with His ministry as a 30 year old man.)  One of my biggest fears is having some kind of a party and running out of food, which almost became a reality when we hosted my high school son’s lacrosse team for a pasta party this week.  Running out of food or in this case wine, would seem like a crisis to someone hosting guests, so I’m imagining Mary’s stress level is a little high.

Jesus’ response to Mary is a little confusing to me, “Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come” vs. 4.  But it doesn’t seem to be confusing to Mary because she tells the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Mary brought her need to Jesus and allowed Him to meet it.  How many times do I bring a need to God then proceed to tell Him how I think it should be resolved?

The waiters do what Jesus tells them and they get to experience a sign from Jesus on whom He really is- One who can take water and create the best tasting wine the headwaiter had tasted at this wedding celebration.  It was worth noting because usually they would serve the best wine first then the cheaper imitation after people already had the best on their palates.  Jesus isn’t like that.  He has ‘the best is yet to come’ message for us and He never gives a cheap imitation of love, grace, goodness, peace, joy, or anything for that matter.   John 2:11 says, “This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”  Imagine you are at this wedding, what role would you step in to? Would you be one of the disciples already following Jesus whose belief is strengthened, one of the servants interacting with Jesus for the first time with a new belief in Him or a guest who is drinking the best wine offered, but not knowing from whom it comes? Whomever you identify with, what do you currently believe about Jesus and will you continue to journey through the Bible to learn more about Him?

Two points I’m taking away from this miracle, sign and wonder is that Jesus always only gives the best to us and He can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

XO, Michelle

You Are Known-John 1

John 1 ImageThe gospel of John starts in verses 1-5 by taking us back to remind us that Jesus, the Father and Holy Spirit have always been in existence together.  It’s become particularly significant to me that Jesus, the Word, was “In the beginning” and that “all things came into being by Him”.  Genesis 1:26 “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;” Jesus didn’t just begin existence when He was born.  He is God, has always existed, and chose to become fully man.

As I read John chapter 1, I highlighted words that Jesus spoke and looked closely at the context of when He used the word believe.  I found believe in three places in the first chapter, verse 7, 12 and 50.  I’m going to briefly highlight the first two verses and spend more time on Jesus’ interactions with people. Here is a link to John 1: https://www.bible.com/bible/100/jhn.1.nasb

Before Jesus comes onto the scene we are introduced to John the Baptist 1:6-7, “a man, sent from God…for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, the all might believe through him”.  This is not the same man who authored the book of John.   Luke 1 tells about John the Baptist from conception to birth and Matthew 3 gives further detail about his ministry, if you want to learn more about him and his parents.  John was telling people that Jesus was coming and had a firm conviction of who Jesus was.

John 1:12 tells us, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name”.  We are told who we become when we believe in Jesus.

Jesus is all-knowing, so when Simon first meets Him, he need not introduce himself.  Jesus already knows him, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cepahs (Peter)” 1:42.  If I put myself in Simon’s sandals, I can imagine that he felt Jesus look straight into his heart and was known for the first time without having to say a word.  The same is true for us.  Jesus knows us; the good and bad, and loves us so much that He left heaven and lived on earth so He could be the “Lamb of God” 1:36, the Sacrifice for our sins that have separated us from a perfect God.

What is it like to walk into a room and be known?  Can you think of a time when you felt known or at least recognized?  There is significance to us when someone knows our name.  Think about all the places we go where people wear name tags.  Try addressing the person by name while you are checking out at the grocery store or ordering your food at a restaurant.  Does the person react to hearing his/her name used?  We can make this small gesture a habit by showing people that they are known.  It doesn’t compare to believing you are known and have been known by the One who created everything, since the start of time. Jesus knows you.

We encounter the word believe gain in John 1:50 in the context of Jesus talking to a man named Nathanael.  Earlier, Jesus called Philip and said to him, “Follow Me” 1:43.  This made such an impact on his life that Philip went and found Nathanael to tell him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” 1:45.  All the details prophesied about in the Old Testament about the coming Savior were lived out by Jesus.  Nathanael was an Israelite, so he would know what was written about the coming King of Israel.  As you read the account of Nathanael meeting Jesus for the first time in John 1:45-51, ponder what was it that made Nathanael a believer?  Can you fathom being seen by Jesus not just right where you are in your current circumstances, but from the beginning of creation?  Jesus sees you.

From the start of time, Jesus existed and He knew you.  He sees you now and loves you deeply.  He invites you to believe this is true about Him and to become God’s child.

XO, Michelle

 

 

Believe- John

What does it mean to believe? According to Merriam-Webster the full definition of believe is:
to have a firm religious faith; to accept something as true, genuine or real;
to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something;
to hold an opinion; think
This definition ranges from a firm religious faith to a firm conviction to holding an opinion.  What we believe seeps out into our actions and interactions with others.  This is true for what we believe deeply about ourselves to superficial beliefs about the weather, for example.  There is a complexity to our belief system that is, much of the time, unspoken or even unidentified, but surfaces through words, actions and sometimes most vibrantly through reactions to others.  What is my core belief about myself when the not-so-nice side of me surfaces; when I become prideful, fearful, insecure, angry, selfish, withdrawn or controlling? For me personally, I’ve identified that comes from a deep rooted belief that I’m worthless, unimportant and insignificant, but I know based on what God says in His word that those beliefs are lies.  When you are in circumstances that prevent you from striving to achieve success and the value that comes from it, whatever that looks like for you- the tough situations in life filled with some kind of loss, you have choices on how you respond to your beliefs- the positive and negative. Over my life, I’ve spent time in the pit with my negative belief system and experience has taught me it leads to darkness, loss and death.  In my current situation, by far the most long-lasting challenge I’ve experienced regarding my health, I’ve found joy, truth, gratitude, grace and wholeness because of my belief in who God is, not what I can do.  God replaces false, deep rooted beliefs with His truth.  It is possible, I’ve experienced it.

Our beliefs affect us, or at least they should.

When it comes to living my life for Jesus, do I want to have a firm faith and conviction or just hold an opinion about who He is, what He’s done and how He says to live? Does my belief change my heart, mind, speech and actions or do I simply hold an opinion, but it doesn’t mark my life? Even more than what do I think, how am I going to live because I believe? Do I live in a way that reflects that I accept the Bible and its message of Love to be true, genuine and real? Do I believe in the goodness of God regardless of the circumstances I find myself in? Do I believe that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are true and does this affect how I treat others?

As I read through the gospel of John, I’m going to highlight in my Bible words that Jesus speaks and look closely at the context of any tense of the word believe.

In John 1:38 Jesus asked His first question, “What do you seek?”  Imagine you are in Bethany in 85 AD with John the Baptist, not the author of the gospel, in when Jesus begins his three year ministry and you are hearing Jesus ask you, “What do you seek?”.  Would you journey with me through the pages of John in the Bible to discover who Jesus is and to decide for yourself if you believe in Him?  An invitation has been issued; it’s now up to you.

XO, Michelle