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
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.