Friday

07 January 2011

"Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory." (v. 11)

Background

The first chapter of John's Gospel sets the scene for what follows in the rest of the book. Jesus has come, the light of the world. Having gathered his first few disciples he goes with them to a wedding where, embarrassingly, the wine runs out. Jesus' mother expects him to do something about it and even though it seems he is reluctant to do so, he turns water into wine - lots of it, and of the very best quality (perhaps not a very Methodist story?). 

John describes this as the first of Jesus' signs and says that, through it, Jesus "revealed his glory". There are five other 'signs' in the gospel, the last being the raising of Lazarus (John 11). But to the Gospel's readers six was an incomplete number - the 'perfect' number was seven. So the six earlier 'signs' point beyond themselves to number seven, the resurrection of Jesus. 

Each of the 'signs' in John's Gospel points beyond itself, and reveals who Jesus is. The healing of a blind man (chapter 9) points to Jesus the light of the world. The feeding of the multitude (chapter 6) points to Jesus the bread of life. 

The other Gospels don't use the concept of 'signs' in quite this way but the same idea is present. Look at Jesus and the things he does and you will see who he is. (For example, in Matthew 11:2-5 where the imprisoned John the Baptist wants to know if Jesus is "the one who is to come". Jesus tells John's disciples to go and tell John what they hear and see. The things Jesus does point to who he is.) 

To Ponder

What things make you take Jesus seriously, and point you to who he is?

Are any of these useful to you in introducing other people to Jesus? Why?

Bible notes author: The Revd David Gamble

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