Sunday

04 January 2015

“Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” (v. 11)

Psalm: Psalm 100


Background

Today, many Methodists across the Connexion will be celebrating the annual Covenant Service. This is an occasion when all have an opportunity to respond to the glory revealed in Christ, a chance "freely and wholeheartedly" to give all things to God.

In the story of Jesus' miraculous transformation of water into wine, readers encounter a glimpse of this glory of Jesus - a glory that can lead to faith and trust. The story is the first "sign" that Jesus performs in John's Gospel, one of seven such signs which each indicate something of who Jesus is and why he came.

The story takes place in the ordinary setting of a village wedding, and includes a fascinating exchange between Jesus and his mother Mary. It is Mary, concerned perhaps for the reputation of the host, who tells her son that the wine has run out. Initially, Jesus declares that his "hour has not yet come" (v. 4) - a phrase denoting his coming death (John 12:23-28) - and yet Mary instructs the servants to do whatever he tells them. Jesus tells the servants to fill the six stone water jars set aside for Jewish purification with water - and it is this water that miraculously turns to wine by the time it is tasted by the chief steward.

On one level, the sign is an indication of Jesus' miraculous power, a power that reflects his identity as the Son of God. This is no ordinary teacher, but one whose power is divine. The sign might also, however, draw on prophecies that associate God's future kingdom with an abundance of wine (Amos 9:13-14). Through this dramatic miracle, Jesus points to the new wine of the kingdom that he brings. His glory is revealed even in the midst of an ordinary village celebration.


To Ponder

  • How can the Covenant Prayer - which you may have prayed today - help you to prepare for the coming year?
  • What does this story reveal to you about the relationship between Jesus and his mother Mary?
  • Where do you encounter God's glory in everyday life?

 
Bible notes author:  Ed Mackenzie 

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