beginning of signs | John 2.11-12
This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days. John 2:11-12| ESV
And so it was, off-script and ahead of schedule, Jesus did his first miracle – the beginning of the teaching signs he would perform to draw people’s eyes to deeper truths. In nowhere Reedtown, of all places, in the swirling backwaters of Galilee. And though there were no press releases, paparazzi, or postings, Jesus for the first time showed what he was made of – that brimming inner beauty of grace and truth.
And if there was any hesitation before, his initial band of followers fully bought in now.
And after this, Jesus descended from the mountainous spine of Galilee, down to a little fishing village on the lake, Capernaum, “Nahum’s town,” “Rest-Stop.” Jesus’ mother along with the rest of his family were right there with him – and so was that small band of growing followers.
And there they stayed.
But only for a little while… MAV
One of the most arresting points of difference between John’s Gospel and what we call the “Synoptic Gospels” (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) is how seemingly “instantly” the disciples believe in Jesus. Nathanael not only believes, but calls Jesus the Son of God at their first meeting! In the other Gospels, that confession forms a pinnacle of their experience of Jesus over a year or more and serves as a key pivot in the Story. Here it seems to be right on the threshold leading in. We could see that as a discrepancy to resolve or a riddle to solve (back to the empty stone pots again!), but isn’t it really both? We see and receive insight. We have epiphanies of faith. But as we walk further, new vistas open up and now we see. A deeper awareness and realization forms that can be so breathtaking that we feel like we are seeing for the very first time. Nathanael was blown away, but he would see greater things. Three days later at a wedding in Cana from backwater Galilee from which “no good thing could come” it may not have been a literal stairway to heaven with angels of God ascending and descending, but he saw glory. He saw that inner beauty of the grace and truth that filled Jesus to the brim just like those stone pots even as he drank along with the rest that water that had been turned into wine. They all drank it. They all saw it. They all saw the beauty, the grace, the truth, the glory. At a wedding party in Galilee, of all places. In water turned into wine. And they believed. They bought in. All in. Again. More deeply. This is the ultimate point of each “teaching sign” of Jesus, each miracle. Each serves as a “sign pointing us to deeper truths.” The point in Cana was not merely to help a newlywed couple to save face and enable a small village to have a great party. It points them and us to a deeper truth: that the Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us loves to show up in unexpected places where he will take what in hindsight is seen to be a minor crisis at best and turn it into a remarkable display of the grace that is bearing, sweeping all of us into eternal, divine realities (kingdom come!) that we can’t even imagine. And that is worth hanging around for.
What have been some of the key “epiphanies” of faith you have experienced in your life – or are you still waiting for one?
Lord, help me not to miss the epiphany of faith, the revelation of hope, the consolation of love you have for me to see and embrace today. Help me not to be a “just” person – that’s “just” another wedding, that’s “just” Cana (can anything good happen there?), that’s “just” wine, those are “just” stone pots. Help me to look harder, see clearer, believer deeper. Today. Through Christ.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.