Daily Reflection – Jan 7, 2017
Saturday 7 January 2017
First Reading: 1 John 5:14-21
The Lord takes delight in his people
Psalm 149:1-6, 9
Gospel Reading: John 2:1-11
Today’s Note: Christmas Weekday
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
“They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her,
“Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servers,
“Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told them,
“Fill the jars with water.”
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
“Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.”
So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
(although the servers who had drawn the water knew),
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
“Everyone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.
John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, tells us that Jesus did many signs in the presence of his disciples. John recorded seven of these signs to strengthen our belief that ‘Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name’ (John 20:30-31). Jesus’ first sign took place at a wedding reception in the town of Cana, which was very close to Nazareth in Galilee where Jesus grew up. What does this sign tell us about about Jesus? And what is its significance for us?
From skepticism to belief
John locates his account of Jesus’ first sign by telling us that it occurred on the third day (John 2:1-2). What is the significance of the third day? This is three days after skeptical Nathaniel’s first encounter with Jesus. Philip had encouraged Nathaniel to “come and see” for himself who this Jesus was. When Nathaniel met Jesus, Jesus did something out of the ordinary. He revealed something personal about Nathaniel that only Nathaniel would have known. And then Jesus made a claim: ‘You shall see greater things than these.’ And he said to Nathaniel, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man” (John 1:50-51). Jesus in so many words told Nathaniel, ‘“You don’t just have to believe my words, what I am saying here. I am going to perform signs that will back up the truth of what I’m saying and prove that I am who I claim to be.’ If someone makes that kind of claim to you, you are going to closely watch whatever he does to see if he can make good on the claim. You want to find out if he is genuine or just an imposter or maybe deluded and crazy.
Turning failure into blessing
Three days later Jesus takes his disciples to a wedding reception and there he does something quite out of the ordinary, right in the middle of the celebration – and during a very embarrassing moment for the bride and groom. When Jesus’ mother presses Jesus to do something about the situation, Jesus seems to put her off. But she knows her son very well and understands that Jesus will handle the situation that way he thinks best.
Why did the wedding party run out of wine in the middle of the feast? Perhaps Jesus contributed to this embarrassing failure by bringing a group of his disciples to the feast at the last minute. But Jesus had a purpose in turning a wedding feast fiasco into a blessing beyond reckoning. He wanted to bless a newly-wed couple and all those at the wedding banquet as well. Everyone received in abundance the best of wine. John describes Jesus’ first public miracle as a sign. It is more than simply a demonstration of his power to change nature. It is a sign of what he has come to do – to transform the lives of all who will believe in him.
Let go of pride and fear
What might hold us back from allowing Jesus to change and transform us? Perhaps you feel that your faith is weak, or that you are unworthy to receive God’s favor and gifts. Perhaps you struggle with anxiety or despair because your life feels hopelessly out of control. Jesus knows our struggles and weaknesses better than we do. And that doesn’t stop him from offering us freedom and transformation through the gift and working of his Holy Spirit.
Paul the Apostle reminds us that God chooses to work in and through fragile and cracked vessels, such as us, to reveal the power of his glory and love. ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us’ (2 Corinthians 4:7).
If there is anything holding you back from trusting in Jesus, let it go – give it to Jesus. Let go of fear – fear of losing your life. Let go of pride – wanting to always be in control and get things to go your way. And let go of unbelief – the stubborn refusal to accept Jesus on his own terms and to deny that he has the words of eternal life. Be like Nathaniel and choose to follow the master – to the wedding banquet and beyond, to even greater things.
“Heavenly Father, you have revealed your glory in our Lord Jesus Christ. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may bring you glory in all that I do and say.”