God Time for February 6-10
( start with 5 minutes of appreciation memories)
Monday February 6
“How do you know about me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus replied, “I could see you under the fig tree before Philip found you.” Then Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God—the King of Israel!” Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.”
The Gospel of John is like a treasure hunt. John even gives us big clues to the treasure. He calls them signs. Like Jesus says to Nathanael, the signs are seen, with a little faith, as the angels of God are going up and coming down at the place where Jesus is.
Author, NT Wright says, “The signs are the moments when heaven is opened, when the transforming power of God’s love bursts in to the present world. The whole point of the ‘signs’ is that they are moments when heaven and earth intersect with each other.”
In John’s gospel we are are going to see great clues to the great treasure that is to come, and many hints along the way.
What are some ways Jesus speaks of treasure?
Tuesday February 7
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. The wine ran out. Jesus’ mother came over to him. ‘They haven’t got any wine!’ she said.
All right, mother,’ replied Jesus, ‘but what’s that got to do with you and me? My time hasn’t come yet.’ His mother spoke to the servants. ‘Do whatever he tells you,’ she said.
Here we start seeing hints to the treasure. Why is the third day mentioned? Think about the resurrection that occurs later. On the third day.
Now we have arrived in Cana. A small village near Nazareth. For a wedding. What is the significance of a wedding? Another hint. According to John, who also wrote the Book of Revelation, heaven and earth will become one and it will be like a great wedding feast for God’s people.
And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
So, we arrive in Cana for the wedding. This is a social highlight of the year for villages. You invite as many people as you can. Here we see people from Cana and Nazareth attending, including Jesus and his followers, and that includes his new disciple Nathanael, who is from Cana. Jesus’ family is also there. Here we are introduced to his mother, Mary, for the first time in the Gospel of John.
Mary is only mentioned here and once more in John. At the cross. The ultimate sign where heaven and earth intersect. So, Mary is at the bookends of the wonders of Jesus, present at this moment in Cana, which John will tells us is the first sign, and at the crucifixion, the culmination.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Back to the wedding. They have already run out of wine. This is a disaster. You invite villages of people, you have to have enough food and drink to last. Weddings could go on for a week! No wonder they are the social highlight! But, if you run out of wine you will be shamed in a shaming culture like first century Israel. This is a major curse on the bride and groom. What a way to start their new life together. But Mary knows something about Jesus.
They have run out of wine!
Jesus says, OK mom, I get it. What do you want me to do? Run down to the corner liquor store?
Well, not exactly that, but Jesus knows there is something else up. No one gets to force his hand in bringing in God’s Kingdom for good. The ultimate intersection. Not even mom. But, we are seeing the strange new world Jesus brings with him. Compassion in an unusual situation. Jesus can do something about it. Mary knows something is coming. She tells the waiters, “Do whatever he tells you.” That is sound advice.
How does Jesus saving a married couple the shame of a big social faux pas sit with you as his first big public miracle?
Wednesday February 8
Six stone water-jars were standing there, ready for use in the Jewish purification rites. Each held about twenty or thirty gallons. ‘Fill the jars with water,’ said Jesus to the servants. And they filled them, right up to the brim. ‘Now draw some out’, he said, ‘and take it to the chief steward.’ They did so.
The water-jars are used for Jewish purification rites. A sign that you are made clean. Well, now the sign is so much more than than that. God is doing a new thing from within the old Jewish system, where he is bringing purification to Israel and the whole world in a new way. And don’t miss the hint about water turned to wine, which will be turned into blood later, flowing at the cross, taking away the sins of the word. Talk about purification!
But, again, let’s not get ahead of ourselves…So, we have six jugs at 30 gallons a piece. That’s 180 gallons…or over 900 bottles of wine. Think this party’s going anywhere? Mercy! Someone has come to the rescue.
Our lives are meant to be extravagant when Jesus is the source of the extravagance. What does this mean to you?
Thursday February 9
When the chief steward tasted the water that had turned into wine (he didn’t know where it had come from, but the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called the bridegroom. ‘What people normally do’, he said, ‘is to serve the good wine first, and then the worse stuff when people have had plenty to drink. But you’ve kept the good wine till now!’
We are learning this is just like Jesus. He can transform any situation, any life. The transformation from water to wine is of course meant by John to signify the effect that Jesus can have, can still have today, on people’s lives. He came, as he says later, that we might have life in all its fullness.
The (devil’s) purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
This is who we worship today. The one who can take anything bad we are facing in life and somehow we are going to be fine, eventually. It’s all going to work out. We would do well to remember this the next time we get anxious, the next time we are ready to give up. The creator of the universe has a purpose for our lives. Rich and satisfying.
If you aren’t there, yet, don’t worry, just take Mary’s words seriously. You want a rich and satisfying life?
“Do whatever he tells you.”
I mean think about it. Since this is a wedding I will go with the example of champagne. Most people will start with a couple of bottles of Dom at the table, as in Dom Perignon, about $140 at Costco. Then when everyone is getting a little happy, you pull out the Andre, about 5 bucks a bottle.
I know, if you aren’t a champagne drinker, you might not be able to tell the difference between the two, but Bible people are wine connoisseurs. They know their wine.
Jesus could have smoothed things over with 900 bottles of Andre, but he can’t help but bring the best. After all, the one who creates the water in the first place can turn it into anything he wants. Jesus isn’t cheap, he’s extravagant with his blessing. Dom Perignon it is! But, probably the most expensive Dom, so now we are looking at 25 K a bottle! That’s what the most expensive Dom Perignon will wet you back. You have kept the best wine until last, all 25.5 million dollars worth of wedding wine.
Ah, thanks Jesus…
Why is math a handy tool to have when we think of the extravagance of Jesus? Hint: He created math, too!
Friday February 10
This event, in Cana of Galilee, was the first of Jesus’ signs. He displayed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
When we believe in Jesus, we believe there is more to him than there is to anything the world can offer us. With Jesus, it’s time to put on our seat belts, because he is going to take us on a ride!
The great wedding feast promised by God is here. So, buckle up, Jesus is our designated driver. We get to be filled with abundant life, rich and overflowing, and nothing can stop Jesus. He freely gives. All it takes is a little bit of faith.
Do whatever he tells you…
Yes, the first big clue to the great treasure of all existence is this event, a simple wedding that becomes something so much more. You have to love that Jesus decides to have his Messiah-plus coming out party at a literal party!
Jesus is too much. He is too great and mighty that his glory crushes down on us. But, the thing is, when we are overcome with his awesomeness, just like when grapes are crushed to make wine, what pours out of us is the very best the world needs. We become the intersection between heaven and earth where we attend to people’s needs. We become his gift to those around us. We are a special vintage, indeed…Cheers!
All it takes is a tiny amount of faith to bring about what Jesus wants all along. Is there anything holding you back?