Five Minute Devotions: John 2
John 2 is a record of the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry. It recounts his first cleansing of the Temple in the latter half of the chapter. And it contains his first, rather unlikely miracle at the beginning.
The entire purpose of John’s gospel is to compile a collection of stories about Jesus and lay them out in order to make the argument that he is the Christ. In the first eleven chapters of John, the gospel writer records seven miracles of Jesus.
- Raising Lazarus (John 11)
- Healing the Man Born Blind (John 9)
- Walking on Water (John 6)
- Feeding 5,000 (John 6)
- Healing the Paralyzed Man (John 5)
- Healing the Officer’s Son (John 4)
That’s six incredibly important signs that point to the majesty and divinity of Jesus. What’s the seventh?
- Turning Water into Wine (John 2)
If I was going to pick a way to introduce my readers to Jesus, I don’t know that I’d lead with “this one time he turned water to wine.” I’d pick something more glamorous. Feeding 5,000. Raising the dead. Walking on water. His confrontation with the Pharisees and religious leaders. This interaction at this wedding just seems so random and out of place in regards to his other miracles.
A God Who Cares
Jesus’ first miracle is hardly an important one in the grand scheme of things. If it wasn’t the first miracle, I wonder if it would have even been noteworthy. If we had to rank the miracles of Jesus, providing miraculous refreshments would fall pretty low on the list.
But this tells me something about Jesus. This story tells us about a Jesus who had truly made his home on this earth. Jesus could have easily pointed out that this was an abuse of his powers and, if he had done so, I think we would probably have agreed.
Jesus provides refreshments? Talk about God being interested in the little things! Talk about him being invested in humanity. Yes, Jesus had a mission. Yes, Jesus had a message. But just as important was how Jesus treated people. God didn’t just become human, he moved into the neighborhood, he became part of the community. Through this small, insignificant miracle, you see God dwelling with mankind.
A God Who Is Present
This isn’t the kind of dwelling you’d think about, either. Not the God high and holy and lifted up, placed on a throne and may all worship be given to him. This isn’t the overwhelming presence of the Shekinah. It’s casual, it’s simple, it’s conversational. You imagine Jesus drinking and laughing and having a good time. He’s joking with the groom—maybe a childhood friend—he’s doing some counseling here and pastoring there. And he’s introducing his new friends, his disciples, to his old friends, the people at the wedding.
John 2 records a Jesus of a small-town atmosphere. Pictured here is the very essence of the humanity of Jesus. Here he is, just living the normal life of a first century Jew. Until he’s not. Until he’s moved by the urgency of the mundane to show himself as much more than mere mortal.
This is Jesus of the small things. Oh, we get that he’s Jesus of the big things. But, I think, we often lose him in the small things. Jesus is someone we celebrate on Sundays because he saved us. But Monday through Saturday, he doesn’t enter into the minutiae of our lives.
The message of Jesus, the God who tabernacles with us, is that he desires true and genuine relationship, one that digs down deep into the little parts of our lives and redeems them with his presence.
The Paradox of the Incarnation
This is the divine paradox of the incarnation. God is completely holy, completely set apart, completely Other. And we should relate to him as such. There are so many verses in Scripture that hit upon the holy fear of God being the beginning of wisdom. But, in Jesus, he is still completely holy, but right here in the mix with humanity, completely Us.
Our relationship with Jesus is much like that wedding event. It’s an interactive relationship. It’s hanging out with Jesus. Fellowship and fun. And, when needed, there’s the miracle worker for you. It’s an awkward, sometimes tense, balance between the Otherness and Us-ness of Jesus.
To miss out on the casualness of relationship with Jesus means to miss out on intimacy with the Creator. Let us gather around his table and allow him to provide us with small miracles of his grace.
Jesus, we thank you for being a God of the small things. For your simple presence with us. For your simple provisions for us. Help us to understand more about your love and care.
Why do you think Jesus responds to his mother as he does?
What does the headwaiter say of the wine’s quality? What can this tell us about Jesus?
Later in John 2, Jesus cleanses the Temple. Some scholars believe that John is recording an event from the end of Jesus’s ministry that the other Gospels mention (Matt. 21, Mark 11, Luke 19). Others believe that John is referring to a different event. Which seems more plausible to you?
Yesterday: #FiveMinuteDevotions | John 1
Tomorrow: #FiveMinuteDevotions | John 3