Daily Reading & Meditation
Saturday (January 7): “Jesus manifested his glory
Scripture: John 2:1-12
1 On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and
mother of Jesus was there; 2 Jesus also was invited to the
his disciples. 3 When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to
"They have no wine." 4 And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have
do with me? My hour has not yet come." 5 His mother said to the
"Do whatever he tells you." 6 Now six stone jars were standing
the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty
7 Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled
up to the brim. 8 He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it
steward of the feast." So they took it. 9 When the steward of the
tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came
the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the
the bridegroom 10 and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine
and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have
good wine until now." 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did
in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed
12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his
and his disciples; and there they stayed for a few days.
Meditation: 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.
Bridegroom of the new Israel
Why did Jesus pick an ordinary wedding feast in a little
out-of-the-way town to perform his first sign and to launch his
public ministry? A wedding feast in nearly every culture is a very
big event, often the biggest celebration that people experience,
because it brings families, neighbors, and sometimes the whole town
together. For many people it is the happiest and most memorable
occasion in their life.
For the people of Israel, the wedding feast had a special spiritual
significance as well. It came to symbolize God’s special
relationship and covenant with the people of Israel. The Old
Testament describes God as the Bridegroom of Israel and presents his
covenant relationship with the people of God as a spiritual marriage
(Isaiah 54:5; Jeremiah 3:14; Hosea 2:16, 19-20). One of the most
powerful images of heaven is the wedding banquet (Revelations
19:7-9). The Bible ends with the invitation to this marriage feast.
"The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come'" (Revelations 21:17).
So when Jesus chooses a wedding feast for his first sign, he is
giving us a hint about something that will become more explicit when
John the Baptist describes Jesus as the betrothed bridegroom of his
people (John 3:29). In the other Gospels Jesus also alludes to his
role as the bridegroom of the new people of Israel (see Mark
2:18-20; Matthew 9:14-15; Matthew 22:1-14; Matthew 25:6) when he
invites both Jews and Gentiles to share in his heavenly banquet at
the end of the age (Luke 13:29).
Changing water into wine
What is so special about Jesus changing water into wine? Any good
winemaker knows how to take a watery substance such as grape juice
and turn it into wine. First you wait for the grapes to grow and
mature. Then you pick the choicest grapes for the best wine you want
to make. You crush the grapes into a mush. Then you add some water,
yeast, and sugar. You allow this mixture to ferment over a period of
several weeks. During that time you skim off the solid material
until you are left with pure liquid - wine. Wine must be slightly
aged to be drinkable - white wine must sit for half a year, and red
wine for a full year. Some of the most famous wines are aged for
Jesus didn't turn the water into a fruity grape juice, or into
ordinary table wine. He instantly produced the finest and most
expensive of wines - a fine vintage wine that would normally take
years to age. He didn’t produce just enough wine to satisfy the
embarrassed bride and groom and guests. He produced 120 gallons!
Abundance indeed. The instantaneous turning of water into wine shows
Jesus' supernatural power to transform natural things - what is
physical and material - into something of a higher order. He has the
same power which God possesses - to create, transform, and change
The gift of abundant life
If Jesus can change water into wine for an embarrassed wedding
couple, how much more can he change us through the transforming
power of his Holy Spirit. John tells us that 'all who received him
[Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave power to become children
of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor
of the will of man, but of God' (John 1:12,13). Jesus gives us
abundant life. This sign at Cana points to his power not simply to
improve the quality of our lives but to change and transform us to
be like him - people of joy, peace, and love who do not fear death,
but who know and experience even now the taste of eternal life - the
life of God’s kingdom. He gives us everything we need to live as his
disciples - as sons and daughters of God.Jesus blessed a nameless
couple in Cana, not only with his presence, but with his power. He
will bless us as well, not only with his presence, but with his
healing love and life-changing power.
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
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
Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may bring you glory in all that
do and say.”
1 O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the
all the earth!
2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of
salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all
7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the LORD in holy array; tremble
him, all the earth!
10 Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!
the world is established, it shall never be moved; he will
the peoples with equity."
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Jesus' first
miracle manifests the King of Glory, by Bede
the Venerable, 672-735 A.D.
"'By this sign he made manifest that he was the King of glory
(Psalm 24:10), and so the church's bridegroom. He came to the
marriage as a common human being, but as Lord of heaven and earth
he could convert the elements as he wished. How beautifully
appropriate it is that when he began the signs that he would show
to mortals while he was still mortal he turned water into wine.
[But] when he had become immortal through his resurrection, he
began the signs that he would show only to those who were pursuing
the goal of immortal life... Therefore, let us love with our whole
mind, dearly beloved, the marriage of Christ and the church, which
was prefigured then in one city and is now celebrated over the
whole earth." (excerpt from HOMILIES ON THE GOSPELS
be freely reprinted for non-commercial use - please cite:
copyright (c) 2017 Servants of the Word, source: www.dailyscripture.net,
Scripture quotations from Common Bible:
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright
1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard
Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National
Council of the Churches of Christ in the United
States of America. Used by permission. All rights
reserved. Citation references for quotes from
the writings of the early church fathers can be
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