Transforming power
January 12 2001 by William (Mac) McElrath , John 2:1-11

Transforming power | Friday, Jan. 12, 2001

Friday, Jan. 12, 2001

Transforming power

By William (Mac) McElrath John 2:1-11 When you attend a short wedding ceremony followed by an elaborate wedding reception, do you ever get the feeling that the tail is wagging the dog? Betty and I used to get that feeling sometimes when we lived in Indonesia. In their wedding invitations, our Indonesian friends would often refer to the meal after the ceremony as a "simple feast." Usually it was anything but simple.

Indonesians would have felt right at home attending weddings in Galilee during the time of Jesus. Festivities after the ceremony might go on as long as a week!

Jesus' power is self-determined (John 2:1-5) It's good to know that Jesus was not the type of religious leader who holds himself sternly aloof from mere human affairs, especially if there's going to be any fun about it. When His mother, Mary, went to a wedding held in Cana, a village near Nazareth, Jesus and some of His disciples accepted the invitation as well.

Many devout Christians have been a bit troubled because wine was served at the wedding reception and because (as the story continues) Jesus Himself saw to it that the wine didn't run out. Such concern overlooks the fact that in those times and in that climate, wine was not only the usual drink, it was the safest drink. Water often became contaminated; milk quickly went sour. Usually the wine was fairly well watered down (although the remaining fermentation still helped kill germs). It's clear enough, both from the overall teachings of Jesus and from specific texts in other parts of the Bible, that our Lord considers alcohol abuse a sin.

Many devout Christians have also been a bit troubled because Jesus spoke as He did to His mother when Mary told Him the wine had run out (John 2:4). Such concern overlooks the fact that what He said to her didn't really sound as harsh as most of our English Bible translations make it. The New International Version gets it about right: "Dear woman, why do you involve Me?"

The important thing to remember is, even His beloved mother was not supposed to decide when and where Jesus would make use of His transforming power. Jesus always reserved that right for Himself.

When He heard that His friend Lazarus was very sick, Jesus waited four days before starting out for Bethany.

When His disciples were crossing the stormy waters of Galilee, Jesus slept on a pillow in the stern until the time came for Him to quiet the winds and waves.

Even today, Jesus always follows His own timetable.

Jesus' power is effective (John 2:6-10) We all know the story of the water being changed to wine: Jesus sent servants to fill six great stone jars with water, then instructed them to take water to the steward of the feast - water that had been miraculously transformed.

The stone jars were used for Jewish purification rites. Did the wedding guests realize Jesus was saying, "What I will give you goes beyond mere ceremony"?

Furthermore, the water turned into wine tasted better than the wine served earlier. Did the wedding guests realize Jesus was saying, "What I will give you is better than anything you have ever had before"?

That was then, this is now. Yet our Lord Jesus still has transforming power.

As a college student helping with Vacation Bible School at a little church in the mountains of North Carolina, I was startled to hear a 10-year-old boy state his name as "'Bad' Roberts." Soon I found out why everybody called him "Bad."

During that VBS, Jesus' transforming power began to work. After making a profession of faith, my 10-year-old pupil urged me, "Don't call me 'Bad' no more. I'm gonna be good now."

Those could have been mere words. Yet ... six years later I met a friend from that same little church in the mountains. She told me that John Hardin Roberts, who seemed well on his way toward juvenile court at age 10, was still in church and still in school at age 16. Jesus' transforming power is effective today!

Jesus' power reveals who He is (John 2:11) The Gospel of John relates only seven of the many miracles of Jesus and gives a special name to them: Signs. Each of these miraculous signs points to who Jesus really is.

In performing this first miracle at Cana in Galilee, Jesus "revealed His glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him" (John 2:11, NIV).

Compared to those early disciples, we have had many more opportunities to see Jesus' glory and transforming power revealed. Have we put our faith in Him?

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1/12/2001 12:00:00 AM by William (Mac) McElrath , John 2:1-11 | with 0 comments
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