Friday, July 14, 2017

The Vision (7.14.17): And his disciples believed on him

Image: Butterfly bush, Charlottesville, Virginia, July 2017

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on John 2:1-11.

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him (John 2:11).

This is the capstone to the account of Jesus turning water into wine. John the apostle says, “This beginning of miracles [semeion] did Jesus in Cana of Galilee…” This is the first miracle of Jesus that John records in his Gospel. We do not know whether this means this was his first public miracle or his first in this particular place. Jesus, of course, did many miraculous things in the course of his ministry that are not recorded in the Gospels (cf. John 20:30; 21:25).

Matthew’s Gospel describes Jesus healing many early in his ministry (cf. Matt 4:23-24). The first miracle Matthew specifically describes is his healing of a leper (Matt 8:1-4). The first miracle Mark’s Gospel describes is the casting out of an unclean spirit (Mark 1:23-26). In Luke’s Gospel, the first direct miracle described is also an exorcism (Luke 4:33-35).

None of the other Gospels describe the miracle of turning water into wine. We are indebted to John’s record alone for this precious memory of our Lord’s particular work on this occasion.

John says that through this miracle Christ “manifested forth his glory.” This remind us of the purpose of miracles: to manifest Christ’s glory. The purpose of any authentic miracle is to point men toward Christ and his glory.

Finally, John adds: “and his disciples believed on him.” Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathaniel were already following Jesus. Why does John tell us that they believed on him? This reminds us that discipleship is a slow but sure process.

Thus, Calvin comments on this verse:

The forbearance of Christ is great in reckoning as disciples those whose faith is so small. And indeed this doctrine extends generally to us all; for the faith which is now full grown had at first its infancy, nor is it so perfect in any as not to make it necessary that all to a man should progress in believing.

He adds:

Let those who have obtained the first-fruits of faith labor always to make progress.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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