Seeing is Believing

Key Verse: “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.”
—John 2:11, New International Version

Selected Scripture:
John 2:1-11

JESUS HAD JUST RETURNED from Bethabara, beyond Jordan, where John the Baptist was baptizing. John had baptized Jesus prior to our Lord’s forty days in the wilderness. Two of John’s disciples, Andrew and John, had heard him identify Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:36,37), and following him, they both were convinced he was the Messiah. Their natural brothers, Peter and James, were brought to Jesus, also, and learned of him. When they left the area to return to Galilee, Jesus found Philip and Philip found Nathanael, and brought him to our Lord.

Three days after Nathanael met Jesus there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. The bridal party is not identified, but they may have been acquaintances of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and possibly of Nathanael. Our Lord and his disciples also attended the marriage feast. The number in attendance must have been greater than originally expected, because they ran low on the supply of wine. Jesus’ mother learned of their problem, and asked Jesus to assist the host, telling his servants to do whatsoever he instructed them.

Jesus told the servants to fill six stoneware vessels to the brim with water (capacity unknown, but could be from 14 to 54 gallons). These were used for guests to wash their hands. The servants were then told to draw from the vessels the wine which Jesus had made, and to present it to the governor of the feast. After tasting the wine, the governor called the bridegroom, and he commented that, as a rule, men use their best wine at the beginning of the feast, and the poorest at the conclusion. He, however, had saved the best for the end of the feast.

Our key verse says that this was the beginning of miraculous signs. The Greek word simelon may be translated ‘miracle, sign, token, wonder.’ Using ‘miracle’ or ‘sign’ alone to translate the word, is not enough. It was both a miracle and a sign. All of the miracles Jesus was to perform were signs pointing to him as the Messiah of Israel. His disciples, who were present, knew this, and our text says that his disciples put their faith in him, or believed him to be the Messiah. Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott says they “believed into him.” It was intended also to be a manifestation of his glory.

Our Lord had been sent to earth to become the Redeemer of mankind. At the same time he was to be tried and tested for worthiness to receive the Divine nature. Much suffering and trials awaited him, but at the conclusion would come the glory of his exaltation and kingdom. This was fitly represented by the wine—a symbol of joy and gladness.

Jesus also was to find those who, as the bride of Christ, would be invited to share with him in his heavenly glory, after being willing to suffer with him. (II Tim. 2:12) Such were those he already met—Andrew, Peter, James, John, Philip, Nathanael. These are represented by the earthen vessels which are first filled with the water of Truth, which Truth leads to the glories of the kingdom by way of the miraculous work of Jesus. The marriage background for this illustration is appropriate because “the marriage of the Lamb” comes, and his bride makes “herself ready.”—Rev. 19:7

Dawn Bible Students Association
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