Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Water Into Wine: The Miracle of Transformation

I must confess, I never thought much of the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine. It just didn't make sense when you consider just about everything else He did either saved or restored lives. So, if He did all of that, why bother to make some alcohol just to make drunk people more drunk at a party? 

Over the years, I have searched high and low for answers to my questions regarding Christ's first miracle, and I've read numerous commentaries about this particular work, but no one's thoughts have really satisfied me. 

One day a few months back, while my mind was wandering, a thought came to me. What if this miracle did not foreshadow the Lord's death on the cross as many have supposed (with the wine representing Jesus' shed blood), but rather the outpouring of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost (where the wine would be symbolic of the Holy Spirit)? What if the miracle is about the transformation that God causes to happen in us after we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit? 

Here's where I'm going with this:

The miracle was not about the wine. The miracle was about turning water into wine. Think about it--about the symbolism of water. Water has no properties. It has no taste. No color. No scent. What we see in this story is the change, by the hand and word of Jesus of this particular substance without property into an entirely different one--a substance with robust taste, fragrance, and color--and potentially so alluring that a proverb warns people not to look at it for too long.

In other words, the water was transformed and changed into something beautiful by an external source. It did not change itself. It had no power to change itself.

So, we see here that Jesus is the transformer of the water, but why did He say to Mary, "Woman, my time has not yet come?" If memory serves, Jesus generally referred to "my time" as the time He would die on the Cross. Maybe that is why so many people believe the wine refers to His blood here. However, if this incident is looking ahead to Pentecost and He's referring to the Holy Spirit, then what He could have meant was, "My Spirit cannot be poured out on all people until after I die, am resurrected, and ascend to the Father. So why are you troubling me with this request now?" 

There are so many interesting little details in this story that parallel with Pentecost. Jesus was at a wedding feast. Pentecost was a celebratory feast. At the wedding in Cana, there were 6 stone jars that each held 20 gallons of water. At Pentecost, 120 people were present. In order to serve people wine, it must be poured out. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out. At Cana, people were already drunk by the time Jesus performed this first miracle. At Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit fell, people were perceived as being drunk as they received the Spirit. At Cana, the wedding host was commended for saving the best wine for last. Throughout the Gospels, the disciples are told over and over again by Jesus that He has to leave them because something better after Him was coming. In this respect, He again, saved the best (the Holy Spirit) for last. 

Friends, can you see that we are the water in this story? Every believer is water in the story. On our own, whether we like it or not when we start out on our faith journey (in Jesus), we are nothing. It is not until the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, is invited into our hearts to dwell with us, that He begins His transforming work in us. Like wine, He begins to flow through our being within, when He indwells us, but then at the same time His Spirit is poured out over us externally, which causes us to change. It's God--an external source of power that causes us to change. And when He does, we become palatable to people. We become fragrant, giving off the aroma of Jesus. And He makes us beautiful. Our faces become radiant. In other words, we now, because of Christ, have substance in us. What was once nothing becomes something. We are meant to become alluring to an unbelieving world.

When we see these things, then we understand the magnitude of this miracle--of the water being turned into wine. Transformation is the Lord's most amazing enduring healing work. It is the ongoing change of a human being from the time of conversion until the time of death. Yes, it's awesome a tumor disappears or the blind see, but when you get down to it, to see the Lord always at work over the lifetime of His children, the hope this establishes, at least in me, takes my breath away. I pray the same can happen to you.

Blessings today! May the Lord heal you and show you His unrelenting love toward you today. 

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