In the midst of all kinds of things to be anxious and upset about, God always manages to insert reasons to pause and have a praise and worship session. He’s definitely done that for Diane and me in an overwhelming way. As you read this, we’re in the throes of packing. In a little while, we’ll be heading off to the airport for a 14-day trip to the Holy Land . . . a bucket list dream. We’re going to experience the land as seen through the lens of Middle Eastern culture with a Bible expositor like no one we’ve ever had the privilege to know. Excited doesn’t begin to describe what we’re feeling right now, but there’s one more announcement we need to make.
Crunch Time Is Coming ~
Because every minute for the next two weeks will be crammed full, we’ll need some help with our blog. J.D. Wininger, a gifted writer who, you may recall has helped us before, will be our guest for the next couple of weeks. In addition to being a committed student of the Word of God, J.D. runs a ranch in Texas called “The Cross-Dubya”. Much of the content of the articles he publishes is gleaned from life in and around the ranch, which makes the title of his website, Around the Cross-Dubya, quite appropriate. We’ll be sharing more about my friend and brother in Christ along with his posts in the weeks to come, but let me encourage all of you ahead of time to go check out his website at www.jdwininger.com . You’ll be blessed to see profound truths revealed in a way that is personal, down-to-earth, and applicable in our daily lives.
But for now, it’s time to reel in our focus and take a look at a simple comment made in reaction to a miracle Jesus performed in the course of a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Wedding feasts could last as long as a week in that culture, and for the host to run out of wine was a miscalculation that was more than a minor embarrassment. While, in the Middle Eastern Jewish culture, it would have been shameful for the host and potentially could have had enduring social impact in the community, another element could have been involved as well.
Possible Motivation ~
Cana wasn’t far from Nazareth, where Jesus grew up, and it’s quite likely that His family was related to the family providing the wedding feast. That would shed light on Mary’s concern about the wine. Whether that was a motivational factor behind Mary’s concern or Jesus’ response is left to conjecture. Debates regarding the reasons behind His response will always go on, but one thing is undeniable. What He did was beyond human capability.
The miraculous transformation of the water into wine was a clear indication of Jesus’ deity. Only God could have such power over natural elements. Only God would be able to do in the blink of an eye what normally takes years. Making wine is not a simple and easy thing. For humans like us to produce, it takes years. From the time a seed is planted in the ground to the time a substance is produced that could be called wine and fit for human consumption, it can take decades. Jesus did it in an instant, but that’s not all . . .
A Reasonable Reaction ~
Not only did He produce an abundance of it that exceeded anything they might want or need, He produced wine whose quality was on a whole different level. The quality of the wine the servants delivered to the host overshadowed anything they had served before. It was so much better they were astounded that it had not been offered first, before the palates of the guests had been made a bit less sensitive. The unexpected inversion of normal procedures prompted a comment that is full of potential encouragement and, as such, is worth our consideration: Here’s their reaction:
And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” (John 2:9–10 NKJV)
There are always “take-aways” that stay with us when we ponder the words that Jesus spoke and the things He did. The fact that Almighty God in human flesh was walking among people like us is more than our finite minds can fully grasp, but there are things we can learn about Him that can transform our perspective on life and make it incredibly more blessed. That has been the case for me lately in regard to this particular miracle.
An Intriguing Tendency ~
God has a recurrent tendency that found its way into the wedding feast miracle. Awareness of it has drifted in and out of my mind for a while now, but it began to occupy a prominent place as we planned our trip to Israel. John didn’t identify the practice specifically, but its presence underlies the comments that followed Jesus’ unheralded miracle. It’s simply this . . . Sometimes God saves the best for last.
When we think we’re all done, or that our purpose in life has been left somewhere south of wherever we happen to find ourselves at the moment, it’s easy to drop our heads and give up. We hear people repeat familiar platitudes like, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”, but when we’re feeling old, or past our prime and used up, they can ring hollow. Taking a fresh look at some of the things God has done for those who thought it was all over can change our perspective and give hope a new lease on life. Here are a few examples:
- Zechariah was an old man when he finally got to serve in the Jerusalem temple. Beyond that, his wife had borne the social stigma of being infertile. Then, God showed up and announced that they would produce the Messiah’s forerunner. God had saved the best for last.
- Moses was 80 years old, wanted for murder in his home country and trying to make living with some sheep in the wilderness. Then God showed up in a bush and changed everything.
- We all grieve with Job as he lost everything and suffered in ways that he had never imagined. But in the end, God revealed that He wasn’t finished with Job yet, and that He had been saving the best for last.
There are other examples, of course. There’s Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-38) who had waited all their lives for a special word from God, some indication that His promises would be fulfilled. Then, when their lives had been mostly spent and hope seemed distant and indistinct, Joseph and Mary showed up and they got to actually hold God in their arms!
Choosing a Better Perspective ~
When we begin to arrive at the threshold of the “golden years” it’s easy to slide into the notion that the best lies somewhere in our personal dustbin of history. It’s almost natural to think we’re too old, or too weak, or too insignificant for God to use anymore. Let me respectfully suggest that those attitudes are almost insulting to the One who can turn water into wine. When you think the feast is done and the good stuff is gone, God may just show up and let you know that He’s not done yet.
I’ve been speaking from my own heart about this, of course. I recall the tough days of just scraping by and the times we thought we couldn’t make it. Then when I anticipate walking where Jesus walked and seeing the places where He taught, I have no way to express the sense of unexpected and undeserved privilege. And when I think about visiting Cana, the implications of that supernatural event feel personal and come to life like never before. Jesus is proving once again, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that sometimes when we think the best times are behind us, He does things we never expected.
So, when the feast feels like it’s over, or life looks like it’s running out of steam, remember that this much is true . . . God can revive, recharge, and reconstitute everything in a moment. He can turn disappointing insufficiency into miraculous provision in the blink of an eye, and you may just discover that, for you, too, He’s been saving the best for last.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to tweet and share from the pull quotes below. Each one links directly back to this article through Twitter . . .
- “The fact that Almighty God in human flesh was walking among people like us is more than our finite minds can fully grasp, but there are things we can learn about Him that can transform our perspective & make life incredibly more blessed.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Taking a fresh look at some of the things God has done for those who thought it was all over can change our perspective and give hope a new lease on life. Here are a few examples . . . ” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “It’s almost natural to think we’re too old, or too weak, or too insignificant for God to use anymore. Let me respectfully suggest that those attitudes are almost insulting to the One who can turn water into wine.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “When you think the feast is done and the good stuff is gone, God may just show up and let you know that He’s not done yet.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “God can revive, recharge, and reconstitute everything in a moment. He can turn disappointing insufficiency into miraculous provision in the blink of an eye, and you may just discover that, for you, too, He’s been saving the best for last.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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