One of my most vivid memories from childhood is riding in my mom’s gold-colored Chevelle, on the way to see my dad at his store, listening to – what I believed was the only station the radio could play – WOR and hearing Paul Harvey tell “The Rest of the Story”. Specifically, I remember that every time we went under a bridge, the signal would cut out and we’d miss a few words. I don’t remember that ever really being a problem as far as getting the gist of what was being said. Rather, I think it formed my ability to fill in blanks in conversations and strengthened my critical thinking skills more than anything I encountered in school.
Today, I want to look at a story that, until quite recently, always baffled me. I suspect I’m not alone in my bafflement… I mentioned the other day the story of Jesus’ first miracle – turning water into wine. I grew up hearing this story and for a while I thought “hey, that’s cool – Jesus could make this water I’m drinking into Kool-Aid if He wanted to!” As I got older, my wonderment turned to wondering: “Water into wine? Ok, but…why?”
Like so many stories in the Bible, the “because” comes only when we understand what was going on in the background (aka, the REST of the story). In ancient times, it was the groom’s responsibility to provide the food and drink for a wedding reception. To run out of either was considered a humiliating social faux pax – something that would be gossiped about for years. Jesus, knowing this, steps in and saves the groom from ending up on the cover of People in an embarrassing situation.
While some may look at this miracle and think it was kind of pointless in the grand scheme of things, I now, after some research and a little inspiration have come to a different conclusion: Jesus’ act of turning water into wine to save a man from an uncomfortable position is a foreshadowing of the purpose behind His death:
- He saves the man from the shame of having run short just like He saves us from the shame of falling short.
- He saves the man from the disgrace of letting his guests down just like He saves us from the disgrace of letting God down.
- He shows compassion to the man who made a mistake just like He shows compassion to us in extending forgiveness for our sins.
- He brings new life to the party with the best wine anyone had ever tasted just like He brings new life to us with a hope and a future we can’t even imagine.
Jesus’ first miracle so closely parallels His second. In Cana, his actions became that man’s supply. He saved him from embarrassment. He redeemed a potentially humiliating situation. He showed Himself to be the friend that man needed. In His resurrection He became our Supply, our Savior, our Redeemer, and our Friend.
What story in the Bible has always baffled you? What has it taught you about Jesus?