Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
I have never been able to find any significance to the account of the marriage feast in John 2. This morning, I read again the portion of scripture and suddenly I saw. The steward of the marriage feast said to the waiter who brought him the water-now-wine, "Everyone first serves the good wine, and when people have drunk that, then brings out the not as good. But you have served the best last." (my paraphrase) The writer inserts the comment, "This first sign Jesus performed in Cana..."
Ok, so Jesus can perform miracles, what is the point? This has always been as far as my understanding went. The sign is and the point is that the best has been served last. The law and prophets were seen as "good wine" by all the Jews, but the coming of Jesus, the prophet like Moses whom all must hear if they have any part in the people of God, the coming of Jesus is the superb wine that displaces and overshadows the old. Those "in charge" don't know where it came from.
I am sure there is more here. Anyone else have insight on this?
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Another thing I have seen concerning this portion of scripture is that the definition of what constitutes the the "superb wine" has occured in chapter 1 of John. The prologue gives us the parameters of Jesus' activity. "In the beginning was the Word...in him is the life...the life is the light that enlightens everyone that comes into the world. As many as believe him, to them are given the power to become the sons of God." John the Baptist's pronouncement is a scathing denouncement of the old covenant's impotence. "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." We have drunk the old wine and compared it with the water made into wine and have found the new far superior to the old.
Hi Ellis, I think that you're right about the comparison of the old and new wines in chapter two referring to something more significant. I'd say it allludes to the old and new way of being, the natural, old way of being and the new, spiritual way that Jesus exemplifies. Chapter three replays the same theme even in a more pronounced way by Jesus making a distinction between births: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (v. 6). The same theme is again apparent later in this chapter in the comparison made between John the Baptist and Jesus: "He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth... (v. 31). So, one of the earliest intents of this book is to establish the difference between life as it is first given: earthly, fleshly, unrealized, and second-rate and on the other hand, Life as it is given by God: heavenly, spiritual, complete, and perfect. It's an important lesson and the function of gospel ministry to convey.
Yes, Pat. I look forward to getting into chapter 3. My challenge is to read these passages without all the baggage that I have grown up with cluttering my understanding. That baggage defines what the new birth is and how it comes. It specifies what John the Baptist meant by saying that Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. It defines what sin is. All this baggage is within the parameters of evangelical protestant theology, which I have known for years does nothing but obscure my understanding. It is exciting to see these passages being opened to me by the spirit of Christ, especially when it seems to me that there is no hope of ever seeing any significance to a passage like the marriage feast.
It's good that you can set aside the errors that you were taught and find a better way of approaching Scriptures. So many of Jesus' parables convey the principle of spiritual growth as being the willingness to see and acknowledge the truth that we've already been given (or realize that we haven't yet been given!) as a necessary prerequisite to receiving more truth. Growth in the spirit is more a function of character than of intelligence.