Reading through the Bible together

Saturday, January 10, 2015

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The Bible

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In the Old Testament book of Genesis (Chapters 1 and 2) God establishes marriage as the first institution to be a blessing to the human race. In the New Testament Gospel of John (Chapter 2), Jesus begins His ministry by performing His first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. I don’t know about you, but to me this says that marriage is important to God and should be approached seriously and with respect by those who claim to be His disciples.

The wedding narrative is at once compelling and instructive. A young couple of meager means—and apparently relatives of Mary, the mother of Jesus—is about to be embarrassed in front of their relatives and friends. Their wine runs out before the end of what is often in that culture a seven-day feast.  Invited by Mary to the feast, Jesus not only saves them from embarrassment by providing about 150 gallons of wine when Mary asks for His help, but also delivers to the newlyweds the best pure grape juice anyone has ever tasted.

The drama at the wedding feast goes deeper than what appears on the surface: “The water represented baptism into His death; the wine, the shedding of His blood for the sins of the world. The water to fill the jars was brought by human hands, but the word of Christ alone could impart to it life-giving virtue” (The Desire of Ages, p. 148).

This chapter ends with Jesus cleansing the Temple—from misuse—just before the beginning of Passover. The spiritual lesson is unmistakable.  When we are serious about honoring God we cannot continue with habits that are not in harmony with His kingdom. We must ask Jesus “to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). 

The linkage between the two stories is evident.  We never have enough spiritual resources in our pitiful human frailty.  Notwithstanding, when we invite Jesus into our lives He provides abundantly, beyond our wildest imaginations.

Let’s open our hearts again to Jesus today.

Willie Oliver
Department of Family Ministries
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists