Three portraits of Christ

In John 2, Christ interacts with three different groups of people:  His mother and the members of a wedding party, the Jewish leaders in the Temple, and a broader group of people in Jerusalem.  [Aside:  It’s interesting that the ones who are most prominent at a wedding — the bride and groom — are not directly a part of the account in this chapter.  Did they thank Christ?  Did they follow Him because of what He did at their reception?  We don’t know.  But the silence might lead us to conclude that they were indifferent, despite receiving a lavish gift from Him.]

These three accounts reveal much about the person of Christ.

The miracle at the wedding reveals Christ’s glory. The most important sentence in this account is in verse 11 — “This was the beginning of His signs Jesus did…and manifested His glory.”  Whatever other insights we gain from this account, the glory of Christ is the most significant.  Everything in life is for Him and about Him, and this miracle at the beginning of His ministry demonstrates that very truth.

And the miracle also demonstrates Christ’s grace.  Despite telling His mother that it was not time for Him to be revealed, He still performed a miracle and provided for this young couple.  It is generally assumed that this couple was poor or at least had overstepped the limits of their financial resources in planning this wedding.  And Christ provided a lavish gift — the best kind of wine in large quantity.  His was a gift that was potentially worth thousands of dollars.  This is the way God functions, providing ordinary needs in lavish ways.  This is His overflowing grace.

The cleansing of the temple affirms His righteousness.  In driving out the sellers and the animals, Christ demonstrates that what is offensive to God (His Father) is offensive to Him (v. 16-17).  He came to eradicate sin, not indulge it.

This same cleansing also reveals Christ’s authority.  The religious leaders attempted a “who are you…” tactic to deter His actions, but to no avail.  By deed and word, Christ was shown to be the One who was in control in the temple.  It was His temple and because of that authority, He accomplished His righteous desires in that temple.

Christ’s interactions with others in the area (vv. 23-25) testify to His omniscience and self-dependence.  No one needs to speak for Him to know what is in their hearts; as the omniscient God He knows all.  And as the self-existent and self-dependent God He does not need to depend on others for sustenance.  He is not dependent on us; we are dependent on Him.

Viewing these attributes of Christ in these three portraits, here are some questions for reflection:

  • Do I love to see God’s glory?  Do I look at the mundane events of the day for opportunities to see how God is revealed in them?  Do I worship Him as I increasingly discover His glory?
  • Do I see God’s provision as God’s grace (and respond in gratitude), or do I receive from Him and suggest to myself that I have only received from Him what is expected and appropriate (which is a denial of grace)?
  • Do I love and defend God’s righteousness?  Do I hate the things He hates?
  • Do I humbly (and joyfully) submit to His authority when it is revealed in His Word and in my life?
  • Do I live as if God knows everything about me and everything within me?

These brief accounts are revelations about our Savior.  And those revelations are designed to lead us to worship and love of Him.  Do I love Him for what I am learning about Him in these gospel accounts?  What do I do with what is revealed about Him?

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