Bible insights from your friends at La Jolla Lutheran Church
Recognize the signs of God's love
A few points about signs before we get started.
- Signs of God’s amazing love for you abound, but they are not available on demand. (See, for example, John 21:25 and Matthew 12:38-42.)
- Signs often need interpreters. People can see signs without recognizing their significance or understanding what they mean. (See, for example, Daniel, Romans 10:13-14, and Acts 8:30-31.)
- Signs are not for entertainment; they are expected to lead you to God. (See Matthew 11:20-23.)
- People can see signs of God’s love for them and not believe them. (See Matthew 12:22-24.)
- Unfortunately, signs can be faked and used for bad purposes. (See Matthew 24:23-24.)
The gospel of John says the first sign Jesus did happened at a wedding. The hosts ran out of wine in the middle of the party. Mary pointed it out to Jesus, and he told her that it wasn't time for him to act. Mary ignored Jesus' objections and told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them.
Jesus could have reiterated that it wasn't his time to act. He could have done something small, just enough to give the hosts time to take care of the problem. But instead he responds with generosity and abundance. Even though it's not his time to act, Jesus tells the servants to fill six jars with water. Each held 20 or 30 gallons.
When they began serving from the jars, what poured out was of such fine quality that the astonished head of the banquet mentioned it to the groom.
We can infer a few things from this first sign of Jesus' ministry.
1) Jesus responds to requests, even if they are inconvenient or not at the right time.
2) Jesus is about abundance. A little bit might have helped. But Jesus provided 120-180 gallons.
3) Jesus is generous, not just in quantity. The quality astounded the banquet professional.
4) If you have a problem, tell Jesus about it. The initial reaction you might get is, "This isn't the right time." Don't give up hope. Trust in God who loves you. When you persist, you might find people astounded at the abundance of God's provision.
Sometimes it's hard for us to see the signs of God's love that are all around us. If that is the case for you, Charles Finney has some surprising advice. He says if you notice how much you have done wrong and ask forgiveness for it, it will put you in a position to see how much God forgives, loves and restores. You can find more information about this in the highlights from his third lecture, which follows below.
God, thank you for all the signs of your love. Help us to recognize them and to correctly interpret them. Thank you. Amen!