3-D reading is done with a broad brush. We look for a general view of Jesus and His message in all we read in the Scriptures.
4 A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. Are we seeking more of Christ in the Scriptures than just what’s on the surface? He promises to reveal Himself to us.
Today, we look at the Gospel of John, specifically, 20:30-31 concerning signs*. These signs are linked to miracles, but go beyond the physical deeds to a greater message.
30 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
Let’s review what 3-D reading is:
- Literal- Who? What? Where? When? How? Why? What is the C.I.T.? (Central Idea of the Text)
- Moral- What can I learn from the text?
- Spiritual- Where is Jesus in the passage?
The first sign that Jesus gives us is in 2:1-11. Let’s read it:
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; 2 and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” 6 Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him. 9 When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, 10 and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
Literal– Jesus is at a wedding in a nearby town of Nazareth in Galilee. It is probably a relative, so He had a vested interest in having it go well. Mary was an integral part of the ceremony, which gives weight to it being a close relative. It is the third day since Jesus called Nathanael to follow Him. He had told Nathanael that he would see “heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” This reference is from Genesis 28:12 when Jacob had his dream about the heavenly ladder. The fact that it was three days later is an inference to the resurrection and the cleansing of all sin for all time.
Spiritual– The sign is Jesus’ signature as God the Son. It’s like a signature. Who else could do such a miracle than God? And, being born on earth, He is the Son of God. There are several specific things to note. This miracle that Jesus’ mother, Mary, asks Him to do links Jesus to several events in history:
- Ceremonial washing (Exodus 30:17-21) had been performed for 1500+ years at this point. Jesus used those particular pots to change the water into wine. The water cleansed the outside of the hands. The wine represents a New Covenant. Speaking of which,
- Later on, Jesus uses the fourth cup at the Lord’s Supper to announce His New Covenant and to ask the disciples to “marry Him.” That particular cup is never drunk in the ceremony; it stands for the coming of Messiah and in particular His marriage to Israel. It is interesting that Jesus is at a wedding when He performs this miracle!
- Jesus’ statement that His hour had not yet come was in reference to the announcement of that New Covenant. I think Mary was rushing things a bit, but Jesus acquiesced to her and to the wedding couple. Who knows? It may have been something that He planned to do closer to the Cross.
- The wine is the best of the event and was provided in abundance, and it represents the better and greater wedding feast of the ages when Jesus comes for His Bride, the Church.
- God’s glory is revealed in Jesus through this miraculous event. The revelation of Jesus being God is a very important theme to John. Look for it throughout his Gospel.
Moral– Jesus is either a Liar, a Lunatic, or He is Lord. The fact that Jesus had a plan from the beginning of His ministry to reveal the glory of the Father through signs of the coming New Covenant through miracles is huge in proving that He is Lord. This sign reminds me of the shepherds in the field when Jesus was born. Look at what the angel–as if that in itself weren’t enough!–said, “for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior [Messiah], who is Christ the Lord“ (Luke 2:11). Yet, the angel told them to go find their Messiah in a manger. WOW! Jesus was always revealing Himself to the regular folks, like at a wedding. I can trust Christ because He cares for me, a regular guy.
It’s all there, folks. All we have to do is apply a little intellectual elbow grease and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Sometimes, He begins the process and we run to catch up! Either way, it’s a whole lot of fun to discover Jesus in the Scriptures. He delights in us getting to know Him better.
Abba, thank You for revealing Yourself in the Scriptures. Thank You for the tools that are available for the first time in history: The internet, computers and phones, software programs, so many translations and commentaries at our fingertips, blogs and studies, an incredible amounts of information about the church throughout the age–may we take advantage of everything to learn as much as we can of You, Your Mission, and Your Plans. Amen.