It’s early in a new week and, before the clock and calendar really start to ascend to their dual-dictator thrones, I wanted to share some thoughts while they are fresh. Many of you have walked with Jesus longer than I and I hope you might be able to agree with what I am about to write. We not only learn as we journey in our faith, we observe. Sometimes we learn via that observing process and I have seen something that I think may be a key for any and all who truly want their lives to have Kingdom value. Here it is: we Christians to need to believe in Jesus. Staggered at this epiphany? Probably not. Let me make a case for what I have observed in the lives of those people who have had the most profound impact on my own journey with Christ.
“This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him.” – John 2:11
Jesus went to a wedding at the beginning of His ministry and came out of the celebration followed by people who now had received a completely transformed perspective on who Jesus was. Let’s make careful note that the Scripture says that it was those who had been following Him who now experienced a new level of confident faith in Him after the water-to-wine miracle in Cana. Jesus was now leading people who had become believing believers. So what were these people prior to this occasion?
They were sincere. They had been committed on some level. They were in close proximity to Jesus. They felt accepted by the Master. Most of them had likely engaged in a level of faith which resulted in the pardon of their sin. Without a doubt they were intrigued by Jesus. Curious, hopeful, reassured and refreshed were among the likely sensations that His followers experienced prior to the Cana wedding-miracle.
But they did not really know who Jesus was. They were rejoicing over a gift that they had not even unwrapped.
The miracle at the wedding evidenced that Jesus was endowed with supernatural power that none of them had ever witnessed. John the Baptist had been preaching some intense sermons prior to Jesus coming, but he never performed a miracle. Writing about Jesus, The Apostle John writes that the miracle at Cana “manifested His glory”. The supernatural nature and power of Jesus Christ trickled into earth via a large vat of water which became wedding wine. Curiosity turned into stunned conviction. Hope in something good graduated into confidence in Someone eternal. Reassurance and refreshment went a step further and matured into consecration and commitment. Those following Jesus were now classified as those who believed in Him.
It may sound a little critical but I am going to risk it. Your average Christian in America does not believe in Jesus. That sounds like a theological impossibility but it really isn’t. We are convinced scripturally of the truth about justification. We understand that the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the sacrificial, substitutionary Lamb of God is sufficient and effective to secure our standing before the Father. Yet that is the inception point of faith, not the terminating point. The embarrassing truth is that we are surrounded with Christians who have never really learned to believe in Jesus. When I employ the word believe I am defining it with the concept of trust. Being a Christian is a lifetime of trusting the One we follow and following the One we trust. The absence of one of those elements signifies a breakdown in the other. If we do not trust Him we are not going to follow Him. If we are not following Him it is clearly because we do not trust Him. Those who are the most deeply satisfied in Him are growing in their exercise of both trust and followship. Those Christians are inspiring to us. They are also becoming more and more rare.
So where is Jesus leading you right now? Where is the wise and loving Ruler of the cosmos calling you to follow Him? Will you trust Him? You are destined to be a believing believer and He is not well known for leaving your faith untested. You are a spiritual yoga student who is being bent, stretched and repositioned in ways that are not natural. He does not want you conformed to any lesser loyalty that is available to you. Jesus wants you to be transformed, not religious. Jesus is not working at securing your traditional understanding at the expense of His eternal truth. He tears down walls in your heart so that He can build bridges with your life. Jesus is not impressed with the slick, counterfeited trends in Western Christianity which pose as the dynamic working of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is working at making you fully His own. Jesus is operating this very moment to turn your water into His wine.
So I need to confess that I have been drinking a lot lately. Not drinking like my yesterdays but, instead, drinking like my tomorrows. When you begin to drink of the miraculous vintage He offers you then you will become so much more of a believing believer. I’m drinking in the sweetness of His trustworthiness and love. I’m drinking in more than well-written books and exquisite expository sermons. I am drinking His wine and writing to you to let you know He has extended the same invitation to you. Tell Him yes right now. Full surrender is what He desires and it is also what you crave. After you commit to this full release, Jesus will begin to “manifest His glory” and you will be a disciple who believes in Him. There is a wedding. There is water. There is wine. So raise your cup and drink. Taste and see that the Lord is good.