Under The Radar

Read: John 2

Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions. When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” (John 2:7-10, NLT)

It was his first recorded miracle—and even then, Jesus was reluctant to perform it.  It was not yet time to launch his public ministry as Messiah of Israel, but he was at a wedding with his family and the wine was running low.  The event planner was in a panic, so Jesus’ mother said, “No worries, my son will take care of it.” Thanks, mom!  So Jesus turned water that was being stored in several thirty-gallon jars nearby into the best wine the world has ever tasted, before and since.

Of the many things that could be discussed from this water-into-wine miracle, one of the facets that stands out the most to me is how understated Jesus was in performing this miracle.  When the great tasting wine was discovered, neither the master-of-ceremonies nor the happy party goers knew where it came from. Only those who brought the water jugs to Jesus knew that he had transformed the liquid.  And Jesus wanted it that way.

In fact, that seemed to be the way Jesus performed most of his miracles. He never made a big deal out of them, other than to draw praise to his Father. He never made a spectacle of his divine powers.  He never showcased the miracles’ recipient like a zoo exhibit.  Jesus’ miracles, you might say, were under the radar.

Yet there is no way to keep an authentic miracle under wraps—not for very long anyway.  Sooner or later, the power of God breaks containment, and word gets out.  Maybe that is why Jesus handled miracles the way he did—he let the miracles do the talking.

Unfortunately, too many spiritual leaders today who have been used in the miraculous don’t follow Jesus’ lead.  The bigger the miracle, the quicker the press conference or the book deal or the fund-raising letter!  Now to be fair, if I turned water-into-wine, or raised someone from the dead, or performed some other sensational miracle, I’m afraid I, too, would head right to the local Christian network to tout what God had done through me. That is too bad!  God doesn’t get all the glory when we do that.

Maybe we would see more supernatural displays of God’s power in our culture if we would commit to allowing the miracles to speak for themselves—and to fiercely make sure that all the glory goes to God when he graces us with one.

“That is what gives Him the greatest glory the achieving of great things through the weakest and most improbable means.” ~Thomas Merton

What If God Took Over?

In The Way of the Heart, Henri Nouwen wrote, “To live and work for the glory of God cannot remain an idea about which we think once in a while. It must become an interior, unceasing doxology.” Spend some time today—and make it a practice every day—thinking of how to give God glory through your life.

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