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May 16

Mark These “Defence Exhibits A & B”

READ: John 2:1-25

And 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. (3) And when the wine had run out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine.” (4) And Jesus said to her, “What is it to me and you, woman? My hour has not yet come.” (5) His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he might say to you, do.” (6) And there were lying there six stone water jars, according to the purification of the Jews, each holding two or three measures. (7) Jesus said to them, “Fill the water jars with water.” And they filled them to the top. (8) And he said to them, “Now draw and bring it to the president of the banquet.” And they brought it. (9) But when the president of the banquet tasted the water, which had become wine, and he did not know from where it was (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the president of the banquet called the bridegroom (10) and said to him, “Every person first puts out the good wine, and whenever they are made drunk, the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now.” (11) Jesus did this beginning of the signs in Cana of Galilee and he revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him.

(12) After this, he himself went down to Capernaum and his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and there he stayed not many days.

(13) And it was near the Passover of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. (14) And he found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves and the money-changers sitting, (15) and he made a whip out of cords and he drove everyone out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen, and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and he turned over their tables, (16) and to those selling the doves he said, “Take these from here; do not make the house of my Father a house of merchandise. (17) His disciples were reminded that it has been written, “The zeal for your house will consume me.” (18) Therefore, the Jews replied and said to him, “What sign do you show to us, because you do these things?” (19) Jesus replied and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it.” (20) So the Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for 46 years, and you will raise it in three days?” (21) But he was speaking about the temple of his body. (22) So when he was raised from the dead, the disciples were reminded of him that he said this, and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus spoke.

(23) But when he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name, seeing his signs that he did. (24) But Jesus himself did not entrust himself to them because he knew all people, (25) and because he had no need for anyone to testify concerning a person; for he himself knew what was in a person.

REFLECT & REASON

John introduced a new kind of evidence to the jury. Defence Exhibit A: Jesus turned water into wine. Although Jesus seemed reluctant to perform the first sign (i.e., miracle), it was nonetheless a sign and fulfilled its purpose in the minds of his disciples. This sign, like every one to follow “revealed his glory” with the result that “his disciples put their faith in him.” Jesus didn’t come to heal every disease or to provide the best wine for every wedding. His miracles, while certainly acts of service, were designed to “reveal his glory” and thus instil faith in those who were seeking God.

With the cleansing of the temple John subtly introduced us to Defence Exhibit B: the testimony of scripture. There were many passages in the Old Testament that indicated to the Jews the coming of the Messiah (a Hebrew word meaning “anointed one” and equivalent to the Greek word “Christos”). These are referred to as “messianic prophecies.” Matthew’s gospel emphasizes the fulfillment of these prophesies more than any other gospel, because his target audience was unbelieving Jews and his purpose was to convince them that Jesus was indeed the Messiah as predicted in their scriptures. John’s target audience was more general and probably more Gentile (non-Jewish), but if he was to prove that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Son of God, it was vital to establish that he fulfilled these prophecies.

The greatest miraculous sign that would reveal his glory comes later in the gospel, but is alluded to by Jesus when he responds, “Destroy this temple and I will raise it again in three days.” Like an effective attorney John was building his case. When all the pieces were in place, he called his readers to decide.

Today’s unbelievers want Jesus’ miracles excluded as evidence because they claim that there are no such things as miracles. But how better would God, having become human, demonstrate that he was indeed deity if not by manipulating the physical world in ways contrary to natural law? To exclude Jesus’ miracles as evidence for his deity is like expecting someone to prove that he is an all-star hockey player without allowing him to put on his skates and get on the ice and to exclude all pictures or video taken of him while playing hockey. If Jesus is God in the flesh, then one would expect that he would not be controlled or limited by his creation, but that he would be capable of manipulating and contravening the laws he set in place.

In the same way, today’s unbelievers reject the idea of prophecy, saying that no one can accurately predict, hundreds of years ahead of time, the exact details of a person’s life. It is true that no human being could do that, but shouldn’t God, if there is a God, be able to do that? The person who rejects considering the idea of prophecy as evidence has likely already rejected the idea of existence of God.

Miracles performed and prophecy fulfilled have to be allowed as evidence, otherwise the outcome of the trial has already been decided, because the evidence that supports the presence of deity has already been excluded. Without the inclusion of the miraculous, the only conclusion a person can make is that Jesus was just a man – a very talented and fraudulent man, but just a man.

RESPOND

Are you open-minded enough to continue reading and are you still willing to examine objectively all the evidence John presents including miracles and prophecy?

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