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May the peace of God reign in this place
and the love of God forever hold you tight,
May the Spirit of God flow through your life
and the joy of God uphold you day and night.

Daily Devotion for October 20, 2014

<i>The Marriage at Cana (detail)</i> by Gaetano Gandolfi, ca. 1766.
The Marriage at Cana (detail) by Gaetano Gandolfi, ca. 1766. Gandolfi had a rare talent for detail, and this turbaned man's expression as he watches Jesus turn water into wine is very fine.



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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Prayer to Hear God’s Word

Dear God, There is only one voice that is perfect truth, and that is yours: the voice of your Spirit and the voice of your Word. Help me, I pray, to hear your voice clearly. For I tend to lose it in the cacophony. I am filled with the sound of my own voice, with the sense of my importance and the correctness of my thought; and on top of that, I am besieged by dozens and hundreds and thousands of words and voices telling me all kinds of things.

Lead me to read your Word without listening to any voice but yours. Let me hear your truth and read your Word without adding to it or subtracting from it, without twisting it to meet the demands of my own preconceptions. Let me not deny your Word because it is inconvenient for me; even if I cannot follow it today, let me know the truth. Where your teaching and my thoughts conflict, help me to change. Help me to set aside my prejudice, my illusions of knowledge, my rationalizations, so that I can learn; and even if I do not follow your Word perfectly, let me know where to ask forgiveness. This I ask in the name of my only Savior, Jesus Christ,


Prayer to Resist Carnal Temptation

O  ever watchful Shepherd, lead, guide, and tend me this day; without Your restraining rod I err and stray. Hedge up my path lest I wander into unwholesome pleasure, and drink its poisonous streams; direct my feet that I be not entangled in Satan's secret snares, nor fall into his hidden traps. Defend me from assailing foes, from evil circumstances, from myself.

My adversaries are part and parcel of my own nature; they cling to me as my very skin; I cannot escape their contact. In my rising up and sitting down they cause me pain; they entice with constant baits; my enemy is within the citadel. Come with almighty power and cast him out, pierce him to death, and abolish in me every particle of carnal life this day.



[Sin as poison.]


Now the God of patience and consolation grant to me, and to all who pray in the name of Christ, to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

<i>Wedding at Cana</i>, St. Mary
Wedding at Cana, St. Mary's Church, Fimber, England (by Clayton & Bell, ca. 1875).
Blue Latin Cross

John 2:1-11 (NIV)

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Notes on the Scripture

The Wedding at Cana (4) - Wine and Glory

When we see that Christ has “revealed his glory”, and that his disciples therefore believed in Him, it means that Jesus has shown that He is the Son of God. The concepts of Jesus' “glory” and “glorification” are difficult sometimes, especially in John, because the term is used often and can refer to somewhat different things. Christ has different moments of “glory”. All of them, however, point to the primary lessons that Christ comes to teach, both to his disciples and to the world: He is the Son of God, He is himself God, and God, through Him, has come to save humanity from sin.

The “glorification” of Christ usually refers to the final and full process, including Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection; because it is only when these have been accomplished that the act has been accomplished. So in changing the water into wine, Christ reveals his glory; that is, He gives the world a view of who He really is. And his disciples believe in him. But both are incomplete. The extent of his power and victory, and the glory that comes with them, will not and cannot be fully known until after his death.

The Synoptic Gospels emphasize the incompleteness of the apostles' knowledge. The twelve often seem confused about exactly who Christ is and what his presence means. All three Gospels, for example, depict a scene in which none of them even realize He is the messiah except Peter. (E.g. Mark 8:27-29.) They actually cannot know the full “glory”, the full meaning, of exactly who Christ is and how much He accomplished, until after his ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit; for it is only by the Holy Spirit that we can know him fully.

John, however, emphasizes that the “glass is half full.” Rather than showing what people do not realize about Jesus, John tends to show and emphasize what people do know about Christ while He is alive. But this is a difference in emphasis, not a contradiction, for in John also the apostles are shown to lack full understanding. (E.g. John 13:7-19.)

Much of what the disciples come to know at Cana derives from their pre-existing familiarity with the symbolism. The context of the wedding would have reminded them of the symbols of Israel as a bride and the messiah (or God) as a bridegroom, for this was a common theme in ancient Israel and was specifically used of the messiah by Isaiah (Is. 54:4-8, 62:4-5). And an abundance of wine was typically symbolic of the restoration of Israel. (E.g. Amos 9:13-14; Jer. 31:12.)

The difference in approach by the Synoptics can be seen in a parallel scene, also very early in Jesus' ministry, where He teaches about new wine in old wineskins, e.g. Mark 2:22. The meaning is identical — the old wineskins, like the water jars, represent the superseding of Jewish ritualism by Christ's incarnation. But in Mark and Matthew, Jesus teaches it as a lesson, rather than demonstrating it as a miracle. The meaning of the lesson in Mark and Matthew is clearer, but because it does not involve a supernatural event, the spoken lesson does not have the gut-level impact or effect of revealing Jesus' glory that the water-to-wine scene does in John.

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