Day 7: First impressions
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” First impressions can last a lifetime. What we wear to a job interview. What we say. We think about these things. John, Jesus’ best friend, thought about the first impression he wanted to make upon us about Jesus. Today, we see Jesus in action for the first time.
Remember your first date? Remember sweating over what to wear? If you extended the invitation, then you had the added pressure of picking the right place to go. Then of course there was managing what to say, and if you’re me, not spilling food on yourself! I remember walking someone home, holding hands...and my father and brother driving by and honking the horn! Ugh. I tried to hide behind a telephone poll. Not my best first impression.
What is your first impression of meeting Jesus?
On the surface, there seems to be this reluctant moment of compassion at a wedding. Plus, most of us do not speak to our parents that way. Then there is outrage. Jesus’ passion for His Father erupts in the Temple. Jesus, meek and mild? I don’t think so.
We read all of chapter two today because I wanted us to “see again for the first time” how John presents Jesus. It fascinates me that these are the opening images he chose to offer us. And he did choose; remember, this Gospel is not a biography. It does not give an exact chronological account of Jesus’ life. It roughly follows his ministry. Yet we know John had a lot of material to choose from. After spending three years with Jesus, he chose these two episodes. Curious.
I want to remind myself of one thing and point out another. First, John purposely and systematically chose only Seven miracles/signs. Note that in verse 23 that Jesus did “many signs.” Everyone in John’s day seemed to know something about him.
If you have never heard of Jesus, do these two events pique your curiosity? Who is this man? And if you have already heard of Jesus, then I wonder if you are even more intrigued.
I must slow down a bit.
At the wedding, Jesus did turn water into wine. This wasn’t sleight of hand. Water literally morphed into wine. Bluntly said: Jesus can command the material of the earth to change form. Jesus, who was “in the beginning,” has complete control of what he created. The closest analogy I can come to is a writer. An author creates a work of fiction. That same author can completely recreate it.
Jesus is co-author of creation with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Imagine him walking into the Temple.
(Pause. What is the purpose of the Temple? To honor God. To worship God. To be in a physical place, set apart, so that when humans enter it, they will all know immediately, that it is time to get their heads screwed on the “right-way-round.” Pay attention: the Temple silently screams – “It is time to be with God!”)
Okay, back to Jesus walking into the Temple. What does he find? People had commercialized it. Humans have a natural bent to commercialize everything.
This is the only documented case of Jesus getting physically outraged. Hmmm? What do I think? I think the most important... read that again... THE MOST IMPORTANT... thing to Jesus, is people having a great relationship with God. That is why he has come to earth – to fix our broken relationship with God. When he comes to the place where this relationship is to be visibly present – and he sees it in the state it is in – he lets everyone know how wrong the situation is.
He will no doubt witness many other “wrong” situations. This one, however, strikes at his heart – because his heart is to be in relationship with you.