Sometimes Jesus appears completely baffling…you know, one grape short of a cluster. Like becoming a divine vintner as his first miraculous act. Really? A heavenly sommelier to unveil earth’s salvation? (John 2)
This miracle seemed strangely un-divine to me. But then I realized that this kind of thing ran in the family! It was His Father’s M.O.: Take the ordinary and make it more–a lot more.
Make it sacred.
He’s been at it since Creation. He:
- Took void emptiness and changed it into living beauty
- Transformed inky black skies into backdrops for dazzling daily light displays
- Poked dimples into earth and called them oceans
- Squeezed wrinkles up from the dirt and named them Alps
- Turned a pile of dust into a living being capable of love, creativity and wonder
Snapshots of this metamorphic instinct were throughout the Older Testament:
- A dry desert bush becomes a flaming message from Heaven
- A shepherd’s staff become the rod of God
- Gnarled acacia wood becomes an Ark that carries His presence
- A young boy’s sling becomes a weapon that fells giants
And he doesn’t stop there..in the NT
- A manger becomes a throne
- A carpenter’s shop becomes an incubator of the eternal
- An innocent victim’s cross becomes an invincible victor’s sword
- An empty tomb becomes eternity’s womb
- An upstairs parlor becomes the delivery room of radical, Spirit-branded people
And this passion for re-purposing has continued for 2,000 years:
- Bread and wine have become body and blood
- Baptismal waters have been fountains of cleansing
- Catacombs served as cathedrals
- Brush arbors housed firestorms of revival
- Marriage became the living portrait of Jesus and His Bride
This is what incarnation is: the invasive influence of the Kingdom of God in the ordinary, routine, mundane, banal aspects of life. It’s the peek-a-boo presence of God where you never thought you’d see Him. The early Celtic church talked about these moments as “thin spaces”–where time and eternity kiss; heaven and earth converge.
Jesus was the apex of these incarnational impulses of the Father. And as His first miracle, Jesus simply did what His Dad did. He took common washbasins and turned them into rare carafes…the ordinary become sacred. And “thus” he showed His followers his “glory”.
The Son demonstrated how His Father constantly causes life as it can be to impact life as it is to create life as it should be. “On earth as it is in heaven”…the invasive uniqueness of Kingdom life expressed the incessant sameness of real-world, real-time living.
I’m convinced that Jesus deliberately chose this odd first miracle to demonstrate re-purposing at its best. He up-cycled the basins people used to wash the dirt of life’s routines from their hands so they could contain a once-in-time vintage He personally crafted to keep the party going. He made the ordinary, sacred–always has, always will.
This miracle also points out why we so often miss His in-your-face Kingdom: we make the sacred, ordinary. We search for these incarnational intersections in contexts and constructs outside of our daily reality. And so, we miss the party altogether.