John 2 & 3 | The Great Contrast

John 2:11 –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.”

John 3:20-21 – “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so it may be seen plainly what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

As I read through John 2 and 3, something stood out to me I really hadn’t thought about before. The second chapter of John begins with Jesus’ first recorded miracle—turning water into wine. I have read this many times but what I had not noticed before was verse 11 where we read: “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.”

Now, I’ve read this before and believe it is clear as the disciples witnessed the miracles (represented by the term ‘revealed his glory’), it caused them to believe in him. I believe this is the primary point of the narrative. However, as you read through the entire chapters of John 2 and 3 what becomes apparent is a theme of the great contrast between the glory of Jesus and the fallen condition of mankind. For instance, if you read chapter 2, verses 23 and 24 you’ll notice the language used to describe Jesus’ perspective on the people of that day:

Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.”

Jesus knew the heart of man, and it was indeed evil and very unstable. It was almost as if this statement foreshadowed how the people of Jerusalem would at first welcome and cheer his entrance into the city that day, laying palm leaves before the donkey that carried him in; then just days later be calling for his crucifixion! All the miracles and signs Jesus did were forgotten, and they wanted Him killed.

To further emphasize the condition of man’s heart, John continues in chapter 3 of his narrative after telling the story about Jesus meeting Nicodemus. Note what John states in verses 20-21:

“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

So, we see the great contrast in these two chapters in John’s Gospel. The contrast of mankind in his corrupt and fallen state; the children of Adam, the federal head of the human race. People who are self-serving, vile and corrupt, believing only when it serves them. This wretched condition is starkly contrasted with Jesus who is described as revealing his ‘glory’ to man. He did this by not only demonstrating to them that He indeed was the true son of God through miracles of healing that eased the suffering of man but through the identification of why he came to earth; to save and redeem mankind and bear the wrath of God in our stead.

At this point, you may be wondering why I’m pointing out the obvious. I have two reasons. The first is for those who have not yet understood their need for a Savior. If you are in this category, you must know how desperately you need the forgiveness and mercy of God. The miserable condition of unredeemed mankind has not changed in the 2,000 years since Jesus’ time. Should you mistakenly think you are not ‘all that bad,’ please note the smallest of sins disqualify you from eternal life. If we created a video of all your thoughts just today and played it for everyone on Facebook, do you think others would see you as ‘not so bad’? The sacrifice of Jesus Christ for your sins is the greatest gift of all time! You must genuinely repent and believe (John 3:36 – “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life…”) and become regenerated by His Spirit. The option is not something you want at all.

Secondly, I bring this contrast out for those of us who have been redeemed. I believe we as believers, the redeemed and regenerated sons and daughters of God, need to be reminded of the depraved state we were plucked from by the love of God through the sacrifice of His Son. At times I play out what my life would be like without God and let me tell you it isn’t pretty! I doubt I would still be married. I would be locked into sinful patterns and addictions. I would be living a self-centered, miserable life. Oh, the gratitude I have when I consider how great a sacrifice our glorious Savior made for me.

May God richly bless each of you throughout the new year of 2018. Let’s all walk through each day in a state of thankfulness for the unfathomable gift of eternal life we were freely given.

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