Text: John 2:1-25, Psalm 104:14-15, 1 Peter 4:11
I have always wondered why Jesus gave permission to not believe on account of Himself alone. After all, wasn’t it He, who claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life? That no man comes to the Father except through the Son? (John 14:6). Why then, did Jesus Himself say, “If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works” (John 10:37,38). Even if, Jesus said. Even if you cannot believe His words, believe the works of His hand.
Pastor and author Tim Keller calls Jesus the Lord of the wine, the feast, the party, and basically, the greatest time ever. We know this because His very first miracle—the first work of His man hands—was the turning of water into wine. Nay, the best wine. And the disciples marveled, John tells us; they believed in Him (John 2:11). It was because of a miracle that His disciples believed in Him, and it was on account of His miracles that many came to Him.
I find it hard to trust sometimes. Don’t you? It seems sometimes that God is intricately interested in the plans and futures of so many others, while He feels far off from me. His presence feels not as near and His words sound not as bright. I find it hard to believe Him in those moments. It’s much easier to believe the God who answers my prayers, clears my ways, and makes straight my paths. It’s easier to believe the God who is there.
I think Jesus knew this. In our common vernacular, I imagine His words sounded something like this: “If you cannot believe me (even though I’m doing these works right in front of you), can’t you believe on the evidence of me?”
I don’t know whether Jesus was disappointed with the people for being incredulous at what played out in front of their eyes, in their skepticism and doubt. But sometimes, when God feels far from me, I remember the glory of Jesus and imagine these words to be more tender than perhaps He meant them. I imagine He knows to believe is hard enough, and even harder when our hearts have grown hard and our hearing dull, and this is why He worked miracles during His short time on earth. He wanted so deeply for the people to believe and see and understand and come and follow Him.
Recently, at Christmas, we celebrated the coming of God to earth not only as man, but as baby. That baby grew into a man, changed water to wine, healed blind eyes, raised the dead, commanded the storm to be silent, and then He died an unjust and brutal death. But this can never be the end of our gospel story, because the most miraculous event comes after: His own resurrection and the proffered gift to us of eternity with Him. Jesus is one long succession of miracles, from birth until death and then life again. His glory is on display from the beginning of time until now, this very second, even in my doubt and my struggle with belief.
I know so many of us struggle to believe with all our hearts that all Jesus’ words and love are true. But do you see His miracles? He didn’t do them for the healed, calmed, and raised alone. He did them for you and for me, and for all humanity. His best glory is the belief of His children.
Lore Ferguson Wilbert is a writer, thinker, and learner. She blogs at Sayable, tweets @lorewilbert, and posts photos @loreferguson. She has a husband named Nate, a puppy named Harper Nelle, and too many books to read in one lifetime.