Jesus was pretty selective about His audience. I think if I was going on the “Know that I Am Messiah” road tour, I’d go big, I’d go often, and I’d go in front of as many people as possible. But not the Son of Man. He seemed to be cautious of the “going big” approach to getting people to believe. And He certainly wasn’t compelled to “perform” in the biggest venues. And, even when He was given a natural platform to impress a lot of people, He often didn’t take advantage of it the way I might have. Rather, He purposefully did what He did, before those He did it, in order that they might know that He manifested His glory.
Case in point, the wedding at Cana. Large crowd . . . early in His ministry . . . and His mother provides an excellent “natural” opening for Him to show His stuff. I don’t know what it was that brought Mary to bring the wine issue to Jesus, but she knew something that others had not yet discovered about her son. So, perfect set up. Walk to the front of the feasting hall . . . dramatically line up the six stone water jars . . . with great suspense, have the servants fill them up with somewhere between 120 and 180 gallons of water . . . maybe pray a bit . . . wave his hands over the jars . . . and, “Voila!” . . . serve up the best tasting wine in the land! Go big . . . go often . . . go in front of as many people as you can. That’s how I might manifest the glory.
Not Jesus. Instead His focus seems to be on some no-name servants and on some “still kicking the tires” disciples. In the back room He gets the servants to bring the jars, fill them with water, and then serve the wine. And the only ones who knew what was going on, other than the servants and Mary, were His closest followers. This first sign was done for them.
This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him. (John 2:11 ESV)
There’s something about hanging close to Jesus . . . you see His glory manifest in behind the scenes ways that most people don’t notice. It’s one of the benefits of abiding . . . one of the “perks” of going to Him with the mundane issues of everyday life . . . sometimes He turns water into wine and you, and perhaps a few close friends, are the only ones who see it. But you know in those moments, He manifested His glory.
The glory of the Son of God is made known often in the small and unspectacular ways so that it is less about the event, and all about the Event Planner. Less about everyone knowing that Jesus came through for you, and more about the gracious way of our loving King who reveals Himself in secret . . . often for our eyes of faith only . . . that we might know His glory manifested.
O’ that, as followers of Jesus, we would never be far from Him. That we would desire to know His presence at all times. That we might, perhaps when least expected and in ways unanticipated, know that He has manifested His glory . . . so that believing, we too might increase in belief.
That’s the privilege of being His disciple.
By His grace . . . for His glory.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 ESV)