Rest for the Weary

Olga Bakhtina,  Wedding in Cana , 2018

Olga Bakhtina, Wedding in Cana, 2018

Begin by Reading Amos 9:13-15

Be sure of this, the time is coming," says the LORD, "when the plowman will catch up to the reaper and the one who stomps the grapes will overtake the planter.

Wine will run down the slopes, it will flow down all the hillsides.

I will bring back my people, Israel; they will rebuild the cities lying in rubble and settle down.

They will plant vineyards and drink the wine they produce; they will grow orchards and eat the fruit they produce.

I will plant them on their land  and they will never again be uprooted from the land I have given       them," says the LORD your God.

Rest for the Weary

God's promise of restoration and healing comes on the heels of Amos' scathing condemnation of Israel over her utter failure as God's people. Having become worse than all the other peoples ignorant of God, Amos warns of her impending demise. 

But the prophetic words keep coming. In verse 13, Amos ushers in an assurance that one day, God will redeem and restore. Destruction was not the end of her story, and it never is for God's people. Amos concludes the only way a prophet of Yahweh can, offering encouragement and hope to Israel. Amid her distress, God reminds her that her story is not over, and the God of Resurrection is not done.

This promise seemed to fall flat for hundreds of years, as Israel was passed from nation to nation caught up in the politics, wars, and corruption of other nations. It would have been easy to believe that God had forgotten her. But then, Jesus shows up. 

His presence marked the beginning of renewal and restoration, and not just for Israel but for the entire world. He demonstrated this with His miracle of turning water into wine. For most who read the Gospels, this miracle seems rather innocuous and bland. But this bland miracle symbolized so much more than mere supernatural ability. God's people were wearily looking to God to make good on His promise. They needed the Eternal One to deliver and to cause prosperous flourishing throughout the land once again.

This expectation of flourishing reaches back to Israel's inception. It is a theme deep-rooted in Genesis. God blesses the earth and all of His creatures and then calls humanity to do the same. As humanity bestows blessing, flourishing occurs, and God's paradise spreads throughout the face of the earth. When humanity fails at this mission, the earth is filled with cursing and death. So after humanity's failure, God steps in by selecting a man named Abram, through whom He will bless all of the earth. 

Jesus' transformation of water into wine was a demonstration of blessing. A visible beacon that the one who causes all things to grow in fruitfulness and abundance had arrived. God had not forgotten; restoration was here.

And here we are some two thousand years later. The struggles and challenges of everyday life tug us in multiple directions. At some level, we have heard of redemption found in Jesus. We've believed it, maybe even given our lives entirely over to it. But like those Israelites in the first century, it can become difficult to remain hopeful. We are faced daily with our mortality and the chaotic nature of the world around us. Everything seems askew.

When you look at the miracle at a celebration in backwater Galilee, we can easily miss the point. Jesus isn't simply performing a party trick. He's not even attempting to offer proof of His Divinity. Instead, He is showing us that our hope is not misplaced. When you see the miracle of the water turned to wine, see a promise. The one who has come to save us can cause the earth to flourish once again. He can heal and restore our brokenness. 

Let's cling to this today. Let's choose to believe that there is something better coming. Let's believe that our unanswered prayers for wholeness will one day be answered. Together let's look to Jesus to heal our broken hearts and minds, our damaged social structures and politics, our fragmented relationships with each other and with this earth we were meant to bless. 

Join me in looking to Jesus for the coming celebration, when all things are made whole, and we live in eternal communion with God and one another.

I so often need to be reminded of this. Not just that one day, everything will be ok, but of the sweetness of Jesus. That His intentions towards me are good. And that through all of the pain, despair, and loneliness Jesus longs to see me and my world made whole as much if not more than I do. 

This helps transform my view of Jesus from an idea to a person. It helps me understand and believe that He truly loves me while allowing me to engage with Him in meaningful prayer. This strange miracle of water into wine means so much more than we first expect. We have been invited into real hope, a hope that as the Apostle Paul says does not disappoint.

Let's live Into This Today

  1. Spend a moment in prayer and reflection on the brokenness within you, and around you. What barren, broken places are you longing for Jesus to break in to and breath life?

  2. Take these to Him in prayer. Ask Him to rid you of these things, thank Him for the promise that one day all things will be made new. Meditate on the wholeness we and our world will one day have in Jesus.

  3. Write down these areas where you need hope. Take them to Jesus this week and cling to Him as the only one that can genuinely offer solace and resolution to any of them.