Bible Reading: John 2:1-11
There have been many people who claimed to be the “Messiah”. How can we know for sure that they were fakes…and that Jesus is the real Messiah? John tells us how to do so in his Gospel.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
$147 million. That is how much fake, counterfeit money the government believes is currently being used in the United States. People make this illegal money and then use it for purchases. Eventually, it gets used over, and over, again. Then one day…you get it when you buy something and the cashier gives you some change for your purchase. How can you tell if the money you have is real, or fake? Here are some ways to detect counterfeit money.
- Since 1996, all bills over $5 use what is called “color shifting ink” on the denomination (the number amount-10,20,50) on the bottom right-hand corner. That means that depending on which direction you look at it the color of the number changes from green to copper.
- Real bills have “raised printing”. The ink is on top of the paper and should feel rough, or unsmooth to the touch.
- The text and borders should have very fine lines with clear detail. Blurring is a sign that it is a counterfeit.
- Real money will have red and blue threads woven in the paper. Some counterfeiters try to make their fake money appear to be real by printing lines on the paper.
- Real money will have a “watermark”. This is an image (person’s face) that only appears on the bill when it is held up to the light. Sometimes the watermark is a face. If so, it should be the exact same face that is on the bill.
- There will be a “security thread” on a real bill. This is a vertical line on the bill that has “USA” and the bill’s denomination (example: USA 20) printed on it.
- On new $100 bills (only) there is a “security ribbon”. This is a visible, blue, vertical line down the middle of the right-hand-side of the bill. It is 3D and if you move the bill back and forth, you will actually see the number 100 and a variety of little bells will move from side-to-side as the bill shifts.
Did you know that in the days that Jesus lived, there had been many people who claimed to be the Messiah, the Savior, of Israel? Numerous people had gathered a group of followers, or claimed to have some special teaching from God, or performed magic tricks…in order to try to prove that they were the Messiah. It could be confusing. How could someone know for sure that a person was who he said he was? How could someone know for sure that when someone claimed to be the Messiah…he really was, or wasn’t? What were the signs that would distinguish a fake Messiah, from the real Messiah?
When you read all four of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), you find that they record at least 37 times when Jesus performed miracles. On some of those times He performed multiple miracles by healing multiple people…but each time He healed someone it was a separate miracle.
When you read just the Gospel of John, you find that he records 7 times when Jesus performed a miracle…
- Turning the water into wine (2:1-11)
- Healing the nobleman’s son (4:46-54)
- Curing a paralyzed man (5:1-18)
- Feeding the 5,000 (6:6-13)
- Walking on the water (6:16-21)
- Healing the blind man (9:1-7)
- Raising Lazarus from the dead (11:1-45).
Some people also identify one more miracle…when Jesus told the disciples to fish on the other side of the boat and they caught so many fish that they could hardly pull the net into the boat (21:4-11). But generally, Bible scholars believe that John was very intentional in recording only 7 specific times when Jesus performed a miracle. Why would he have done that? In the Bible, the number “7” has special significance. For instance…there were 7 days of creation, we are commanded to rest on the 7th day of the week, an animal had to be 7-days-old before it could be used as a sacrifice, and Joshua and his army marched around Jericho for 7 days. What is the significance? The number 7 represents that something is complete, or finished. In the Gospel of John, the 7 miracles of Jesus demonstrate with complete satisfaction, or complete guarantee, Who Jesus was…so that we can have confidence when we believe in Him as our Savior. In fact, John begins and ends his Gospel with this very thought. In 2:11, he writes…“This beginning of His signs Jesus did…and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.” Then, in 20:30-31, he writes…”Many other signs therefore Jesus performed…that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” It is interesting that John used the word “sign” when he talked about the miracles of Jesus. He did this so that we would not just focus on the idea of it being a miracle (which it was)…but, that we would focus on what the miracle meant. The miracles meant something, they pointed to something, they were a “sign”. In John’s Gospel, they were meant to provide the proof, the evidence that Jesus was the Savior. Indeed, the miracles were important simply because they were miracles. But, they had a far greater importance, as well. They were meant to be a “sign” that confirmed that Jesus was Who He said He was…the Son of God.
God did not want us to be confused by some fake, counterfeit Messiah. So, He inspired John to tell us that the miracles that Jesus performed identified Him as the real thing…the real Messiah. We can have faith in Jesus…because we know with absolute certainty that He was the real Messiah. He passes the test. You can trust Him with all of your heart and life.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,