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derful indeed. Not that it looked so at the time in the eyes of men, for His lowliness veiled it. But He could not entirely be hidden. During His Ministry—that is, during the last three years of His earthly life, glimpses of glory broke out from time to time. He did great works, such as man alone could never have done. He worked miracles.
The Bible calls these marvellous deeds by several different names. Sometimes wonders, because they startled men, and astonished them 80 much ;' sometimes signs, because they were tokens and pledges of God's presence; sometimes mighty works, because of God's great power and might put forth in them; sometimes miracles-a word which means nearly the same as wonders.?
What were the Jews to learn from the Gospel miracles? Plainly this, that Jesus of Nazareth was a Messenger from Heaven. Four hundred years had passed away since Malachi, the last prophet, had spoken to them in the Name of the Lord. During that long period, no fresh message had come to them from God. How were they to know that the meek and lowly Jesus was bringing them one? By the wonderful works which He wrought. He appealed to these works Himself. He said, "The works that I do in My Father's Name, they bear witness of Me.' Nicodemus learnt this, and came to our Lord Jesus Christ, saying, “Rabbi, we know that Thou art a Teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with Him.' And on the Day of Pentecost, St. Peter boldly declared Him to be a Man approved of God by miracles and wonders and signs. St. Mark, ii. 12. Acts, ii. 22; Heb. ii. 4; St. Matt. xi. 20.
St. John, x. 25. · St. John, iii. 2. Acts, ii. 22.
Not that miracles have any power to change the heart of man. On the contrary, we see that they only enraged the enemies of Christ. He raised Lazarus from the dead in the sight of a number of the Jews, and from that day forth the Chief Priests and Pharisees took counsel to put Him to death. But those who were waiting for the salvation of Israel saw in the miracles worked by Jesus of Nazareth a proof that the hand of God was with Him. They received Him as a prophet of God; they listened to His teaching, and so they were led on to find that He was indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
What do we Christians learn from the Gospel miracles? We have no need of them as proofs that Jesus Christ came forth from God. We were taught this long ago; we know and are persuaded that He is the long-expected Hope of Ísrael, the promised Child of the Virgin, the Son of God, our Saviour, our Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. But we learn from them the character of our Lord, and also His way of dealing with sinful men.
How different are His miracles from the miracles of the Law! Moses stretched forth his hand, and terrible plagues came upon the Egyptians; Elijah spake, and fire came down from heaven to consume his enemies; but the mighty works which our Saviour_wrought were works of pity and compassion. They shew the love and tenderness of His heart; they represent also to us, as in a picture, how He now supplies the wants of those who call
Him. In the days of His flesh, He healed the sick; now, 'He healeth those that are broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.' Then, He gave hearing to the deaf and speech to the dumb; now, He gives us power to hear His voice, and
opens our lips that our mouth may shew forth His praise. Then, He gave sight to the blind; now, He opens the eyes of the spiritually blind, to see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the Face of Jesus Christ. Then, He went about healing all that were oppressed with the devil; now, He delivers out of the snare of the devil them that were led captive at his will.
• He comes the prisoners to set free,
In Satan's bondage held;
The iron fetters yield.'
Then, He raised the dead; now, He raises us from the death of sin to the life of righteousness.
Christians may learn very much about their Lord from His miracles ; and so they love to study them, and learn how gracious He is, and of great mercy unto all that call
1.-THE WATER TURNED INTO WINE.
When the Lord Jesus was thirty years of age, He left His Mother's house in Nazareth, where He had spent His early years. He was baptized by St. John the Baptist, He fasted in the wilderness, He was tempted of the devil, and then He came forth in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. St. John Baptist bore witness that He was the Lamb of God; St. Andrew and St. Peter, St. Philip and Nathanael, became His disciples; and then, on the third day after the calling of Nathanael, He began His Ministry by
working His first miracle at Cana of Galilee, a village a little to the north of Nazareth. St. John alone relates it, in chapter ii. 1-11. It is the Gospel for the Second Sunday after Epiphany.
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the Mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and His disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the Mother of Jesus saith unto Him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. His Mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And He saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was : (but the servants which drew the water knew :) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him.
Here was the beginning of miracles, as the Parable of the Sower was the first parable. The first mighty work that Moses wrought was turning water into blood; for the Law was a ministration of death: but the first miracle of Jesus Christ was a turning of water into wine-wine which maketh glad the heart of man; for He came that His people's joy might be full. It seems that the family in which it was worked was connected with our Lord by ties of kindred; for it is not said that the Mother of Jesus was invited to the marriage, but that she was there. She was at home in the house, and knew when the wine was finished. And as our Lord for our sakes became poor, this family must have been poor and lowly. There was no money at hand to buy more wine. Do not suppose that their having wine at all proves them to have been rich. Judea was a land of vineyards, as England is a land of barley fields and apple orchards; and wine was the common drink of the country, as beer is of the north and east of England, and cyder of the southwest.
The Virgin Mary at once brought her friends' want before our Lord. Though He had as yet worked no miracle, she knew His hidden might, she knew His loving-kindness. She did not know when the time would come for Him to shew forth His glory. So she said, “They have no wine.' There was no want of respect in His answer.
Woman’ was a word of honour then. True, He did not promise any help; but the Blessed Virgin was not discouraged. She was content to leave all in His hands. She said unto the servants, Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.' And He rewarded her faith; He gave the miraculous help which His words seemed to refuse. The Jews made it a part of their religious duty to wash before eating, so they always had plenty of
St. Mark, vii. 3.