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THE MARRIAGE FEAST.pdf

THE MARRIAGE FEAST.pdf

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Published by glennpease
BY FREDERICK DENISON MAURICE, M.A.


JoHir IL 11.

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of GALILee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him,
BY FREDERICK DENISON MAURICE, M.A.


JoHir IL 11.

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of GALILee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him,

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Published by: glennpease on Nov 04, 2013
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THE MARRIAGE FEAST.BY FREDERICK DENISON MAURICE, M.A.JoHir IL 11.This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of GALILee, andmanifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him,The word MiracLES which our translators have adoptedin this verse, gives little trouble to a reader. He thinksof some singular, glaring effect, which makes men wonder,and which they can refer to no known principle. Thateffect he calls a miracle. To produce astonishment is theimmediate object of him who works it ; to convince thosewho see it, and those who are told of it afterwards, thathe is not subject to ordinary laws, and has the power of setting laws aside, is his ultimate object.Such thoughts, I say, are suggested naturally enough bythe word Miracle. It is otherwise with the word * Sign '(2i7/A€fcoi/), which St. John uses himself. That word issimpler in sound than the other, but it gives rise to alonger and more troublesome inquiry. Outward display,the excitement of wonder, departure from rule, have nonecessary or natural connexion with it. The name drivesus to the question, * A sign of what ? ' And all these58 DISCOURSE V.qualities — supposing they were present in the sign — wouldnot help us to answer the question. In the case before us,the act of turning water into wine — ^in which the miracleis supposed to consist — cannot be separated from the otherparts of the narrative: together they constitute the sign.And to find the signification of the sign, we must haverecourse to the first chapter of the Gospel ; we must ask 
 
St. John himself to tell us why he has introduced it, andhow it bears upon the subject of the history.* On the third day there was a Tnarriage in Ganxi of Galilee ; and the Toother of Jesus was there^ On the thirdday, no doubt, after the events which we were speaking of last Sunday. What were those events ? A preacher whohad drawn crowds by his word, who had attached to himsome devoted disciples, had spoken of One mightier thanhe, who was coming after him, but had been before him.He had pointed to a certain man. He had said of Him,* Behold the Lamb of Ood, that taketh away the sin of theworld.^ He had said that he came baptizing with water,on purpose that this person might be manifested to Israelas the Son of God, who would baptize with the HolyGhost. Two of those who heard these words, we are told,followed Jesus. They invited others, saying that theyhad found the Christ. One or two more Jesus Himself called to come after Him.What expectations were these men likely to form of their new Master ? All their deepest impressions had beenreceived from John. Would not He whom John declaredto be greater than himself exhibit all His characteristics ina higher degree ? They had first seen Je^us in the desert.Might not that be His favourite home ? Would not He bemore of a solitary, more of an ascetic, than His predecessor ?THE MARRIAGE FEAST. 59Would not He, whose origin was said to be heavenly, bemore withdrawn from the things of earth, than the manwho said he was not worthy to unloose the latchet of His sandal? This was a reasonable supposition. Therewas another, which would strike many as even morereasonable. The Christ was associated with thoughts of royalty. He might be the very reverse of John ; not onewho could converse familiarly with disciples ; not one who
 
could speak words of friendly admonition to publicans andsoldiers; but one who would walk aloft, asserting thedignity of His descent, claiming to rule the people, im-patient of even seeming to belong to them.On the third day came a sign which showed how fareither of these expectations corresponded to the truth.There was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and Jesus wassitting there beside His mother. This is the appearanceHe made to those disciples who had heard Him describedby such magnificent titles, — ^to those disciples who hadlearnt to look upon the desert life, the life that is with-drawn from all family relations and sympathies, as thespecially holy and prophetical life. And yet it is clearlyno august regal marriage which is taking place at Cana.A homely, rustic wedding, — one in which there is feastingand merriment, but no pomp. To this He is bidden ;and those fishermen who had joined Him are bidden too.They are called His disciples. They had but lately seenHim or known Him, but they are already fast bound toHim. As His disciples they go with Him, not into afar-off desert, but to a wedding-feast in a little town.Here is surely the sign of a change, — a change the veryreverse, perhaps, of what we were looking for. We arecoming nearer to the common earth, to those bonds which60 DISCOURSE V.connect the inhabitants of earth with each other^ to thosewhich touch all earthly feelings and earthly interests. Thenext incident surely does not weaken this impression.The wine at the feast is said to have failed. We mighteasily have formed some vague notion of a festival that

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