“The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?”
| John 2.18, NRSV
No bunny or top hat. Nothing up his sleeves. Miracles are not to be confused with magic shows. Turning water into wine, Jesus has performed his first miracle because his mother tells him to. In John 2, Mary does not grab Jesus by his ear but she certainly catches the ear of the servants during the wedding at Cana: “Do whatever he tells you.”
And no one questions her authority. Jesus is the Messiah and still, his mother knows best.
After partly catering a wedding, Jesus cleanses the temple. From filling to emptying, Jesus moves from celebration to chastisement. From wedding to whipping, Jesus drives the point home: We are not in control, not in charge, not in possession of what we hold and hold dear. Jesus can change things in an instant. Only he is constant and consistent.
Still, we petition, “Show me a sign.” The limitations of our eyes prove obvious in the face of the future. The present has its challenges; our flesh has its limitations. This is most obvious when in crisis and even in the presence of Christ.
“We’ll believe it when we see it.” It is a glaring contradiction for a faith that espouses, “We walk by faith and not by sight” (Second Corinthians 5.7). Maybe this is why the Israelites wandered for so long. If only we were satisfied with the presence of God and not enamored more with the signs. Giver or gift, we want the presents. Savior or signs, we sit for the magic show rather than follow him.