1. The Sign of the Ultimate Purpose
We are to consider briefly that solemn watchword of our Lord's life on earth by which the stages of His advance toward His ultimate purpose were governed and marked: for He went toward that ultimate purpose by stages governed by a consciousness which found its expression in a familiar phrase, "Mine Hour." That was the solemn watchword of our Lord's life and progressive movement into and unto His ultimate purpose, and we shall look at some of those movements as defined by that expression.
In the first place let us turn to John 2. You know this is the account of the miracle of turning water into wine at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the thing upon which everything turned was this utterance, "Mine hour is not yet come." Mary, His mother in the flesh, had come to Him saying, "They have no wine." Whether she was anticipating a miracle on His part or not, we need not stay to discuss. Probably she was not, for His answer is illuminating. It is a very harsh in our English language, which does not convey a certain softness that really was in His own words. Our language bluntly puts it this way, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come."
Literally He said this, "What is there in common between you and Me?" - which being expounded means this, You are thinking of one thing and I am thinking of another. Your mind is in one realm, My mind is working in another. You are wanting one thing, I am after another. What is there in common between you and Me? We are in two different realms of thought, of inclination, of intention, of desire." That, I say, is very significant and very suggestive, as the original language makes it perfectly clear that is what He said and therefore you come to this conclusion, that He had a mind, a very clear and settled mind, as to what He would do. What He was after and the thing that was going to happen had a significance in His mind which far transcended anything that was in the mind of anyone else: there was really no comparison or relationship between these other thoughts and His. He had something in mind which they did not discern or perceive.
When you realize that this was the beginning of His ministry, and that this was the first manifestation of that Divine Sonship in its sovereignty, then you have a clue. You recognize that He is making this first thing a very significant thing indeed - that in His mind this is full of eternal significance, which no one else saw, but He knew; and He was moving in a definite and deliberate act and stage toward that ultimate thing which He was now projecting in this positive and definite way.
Now you break the thing up, and you find that the keywords are, "Mine Hour," and the last words, "manifested His glory." Then the miracle, or the sign, as you notice, had wine as its occasion and basis. Wine is a symbol in the Word for blood and life, very often interchangeable words, and very often synonymous terms. As we gather around the Lord's Table we recognize that the wine is the symbol of the blood which contains the life; and this symbol was the basis and the occasion of this act, this sign, which issued in His glory relative to His hour, and marked a definite step toward an ultimate purpose.
Here He ceased to be a private person, and crossed the line into public life, and from this moment He was a marked man. On the one hand, He was sought after because of certain benefits which He was considered capable of bestowing. On the other hand, He was sought after for His destruction. But from this moment He was out in the open, and it was this deliberate stepping across the line, with this thing which was in His mind relative to "the hour," that committed Him to the battle which had its consummation in the last declaration of this watchword:
The hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners (Matthew 26:45).
He crossed the line in Cana of Galilee and related this to the first expression "My hour," "the hour," and in between the events that were marked by the first and the last utterances of His watchword thee was progressive movement onward. Now what is the thing that is in His mind? Everything that the Master did was deliberate; there was nothing casual; there were no side-shows in His life; there was nothing that was merely incidental. Everything was in the direct line of His ultimate purpose, and He would not accept an invitation to a marriage festivity just on sentimental grounds. This thing was not a social incident in His life, it was brought right into direct line with His ultimate purpose, and that is why all was made to center in this "Mine hour."
This beginning of signs related to His glory.
(continued with # 2)