Without a doubt, John Eldridge is a very gifted writer, and more often than not even a very insightful writer, but where the first of Jesus’ miracles is concerned he seems to have missed it on at least two very important counts. The first count has to do with the timing of the wedding wine, and the second has to do with Jesus motivation, which for John Eldridge is “Extravagant Generosity.”
Having just read “Beautiful Outlaw” for the fourth time, I find myself needing to respond to a missing element, a very important missing element in Chapter Six – “Extravagant Generosity.”
Sometime later in the ministry of Jesus, after many miracles, there came a time when some Gentiles wanted to meet Jesus. On that occasion He replied, “Now is the hour for the Son of Man to be glorified,” John 12:20-50.
Not long after that He held up a cup at the end of the last supper – a wedding supper – “This is my blood of the new covenant,” Luke 20:22.
In the Old Testament, this cup is better defined as the “cup of his espousals,” Song of Songs 3:11.
All this to say that Jesus’ first miracle turns out to be a preview of His last and greatest miracle. What was needed was not only more wine, but new wine, and a new and everlasting Spirit – poured out without measure – a cup of life without limit and without end. The Spirit of everlasting life was and is in that Wine – that Blood.
Was it Extravagant? Yes certainly it was extravagant.
Was it Generous? This is a bit more problematic. This is the blood by which He purchased an everlasting Bride of His own choosing. The price was certainly extravagant, but the extravagance was and is the measure of His love for us – His desire for us. His generosity was the measure of how much He wanted us.
It is that desire for us, that desirability in us with which we must finally come into agreement. We must agree with His assessment of who we are to Him – how important we are to Him. This is our new and unshakable identity in and from Him. In that moment every identity crisis of our lives comes to an end. His “Generous Extravagance” is the eternal end of our every identity crisis! His love for us is our new and everlasting identity!
It is this miracle of our transformed identity that we will visit in our exploration of the next level.