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John part four

John 2:1-11
Jesus performed at least 35 specific miracles in the gospels.
Jesus’ miracles stretch our faith.
I mean, either you believe that Jesus did these things or you don’t.
John concluded his Gospel by saying, “These are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And that believing, you might have life through His name.”

That’s what I love about God’s Word… it forces you to decide if you are going to believe it or not.
There is no middle ground.
So, today, we’re going to look @ Jesus’ 1st miracle.

  1. Christ compliments the commonplace with His presence
    In other words, He will attend whenever & wherever we invite Him.
    John 2:2 “…and Jesus and His disciples had also been invited to the wedding.” NIV

I think Jesus was fun to be around & have around.
Otherwise, I don’t think He & the disciples would have been invited to the wedding.
In this 1st miracle, Jesus sets the tone for His ministry.
The 1st miracle of Moses was turning water into blood.
It was a sign of judgment.
The 1st miracle of Jesus was turning water into wine.
Notice that it was a sign of joy.

Several things grab my attention:
Though it might be the most famous wedding of all time, isn’t it interesting that we don’t even know the names of the couple getting married?
The happy couple is never mentioned.
The only thing we do know about them is they ran out of wine.

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus chose a wedding to perform His 1st miracle?
This should remind us that a wedding with Jesus present is better than one in which He is absent.
Something amazing happens when Jesus is present in your marriage.
In fact, Solomon spoke about this in…
Ecclesiastes 4:12: “a three-fold cord is not quickly broken”.
         Solomon was saying that a rope with 2 cords is strong, but one with 3 is stronger.
A husband & a wife with Christ is a 3-fold cord…
Something powerful happens when you can pray together about things you face in life.
Something powerful happens when you study God’s Word together & worship the Lord together… it is a 3-fold cord not quickly broken… I think it is significant that Jesus chose a wedding to perform His 1st miracle.
I think that speaks to how important marriage is in the Kingdom of God & in our lives.
2 people… publicly declaring their love for one another & for God… & Jesus was there.
Was Jesus @ your wedding?
If you haven’t been married, will Jesus be @ your wedding?

Isn’t it interesting that His mother nudged Him along to help make it happen?
Isn’t it just like a mom to meddle in their kids’ matters?
         Moms never stop being Moms do they?
         Jesus had a Mom like that…
This miracle shows us Christ complements the commonplace with His presence. 

  1. Christ is concerned about what concerns us
    The people of Palestine rarely had reason to celebrate.
    They were the poorest of the poor.
    And the most important social event in their lives was a wedding.
    It was Jewish tradition for virgins to be married on Wednesday & widows to be married on Thursday.

The Hebrew wedding was not just a ceremony… it was a celebration!
We are told that the wedding ceremony took place late in the evening following a feast.
After the ceremony, the bride & the groom were escorted to their home in kind of a torchlight parade.
And then, instead of a having a honeymoon, they had a week long wedding reception @ their house.
A feast was turned into a festival.
It lasted 7 days or longer & some guests would come & some would go & some would stay the entire time.
There might have even been wedding crashers.
Along with their customs & traditions, the Jews had a saying: “Without wine there is no joy.”

Now, you have to remember the cultural & social context in which the word “wine” is used.
When traveling abroad, have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t drink the water! You’ll regret it”?
We were told that in Guatemala. It was like that in Jesus’ day.
And on top of that they did not have refrigeration & many of the comfortable conveniences we enjoy today…
so wine was an accepted social custom.
Alcohol in our culture is a symbol today of escaping reality for those of drinking age & a sign of rebellion for underage people.
Also, the alcohol content of the wine was somewhere between grape juice & our modern wine.
Some commentaries indicate that wine was added to water so the alcohol would purify the water & they would actually mix it with 3 parts water & 1 part wine.
So, you’d have to drink a lot of wine for an incredibly long time to actually get drunk.
It was in this scenario that we find Jesus.
He is in the midst of this wedding reception when they run out of wine. 

  1. Christ cares about the crises of life

John 2:3 “They have no wine.”
Perhaps more people showed up than had RSVP’d.
Maybe some guests stayed longer than they planned for.
Maybe it was a low-budget operation to begin with!
The bride, bent with age, leaned over her cane.
Her steps uncertain need guiding,
While down the church aisle with one toothless smile,
The groom in a wheelchair is gliding.
And who is the elderly couple thus wed?
You’ll find when you’ve closely explored it,
That this is the rare, conservative pair, who waited ‘til they could afford it.
Can you believe it? They ran out of wine!
What embarrassment!
It was more than an embarrassment because the groom’s family had to provide enough food for as long as the celebration lasted.
And if they ran out of food, the groom’s family could be taken to court & sued.
One could never live it down, not enough to go around!
Can we apply this to today?
         Isn’t that the problem with people today?
A lot of people have lost the joy of life… they have no wine.
Meanwhile, back @ the wedding, enters joyous Jesus with a solution to the problem.
Isn’t it interesting, that Jesus who would not work a wonder in the wilderness to meet His own need when He was fasting & tempted, makes a miracle happen to meet the needs of others?
Mary is so confident that Jesus cares about this crisis, she tells them, “Whatever He tells you to do, do it.”
They respond with obedience. 

  1. Christ comes up with bigger than we ask & better than we anticipated

Martin Luther once said, “It is God’s nature to make something out of nothing.”
Most commentaries say that each pot would hold 20-30 gallons of water.
And there were 6 water pots which would equal between 120-180 gallons.
If you consider ½ pint to a glass, that would give you in the ballpark of 2500 servings.
I’m not good @ math, but that is a lot!

John E. Hendricks said of this miracle, “I’d like to think that the water saw God and blushed.”
In Ephesians 3:20, Paul said God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…”
Jesus said in John 10:10 “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
         Some critics suggest that there was residual sediment of wine in the bottom that just sort of gave the water poured into the containers a little color.
Other critics blame it on the imagination of ½ drunk guests!
But later in John’s Gospel, we will find that he writes in…
John 4:46 “So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine.”
Those who were at the wedding would never forget this event.
If you think about it, God turns water into wine every year.
It rains, the seasons pass & you have grapes.

We believe God makes this happen in the natural, so why would we find it hard to believe that He could just speed up the same process in the supernatural?
Well, the Master of Ceremonies @ the wedding reception even said…
“You have saved the best ‘till now.”
You see, even in that day & time, a feast like that would start with the “good” stuff while everyone’s taste buds were in tact.
Once the taste buds were numb, they would bring out the cheap stuff.
But, the master of ceremonies pulls the bridegroom aside & compliments him on saving the “good” stuff for last.
Jesus’ miracle was better than anyone could have expected!
He can take the natural & make it supernatural.
He can take the ordinary & make it extraordinary.
He can take a heathen & make them holy.
He can take the secular & make it sacred.
He can take the cranky & make them caring…
He can take a greed-head & make them generous…
He can take the selfish & make them selfless…
I’m so glad that Jesus changed my water into wine!
Have you let Him change your water into wine?
I know He has done that for many of you…
He has replaced the bland life of water with the wine of joyful living.
Last week Jeff shared about Vicko & how he knew there was something missing in his life & how during the motocross camp he accepted Jesus.
One of the cool things that happened is that Vicko & a couple of the older kids followed us to Antigua after the camp ended.
And after church on Sunday, I was talking to Vicko & I told him I would be praying for him as he tries to live for Jesus & he told me something that warmed my heart.
He said, “I have never been this happy…”
Jesus turned Vicko’s water into wine…
And He can turn your water into wine…
Anytime we have an encounter with Jesus, we will never be the same.
And listen to the response of the disciples after Jesus turned the water into wine…

  1. 11 “And His disciples put their faith in Him.”

I guess the question is, “Have you put your faith in Him?”
This wedding in Cana points us to another wedding.
Revelation 19:9 “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the lamb.”
         In Cana of Galilee, Jesus was invited to the wedding.
But, @ the wedding in Revelation, you will only be invited if you know Jesus.
Christ compliments the commonplace with His presence…
So a chance meeting over a cup of coffee @ Kopper Kettle with a brother or sister in Christ suddenly becomes a whole lot more than just a cup of Joe between 2 people…
It becomes such a blessing as you share what the Lord has been doing in your life.
And then the gnats come in & you have to wipe your eyes…
You see, when Jesus compliments a common heart with His presence…
it is transforming… God does a miracle!
Lloyd Douglas, author of The Robe, also wrote a book called Those disturbing miracles.
“It’s a very unfortunate reader of this epic, who gets so distracted that he misses the simple fact that Jesus has transforming power. He not only changes water into wine;
He changes frowns into smiles.
He changes deserts into gardens.
He changes whimpers of fear into anthems of hope.
He changes sun-blistered souls into the victorious saints by this catalyzing alchemy of selfless love.”
I’m here to tell you He does exactly what is right for what is exactly wrong!
He can change a sin-stained soul into a crown of life!
He can take a life with no direction & give it purpose.
His transforming power has no limits.
Dear ones, only God can change your life!
He can turn the water into wine…
A few years back I shared about my mentor in Kentucky, Professor Roy Lauter is now in his 70’s & has decided to plant churches in Appalachia!
We’re talking about reaching the rough & tumble mountain people.
There was a man who was one of the biggest drug dealers in the county got saved in a major way.
In fact, after he accepted Christ, he took the pastor to his house while he destroyed $10,000 worth of illegal drugs.
He started attending church every Sunday.
And how about this?
Months later, when the church was hosting revival services, this man joined the pastor as they knocked on every door in town inviting them to the revival services.
Imagine the courage it took to do that.
            As part of the personal invitation to the revival services, the former drug dealer turned follower of Christ shared about how Christ had turned his water into wine.
He shared his personal testimony @ each home.
And @ the end of his testimony @ each home…
he asked them to forgive him for all of the drugs & devastation he had brought into their lives and into their town!
         Jesus can still turn water into wine!!!
Christ concerns Himself with what concerns us.
Have you made Him a part & a partner in what concerns you?
Have you given to Him your dreams & your downfalls?
Christ cares about the crises of life. If the joy is gone, tell Him.
If you tell Him, He will come up with bigger than you ask & better than you could imagine.
Trust that God will supply your every need as you faithfully follow Him! 

“Whatever He says to you, do it” were the words of Mary to those who tended the water pots.
So, I guess I would say to you this morning, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
He can change the water of your life…
Water that is so plain & bland & unsatisfying…
& He can turn it into the wine of His joy…
Maybe He has changed your water into wine, but your wine has run out.
Jesus is the source of all joy & He can replenish it for you.
He can bring new life to your devotional time.
He can bless you & energize you through worship.
And, He wants to do it for all of us… today… & forever…
Maybe you’ve never had your water turned into wine…
You’ve never experienced real joy in your life & you have heard these stories…
And you realize this is what you need…
You realize today that this is what has been missing in your life…
            Why live another moment without that joy?
If you want Him to turn your water into wine… will you give no thought to what anyone else might think & come forward as we sing our closing song?
We will pray with you & for you…
Jesus died a public death to forgive us of our sins…
So, I think it is totally appropriate to ask you to receive that forgiveness from Him in a public way.

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