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Sunday, May 20, 2018

posted May 21, 2018, 11:25 PM by Site Administrator

 

THE WEDDING AT CANA

 

John 2:1-11

Key Verse 2:11

 

This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed atCana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him."

 

First, "My time has not yet come" (1-5). In the previous passage, we learned that Jesus recruited his first disciples in Jerusalem and left for Galilee. From Jerusalem to Galilee, it took about three days journey. On the third day, Jesus and his disciples were at Cana in Galilee. They were invited to a wedding feast together with Jesus mother, Mary. The Jews regarded the wedding the most important occasion in their lives. So, they celebrated it greatly. Nowadays, a wedding ceremony lasts about four hours including the reception. But back in those days, a Jewish wedding lasted for one whole week, and it was like a town-wide festival, to which all townspeople were invited. When there was a wedding, all townspeople stopped what they had been doing, came to the wedding, and blessed the newly-wed couple. During the wedding banquet, all kinds of sorrowful activities were prohibited in the town. For example, the Pharisees fasted two days a week, but even these Phariseesshould not fast if a wedding was going on in the town. If they fasted, it would be such great insult to the wedding couple. 

 

So setting aside all their own agenda, the townspeople gathered at the wedding ceremony, and now it was the wedding couples responsibility to treat them all. At first, everything was going just fine, until they realized that wine was running out. Wine was gone! It was a serious problem. All townspeople showed respect and honor to their wedding, but the groom and the bride failed to appreciate them. A wedding ceremony without wine was like a hamburger without a patty. It was such an embarrassing moment for the bridegroom and the bride. Jesus mother noticed whats going on, and brought the problem to Jesus, saying, "They have no more wine."

 

What was Jesus response to her request? Look at verse 4. Jesus said to her, "Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come." Wow! Jesus said to his mother, "Dear woman!" I dont want to imagine how missionary Grace would respond if Sarah asks her, "Dear woman, where is my lunch box?" Jesus reply sounds disrespectful, but it is not. Jesus used the same expression while he was hung on the cross. Pointing out the apostle John, he said to his mother Mary, "Dear woman, here is your son." (Jn 19:26) The phrase, "Dear woman," was an official language kings used to call their queens in official settings. If king called his queen "Honey" in front of his subjects, he would look really silly. So, kings used an official language such as "My lady," or "Dear woman." Since he started his messianic ministry, Jesus used this official language, even calling his mother"Dear woman," showing that he did not regard himself as Marys lovely son any longer, but as an official person carrying out Gods work. He dealt with his mother officially. When we receive God's calling, we have this new identity as God's servants; thus, the nature of our relationship with our family members and friends changes.

 

"Why do you involve me? My time has not yet come."His answer to Mary's request was clearly, "No." The reason why he didn't want to get involved in the situation was because his time had not yet come. Here, we see a new expression, "my time." "My time" is an important theme that penetrates the entire gospel of John. In John 7, when his own brothers encouraged him to go up to Jerusalem and perform miracles in front of all the Jews there during a Jewish feast, Jesus refused to do so, saying, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right." So, he did not go up to Jerusalem. Then, a few days later, he went up to Jerusalem, because, as a few days passed, the situation had changed, and thereby, his time had come. In John 12, while Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast, some Greeks came to him and asked him for a teaching, Jesus said, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." So, Jesus' time is the time when he is glorified, when he is revealed as God. Not always the environment has been prepared for Jesus to reveal the glory of God; for example, the wedding guests were half-drunk, and even if Jesus made more wine, it would not reveal the glory of God - people would enjoy just a little more wine without knowing what had happened - that's not Jesus' point; if he did something, his whole purpose was that God's glory might be revealed through it; so, he refused to work, even if his mother asked him for help. Then, in John 17, in his high priestly prayer, Jesus says, "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you." On the cross, through his own sacrifice for sinners, Jesus would truly reveal God's glory - God's amazing, unconditional love for all sinners. For this, Jesus proceeded. 

 

Jesus' time is the time when he can reveal the glory of God very effectively. That's his whole purpose in everything he did. He was a free man; he could do whenever and whatever he wanted, but he did not live that way. Instead, he waited for the right chance to come, when the environment was prepared for him to reveal the glory of God; because of this desire, sometimes, he refused to work, even at the request of his mother, and thereby, sometimes, he was misunderstood by his beloved people. Yet, he was not bothered, because his one single desire was to reveal the glory of God - he lived for this and died for this. It is really amazing to notice that his time is when God's glory can be revealed very well. When is your time? Maybe, when you get all A's in your finals; maybe, when you get your dream job - you shout, "Hurray!!!! Praise the Lord!" Or when you marry your dream partner - you feel like flying. Or maybe, when you hit the California lotto and receive 7 million dollars unexpectedly!! Jesus' example makes us think about what we must really live for, and what we must really pursue - God's glory. Jesus taught us this when he taught us how we must pray - Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done. If we want to live for ourselves, any time is right for us - when we want to sleep, that's is our time; when we want to eat, that is our time; when we want to marry, that is our time. But if we want to reveal the glory of God, we learn to deny ourselves and wait for the right time to come. We may be misunderstood by our family or friends, because we refuse to do what they want us to do. But when we have this keen sense of revealing God's glory, we know what to do and how we must live our lives.  

 

When Jesus said to his mother, "Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come," she could have been hurt. But she was not an emotional woman, but a spiritual woman. Even though Jesus answer sounded negative, she interpreted it very positively. She understood and believed that Jesus did not work only because his time had not yet come; it meant that he would work when his time came. Then, she didsomething very positively so that Jesus’ time would come quickly, and her prayer would be answered. What did she do?She said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." She prepared the servants to obey whatever Jesus would tell them. She prepared their hearts to be ready to obey Jesus’ words absolutely. Through her, a few men of obedience were prepared. Her response to Jesus' answer shows her absolute trust in Jesus; no matter what he said, she understood it positively; no matter how harsh his answer sounded, she understood it positively, because she knew him really well - such a good and compassionate person. 

 

When we pray to God for help, often, God's answer does not come right away; sometimes, silence is his response; sometimes, we see that the situation gets worse. We feel like God saying to us, "Hey, why do you involve me?" His answer seems clearly "No." But we know that our God is a compassionate God who is deeply concerned about our wellbeing, who was willing to sacrifice his son for us. The one who was willing to give up his son for us must be willing to give us all other things if we need them. This is our confidence in him. In all circumstances, we must put our trust in God that He will answer our prayers at the right time. Simply, he refuses to answer our prayer, because his time has not yet come. When his time comes, he will answer our prayers and we will see his glory.

 

Second, "Fill the jars with water" (6-11). Look at verses 6 and 7. Originally, Jesus refused to work because his time had not yet come. But when a few servants of obedience were prepared, he began to work, telling the servants to fill the six stone water jars with water. This means that when these men were prepared to obey his words, his time had come. When is Jesus’ time when he can reveal the glory of God very well? Jesus’ time is the time when his servants are prepared to obey his words. Whenever a man is prepared to do whatever God tells him, it is God’s time when God will do mighty works in and through him and reveal his glory. Many people wait for God’s time to come in their lives. They say, "When is God’s time in my life, when God will do great things in and throughme?" But actually, it is God who waits for them to be ready to obey Him so that He can fulfill His will through their obedience. Think about how glorious it was when we finally opened up our hearts to God and responded to his words? A great work of God occurred in our life; on that day, a dead person crossed over from death to life - what can be more glorious than this? God’s time is the time when we make our heart's decision to respond to God's words by faith. Now as we grow up in God, God's time in our life is the time when we make our heart's determination to obey whatever He tells us to do. Then, through our obedience to His purpose, God will do what He wants to do, and reveal His glory. When we make our heart's determination to obey whatever God tells us, His time to reveal the glory of God has come.

 

There are many Christians, but usually, nothing great occurs in their lives even though they go to church and say that they believe in Jesus. Why? It is because they do not do what Jesus tells them. Jesus says to them, "Feed my lambs." But they don't do it. Jesus says to them, "Go and make disciples of all nations." They know it, but they don't do it. Jesus is waiting for His time to come in our life. Jesus is waiting for us to make our heart’s determination that we will live for him alone, and that we will do whatever he tells us to do. God is waiting for you to make that decision. Do you still hesitate between God and the world? When will God's time come in your life? Whenwe make a decision to obey and surrender ourselves to Him, Jesus, seeing us from heaven, says, "Finally, my servant John is ready. Lets go and do mighty works of God through him." Gods time is the time when we are ready to do whatever God tells us

 

Jesus first direction was: "Fill the jars with water."Filling up the six stone jars with water wouldn’t be an easy task. Nowadays, we can fill up those stone water jars easily by just turning on a facet and using a water hose. But in those days, they had to go to well and draw water with a bucket. Each jar held about 20 to 30 gallons. Altogether, they held about 120 to 180 gallons of water. To go and draw up to 180 gallons of water would be exhausting. These servants had been working hard for the wedding feast for a few days; maybe, they were the busiest people at the wedding banquet. Moreover, what they needed was not water, but wine. Why should they work hard for water, when what they needed was wine? If Jesus gave them direction such as, "I know where you can get wine. Go to the Vons market 10 miles from here and you will find wine. Here ismy car key." This direction would sound reasonable to obey. But Jesus direction was totally unreasonable. Yet, how did theyobey Jesus words? Verse 7 says"So they filled them to the brim." The servants obeyed Jesus word and filled the jars to the brim. "To the brim" shows that they filled the jars with enthusiasm and their obedience was out of their willingness.

 

Then, Jesus gave them his second command, saying, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."They saw how the master of the banquet was frantically running here and there looking for more wine. How would he respond if they brought him a cup of water? Most likely, he would be so angry at them, thinking that they were making fun of him; probably, he would punish them severely. The first direction was difficult to obey, because it did not make sense. But the second direction was even harder to obey, because it was dangerous. When the servants thought about this, they were scared, and looked at each other. Yet, what did they do? Verse 8b says"They did so." The servants drew some out. What was it? It was still, water, not wine. Then, with shaky hands, they took it to the master of the banquet. The banquet master took the cup to his mouth and sipped it. Then, a miracle happened!!! Verse 9 describes what happened very clearly. It reads: "and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine..." The master of the banquet tasted "the water." It was water until he tasted it; but then, when he tasted it, it was wine!!! The wine tasted exceptionally great that the banquet master told the bridegroom about it, saying, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now." And the bridegroom did not know what he was talking about - what a wonderful comedy it was! The wine was good, because it was made by Jesus, the Creator of heaven and earth.  

 

The servants were challenged greatly and were forced to go even beyond their human logic, knowledge and reason. They trembled greatly for the possible failures and following persecutions. They could have backed out in the middle. But they took great courage and boldly went beyond their own understanding and common sense by obeying Jesus words absolutely. It was really a scary moment. But when they went beyond their logic and human territory by faith, by absolute obedience to Jesus’ command, there, they experienced the power of God, the wonder working power; there, they saw that the worthless foot washing water was changed into choice wineby the power of God. There, their eyes were opened to see who Jesus was, the Son of God, who came into the world to save his people. By faith, by absolute obedience to Jesus’ command, they went beyond human territory, and tapped into Gods world,and saw the glory of God in Jesus. It was indeed marvelousSince then, once they tapped into God's world and experienced his glory, their life would never be the same - their perspectives changed; their hopes changed; their life purpose changed (no more worthless things of this world, but the glory of God).

 

People want to see the glory of God. They want to experience the power of God in their lives. But despite their desires, nothing great happens in their lives; despite their wish, they do not see God's miracles in their lives. Why? It is because they do not obey God's words - they still are limited by their own human territory - they live according to their own logic, understanding and experiences; when they are challenged to obey directions they cannot understand, they are so startled, and full of doubt, fear and suspicion, and often, they are ready to attack as if their life is threatened. How can we see the glory of God and experience his power? By obeying God’s words to the end. Perhaps, in hope to see God’s glory, they try, but after trying a few times, when nothing happens, they give up, saying, "See, I tried, but nothing happened." They are fearful to obey God wholeheartedly for a possible loss and failure. Obedience should be complete. See these servants’ case. When they filled up one jar, what happened? Nothing happened! When they filled up 4 or 5 jars, what happened? Nothing happened! Even after filling all 6 jars with the water, still nothing happened. Then, only then, when they obeyed Jesus’ command to the end, when they drew some out, and took the cup of water to the banquet master, when their obedience to Jesus was complete, there, a miracle happened; there, they experienced the power of God, and they were overjoyed. Jesus wants to guide us to the place where we can see the glory of God; Jesus wants to help us tap into God’s territory where we can see God’s glory and experience God’s power, where we can enjoy beautiful fellowship with God. So Jesus commands us: "Fill the jars with water." "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." When we obey Jesus’ command despite logic, reasoning, and the practical reality, we experience God’s power and see God’s glory. Simon Peter was a fisherman, living according to his logic and experience. But one day, Jesus stepped into his boat and said to him, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." Peter had been living in shallow water where everything seemed understandable, reasonable, and thereby, predictable. And his life in the shallow water was empty like his empty net. But now Jesus invited him into deep water that went beyond his human logic and understanding. It was his invitation for Simon Peter into God’s world. When Peter obeyed this command despite all human logic and understanding, in deep water he experienced the power of God, and there, he saw the glory of God in Jesus; there, when he met his God in Jesus, everything changed, and his life was never the same. 

 

Jesus invites us, "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Jesus wants us to dedicate ourselves, our life to him fully so that he can mold us into fishers of men, God’s servants. When our obedience to this will of God is complete, there we experience God’s divine power, and our life becomesglorious. Jesus commands us, "Feed my lambs!" "Take care of my sheep!" "Feed my sheep!" So, we go fishing and teaching the Bible to students. When our obedience to God is complete, when we fill the jars with water to the brim, God’s glory will be revealed, and we will be overjoyed. The characteristic of children of God is to fill the jars with water to the brim by faith. Children of God are those who live in God’s world by faith in Him. Again, God’s time is the time when we make our hearts’ determination to obey Him. God is waiting for his time to come in our life, when he can do mighty works and reveal his glory through our obedience. Jesus commands us, "Fill the jars with water."

 

Verse 11 says, "This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him." Jesus performed many miraculous signs in his life. But among all of them, the author, the apostle John, chose only seven of them as the proof of Jesus’ deity that he is God. Through this first miraculous sign Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee, the first disciples witnessed Jesus’ transforming power and were convinced that Jesus is God. Thus, they put their faith in him.

 

This first miraculous sign of Jesus has spiritual meaning.Jesus, who blessed the wedding at Cana, came to bless us. At the wedding, foot-washing water has no importance and value.It has no meaning. Before Jesus came to our lives, we were just like the foot-washing water, living meaningless lives and wecould not find the purpose of our existence. Moreover, no one valued us or paid attention to us - whether we got a job or not, whether we died or lived; our existence did not carry that much value in this world. But wine is the essential thing at thewedding banquet. When we remain in Jesus, we can experience Jesus transforming power. Jesus changes us into very important persons both to God and to the world; we become so precious and important that what we do or say quickly comes to be known to the people of the whole world. Jesus wants to transform us into wholesome children of God. He wants us to live in God’s world, where everything is possible.

 

One Word:Fill The Jars With Water

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