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Portraits of Christ: Son of Man

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The Portrait of Jesus the Apostle John paints in the first chapter of his Gospel is one of eternal authority, power and glory. Jesus is the Living Word—He is the Son of God. He writes, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," (John 1:1).

But John also wants us to be able to identify with the humanity of Jesus. What better way to do that than to tell us the story of a wedding to which Jesus and his disciples are invited. It is a scene which illustrates his perfect humanity. Here is a Savior who does not find mingling with men in their social activities. They are not beneath his divine stature. ILLUS. Pharisee’s constant criticism of Jesus: “He eats with sinners.”

The phrase "Son of man" is a term Jesus used to describe himself and his ministry. The phrase is found 84 times in the New Testament and Jesus applies the term to himself 78 of those times. He clearly used it as a way of defining his ministry and messiahship. In Matthew 20:28 Jesus sums up the reason for his coming. He says, ". . . the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Only by becoming a man could God meet man’s greatest need—redemption—and so the Apostle John paints a portrait of a Savior in all his humanity. It teaches us that the Son of God became the Son of Man in order that sons of men might become the children of God.


    • “On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” (John 2:1–3, NIV84)
            1. that both Mary and Jesus attended suggests the wedding involved relatives or friends of the family
                1. it also appears that Mary is more than just a guest, but apparently had some responsibility for helping the groom’s family at the celebration
                    1. for example, she was aware of the situation regarding the lack of wine, and took the initiative to solve the serious problem
            2. what is the problem according to these verses?
                1. a major crisis loomed at the wedding celebration when the wine ran out because the supply was insufficient
            3. at the risk of over-spiritualizing the text, there are, I believe, several spiritual truths that come out of this story


            1. we believe, and rightly so, that God needs to be involved in the “big events” of life
                1. getting married?
                    1. let's have it in church and invite God's blessing
                2. having a child?
                    1. let's go to worship and have a christening or a baby dedication
                3. facing a personal crisis?
                    1. let's notify the church and start the prayer chain
                4. burying a loved one?
                    1. let's call the church to arrange the service
                5. having an inauguration?
                    1. let’s invite the clergy to bless the event
            2. these are the "big" events in life
                1. I don't mean to make light of them
                    1. they're the events where we really want and need God's presence, God’s mercy, and God’s blessing at
                    2. and deservedly so
            3. we naturally tend to involve God in the big events of life


    • v. 3 "When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."
            1. few things were more embarrassing at a Jewish wedding feast than running out of refreshments
              • ILLUS. It’s like running out of beer at a typical Osage County wedding. Such an embarrassing faux pas could have stigmatized the couple and their families for the rest of their lives. It could even have left the groom and his family open to a lawsuit by the bride's family for failing to meet their responsibilities. Thus Jesus' turning the water into wine was not a sensational miracle, designed only to amaze His audience with His power. All of His miracles met specific needs, such as opening blind eyes or deaf ears, delivering those oppressed by demons, feeding hungry people, or calming a threatening storm. Jesus’ miracles always met personal needs. They were never done merely to impress others with His power. Jesus never performed ‘on command’.
                1. this miracle met the genuine need of the family and their guests, who otherwise would have faced a social catastrophe
                2. whoever the host of this reception is, I'm sure he is mortified at the news that the wine has run out
                3. Mary’s request and Jesus’ response remind us that ...
            2. God wants to be involved in the most important as well as the most trivial aspects of a believer's life
                1. He wants to be present at the mid-morning coffee break at work
                2. He wants to go with you on the camping trip to the Ozarks
                3. He wants to fellowship with you in the lunch room at school
                4. He even wants to go with you to the shopping mall for the big close-out sale
            3. the Christian life must be more than simply inviting Christ to be involved in our life when it's really, really important and ignoring Him in our normal routines of life
                1. what is the underlying problem of only inviting God to the big events of life?
                    1. it means that we tend to use God as a means to an end
                    2. we invite Him to be a part of our life when we need Him and it’s expedient for us to call upon His name
                    3. the rest of the time many pretty well ignore him
                2. we forget that God provides grace for even the mundane and tiny annoyances of daily living
                3. the life He offers us is a life of triumph over circumstances and anticipation of how God will work in even the most insignificant of them to form His character within us
            4. our problem is that we don't expect God to invade our lives in the normal routine of life
                1. as the Son of man, Jesus cares about and wants to be a part of the most insignificant areas of the believer’s life


            1. the wedding has run out of wine and the host is incapable of meeting the need
                1. it takes a miracle to salvage the situation and Jesus provides that miracle
            2. sinners are incapable of providing what they need most desperately—righteousness before a holy God
                1. it takes a miracle to salvage the situation and Jesus provides that miracle


            1. it is significant that Jesus accepted the invitation to this wedding
                1. he did not come to rob men of their joy and gladness
            2. Jesus is not a kill-joy!


    • ILLUS. Art Sage was one of the most biblically knowledgeable men I’ve ever known. That’s why I was so surprised one day in Sunday School to discover his philosophy about prayer. He told his class one morning, "I only take the ‘big’ things to God. I don't want to bother him with the incidentals of life!"
            1. what I’ve discovered over the years is that a lot of believers naturally default to this spiritual setting in life
                1. but as the Son of Man, Jesus is concerned with the incidental things of your life as well
            2. what was the pressing need of the moment at the wedding feast?
                1. to keep the host family from experiencing embarrassment
                2. Jesus met that need by performing His very first miracle
            3. v. 11 of the 2nd chapter reveals the intended reason why Jesus performed the miracle
              • “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.” (John 2:11, NIV84)
                1. but the immediate affect was to minister to the needs of a host in trouble
                  • ILLUS. One of the greatest miracles I experienced in life was in 1980 on a mission trip to Haiti. Myself and five others were assigned to minister in a small village in the northwest corner called Barb-Panioel. One of the women in the group was a seamstress who had come to teach the women of the village how to sew. We had packed in boxes and boxes of cloth as well as an old treadle sewing machine. The afternoon of the second day there Karen—the seamstress—came to me in tears. She had cloth, scissors, pins, sewing needles and thread—everything but needles for the treadle sewing machine. She was beside herself. We bowed for prayer, asking God to bless in spite of the situation. At the end of the prayer, she reached into the pocket of her dress for a Kleenex. As she did so she discovered a small package of brown paper carefully wrapped and taped. She opened it up to discover two needles for a treadle sewing machine! She had last worn the dress over a year ago on a previous trip to Haiti where she had taught sewing in another village.
            4. God is concerned with the incidental things of your life
                1. his infinite love is made effective by his infinite power to accomplish miracles even in the most ordinary areas of life


            1. we are saved by the grace and generosity of God
              • “Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “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.” (John 2:6–10, NIV84)
            2. in our Lord’s first miracle we see the grace and generosity and abundance of God in meeting our most pressing need
                1. at that moment the most pressing need was wine.
                    1. the Apostle John, for the benefit of his non-Jewish readers refers to six stone water jars that were nearby, that held water for ceremonial washing
                        1. the Jews used stone waterpots to hold the water used for ritual purification because they believed that, unlike earthenware pots they did not become unclean (these stone waterpots have been found all over Israel in archeological digs)
                        2. each of these waterpots held twenty to thirty gallons of water
                    2. at Jesus’ command the servants filled the waterpots to the very brim
                        1. this seemingly insignificant detail, that the water was up to the very top, shows that nothing was added to the water, and that what followed was indeed a transformation miracle
                        2. when the master of the banquet tastes the wine he is well-pleased with its quality—it’s the best
                    3. in this miracle Jesus displayed His magnanimous grace by providing 180 gallons of wine that would not only see the wedding celebration through, but provide extra for the newlyweds as a wedding gift
            3. the most pressing need in a sinner’s life is the grace and generosity and abundance of God
                1. Jesus provides that grace and generosity and abundance through the miracle of the New Birth
                    1. in and of ourselves, our lives are empty of holiness and righteousness
                    2. but in the miracle of the New Birth we become full to the brim with the imputed righteousness of Christ
                2. in this miracle we witness the salvific work of the Godhead
                    1. God the Spirit fills our lives to the brim with the righteousness of God in the work of regeneration
                    2. God the Son transforms us into a new creation by repentance and faith
                    3. God the Father is well pleased with the result
                3. this is the heart of the first miracle
                    1. Christ can change us
            4. Jesus is the Son of God, the Anointed One, the Messiah—this is clear in the 1st chapter of John’s Gospel
            5. Jesus is the Son of Man—this is clear from our present chapter
                1. his humanity is fully implied in a simple story of a wedding
                2. I don’t know about you, but it’s almost easier for me to accept Jesus as being fully God than it is to accept him as fully man
                    1. did he have the normal aches and pains associated with getting older? ... Yes
                    2. did he wake up with ‘pillow hair’? ... Probably
                    3. when he was a baby, did his mother have to change his diapers? ... Undoubtedly
                    4. did he ever tell his mother, “I don’t like Gefilte fish”? ... I think so
                      • ILLUS. Throughout the ages there have been many artist renditions of Jesus, but only one description is given in Scripture. It is found in Isaiah 53:2: “He had no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. The only description of the Savior tells us that he was nondescript!
                3. even though God is all-powerful and all-mighty, He chose to limit himself by taking on flesh
                    1. to be human means to experience temptation, and Jesus was tempted in all things just like you and I are
                      • “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, NIV84)
                    2. there have been those thru the ages who have had a difficult time seeing Jesus as fully God
                    3. there have been those thru the ages who have had a difficult time seeing Jesus as fully man
                    4. the great mystery of the incarnation is that he is fully both!
            6. in being both God and man, Jesus was able to become our perfect sacrifice
              • “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17–18, NIV84)
                1. no one can ever make the claim that Jesus doesn’t understand you or doesn’t know what you are going through
                    1. He has been in your shoes
                    2. He has faced your temptations
                2. He came as the Son of Man and walked in this troubled world so that He could fully represent and identify with you
                3. in the end, He became a willing sacrifice for the sins of many
                    1. a sacrifice that willingly took my place and became my substitute

Lady Diana Cooper, Viscountess of Norwich (29 August 1892 – 16 June 1986) was a prominent social figure in London and Paris, and widely acknowledged as one of the great beauties of the early 20th century. She traveled in the highest circles of British society, and was famous for being famous. While attending a reception, a young woman approached her and greeted her. The woman was very friendly and chatty and seemed to know Lady Cooper very well. As they spoke Lady Cooper kept trying to remember where she had met her conversation companion and who she was. Finally, Lady Diana’s attention was caught by the lady’s magnificent diamond jewelry. She suddenly realized she was talking to Queen Elizabeth II. Overcome with embarrassment, she curtsied and stammered, “You Majesty, I’m sorry! I didn’t recognize you without your crown!”

The first time Jesus came to earth, he came as the Son of Man and without a crown. His physical appearance was nondescript. He looked like a normal Jewish man of his day. In the end, He died a substitutionary death for sinners.

But when the Son of Man comes again no one will have any trouble recognizing Him as the Son of God.

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