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When Best Laid Plans Fail

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When Best Laid Plans Fail

JOHN, the Book, the Man – Part 4

Feb 4, 2007    Dr. Rick Isbell

READ – John 2: 1-12


2:1 On the third day

-          three days after the calling of Philip and Nathanael.

-          It would take a couple of days to reach Cana in Galilee from Bethany near Jericho of Judea (1:28).

-          Cana was near Nazareth and Jesus’ mother was there, but John did not give her name.

-          In his Gospel, John never named himself or the mother of Jesus. (Jesus’ mother went to the home of the beloved disciple John.)


2:2-3  Wedding feasts often lasted seven days.

-          The feast followed the groom’s taking of his bride to his home or his father’s house, before the consummation of the marriage.

-          When the supply of wine was used up, Mary turned to Jesus in hope that He could solve the problem.

-          Did Mary expect a miracle? In the light of verse 11 this is not likely. Mary had not yet seen any miracles done by her Son.


2:4-5  The word woman applied to His mother may seem strange to a modern reader, but it was a polite, kind expression and could be used as a term of endearment.

-          However, the clause, “What has this concern of yours to do with Me?”  …is not so nice.

-          It was a common expression in Greek that referred to a difference in realms or relations.

-          For example - Demons spoke these words when they were confronted by Christ

o   “What do You want with us?” 

o   “What do You want with me?”

-          Mary had to learn a painful lesson (Luke 2:35), namely, that Jesus was committed to God the Father’s will and the time for His manifestation was in the Father’s hand, not his own and certainly not in hers.

o   Do you remember the story of when the little Jesus went to the Temple and began to teach the wise old teachers a thing or two?

o   When Joseph and Mary went back to get their boy, Jesus, a prophet named Simeon was there and said these words from Luke 2, 33 His father and mother were amazed at what was being said about Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

-          Perhaps this phrase, “What has this concern of yours to do with Me,” was the first blow of the sword that would pierce her heart as the mother of a son AND a follower of the Christ.

-          My hour has not yet come or similar words occur five times in John (2:4; 7:6, 8, 30; 8:20). Later the fact that His time had come is mentioned three times (12:23; 13:1; 17:1).

-          Mary’s response to the servants (Do whatever He tells you) revealed her submission to her Son.

o   Even though she did not fully understand, she trusted Him.


2:6-8  The water in the six . . . stone water jars (of 20 to 30 gallons each) was used for Jewish purification rites before and after meals

-          Probably the water jars were outside where the people could clean themselves.

-          The chief servant, (the master of the banquet)   was in charge of the festivities, (sort of the wedding planner)

-          He would have been horrified to think that he was drinking from the purification jars.

-          For a Jew this would be unthinkable.

-          But here again, even in this simple little meaning, Jesus is challenging the old ways of their religion and forcing them to examine this new way of redemption that He was bringing to them.

-          The servants dipped out the water and discovered that it had become a magnificent quality of wine.


2:9-10   When the chief servant tasted the . . . wine,

-          he found it to be superior to what they had been drinking.

-          This was breaking custom… at a feast like this a host would ALWAYS put out the best wine first to make a good first impression

-          Then as people filled up, appetites were satisfied, you could bring out the less than great wine and no one would really notice

2:11   The significance of the miracle was explained by John as a manifestation of Christ’s glory.

-          Do you remember another Bible story where someone turned water into another substance?

-          Moses turned the city’s water supply into blood as a indication of the wrath and judgment of an Almighty God

-          In contrast, Jesus turned the water into the best wine possible as an indication of the joy and salvation that coming from a God of Grace.

-          This sign was to point to the fact that Jesus was the Word in the flesh

-          The 120 gallons of fine wine were His wedding gift to the young couple and a foreshadowing of the wonderful gifts of God that were making their way to mankind through His Son.

-          His disciples believed (put their faith) in Him.

o   You have to remember, the Word, logos, had been made flesh… God was there as a man… it was going to take some time and continuing revelation for theses good ole boys to fully grasp what was going on here and Who this guy really was.

o   At this point, they did not have any clue about His real power

2:12   Jesus’ move to Capernaum on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee for a few days marks an interlude in His life, a time of rest.

-          If you are a geography buff, you will note that Capernaum is northeast of Cana, but it says He went down…

-          That is because there is a significant decline in land elevation as you move toward the sea.

-          Capernaum became His home base

-          From this point on He seemed to be alienated from His family and His hometown of Nazareth

Isn’t interesting that Jesus did His first miracle at a party?

-          At a wedding of all places.

-          Strange things happen at weddings

-          Jeff and Abby are getting married next Saturday and I need to warn you that something memorable seems to always happen at a wedding.

I remember at mine and Kim’s wedding, a storm cloud began forming to the West and growing closer as the 2PM wedding time approached.  We were at the point in the ceremony where I had gone in to stand at the altar and wait for my bride when this earth shaking clap of thunder rattled the windows of the church.  I remember thinking, okay, God is either clapping His hands with approval OR giving me one more warning to run for the hills before it is too late.

There was a little boy in a relative’s wedding. As he was coming down the aisle he would take two steps, stop, and turn to the crowd, put his hands up like claws and growl. So it went, step, step, GROWL, step, step, GROWL all the way down the aisle. As you can imagine, the crowd was near tears from laughing so hard by the time he reached the pulpit. The little boy, however, was getting more and more distressed from all the laughing, and was also near tears by the time he reached the pulpit. When asked what he was doing, the child sniffed and said, "I was just trying to be the Ring Bear.”

We’ve all seen America’s Funniest Videos where brides faint, grooms throw up, somebody’s hair catches on fire, a flower girl has a melt down into a temper tantrum.

Sometimes our best laid plans for a perfect wedding fail.

Sometimes our best laid plans for a perfect life fail.

-          What do you do when that happens?

-          What can we learn from these Scriptures today that might help us do a better job in working through the tough issues of the day in our lives.

In the coming days of ministry, Jesus would speak of the church being His bride and comparing Himself to the bridegroom.

Just as something had gone wrong at this wedding, things go wrong in our day-to-day lives.

-          I believe that some of the same things that happened at this wedding, can happen in your life today.

1.  Jesus provides from a cleansing source

When the Word (Logos) was to come to earth, it was transformed into human form so that we could identify with Him.

-          Transformation was his mission

-          His goal was to transform the sinner to a state of forgiveness

In this story there are 6 large pots holding a 180 gallons of water that was intended to cleanse the guest’s hands, perhaps their feet, their faces, etc. to ready them for the feast.

But Jesus in essence demonstrated what He was about by transforming the wash water into something that would refresh them from within.

I could not even estimate how many times through the years I have talked with someone about getting in church and they say something like, “Let me clean up my life a little bit, get this thing under control and then maybe I’ll give God a try.”

-          What they fail to see is that trying to clean up the outside without inviting the Spirit of God to live on the inside is a loosing battle.

-          The transformation has to happen from the inside out for there to be any lasting results.

The Tyndale Bible Dictionary says of Transformation:

(It is) An inward renewal and reshaping of the mind through which a Christian’s inner person is changed into the likeness of Christ.

Paul told the Roman believers, “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Rom 12:2).

As your Christian life progresses, you should notice that your thought life and conduct is moving from being a imitator of Christ to true Christlikeness.

-          This kind of transformation does not happen overnight but with a lifetime of struggle and submitting to God’s leadership

-          Your REGENERATION is instantaneous

-          But your TRANSFORMATION is not

We spend time in God’s presence with worship

-          We spend time learning of Him from His Word

-          We spend time communicating with Him in prayer

-          We spend time with each other in fellowship and Bible Study to gain strength from the growth of each other

Paul says that eventually, we will begin to mirror the one we behold, “We all with unveiled face, mirroring the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, from one degree of glory to another, even as from the Lord who is the Spirit”    2 Cor 3:18

The Tyndale Dictionary goes on to say, “This does not come from conscious imitation but from spiritual communion with the Lord. The result will be beyond our expectations.”

2.  Jesus provides from an endless source

The wedding planner was out of wine.

-          The host family was about to be terribly embarrassed because they had run dry.

-          This would be like going to a Pepsi convention and they run out of Pepsi.

Apparently, 180 gallons was all that was needed or Jesus would have just made some more.

-          His source is from a Kingdom owns it all

When Jesus was feeding the 5,000 he did it all from a few scraps of food some kid had in a lunch bag.

-          When the woman at the well was about to get an urn full of water Jesus challenged her to drink from His water… a water that never runs out.

-          In John 7 we will see in the coming weeks where Jesus is at another festival and stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.”

On Cape Cod, south of Provincetown, is a very curious spring. It is in the center of a hollow which is fifty feet deep and two hundred yards across. This hollow is perfectly dry except at high tide. Then all at once, cool, sweet drinkable water wells up from the center of this hollow. The water keeps rising until the crater is full. With the setting of the moon the water recedes and disappears. In a drought when many wells are empty, it never runs dry. It is as certain as the tide. It must be that the stream that feeds it somewhere in the sand dunes is blocked in some unknown way by the sea. When the sea climbs up the beach at full tide, the spring bubbles up. It is called the Moon Spring.

Jesus says, I am like that, but even better.

-          He doesn’t waiver at all

-          He does not ebb and flow

-          He is never changing so we don’t have to guess what He is up to

When everything else in your life runs dry, Jesus says, I have a supply that is endless.

3.  Jesus provides from a priceless source

When Jesus performed this miracle, it seemed to all those around that the wedding host had saved the best wine for last, which went against the customs of the day.

It seems as though God was saying, “Yes, all your customs are about to change…

-          I HAVE saved my best for last

-          I sent you Abraham

-          I sent you David

-          I sent you Moses and gave him 10 Commandments to help govern your life

-          I have put practices and rituals and sacrifices into place that helps you be forgiven of sins

-          But NOW…. NOW… I am breaking out my very best who is the

-          Alpha and the Omega

-          The First AND the Last

-          The Beginning AND the END

My Only Begotten

The Word made Flesh

Heaven’s most priceless treasure

I’m sending to be broken and spilled out

Poured at man’s feet

My MOST Precious Treasure

I lavish on thee.

Mary preached the most dead-on message that day whether she realized it or not:

-          Vs 5 – “Just do whatever He tells you”

-          How much easier would your life be if you did that?

-          How much more refreshed and fulfilled would you be is you did that?

-          How much more secure would you be in who you are and what you are doing if you did that?

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