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Come to the Table

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  31:42
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Over the Christmas season, we looked at “What Child is This?” That was a fun study of who Jesus is, from the perspectives of the ones to whom God revealed His birth.
Today, we are going to pick up our study through the Gospel of John. I encourage you to open your bibles if you have them, to John 2. If you did not bring a bible, you can follow the sermon on the screen, or use the Faithlife Study Bible app, or the Logos Bible app, and follow along with the passages by clicking the links that popup on your phone or tablet.
By brief way of review, John wrote this account of the life of Christ by inspiration of the Holy Spirit well after the other gospels were completed. He wrote his gospel specifically to fill in more information about Jesus. His stated goal was...
John 20:31 NIV
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
He wanted to be sure that his readers fully understood who Jesus is… He is the chosen one sent by God. He is the Son of God, which means He is fully God, but there are three persons that are the one true God. He is the second of those three.
But beyond understanding, John hopes those who read this account will believe.
John wrote specific details, and often it is paying attention to the details that we find significant information that will help us to know that Jesus is God. Jesus is the God who loves us, so much that He came into this world as a man. He came as a man to be our substitute, dying in our place, and then rising again to new life.
Well, as we get into the passage today, look for the details, and ask questions.
Let’s begin by reading John 2:1-12.
John 2:1–12 NIV
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.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 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.” What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
When reading this passage, I came up with a couple questions. I think it is good to ask questions when we read the bible to get us to dig in and think about it.
Questions:
Why was his first miracle making wine for a wedding?
John called this a sign. What is the significance?
Why did Jesus say, “My hour has not yet come?”
I loved thinking about these questions, and praying about it this week. I loved where the Lord lead me in my studies, and I hope you will be excited and encouraged as I am about this passage.
Prayer

On the third day...

John introduced his gospel showing us just who Jesus is right from the start. He is God, and he came into this world as a man. He is fully, 100%, God. And, he became fully, 100%, man. And in doing this, He shows us grace and truth! He reveals God the Father to us!
John the Baptist came as a forerunner, announcing the way for Jesus. That is where John picks up the account of Jesus’ life.
One day the religious leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and levites to find out who John was. John was very straight with them, that he was just the voice of God, the one announcing the way for the Great One who was coming. I am guessing Thursday.
The next day, Friday, John the Baptist saw Jesus, and made it clear that Jesus was the one he was talking about. Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!
The day after that, Saturday, John told two of his disciples, Andrew and John, once again, ‘There’s Jesus, the Lamb of God.
They spent the day with Jesus, and the next day, Sunday, told Andrew’s brother Simon, who Jesus then called Cephas (his Aramaic name), or Peter (the Greek form).
Then the day after that, Monday, Jesus decided to head for Galilee. That is when He called Philip to ‘Follow me’. Philip found Nathanael who was from Cana in Galilee. Nathanael came, and Jesus told him that He saw Nathanael when he was still under the fig tree where Philip had found him. Nathanael believed in Jesus then, and Jesus told him he would see even greater things!
That brings us to where we are in John 2.

Map

From the time Jesus left the area where John was baptizing, it naturally would have been a minimum two to three day journey up to Cana, where this wedding took place. Remember, they were walking. No cars, buses, trains, or planes.
So, two days to return to Galilee.
The third day then, counting Monday, and Tuesday for travel, Wednesday is the third day, the day of their arrival. Culturally, weddings began on Wednesdays.
So the setting is Cana, Nathanael’s home town. Jesus, his mother and his disciples (Andrew, John, Peter, Philip and Nathanael) were all attending a wedding. Weddings began on Wednesdays and lasted up to seven days. During the wedding, the bride and groom were the center of attention, and it was a long celebration.
But at this wedding, something happened. They ran out of wine.
Things always happen at weddings. That is what makes them memorable! Right?
Well, here too, something happened. But in that culture, it wasn’t going to lead to a good memory. It was the groom’s responsibility to meet certain standards, and to provide properly for the wedding. If he and his family did not, then they could face legal action.
Running out of wine was not a good memory maker. It was a nightmare.
So, Mary finds out and come to Jesus and tells him, “They have no more wine.”

Woman, why do you involve me?

Wow! that sounds harsh doesn’t it? In our culture you don’t say, ‘Woman...’ unless you are looking for a fight, or just plain mean.
The word Jesus used a word that in English sounds harsh, but which in his language and culture was polite, and even had a tone of affection. It is the same term in the Greek that Augustus used of Cleopatra.
If we were to translate it into vernacular English, a better wording would be, ‘Ma’am’, or ‘My Lady’. Jesus was being respectful.
“Why do you involve me,” or literally, ‘what between you and me’ was a common phrase that could be used two ways. It could be used in anger indicating opposition, like the demons used it to Jesus on another occasion. Or, it could be used gently meaning, “You don’t understand what is going on, but leave it to me. I have this.”
Jesus was telling Mary, “Ma’am, you don’t fully understand what is going on. But leave this to me. I have this. You’ll see. It’s going to be okay.
Though the English translations a lacking the colloquial communication of the phrases Jesus used, Mary got it. That is why Mary said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
But, before moving on from John 2:4, notice the last thing Jesus said to Mary.

My hour has not yet come.

What Mary wasn’t getting, what Mary was not understanding is the significance of why this was taking place. Jesus was about to show something. But what was it?
What was Jesus hinting at when He said, “My hour has not yet come.” What did he mean by that? I think this is the crucual question to understanding why Jesus chose this setting for his first miracle.
Let’s continue the story...
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told the servants to fill the jars with water, so they did. They filled them right up to the top.
Then, Jesus told them to take some to the master of the banquet, who upon tasting it went to the bridegroom and said, “This is the best wine!”
John concludes the account with,
John 2:11 NIV
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

The first of the signs

Okay. What does John mean this was the first of the signs, and why is this so significant that the disciples responded with believing in him?
For my study, it went back to Jesus’ reply to Mary. “My hour has not yet come.”

The sign - “My hour has not yet come”

Who was responsible to provide the wine for the wedding? The groom. He is the one responsible to provide for his wedding. It was not Jesus’ wedding...
Ah-hah! “It is not my hour.” It is not my wedding, yet. I love the word, yet. That means it is coming! Jesus was using this occasion to show who He is. He is the bridegroom for whom the world was waiting!
Through the Old Testament prophets, one of the themes was that God was the husband of His people. But they were faithless to Him and ran after others.
Jeremiah 3:14 NIV
“Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion.
But even though they went after idols, and other kings and kingdoms, God promised to restore them, and to take them as his bride!
Isaiah 62:4–5 NIV
No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.
Jesus is the Creator. He is God. He has come and He will take His bride! But, not yet. He is working toward that, but it is still coming. So, the sign is that He is the bridegroom, and He is coming for His bride!

The sign - The Stone Jars

What does He use for this sign? The stone jars.
The stone jars were specifically said by John to be empty, nearby, and the ones used by the Jews for their ceremonial washing.
The stones jars represent the emptiness of the law and their traditions, which were based upon the law. The law cannot bring righteousness. The law can only condemn, not bring life, peace and joy. The law was meant to lead the people to the savior, just as these stone jars would lead the disciples to faith in Jesus.

The sign - The wine

Wine throughout the bible is a symbol of joy. Wine was not meant for drunkenness. Their wine was made from fermented grapes, but it was never distilled to increase alcohol content. Rather, it was watered down so as to be refreshing, and an enjoyable beverage connected with joyous occasions.
Where there was no more wine, no joy, Jesus brings wine. He bring joy! He alone can provide true joy in place of the emptiness of this world. He brings forgiveness, removal of shame, restoration and salvation! He brings joy to those that are his like the wedding and celebration bring to a bride!
Moses’ first major sign was water turned to blood. A sign of judgment.
Through Moses came the law which brings condemnation and death.
Now, here comes Jesus! Jesus turns water into wine! A sign of good things to come!
Jesus brings grace and truth!
And notice how much wine was made. Six stone jars of twenty to thirty gallons. That is between 120-180 gallons of wine! Let’s just take the average, 150 Gallons of Wine!
When Jesus provides, He provides in abundance!

Come to the Table

Conclusion:
What is the sign? What does this teach us? Why did the disciples respond in faith?
They got it. They understood that Jesus is the promised bridegroom who will come and take the dirty, no-good, two-timing sinner, and clean them up to be His bride.
They got it. Jesus is the one that takes the emptiness of our religious life, our traditions, our attempts to be good enough, and fills us with grace and mercy! He brings forgiveness. And just as the bridegroom is responsible for providing the wine, Jesus provides all we need for salvation. He does not ask us to pay. He does not expect us to earn. He simply provides!
They got it. What Jesus provides leads to real joy! And He provides abundantly, for all who will come. For all who will come to His Table. For all who will come to the Table of His wedding supper of the Lamb!!
Will you come?
Homework
Pray and ask God to speak to you as you read and meditate on His letter to you. Read John 2:1-12. Why does Jesus say, “My hour has not yet come?” What is the significance? Of what is Jesus turning water to wine a sign? Read Revelation 19:1-9. Jesus is looking forward to his wedding supper. Can you imagine what that wedding celebration will be like? Take time to think about that, and find your hope for today in our future wedding day!
The groom was to supply. Read Psalm 23. The Lord prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies. How does God supply for you? He supplied abundant wine at the wedding. He supplies abundant grace daily. Take time to remember the table, the banquet of grace, He provides for you daily.
Read Isaiah 25:6-8. What does God promise to do? List it out. Which is significant and encouraging to you?
Read Isaiah 54:5. Israel was cast away because she played the harlot, looking to things of this world, idols and other kingdoms like Babylon to be her husband. She abandoned her true husband, the Lord. So, the Lord cast her away for a while to suffer the consequences. But, Isaiah 54! He promised to restore her! How great is it to have the Lord for a husband!
God does not want us to go through this life spiritually malnourished. He not only promises a banquet for our wedding but for each day. Read Isaiah 55:1-2. Does God require anything from you before you can eat? No, He will give freely. Meditate on that.
Read Isaiah 62. Look up the names to know their meanings. Your bible may have them in a footnote. Isaiah could not keep silent about this news. Does it excite you and me about our bridegroom? Do we get excited like a bride waiting for her wedding day? Ask God to restore the joy of our salvation.
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