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Signs of the Kingdom

Come and See: John 1-11  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jesus makes the unclean clean and fills them with joy.

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Introduction

The Point of a Sign
ILLUST - mom and Aunt Naomi driving home from Poconos, missing the sign, and ending up in NJ
Science teacher handing out examples of a material, later read label “Do Not Handle” and washing hands vigorously.
What do signs do?
point you in a certain direction
explain something
warn
John tells us this is the first of Jesus’ signs - He sees Jesus’ miracles as signs to point us toward his purpose in writing his Gospel:
(ESV)
31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
(Today’s teaching will be from and so, I encourage you, if you have a Bible, to follow along as we read the Scripture)
*Read Scripture — John 2:1-11*
(ESV)
Story takes place at a wedding, and chronicles the first recorded miracle of Jesus.
But why THIS miracle as first?
Reynolds Price, the late poet and English professor at Duke University wrote his own translation of the Gospel of John and in it he notes that a simple reading of this story is enough to tell you that it actually happened.
Miracle alone is not John’s point ; it’s what the miracle points toward.
11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee,
The sign points to two things:
The sign points to two things:
1. Who Jesus is.
2. Where he is leading us.
To help us better understand the miracle itself and then to understand the sign, I want to take us back to the 1st C Palestine and place ourselves in the scene of the wedding.

The Significance of a Wedding (1-2)

1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.

The Significance of a Wedding (1-2)

Third day after meeting Nathanael (1:45-51)
Cana
Small village close to Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth on the west side of the Sea of Galilee
Hometown of Nathanael
Only listed in John’s Gospel
Wedding
Major affair - lasting several days to a week or more.
Life was hard - chance to celebrate
Small towns /village everyone knew everyone
You probably knew your spouse from a young age.
Marriage process:
ILLUST -
Bride chosen usually by the father
Bridegroom’s family pays bride price
Betrothal period - last about a year - essentially married, waiting for consummation of marriage
During this time groom leaves his bride to make preparations for life with his new wife.
leave to prepare a house - usually by building on to his father’s house.
Preparation for wedding was a carefully planned process
ILLUST - Ladies, you know what this is like. I have 6 children - 3 girls / 3 boys and one thing I can tell you — they’re different! I have never once been asked by my boys to get dressed up and play house. (Usually with my boys there is a lack of clothing!). But my daughters are different. I remember having an entire bin dedicated to princess dresses and dress up clothes - get older moves to prom dresses - wedding dresses.
Single guys — girls are way ahead of you in planning the wedding.
Single guys — girls are way ahead of you in planning the wedding.
They have magazines devoted to it — TV shows devoted to picking out the perfect dress. Weddings need to be perfect, right? If something doesn’t go according to plan, doesn’t go right — well, the bride turns into bridezilla!
You don’t want anything to go wrong at your wedding. But something did go wrong at this wedding.

The Seriousness of the Problem (3-5)

3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Based on Mary’s concern, it would seem that perhaps she had some sort of a role in serving as a host at the wedding.

(We’ve said) Weddings were a time of celebration after the groom had gone to prepare everything for his wife.
What would it say about this man, as a husband, if at the wedding, he didn’t provide enough wine?
ILLUST - it’s like having your credit card declined while on your honeymoon. Ladies, you’d be rethinking some life choices at that moment?
weddings involved everyone - the whole village would know
There would be shame on you and your family — this is a serious problem and Mary know this, which is why when the wine runs out she comes to Jesus.
We’re not really sure what, if anything, she expected Jesus to do — she doesn’t really ask him specifically to do anything
Joseph probably dead — she has learned to depend on Jesus.
We’re told this is Jesus’ first miracle — contra apocryphal boyhood miracles.
Jesus’ response at first seems a bit harsh — “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
Jesus is not being rude when he addresses his mother as “Woman.”
not term of endearment but not rude
In as Jesus hangs from the cross, he uses his dying breaths to call on John to care for Mary and he uses the same term, “Woman, behold your son!”
He is respectfully distancing himself from his family.
(ESV)
46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Jesus knows why he came to earth which is why he says,
Hour has not yet come
Everything Jesus does, he does with the cross in view. His life has a singular purpose which culminates at the cross.
seven times in John’s Gospel Jesus refers to a specific time or hour — each time it is in reference to his work on the cross.
30 + years Jesus had live in relative obscurity, with no public miracles or statements about being the messiah.
He had spent his whole life preparing for a specific time - his time on the cross.
Jesus realizes that if he does this miracle he will set into motion a series of events that will end in his brutal death on the cross.
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
*Jesus works for His glory, not ours.*
Jesus follows the will of His Father which is working toward the redemption of people and creation.
(ESV)
8 I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to carved idols.
Have you ever come to Jesus — brought him a need, a desire and he seemed rude in his response? You didn’t get the response you were looking for or no response at all?
maybe it’s because when you are coming to Jesus, you are looking for your glory and not his. it is something for our glory
If it is for his glory we will be happy to leave it for him to take care of
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
His response to he mother was not rude but it was lovingly authoritative -- honoring his mother, while following his heavenly Father.
I picture Mary smirking and saying it to the servants
This is interesting that this is the end of Mary’s involvement. She likely had responsibility for the problem but she leaves it completely for Jesus to solve.
Mary’s response to the problem can teach us a lot about how we should respond to the problems we face. It has less to do with Mary and more to do with who she understood Jesus to be.
** What do you do when you understand you have a problem?**
Mary’s first response was not to quick crush some grapes, steal someone’s half-filled glass and dilute it, search the house for some cheap box wine and doctor it up. She left it to Jesus. She didn’t argue or beg or plead.
She brought her problem to Jesus and left it for him to figure out how to solve it in light of his glory.
She
And he solved it, with joy.

The Solution with Joy (6-10)

6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.
Jars were used to hold water for symbolic washing by the Jews according to the OT Law. Water was for one’s washing feet, eating utensils, or washing hands before a meal (not for 20 sec to avoid a virus) — ceremonial cleansing to symbolize purification.
Stone jars were used because items made of earthenware, if come in contact with unclean were, according to the Law, be broken.
Thought was, the stone would not absorb the uncleanness of the water used for washing and so they could be reused.
Jesus tells servants to use jars used for washing and fill them with water.
*Sometimes Jesus asks us to do things that do not make sense to increase to reveal his ability and increase your faith.*
servants have no idea what is about to happen but they obey — not because they trust what Jesus will do but simply out of obedience.
*Jesus took the spiritually unclean, made it clean and filled it with joy*
8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
Water had become wine!
Not just any wine, but 120 - 180 gallons the best wine!
*Jesus provided where the groom could not*
The only ones who knew were the servants and the disciples - what grace!
The master of the feast was a specific role - probably tasted a lot of wine, and he recognized that this was the good stuff.
No
ILLUST - master sommeliers understand how to taste wine. little over 200 in entire world
Not the usual way — good stuff usually used first.
Jesus makes enough to fill a couple of bathtubs!
Jesus takes empty stone items of religion and fills them - to almost overflowing with JOY
Wine, throughout Scripture serves as a picture of God’s blessing and joy.
Story almost a parable except is is a real story — Jesus takes the old order of Jewish law and customs and he replaces it with something better
*Jesus takes the spiritually unclean, makes it clean and fills it with joy*
picture of the gospel
Every time the Jews would wash themselves it was to remind them that they lived a world of sin, that they were sinful and ceremonial washing was to symbolically cleanse them so they could be close to God.
But they would need to do it over and over. And it was stale.
Jesus, through his death and resurrection completes all that the symbol pointed to — and doesn’t leave it stale - he fills it with joy!!
Christians should have the most fun, the most joy!!
11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

The Signs of the Kingdom (11)

Points to Jesus
Throughout the NT, Jesus is called the bridegroom of the Church, his bride.
As Jesus was preparing to leave the earth he told his disciples:
(ESV)
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
If Jesus could help an earthly groom provide wine for an earthly wedding how much more can he provide for you?
Points to his kingdom
‘his glory’
Where does Jesus have glory? While he was on earth - no, not the way we understand his glory
talks about the marriage supper of the Lamb
Who for the glory set before him endured the cross scorning it’s shame
(ESV)
6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
7 And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
There is a day coming when the Bridegroom will come for his Bride and there will be a party, a feast, of joy.
The glory of Jesus displayed is an invitation to believe.
*Trust Jesus in the little things
-Trusting Jesus with little things builds your faith for big things.
*Trust Jesus in the timing of things
*Trust Jesus for joy in all things
Give up the cheap wine — let Jesus give you the good stuff
Jesus took the cup of sorrow so we could have a cup of joy.

Conclusion

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