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John #11 Turning Water Into Wine

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That you may believe and have life #11

John 2

In the last chapter it said that Jesus decided to leave for Galilee.  And that along the way he found Philip and called him to follow.  Well today we find the earthly reason why Jesus was heading to Galilee.  We know that spiritually he had much ministry to do in Galilee, but in chapter two we find out more about why he was heading north to Galilee. 

Now we have spent 10 weeks looking at chapter 1.  And I could have spent another week or two there, but now we go to chapter 2 and I'm only going to spend one week here.  I'm only going to focus on the first of the two stories in this chapter, but I want us to read the whole chapter in order to hear it all.

A wedding took place at Cana of Galilee.  Jesus' mother was there.  We don't know who was getting married.  The fact is, it doesn't really matter.  It must have been someone of relation or friendship with Jesus, because he wasn't a wedding crasher, but he was invited and his mother was invited, along with his disciples.  Here he is.  This is a famous story we have all heard it, or read it, or know about it.

When the topic of alcohol comes up, often people with little or no Bible knowledge will show it, by saying, "Alcohol is alright because, well uhh, didn't Jesus turn water into wine at a wedding?"

Now those of you who know me well will know that I've never had a drink of alcohol.  Never tried it when I was young, never plan on trying it when I am old.

And I'll also be honest with you and say that today in our society I see no purpose for it.  Really, honestly, some of you will agree, but I hope the rest of you won't mind that personally, I extremely dislike alcohol.  In light of the damage it does to homes, lives, and society, by it's misuse, I would have no problem if we never had it in society again.

I know that's a pretty hard line, but I could spend a lot of time laying out why I feel that way and how it has damaged our society more than it could ever help it.

Now, with that said, I'm NOT here to preach a message about alcohol.

But I AM here to preach a message entitled "Turning my Water into Wine"

By that, I mean, turning my everyday, my average, my mundane, my unnoticeable, my unexceptional, into something Extraordinary, Amazing, Awesome, Surprising, Abundant, Unusual, Exceptional.

Is there anyone here that feels, or sometimes feels, that the Extraordinary things have all been given to someone else?

Is there anyone here who feels like, "I wish I had something amazing to offer the Kingdom of God.  I wish I had something that would make the world stand up and take notice."

Well I came to share that with you today

READ JOHN 2

So, here at this wedding an amazing thing happens.

Jesus turns the water into wine. 

What has to happen in order for Jesus to turn my water into wine?

Let me make several observations today, come with me if you will …

1. My Wine has to be Gone

While I am still celebrating on my provisions, my abilities, my resources, Jesus doesn't or can't provide his wine for me.

As long as things are good for us we usually don't even realize that what we have is substandard

They had what they needed so they didn't need anything else

I've often said that often the biggest enemy to the active hand of God on our lives and on our church is our own Competency.  We are smart, or talented, or experienced, or we THINK we have to be those things so we don't ask …

The prodigal son didn't decide to go home until he came to the end of himself.  Until he had lost all his money, lost all his friends, lost his house, lost his livelihood, and finally lost his self respect and was working at a place he never thought he would work, THEN he came to himself and decided to return to his Father.

I have to be empty of my "good stuff" before I'm ready for him to turn my water into wine.

When I "have no more wine … All I've got is this water"

Before Jesus could feed the 5,000 they had to say "well we don't have anything but this little lunch … can you do anything with this?"

Why do we wait so long to come to Jesus?

But the second thing that has to happen is …

2. Faith and Expectation must be Present.

"When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, 'they have no more wine.'"

Jesus mother, probably had the responsibility, in this wedding, of making sure everything was taken care of and provided to the guests.  The wedding celebration would last up to a week or two, depending on the wealth of the family.  And running out of anything, especially the wine, was very embarrassing.

So, Mary, runs out and she looks at Jesus, like only a knowing mother could, and says to her 30 year old son, "they need more wine."

This was NOT a request for Jesus to run to Dierbergs or Schnucks.  And Jesus knows what she means.

She was asking Jesus to do something about it, as ONLY Jesus could do.

Which leads me to wonder, since we know that not everything Jesus did is recorded here as John tells us at the end of his book, had Jesus already shown his mother some things over the years that were miraculous.  Had he already provided like this when things were needed?

Had Jesus already made provision for the household when Joseph was no longer there to provide?

Or, was Mary simply holding on to Faith because of God's original promise that he was The Anointed One?

Either way, Mary had faith that Jesus COULD transfer nothing into Something.  Remember … the Angel had told her … "Nothing is impossible with God" Luke 1:37.  He had said "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So the Holy one be born will be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35.

So Mary exercised her faith and made her request, not of Jesus, her little boy, or Jesus her oldest son who should do something, or not her son that she thought it was time he made a name for himself, but she was asking something of her CHRIST, Messiah, the Son of the Living God!

If we want God to change our nothing into something; our simple into amazing, we have to be empty, but we also have to have Faith that he is able, we have to expect him to do something.

One man came to Jesus with a request and said "Jesus if you are can do anything…" and Jesus said "If …? … Everything is possible for who believes."

Jesus' Mother turned to servants and in complete faith says "Do whatever he tells you"

There must be emptiness

There must be faith

3. Obedience and Persistence

Oft times Jesus may seem to have little interest.  But if he already knows the outcome, and he does, then he is most likely checking our commitment and challenging us to desire deeply the things for which we seek

Jesus told his Mother … "not right now" … "my time hasn't come yet" …

And without even batting an eye, she said "do whatever he tells you"

She was demonstrating persistence and submission to the will of God

Faithful prayer requires both of those things. 

Jesus once seemed to be uninterested and sleeping in the boat but the disciples woke him up and he said … "Peace Be Still"

Jesus tells the story of one who persists for Justice and receives because of the persistent request

Another needs food for a visiting guest and persists in asking the neighbor for help

Mary could have just said "Ok Jesus, sorry to bother you, I'll go ask the neighbors" … but she persisted and called for ACTION

I wonder how often we miss the move of God because won't persist and then obey

Mary showed Faith and Persistence, but the servants had to obey and carry out the commands of Christ.

Fill the jars with water

Three very specific instructions that had to be obeyed …

He said "fill" … not put some water … but FILL … when I order a glass of tea, I want a GLASS of tea.  Not a ½ glass of tea, not ¾ of a glass of tea, but a glass … that means fill it up.

And it says "they filled them to the brim"

Jesus said "fill the jars" … NOT fill up some cups … or fill up some tubs but fill the jars … by the way, they were specific jars, but more about that in a second.

Finally, he said, "fill the jars with water"

That might have been the hardest instruction to obey

"huh?" "fill them with water" … How about "fill them with grapes and we will MAKE wine?" … "how about fill them with pomegranate juice that will LOOK like wine?"

"Fill it with water" and they did …

One last instruction …

"Draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet"

Has the Lord ever told you to do something before you were ready?  … but Jesus … "it's not wine yet" …

Jesus spoke to some lepers and told them to go and show themselves to the priests as clean … "AS THEY WENT, they were cleansed" … (Lk 17)

These servants got instruction and it says "they did so"

Oh so often we fail to obey, or we make a major ordeal about it making sure everyone knows the difficulty and faithfulness, great sacrifices we have gone to obey Jesus … but

"they did so" … that's it

Jesus told them to fill them with water and draw some of IT … what? Water?  Not wine  … that means it was still water when they drew it out … it didn't become wine until they finished obeying what Jesus told them to do.

Ah the jordan river didn't stop flowing for Israel until the Levites stepped into the river

Oh the walls didn 't fall at Jericho until they finished the 7th lap and shouted

Oh Gideon didn't see Victory till he sent home 31,700 and the 300 left broke their pots and shouted

Oh he can't turn your water into wine until we  are  

Empty of ourselves

Full of Faith and Expectation

Carrying on in Obedience and Perseverance …

But … the jar …

4. My Jar Must Be Holy

Jesus didn't say, bring me the wineskins. 

Jesus didn't ask for clay pots … but seeing these STONE JARS

Jesus didn't select the wineskins that they had emptied because you can't put new wine in old skins … because they will burst.

He didn't select clay pots because the porous clay pots were considered unclean and not fit for Holy Use

But these were used for ceremonial washing.

According to law, they were carved completely out of stone so they would be pure and undefiled from the outside. 

Before we can move on, I must say that before Jesus can turn your water into wine, you've got to let him make a new vessel of out you. 

We need transformation before something special can come out of us. 

But we can't make ourselves we have to be made holy.  And it takes a holy Christ to make us Holy

"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed the new has come." 

If you have not given Christ your heart, you are still a imperfect pot, but if you have given him your heart, you are a pure pot, made pure by the blood of Jesus.  You may still be carrying plain old water, but you are carrying it God's vessel and are ready to be used by the master

Let me say one other thing though about the jar.

This may have been a "holy jar" it may have been a religious jar, but when Jesus got ahold of it, Ceremonial becomes Sacred

They were used with water all the time for ceremonial washing, for cleansing but it was all basically for show.

But Jesus filled them with the same water, yet he got far different results.

When we turn our "religious relics" over to Jesus, they become something completely different.

Emptied of ourselves

Full of Faith and Expectation

Persevering in Obedience

Made Holy through salvation in the Blood of Jesus Christ

Transformed for religious relics to surrendered vessels

Our water can be turned into wine only when …

5. His Glory is the Only Purpose

The master of the banquet got a taste of it and was amazed.

He said "usually the good stuff is brought out first in limited measure until the guests have had too much and can't tell the difference, but you have saved the best for now."

Let me address one question that is often asked … "was it alcoholic"?

Honestly, I don't know.  My honest guess is not like we might think.  Was the wine they were used to alcoholic … YES, because he said they switch it to the cheap stuff

But what was this that Jesus served?

First it was the best this master had ever tasted.  Was it transferred from the best Israel had to offer.  I don't think so

I believe that like God prepared a fish to swallow Jonah, which I believe was a fish that had never been on earth before or since but was prepared just for that purpose.

So, this wine was just for a similar purpose.  It was something never on this earth before.  This wine was specifically for this purpose.

While we cannot make a scriptural case that all drinking of wine in the Bible was banned.  We can make a case that drunkenness was an abomination, sinful, repudiated, and abhorred by a Holy Almighty God. 

Yet this crew, most likely, already inebriated, yet they took notice that this was the best.  In fact, I believe it was like nothing they had ever tasted.

Could it be that the same Jesus that would give Peter, James, and John a glimpse of his glory on the mount of transfiguration was at work here?  Could it be this is the Jesus that would take Paul to the "3rd Heaven" to reveal himself?  Is this the same one who revealed himself to John in the Revelation of Jesus Christ?  Is this the Lord who showed himself to Isaiah and his train filled the Temple?  Is this the God who was a wheel within a wheel for Ezekiel, who showed Daniel the future, who gave Moses a glimpse into the Promised Land?  Is this the same God who was on the mountain with Moses when Moses said, "I want to see your glory"? 

Could it be, that this same God, Jesus, was revealing himself to them?  Could it be that he gave them a little taste of Heaven's fruit of the vine, in order to whet their appetite for the things of God?

When he shared that last supper with his disciples, Jesus said "I will not drink of the fruit of this vine again until I drink it with you in Glory."

It was THAT wine, from Heaven's vineyard that Jesus shared with them that day.  And I don't believe Heaven's wine will make anyone wear a lamp shade, or drive intoxicated, or anything else that goes with earthly intoxication.

Jesus revealed himself that day turning their water into wine.

How do I know?  We just read it.

This was a sign.  It was the FIRST SIGN.

By the way, as John records for us what we have come to simply call the miracles of Jesus.  John never uses the word miracle.  In every instance he uses the term, semeion /say-mi-on/ which means a SIGN, that which distinguishes one person from others, transcending the common … NO doubt it was a miracle.  It was no trick or illusion, it was a supernatural event but it was for a purpose of revealing Jesus.  It was for the purpose of revealing (that is to make known what has been hidden or unknown) his DOXA.  That is the word translated in verse 11 GLORY.  You should remember that word from verse 14 of Chapter one.  We spent a whole message on the Glory God.  In short, his glory is his reputation. 

Jesus turned water into wine, he healed sick, he raised the dead, he made blind to see, not simply to do a trick, or even just to meet their needs, it was to REVEAL HIMSELF, his REPUTATION, to them.

And he has said that WE are the light of the world, we are a city on a hill can't be hidden.

Why?  Why would Jesus turn YOUR water into wine?  Why would he turn your commonplace, your mundane into the beautiful sweet tasting fruit of Heaven's Vineyard?

Because when we humble ourselves he will lift us up in due time and when he is lifted up within us he will draw all men to himself.

It is because he has chosen the foolish things, the weak things, the lowly things, the despised things, the things that are not to shame the wise, the strong, the things that are, that HIS Glory, His Grace, his power at work in us to draw a watching world to himself.  That the may know who he is and what he can do in their lives

It is For HIS glory, his reputation, my friend, that is why, that is how he can and will turn your nothing into something

That is why he will turn your useless into something useful

That dear one is why he will turn your tragedy into triumph

That is why your cancer can turn into someone's conversion

That is how he can turn your play day in the park into a presentation of the power of the gospel

That precious believer is why he can turn your water into wine. 

It is to show the watching world that what God has done in turning YOUR water into wine can be just as true for them.

Oh if you only read this passage try and decide if consumption of alcohol in 2007 is right or wrong for a Christian, then you are missing the point and allowing the evil one to distract you from the truth.  Oh dear sheep, can I tell you, that if you are busy trying to find support or an excuse to drink, chances are that God is convicting you of it and you are fighting for freedom.  When Christ is trying to set you free from something that is controlling you and damaging your walk and you are missing HIS freedom while defending yours.  Hear me now, this passage, this teaching is NOT about wine. 

This passage is about the Power of God displayed against the backdrop of the pleasures of man which have RUN out and were insufficient to the task. 

And just like this wine provided by Jesus, the Power and Presence of God is like nothing experienced before and is graciously displayed by Christ in and through surrendered mundane vessels.

We did read that Jesus cleared the Temple of sinful acts and I remember reading "do you not know that your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, which you have of God, because you are not your own you are bought with a price therefore glorify God in your body and in your Spirit which are his."

The ceremonial jugs were empty, the wine also was gone.

As his people we can't expect powerful displays of God's power through us while our jugs are full of JUNK

2 Timothy 2:20-21 in a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.  21 if a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared for any good work.

We have to let him empty out our jugs of all the junk good or bad, sinful or just what you think you need.

We have to exercise Faith and Genuine Expectation of his Ability and his Actions

We have to obey his commands, instructions, ways exactly as he says

"but Lord, we were wanting wine … why are we filling these jugs with water?"

"Jesus, these jugs hold 25 gallons and there are 6 of them, we don't need 150 gallons, lets just fill them ½ way or only 3 of them"

"But Lord, this is still water, I can't serve this …"

No, they just DID SO …

Empty

Full of Faith

Obedient

New and Holy

Oh the greatest Miraculous sign of all is when Jesus takes a life given to him and makes it forgiven and New and then Jesus will transform your water into wine and the world around you will say "WOW … what is THIS?  Can I have some of what you have?"

THEN THEN, with Heavenly Wine from Water, HIS GLORY, his DOXY, his REPUTATION is revealed and it is ONLY the beginning of the signs …

Oh fellow travelers … could you come to Christ today

What else must he do to convince you today

What other sign do you need?

Won't you come to him, empty and broken, placing your faith in him and let him Turn Your Water into Wine?

Pray with me …

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