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John 2:1:11 “Connect The Dots” April 1, 2013

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.
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John 2: 1On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” 6 Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9 When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

What’s the worst thing that can happen on a wedding day, other than the bride getting cold feet and not showing up, the groom getting cold feet and not showing up, or rain at an outdoor wedding?  You married couples all have your own stories.  I was told that at our wedding I was white as a sheet and people worried that I would pass out at the altar.  A quick internet search will have you either laughing or saying “eww,” at the various wedding disasters.  Here’s a list of my top 10 favorites, you can look for them yourself (I left out people passing out because I had already mentioned it) : 

10 The (drunken) bride got arrested,

9 the bride, or everyone, got food poisoning,

8 a fight breaks out (between the guests, and/or the bridal couple, and/or the parents,

7 we planned a wedding and a reception and got a trip to the Emergency Room!

6 the rented tux or dress are ruined by wine or cake, or sick guest or wedding party member,

5 unity candle causes a fire at the church,

4 wedding crashers, reception crashers, or drunk wedding guests or crashers,

3 crying baby and/or cell phone interrupts the ceremony,  

2 the ring got lost, or the ring got swallowed,   

1 food fight, cake fight, or the cake is dropped!

OK, that was fun.  But at the wedding feast at Cana, they had their own minor disaster, so I’m thinking that wedding day difficulties may just be normal.  At the wedding feast at Cana, we read that they ran out of wine.  Forget what you may be thinking about the gluttony of the drunken guests.  In the culture of the day, this was a socially awkward moment, but not for the guests.  Instead, it made the hosts (the bridegroom’s family), and the married couple, look bad.

**Wedding Day/Resurrection Day**

You may wonder why I was thinking of this text in the Easter season.  It’s in the beginning of the text, see if you pick it up:  2:1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee.  Aha, some of you say, it was “on the third day,” and you are right.  When John mentioned the third day, my mind and yours should connect to the resurrection.  In several places Jesus predicted his death, burial, and resurrection.  Some were more cryptic, like the “sign of Jonah” remark in Matthew 12:

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” 39 But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

But by the time one reads Matthew 17 it doesn’t get much clearer:  22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, 23 and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they were greatly distressed.

I see in the Wedding Feast at Cana, a living parable, a living prophecy of how our lives can be, now and in eternity, which shall include what the angel of Revelation 19 calls the marriage supper of the lamb:  .  9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

When I was a kid I loved “connect-the-dots.”  You know.  Follow the numbers, a simple process, and end with a complicated, sometimes very beautiful, picture, just by connecting the dots from 1 to the end.  I still love “connect-the-dots,” but my games as an older person have me making connections between one Bible verse and another.  As an adult, I’m frequently surprised at how impossibly fascinating and beautiful the connections make the whole picture.  I’ve already mentioned how the wedding was recorded as happening “On the third day,” and the connection to Jesus being resurrected.  Go forward with me to Matthew 26:26-29, and I think you’ll see more connections: 

**The Guest List**

Who was invited to the wedding feast in John, and in the Father’s Kingdom?  Jesus, and the disciples, and in John’s gospel, Mary, the mother of Jesus gets honorable mention.

Matthew 26:26 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”

Jesus said there wouldn’t be any more wine for Him until the Father’s Kingdom.  No more wine!  See how John 2’s events tie together with Jesus’ promise about the Kingdom?  Jesus was about to be crucified.  This was the last celebration with Jesus before He died, and there would be no more celebration – that is, until the Third Day.  On the Third Day, resurrection day, recorded in Matthew 28;1 as the “first day of the week,” the party started for Christ followers.  We’re still so happy about it, that many of us still get together on the first day of our week and celebrate with music and sharing and encouraging, and fellowship with Jesus.  Some meet even more often than that.

If you are a Christ Follower, you are on the guest list:

I Thesalonians 4:14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.  15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.  16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

**Do Whatever He Tells You**

In John 2, Mary told Jesus, “They have no wine.”  I’m unclear from just that text, as to whether Mary was just reporting the news, or if she was requesting that Jesus intervene.   But Jesus seemed to interpret her statement as a request for His help with the situation.  Maybe Mary thinks, “These people are my friends and they’re out of wine.  Maybe they don’t have enough money for more, maybe they didn’t plan well and already buy enough.  This looks bad.  We need more wine.”  Jesus asks her why that’s their business, but Mary is undeterred.  She believes Jesus can and will fix this.  “Do whatever He tells you.” 

I don’t need to tell you of James 1:22 instructing to not just pay lip service to the Word, but to do what it says.  I do need to tell you there’s usually a price to pay for being a Christ – Follower.  It involves personal sacrifice.  If you think you’re going to do whatever He tells you, read through Luke 9.  In verse 23, Jesus says a disciple must deny himself and take up his own cross.  He goes on to advise that we may have to face discomfort, we may not have the ability to handle social obligations the way we would normally choose, and we may even be called to leave behind our family, or worse, that our family may disown us. In John 6, a teaching not explained until the Last Supper in the Upper Room, was so confusing to some that they stopped following Jesus.  In a few other places, like Matthew 13, followers left Jesus because they either didn’t understand, or couldn’t find the courage to obey, what he was teaching.  Paul writes I Corinthians 11 to give further understanding to Jesus’ teaching about His Flesh and his Blood, as Jesus explained it in the upper room to his disciples, the close circle, but at the time, the teaching left a lot of people scratching their heads in confusion, and walking away thinking “Jesus is out of his mind.”

In Luke 9 the sacrificial obedience is difficult, costly, and very demanding.  But in John 2, what was the sacrifice?  All Jesus asked was, “Bring me some water.”  Sometimes the sacrifice is something small.  It’s been my experience that Jesus usually asks us to give something that our hearts can give.  And the measure of our sacrifice often determines the measure of the reward.

**Reward For Obedience**

 What was the reward for obeying Jesus in John 2?  The party was able to go on.  There were now 6 big jars of really good wine, maybe 150 gallons or more.  In the same way, the rewards for our sacrificial obedience enable others to continue celebrating Jesus’ life, and to share with more people.  Some are called to service on a home or foreign mission field.  I know people who have left their families behind and gone onto the mission field.  But some are called just to share with friends and neighbors.  Some are called to monetary sacrifice.  Some are called to serve, and give their time working for God, like Sunday School teachers, pastors, other church laborers.  But ask them, and I’d bet they’d say, most of the time the sacrifice isn’t that burdensome, especially when compared to the reward.

 In John’s Revelation, chapter 2 and 3, there is a list of rewards “to him who overcomes.”  2:7To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life.  2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.  11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.  17 To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. 24 ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’  26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.  28 I will also give that one the morning star.  3:5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.  3:19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.  21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.

 Because the servants were obedient with the small task, Jesus made wine, and everyone was able to continue to celebrate.  I for one am really looking forward to the coming kingdom and the rewards, although as the old hymn goes, “I am not worthy [of] the least of His favor.”  But the disciples and servants of the King will be present at the great Wedding Feast, and by that I mean we will have an eternal, heavenly home.

 **God Saves the Best for Last**

 Did you notice the note to the final church mentioned in Revelation?  Jesus saves the best for last.  He promises ongoing communion with Him, a spot at the feast, and an invitation to sit by Him at His throne.  He shows us this eternal principle in the parable of John 2:  What’s the Kingdom of Heaven like? 

John 2 8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9 When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

**Jesus Reveals His Glory**

John 2 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Jesus is glorious all on his own.  The transfiguration and the resurrection show this to us.  “He is not here!  He is risen, just as he said!”  Matthew 28:6  But then, his glory is revealed in an unlikely way:  Through imperfect, ordinary human beings who follow Him.  I Peter 4 is very clear on this:  10 Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 11 Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.  12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.

**Applications:**

You who do not believe, as Jesus said to Thomas when he appeared, “stop doubting, and believe!”  These texts and many others have dots connecting all over the place. They make an amazing, unbelievably complex and beautiful picture.  It shows us Jesus, and our past, present and future relationship with Him, and how we are a part of His plan.  He wants to include you. 

You who are following, have an engraved invitation to the wedding.  Listen to what Jesus says to you personally about service, and give yourself fully to Him.  He’s given you a job to do.  “Do whatever He tells you.”

Followers:  The Party continues!  Put away your somber attitudes and celebrate!  I’ll let you look these up if you don’t remember them:  “Greater is He that is in YOU, than he that is in the world.”  “His divine power has given you everything you need for life and godliness.” 

Followers:  God is saving the best for last.  Your endurance will lead to heavenly rewards beyond your comprehension.  Your personal sacrifices, small and great, will be worthwhile!  “Therefore, encourage one another with these words.”

And finally

Followers:  God has revealed His Glory in His Son Jesus, and wants to reveal His Glory in you!  Find out what it means to share that Glory with others.  Let’s make the guest list as big as we can.

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