Reframing Life | John 2:1-12
Topic: Gospel Passage: John 2:1–2:12
Christopher Rich – Sept 30, 2018
Reframing Life |John 2:1-12
Introduction | Life with God.
Good Morning Welcome to Damascus Road where we are Saved by Jesus Work,Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we are continuing our series REFRAMING JESUS: Portraits of Glory from John’s Gospel. In Reframing Jesus, our desire isn’t to reinvent Jesus into someone He is not or make Jesus into an image we are more comfortable with. Instead, we seek to have our portrait of Jesus reframed by the Word of God inspired by the Holy Spirit recorded in John’s Gospel to see Him as accurately and glorious as possible.
What do you think of when you think of Life? What do you envision life with God like? I think there are two basic ways we consider life, and life with God especially. Life is either meant to be ordinary or extraordinary. So let’s ask it this way. Is life with God ordinary? Is life with God Extraordinary? How you answer this question will reveal a lot about how you see God, the world, and what your expectations are.
Is God in the ordinary, are routines and rituals how life is experience with God? Is God in the extraordinary, when there are things that are so outside of our regularly experience or expectations, where the only explanation is “God did something!” Ordinary isn’t inherently bad, we need God in the everyday routine things of life. Extraordinary isn’t inherently bad, if God can’t do extraordinary than is He really God? I asked my kids this question on Monday and all of them said “extraordinary! He’s God!” great answer…. I said so is everyone’s life with God always extraordinary? And Carys said “No, because then extraordinary would be the new ordinary.” So it must somehow not be either/or, but both/and. Because what happens to our faith in Him, not if, but when there is a long season when nothing extraordinary happens? Discouragement or Despair. If you believe life with God is only to be ordinary than you’re expecting too little. If you believe life with God should always be extraordinary than you’re expecting too much. Both are misunderstanding what life with God looks like, the ordinary will be suffering from a lack of ambition and complacency and you will fail to expect or desire God to do things that are amazing. Don’t get your hopes up. The “extraordinary” will suffer from a lack of contentment and fail to see God where God is active in the ordinary. We need to have expectations of a God is active, present, in the ordinary and can produce joyful life that is extraordinary. In John 2:1-12 we will be Reframing Life so we can see how God in Jesus is active in both the ordinary and extra ordinary things of life.
PART I | Reframing Presence | v1-5
John 2:1-5 | 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. 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.”
After the calling of the first disciples, after Jesus says “you’re going to see greater things” we have the first glimpse of what life on mission with Jesus as his disciple is like, and it starts out pretty ordinary but includes something that is extraordinary. In his first miracle and (semi) public ministry we meet Jesus and His disciples and they’ve been invited to a wedding. You want Jesus invited to the party. Jesus may have been invited as afterthought or an add-on to an already full guest list, but His presence, impact, and influence overshadows everything else including the wedding party itself, but we do learn a lot about life with Jesus.
Life with Jesus is present. He is present in the everyday rhythms of life. Jesus’ mom is invited to a wedding and Jesus and His disciples were also invited. Jesus could have said “I’ve got no time for this! There is a world to be saved, sin to be forgive, sick to be healed, hungry to be fed, kingdoms to be toppled.” No. He is setting the tone early in what life with Him as a disciple and follower of Jesus is too look like. He’s also a bit confident in the outcome of the trajectory of history, so he can take moments to be present at a party.
Relationship and celebration are ordinary parts of life and Jesus shows that being on His mission will include sacrifice, service of others, but is also includes simply participating in the lives of others. Jesus brings His disciples along. Not a specific retreat on ministry training or a systematic theology course (all good things) but simply models presence in the rhythms of life. How are you present in the lives of others? Where do you need to slow down so you can be present with others?Who are you called to be present with?
When we are in the presence of others we can see and know the needs of others. The wedding festival was usually a week-long affair where instead of a honeymoon it’s a long party with everyone present. It was paid for by the groom (or his family, I like that idea) that was to be the high point of the couple’s public life especially in this impoverished region. It was so important for a wedding like this to both be a celebration of the couple but also to be a party for the community that when the wine runs out it’s a big deal. In an honor/shame culture it was a great embarrassment, running out of wine at some weddings led to lawsuits. Mary, as an older women, would have been involved in help the part thrive. Because Jesus and His disciples are at the wedding they become aware of this developing situation. When you’re present and participating in the lives of others invariably you will be able to know and see the needs of others as you engage and enjoy life together. There is a need and Mary brings it to Jesus.It’s one thing to be aware of a need, it’s another to have both the ability and willingness to engage with a need in a satisfactory way.
The truth is we will all run out of wine. Wine in the bible is joy, is exhilaration, is celebration, is excitement, it is enhancement of life not inebriation, escaping, or numbing life. There is going to be a time for all of us that we run out of wine when our enjoyment and desire for life is dimmed or at least diminished. We may look back and say “Oh it was so much better when…” or we might be trying to live life without Jesus.
You are in need! You are trying to keep a party going on your own dime and own wine and wondering why it’s less than satisfying or recognizing that this life we’ve planned and parted with on our own will run out. Life has many moments where help is needed. Mary (likely a widow by this point) is asking Jesus for help. Where are you running out of wine? Where are you in need of life and joy? Have you invited Jesus to your party but have acted like you don’t really need Him as anything but a guest?
Mary brings the needs others to Jesus. Why did Mary bring this to Jesus attention? Maybe she believes He could address it. He hasn’t done something like this before (v11 first sign) But she must know that Jesus can do something and expects that He would do something. Sometimes we think God is so worried about all these big things that we forget or assume that He couldn’t care about the little details. Jesus isn’t an ascetic who is hyper-spiritual and equates greater spiritual maturity with no liking or enjoying things. Jesus is the God who created all things, He’s the one who made cows who can be steak or who’s milk can turn to ice cream. “Dear woman” is some distancing language but is also warm and respectful as Jesus address other women and Mary again similarly in John. Jesus is both a good son to Mary, and corrects her view of His role while doing so much more than she could have dreamed. Jesus’ hour as the messianic bride groom has not yet come. Jesus is on the Father’s timeline there is a greater mission to accomplish with the redemption of God’s people and the restoration of all things. Those are important, AND Jesus is present and willing to engage with the human need and desire. Mary simply tells the servants do whatever Jesus tells them.
PART II | Reframing Transformation | v6-10
John 2:6-10 | 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. 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.”
Life with Jesus is one of obedience and significant transformation. There is a lot of intentionality displayed by what Jesus instructs the servant to do, how they respond, what happens and how it impacts the enjoyment and understand of not only this wedding feast but also life with Jesus. There is both significant symbolism AND simple truths and applications in what we see in this scene of Jesus engaging with this needy wedding.
The Water Jars for Purification: (Symbolic) Mark 7:1-4 shows us the water in the jars was used to wash (purify) hands and feet on the way into the banquet and the hands before and after dinner. Jesus entering in into history as The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, with that there is going to be a new way we go from dirty with sin to clean. The old system was never sufficient to bring full joyful life or communion with God. By Jesus telling them to use the purification jars He is starting to show that God is doing a new thing in the middle of the old Jewish system. Jesus comes to bring promised purification to Israel and will ultimately bring purification and newness to all who will receive Him. The empty jars of Judaism were filled to the brim when Jesus came. All that the law could not fulfill were fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus brings life to what is empty and useless. Religion is ultimately empty and useless for sustaining joyful life. Jars for purification are great for cleaning but bad for celebrating. Jesus repurposes to produce fuller life. In the Old system, Old covenant we’ll try to clean your sin, new covenant we will take your sine make you clean by the work of Jesus in your place, AND bring you joyful life with God.
FF Bruce – “ Christ is changing the water of Jewish Purification into the wine of the new age.”
Transformation of Water to Wine:Think about water. It’s necessary for life you can’t go for more than a few days without, it can refresh thirst, it can bring and produce life these are all good things necessary for ordinary life. Cities and civilization are planned around water. Praise God for water! But no one gets excited about water! We don’t go to “waterfest” when all you have to offer people at your house is water you apologize. Its necessary and ordinary but it has no flavor. Jesus took the most common ordinary drink and turned it into a drink representative of extraordinary celebration. We toast with wine, we spray Champaign when we win a championship. There is a huge difference between water and rich wine. This is as dramatic as the transformation Jesus does in us. We go from common estranged sinners into adopted into a royal family worthy of celebration. He didn’t do things halfway, He doesn’t make flavored water (is there anything less satisfying?) Jesus doesn’t want to just kind of transform us or change us a little bit, but Iife with Jesus produces a richness and joy that is so beyond ordinary it can only be described as extraordinary. Jesus won’t stop short in your life. Jesus’ grace and forgiveness towards those who have run dry by their own works and attempts at self-salvation doesn’t stop there, instead it flows abundantly for life and for all who would call upon the name of the Lord. Earlier in the Bible we see Moses in the face of a people oppressed in slavery be used by God to turn life giving water of Nile River to blood making it undrinkable signifying God’s judgement on the oppressive Egyptians. Here Jesus transforms common water into extraordinary wine to show life with God is worthy of great joy and celebration in great abundance.
Life with Jesus is abundant sustained transformation for the purposes of extended celebration - Jesus didn’t stop at 1 jar or do a quick calculation (ok 100 guests, one more night, no more than two glasses each, who’s grabbing the keys to everyone’s camel, did uncle Jacob have too much already?) NO! He turned all 6 jars into wine, certainly, more wine than was needed for the remainder of the wedding. That’s 120-150 gallons of wine that’s a lot, like 600-750 bottles of wine. If stored properly even in a large wedding there is going to be left overs that last far beyond this moment of Jesus’ miracle. It may have blessed the new couple, maybe people took some home. One thing is sure, people were glad to be at a wedding where Jesus was present and the ordinary rhythm of a wedding became an extraordinarily joyful experience.
Life with Jesus includes ordinary obedience that sometimes produces extraordinary results. Jesus doesn’t ask the servants them to preform a miracle or do something extraordinary. He asks them to be obedient in the ordinary, take the jars fill them up with water take some to the master of the feast. These are all ordinary things that anyone is capable of responding to. As disciples of Jesus we say simply gather, grow (ready your Bible, pray, etc), give, and go on mission. These are the simple ordinary basics lived out in response to Jesus commands. We walk in faith like the servants who Jesus didn’t even tell what was going to happen just gave them the next ordinary step. Don’t feel ANY pressure to perform anything that is extraordinary. Let Jesus be the one who is responsible for extraordinary and remember He’s called us to be faithful in the ordinary. Jesus is more than capable to work miracles that far exceed their or our expectations. Eph 3:20 It appears that the transformation took place as they were walking in obedience to Jesus direction. They knew it came from the water vats and yet as the presented it to the master the water had now become wine. (It actually was a miracle) Those that obey and follow Jesus get to see Jesus work.
Life with Jesus isn’t lame – When Jesus bring celebration He brings it with excellence. The wine He makes is “good” compared to “poor”. Life with Jesus isn’t always a never-ending party but it’s not never a party. We have a rich theology of suffering, but we also need to have one of celebration and honor. Pray and fasting are as much a part of life with Jesus as play and feasting, both are needed for life and communion with God but one is not more HOLY that the other. Jesus is present in the party Jesus provides and sustains the party. While others are honored and blessed in the party Jesus is glorified in the party.
Life with Jesus is life where the best is saved for last. We need to hear this in a world that worships youth and regularly tells us our best days are behind us. Yes you may get old.. (I mean you will) We’re told in movies and shows that your life in High School or college is the best part of your life and everything else is lame after that. Galilee is poor. All they had is poor wine, and even what they had on their own ran out.
Jesus supplies and supplies in abundance and in excellence. Everything you have on your own is poor (even wine for your wedding) and will eventually run out compared to the greater wine, greater life that can only come with Jesus. We come to places in our lives and our marriages where we believe that all we’ve been given is poor wine that will run out. When Jesus has given us new rich wine in eternal life that will never run out. We need hope that the good we experience is not as great as the good that is to come in the forever life with Jesus. So enjoy life now, but know the promises of abundant life with Jesus will be fully realized later. Where have you believed that the best has already happened?Where have you lost hope?
PART III| Reframing the Wedding | v11-12
John 2:11-12 | 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. 12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.
Why this sign? Why the wedding? This is the first sign we see in Cana. And it displayed His glory in a real and tangible way (manifest) God’s glory is made tangible in the life and joy that is provided by Jesus. Glory in the miracle, glory in the provision and glory in covering the shame of the bridegroom loss of face, Glory in seeing the best is yet to come. We have so many more signs, multiple healings, multiple forgiveness of sins, multiple times freeing people from spiritual bondage, even twice we’re told about the feeding of different crowds of people, but only one weeding at Cana recorded. Why? Because it’s significance in the greater story of the Bible. In Jesus performing this specific miracle He is grounding His story into the greater story of the Bible, one where weddings and feasts play a prominent role.
GARDEN => WEDDING = > FINAL FEAST
Garden- The bible opens with creation and transitions to a wedding. The marriage quickly goes bad when sin enters. God’s provision is willingly rejected, shame characterizes relationship in the marriage and God intervenes first with mercy then with grace. In the garden our need is met by God graciously transforming life (animals) into lifeless provision. This provision covers our shame and provides protection for the purpose of survival. None of this is deserved or earned. It is good for God to do this for His people.
Cana Wedding - John opens with reframing creation and then transitions to a wedding where God is present in the flesh. The wedding is in need and shame can result if God doesn’t intervene. In the wedding we see Jesus preforming an act of grace that not only covers shame (running out) but also bestows glory on the bride groom. Jesus provision is joyfully received. This provision provides abundant life for the purpose of celebration. Jesus is revealing something about His Kingdom. Jer 31:12, Joel 3:18, Amos 9:13-14 all talk about the arrival and inauguration of the Kingdom of God being accompanied by new wine flowing freely. But there is a greater, fuller wedding feast that is to come for all of God’s people.
Final Wedding Feast - What Jesus accomplished at the wedding in Cana was a foreshadow of the future wedding hour where the church, his bride, is united in the New Jerusalem, New Heavens, New Earth.
Isaiah 25: 6-9 | 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. 9 It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
This is an image that is echoed in Revelation as the final wedding feast between Jesus (King/Lamb) and His bride the church. Where we are present with Jesus in a great feast celebrating the end of death but also the beginning of new forever life with Jesus free from even the worry that the joyfully wine will run out.
The display of God’s glory in Jesus leads to disciples’ greater belief in Jesus. The disciples who witnessed this event put their faith in Jesus. Their response to a Jesus who is present who provides and …… is to receive this provision with great joy and greater believe. Belief leads to continued life with Jesus and His people. After this great miracle it would have been so easy to say let’s see that again! Let’s party longer! Or let’s see something else. Instead we have this little note in verse 12. After this… After this great extraordinary display of Glory, it’ was back to the ordinary, family friends, at home for a few days with nothing else noteworthy to say about it. Just everyday ordinary life with Jesus, His people, on mission for Jesus. Enjoy God in the ordinary, be obedient and faithful in the ordinary and be hopeful and expectant of the extraordinary abundant joyful life that can only come when we Trust Jesus.