Jesus’ First Sign: Water to Wine!” (Part 1)

Who is Jesus? Watch the video below to see how your opinion compares with college students trying to answer the question.

Do you believe Jesus is Lord? If so, what answer would you give someone who asks you the reason for your faith? Here is a list of the most common reasons given by Christians for believing in Jesus. Which one is closest to yours: 1) His answers to prayer; 2) Teaching of the Bible; 3) Wonder of creation; 4) Seeing changes in lives of believers; or 5) Sensing His presence in worship.

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I ask the question because that’s the topic of this study. In John 20:31, the Apostle John gives us the purpose for everything he wrote in his Gospel: “These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John wrote to prove the Lordship of Jesus because it only by believing in the Lordship of Christ that you gain the eternal life He offers. For that reason, John called witness after witness to testify to the Deity of Christ. First, it was John the Baptist, then Andrew and John, followed by Peter, James, Phillip, and Nathanael, in that order. Seven ordinary guys who became the greatest men who ever lived because, out of everyone in their generation, they were willing to believe in Jesus.

Don’t let anyone confuse you about this. The reason people go to hell is not for lack of evidence. There’s always more than enough evidence to believe if you want to believe. The reason people reject the Lordship of Christ is their hardness of heart and unwillingness to believe what God has said about His Son.

But now we come to chapter 2, where John moves from the testimony of eyewitnesses to an even stronger argument. He presents the first of 8 miraculous signs Jesus performed, each one something only God could do—walking on water, creating new eyes for a blind man, creating enough food to feed 20,000 people, raising a friend from the dead whose body had been decaying four days in the tomb, and in the passage before us—John 2:1-11, if you’ll open your Bible there now—He turns water into wine.

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Sometimes it helps to have a map of where you’re going. So let me try that as we get started. Let me give you a brief overview of John’s Gospel, which can be broken into four parts—chapter 1 where he calls for several eyewitnesses to testify to the Deity of Christ, chapters 2 to 11 where he describes the miracles of Jesus, chapters 12 to 17 where he describes the private ministry of Jesus to His disciples on the night of His arrest, and chapters 18 to 21 where he describes Jesus’ death for our sins and His bodily resurrection from the dead.

But in this lesson, we’re studying the first sign of His Deity, described in John 2:1-11. Here Jesus turns water into wine. To guide us through this study, I’ve divided the passage into four parts—the feast, the faux pas, the feat, and the faith it inspired.

  1. THE FEAST

Have you attended any weddings lately? The most recent wedding celebration I attended was the reception of my niece and goddaughter, and it was beautiful! Beautiful bride! Beautiful decorations! Beautiful setting! It was held at her father-in-law’s country estate with a beautifully manicured lawn, lovely garden, and absolutely delicious food! And it lasted all night long, which was too much for us older folks who had to get up the next day. But that was nothing compared to weddings at the time of Christ.

reception

In John 2:1-2, John shares his memories with us. “On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with His disciples.” “Third day” means the third day since He met Philip and Nathanael in Bethsaida. So if that was a Sunday, this is now  Tuesday, and everything we’ve read so far in John’s Gospel has happened in less than a week. They heard John the Baptist call Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, they spent the night talking with Jesus, they made the trek with Him from Bethany to Bethsaida, where He met Philip and Nathanael. Now after knowing Him for a week, they accompany Him to a wedding in Cana of Galilee. So if you think you’re busy, don’t imagine for a moment that you’re busier than Jesus. For He was always busy about His Father’s business.

Cana was, according to John 21:2, the hometown of Nathanael with a population of 100 at the time. So Nathanael knew the bride and the groom, as did Philip, for Bethsaida was only 9 miles from Cana. Nazareth, where Mary and Jesus lived, was even closer—6 miles away. Having lived in Romania for 5 years, I can tell you that in old world villages, you not only know the folks in your own town; you have family and friends in the next village too. So Jesus and Mary were invited as friends of this family.

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Joseph, on the other hand, is not mentioned, suggesting that he died sometime during the silent years of Jesus, when as the oldest son in the family, He took on the responsibility of the carpentry shop, working to earn a living and provide for His mother and younger half-brothers and sisters. Another evidence that Joseph has died by this time is what Jesus did while dying on the cross. He committed His mother into the care of John, her nephew. That wouldn’t have been needed unless she was a widow. So both Jesus and His mother Mary were at the feast. Mary was busy serving as coordinator of the meal, because as we’ll see in a moment when the wine runs out, she has no qualms telling the servants what to do.

But the most important fact is that Jesus was there and performed His first public miracle as a way of underlining the sanctity and supreme importance of marriage in God’s eyes. So pay no attention to those who downplay the importance of marriage saying that it amounts to nothing more than a piece of paper! They have no idea what they’re talking about! Marriage matters and so do weddings beyond what many in the world are able to understand.

Marriage is a holy covenant made between one man and one woman in the sight of God and of family and friends, vowing to faithfully love one another as long as life lasts. For that reason no other relationship on earth is as wonderful as marriage. Peter calls it “the grace of life,” meaning that of all God’s common graces (that is, those graces He showers on all people whether they love Him or not) marriage is the best and any society that honors marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman will be blessed. Contrariwise, any society that fails to uphold God’s view of marriage is headed for chaos. So watch how far you go, America! God is watching and is not pleased with what you’re doing!

Wedding

Weddings have, therefore, always been highly important events. In Romania, for example, which was in many ways an old world when we lived there, weddings were the highlights of the year. They began in the afternoon with a 2-3 hour ceremony at church, followed by a reception that lasted all night long. But that is nothing compared to a wedding in Galilee! A wedding began on Tuesday or Wednesday and lasted until the weekend, unless you were wealthy, and then it might last a full week. And everybody came! Everyone heard about the couple’s engagement the year before, which was a legal contract that could only be broken by death or divorce, even though the marriage wasn’t consummated until after the feast. So everybody came!

What went on the year before the wedding arrived? That’s where we’ll pick up tomorrow—with Part #2 and The Faux Pas.

 

 

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