Living like Jesus Promised
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Living like Jesus Promised
It is now maybe 60 or even 70 years after Christ’s amazing ministry. John has watched Christianity transforms literally millions of lives from one end of the world to the other. As the last living Apostle of Christ he was instructed by God’s Spirit to record the final Gospel Portrait of Jesus, and is given a specific set of events to record.
As John captures the 1st sign miracle by Jesus for his Gospel he must have thought, these are not just physical events Jesus did in Judea and Samaria once long ago, these are also the miracles of salvation that He STILL DOES!
Jesus makes life back into what god intended for it to be
Now we can see what John is teaching us. Every story tells us not of something Jesus did once and never again, but of something which he is for ever doing. John tells us not of things that Jesus once did, but of things that he still does today.
And what John wants us to see here is not that Jesus once on a day turned some stone pots of water into wine; he wants us to see that whenever Jesus comes into a man’s life, there comes a new quality which is like turning water into wine.
- Without Jesus, life is dull and stale and flat; when Jesus comes into it, life becomes vivid and sparkling and exciting.
- Without Jesus, life is drab and uninteresting; with him it is thrilling and exhilarating.
For seventy years he had thought and meditated and remembered, until he saw meanings and significances that he had not seen at the time. When John told this story he was remembering what life with Jesus was like; and he said, “Wherever Jesus went and whenever he came into life it was like water turning into wine.”
This story is John saying to us: “If you want the new exhilaration, become a follower of Jesus Christ, and there will come a change in your life which will be like water turning into wine.”
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (NKJV) I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.(NIV) I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. (Message) My purpose is to give life in all its fullness (LB)
Are you enjoying Christ’s offer of an overflowing, endless, joy filled victorious Christian life?
Please stand with that in mind and follow along as I read John 2:1-11.
1st Jesus gave us 7 reflections of salvation in the sign miracles
The divine perfection of Jesus is reflected in the seven “Signs” John records from Christ’s life. John built his whole Gospel as bridge with seven successive sign posts that transport you to the ultimate sign of chapter 20 – The resurrection of Christ. John notes the ministry of Christ in light of its impact on the hearts of those who saw these signs. What were the signs Christ performed to bring those who saw His ministry to belief? Out of the many miracles that Christ performed, John selected seven to prove His deity. (The eighth in chapter 21 was for the disciples alone and forms a postlude to the Gospel.) These seven signs are given in a specific order (note 4:54, “This is again the second miracle”), they prove Christ’s Deity, and they portray a beautiful picture of our salvation.
The first three signs show salvation’s reception by the believer:
- HE TURNS water into wine (2:1–11)— Christ’s salvation is always Miraculous; Jesus is Lord of Time and Creation, nothings exists apart from Him.
- he heals the nobleman’s son (4:46–54)—Christ’s salvation is only by faith; Jesus is Lord of Space, no distance hinders Him.
- he heals the paralytic (5:1–9)—salvation is by grace alone; Jesus is the Lord our Healer, nothing is impossible to Him.
The last four signs show salvation’s results in the believer:
- he Feeds the 5,000 (6:1–14)—salvation brings inexhaustible satisfaction; Jesus is the Bread of God, and the Bread of Life come down from Heaven.
- he Stills the storm (6:16–21)—salvation brings complete peace; Jesus is Lord of Nature.
- he heals the blind man (9:1–7)—salvation brings light to our souls; Jesus is Lord of Sight.
- he Raises Lazarus (11:38–45)—salvation brings endless life; Jesus is Lord of Life. And we live after the power of an endless life (Hebrews 7:16)
2nd Jesus gave us the inner meaning of the sign miracles
Now notice in conclusion that the Gospel of John, unlike the other three Gospels, seeks to share the inner meaning—the spiritual significance—of our Lord’s works, so that each miracle is a “sermon in action.” We must be careful not to “spiritualize” these events so that they lose their historical moorings; but, at the same time, we must not be so shackled to history that we are blind to (as A.T. Pierson used to say) “His story.” To begin with, the word John used in his book is not dunamis, which emphasizes power, but seimeon, which means “a sign.” What is a sign? Something that points beyond itself to something greater.
It was not enough for people to believe in Jesus’ works; they had to believe in Him and in the Father who sent Him (John 5:14–24). This explains why Jesus often added a sermon to the miracle and in that sermon interpreted the sign.
- In the 3rd sign miracle recorded in John 5, the healing of the paralytic on the Sabbath opened the way for Christ’s message on His deity, “the Lord of the Sabbath,” who someday would speak and “all that are in the grave will hear His voice.”
- In the 4th sign miracle at the feeding of the 5,000 in John 6, Jesus led naturally into a sermon on the Bread of Life. Whereas the first three Gospels major on describing events of this miraculous feeding, John emphasized the meaning of this event. This is why although all four Gospels record the feeding of the 5,000 but only John records Jesus’ sermon on “The Bread of Life” which followed that miracle. Jesus pointed to the deeper meaning of this miracle when He interpreted it for the people.
- In the 6th sign miracle Jesus used the rejection of the healed blind man by his community in (9:34) to lead into His sermon on the Good Shepherd who calls, cares for, and never casts any one of His sheep out (10:28).
3rd Jesus offers an endless, overflowing life of victorious living
This morning look with me again at the 1st of Christ’s Sign Miracles. In it we have a striking picture of the regeneration of a sinner. What would the sermon have been after our Lord turned the water into wine? What might He have said?
- Jesus offers inexhaustible joys: We don’t know what if anything Jesus said as He walked around that site of His 1st sign miracle but since He has a pattern of expounding on these sign miracles, He likely would have told the people that the world’s joy always runs out and cannot be regained, but the joy He gives is ever new and ever satisfying. (In the Scriptures, wine is a symbol of joy. See Jud. 9:13 and Ps. 104:15.) So Jesus compares His eternal life to an ever flowing river of life giving water. He also says that His eternal life is more abundant than anything else in the Universe! That is quite an offer.
- John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’”
- Jesus offers INDESCRIBABLE DELIGHTS: Anyone who is honest and has looked at life apart from God soon realizes that the world’s pleasures only offer the best at the first, and then, once you are “hooked,” things start to get worse. Remember the voice of Roy Clark singing his 1969 hit “Yesterday”, the words exactly captured the fleeting pleasures of anyone who lives apart from Jesus. Listen to these piercing words and think of any relative, neighbor, or friend you have that has never found the water of life Jesus offers:
Yesterday when I was young,
the taste of life was sweet as rain upon my tongue.
I teased at life as if it were a foolish game.
The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame.
There are so many songs in me that won’t be sung.
I feel the bitter taste of tears upon my tongue.
The time has come for me to pay for Yesterday…
When I Was Young.
Unlike anything this world offers, Jesus continues to offer that which is best until we one day enjoy the finest blessings in the eternal kingdom (Matthew 26:29).
- Jesus offers a miraculous salvation:
- Jesus had a special message here for His people, Israel. It was a “wedding” in Cana. In the Old Testament, the nation is pictured as “married” to God and unfaithful to her marriage covenant (Isa. 54:5; Jer. 31:32; Hosea 2:2ff). The wine ran out, and all Israel had left were six empty waterpots! They held water for external washings, but they could provide nothing for internal cleaning and joy. In this miracle, our Lord brought fullness where there was emptiness, joy where there was disappointment, and something internal for that which was only external (water for ceremonial washings).
- Jesus knows our Emptiness: In v. 6 “stone water pots” John is led to perhaps let us see the condition of the natural man before he is born again: Jesus draws our attention to some silent objects sitting in the shadows of the wedding feast and by allusion points out that apart from Jesus any of us are like an empty water pot of stone – cold, lifeless, useless. What does He say in other places (Matthew 11:28-30)?
- Come unto me all ye who labor…
- “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
- Jesus removes our Worthlessness: Second, we see the worthlessness of man’s religion to help the sinner. Those water pots were set apart in the middle of v. 6 “after the manner of the purifying of the Jews” -they were designed for ceremonial purgation; but their valuelessness was shown by their emptiness. Jesus uses the cold, empty, lifeless water pots to become conduits for His wondrous, life giving power. Like the blind and lame and deaf whom Christ touched would run, and hear, and see, thus declaring His goodness and grace, so we are rescued from our pitiful estate and raised to His fullness, His matchlessness, and His delights! Jesus is the perfect completion of god’s law: John was writing his gospel for Greeks and so he explains that these jars were there to provide water for the purifying ceremonies of the Jews. Water was required for two purposes.
First, it was required for cleansing the feet on entry to the house. The roads were not surfaced. Sandals were merely a sole attached to the foot by straps. On a dry day the feet were covered by dust and on a wet day they were soiled with mud; and the water was used for cleansing them.
Second, it was required for the handwashing. Strict Jews washed the hands before a meal and between each course. First the hand was held upright and the water was poured over it in such a way that it ran right to the wrist; then the hand was held pointing down and the water was poured in such a way that it ran from the wrist to the finger-tips. This was done with each hand in turn; and then each palm was cleansed by rubbing it with the fist of the other hand. The Jewish ceremonial law insisted that this should be done not only at the beginning of a meal but also between courses. If it was not done the hands were technically unclean. It was for this footwashing and handwashing that these great stone jars of water stood there. There were six stone waterpots; and at the command of Jesus the water in them turned to wine. According to the Jews seven is the number which is complete and perfect; and six is the number which is unfinished and imperfect. The six stone waterpots stand for all the imperfections of the Jewish law. Jesus came to do away with the imperfections of the law and to put in their place the new wine of the gospel of his grace. Jesus turned the imperfection of the law into the perfection of grace.
- Jesus offers endless, never ending joys: There is another thing to note in this connection. There were v. 6 “six water pots, each held between twenty and thirty gallons of water”; Jesus turned the water into wine. That would give anything up to one hundred and eighty gallons of wine. Simply to state that fact is to show that John did not mean the story to be taken with crude literalness. What John did mean to say is that when the grace of Jesus comes to men there is enough and to spare for all. No wedding party on earth could drink one hundred and eighty gallons of wine. No need on earth can exhaust the grace of Christ; there is a glorious superabundance in it. This is jesus pouring out his Fullness: Note that at the command of Christ they were filled with water, and water is one of the emblems of the written Word: it is the Word which God uses in quickening dead souls into newness of life. Observe, too, these water pots were filled “up to the brim” -God always gives good measure; with no grudging hand does He minister. John commanded that the jars should be filled to the brim. And listen to one word that Jesus repeatedly uses, you may want to underline this word, or circle it!
John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:51 I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
John 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
John 11:26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
- Jesus is the real god of pleasure: v. 9 “but the servants knew” For a moment think of this miracle from the Greek point of view. It so happens that the Greeks actually possessed stories like this. Dionysos was the Greek god of wine. So the Greeks, too, had their stories like this; and it is as if John said to them: “You have your stories and your legends about your gods. They are only stories and you know that they are not really true. But Jesus has come to do what you have always dreamed that your gods could do. He has come to make the things you longed for come true.” To the Jews John said: “Jesus has come to turn the imperfection of the law into the perfection of grace.” To the Greeks he said: “Jesus has come really and truly to do the things you only dreamed the gods could do.”
- Jesus makes life back into what god intended for it to be: v. 11 “this beginning of signs” Now we can see what John is teaching us. Every story tells us not of something Jesus did once and never again, but of something which he is for ever doing. John tells us not of things that Jesus once did in Palestine, but of things that he still does today. And what John wants us to see here is not that Jesus once on a day turned some water pots of water into wine; he wants us to see that whenever Jesus comes into a man’s life, there comes a new quality which is like turning water into wine. Without Jesus, life is dull and stale and flat; when Jesus comes into it, life becomes vivid and sparkling and exciting. Without Jesus, life is drab and uninteresting; with him it is thrilling and exhilarating. For seventy years he had thought and meditated and remembered, until he saw meanings and significances that he had not seen at the time. When John told this story he was remembering what life with Jesus was like; and he said, “Wherever Jesus went and whenever he came into life it was like water turning into wine.” This story is John saying to us: “If you want the new exhilaration, become a follower of Jesus Christ, and there will come a change in your life which will be like water turning into wine.”
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