Jesus successfully survived 5 weeks in the desert with no water and no food. He must have been hungry, wouldn’t you say? He was starved, and after this time he and his mother went to a wedding, and He probably came to that wedding quite hungry, and quite thirsty. The guests were extra thirsty or perhaps there wasn’t enough to drink, but somehow, they ran out of wine, and you don't want to run out of wine at a wedding, and what Jesus made was better than wine. Better than the first. Jesus took some plain, worthless water and changed it, and made it into something good. Made it into a blessing, and you are in for rich amounts of blessing today as we dig into this story, and this story, Holly read it, it’s in the Bible.
Let’s come over here to John in your New Testament, if you have your Bible with you, and look at John, chapter 2. Look at verse 1. "On the third day a wedding took place in Cana, in Galilee." Jesus’ mother was there. When did this happen? On the third day. Is that significant? I think it is. The third day is the day of life. You say, “What?!” Well, listen to this. Jesus was raised on what day? On the third day. At creation it was on the third day that this world emerged from its watery grave and had the first life in the living vegetation. Here is the day that Jesus emerges from His years of seclusion and His public ministry actually commences. On the third day. There’s something interesting about that.
It says, "A wedding took place." here in verse 1. Now Jesus performed the very first wedding in this world. Who was married? Adam and Eve. Jesus performed that wedding. I’m convinced Jesus was there, and here 4 thousand years later, He continues to sanctify marriage. Jesus has the patent on marriage. He invented marriage. The husband and wife have got to send in the warranty cards. You’ve got to do your homework, you know? But it’s a lifetime warranty, and if both of you pray together, both of you will stay together more often than not, and both of you will experience a greater joy in Jesus. Do you need that miracle in your marriage?
Look at verse 2. It says, ”Jesus and His disciples had also been invited to the wedding." They were all invited, so this must have been a fairly large wedding, and notice that Jesus comes by invitation only. Jesus won’t come into your home, He won’t come into your life, unless you invite Him into your life. Isn’t that correct? You need to invite Jesus into your life. Into your marriage. Had Jesus not come, there would have been no miracle. If there is no place for Jesus in your marriage, then neither will there be any place in your marriage for the miracle of Jesus. It won’t happen. If your love has run out, the only solution is to invite Jesus into your home, and if your home needs a miracle today, then keep listening because you’re going to learn a lot about miracles in the next several weeks.
Verse 3. "When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to Him, ‘They have no more wine.’" Mary, where did Mary go when there was a problem? She want to Jesus. Can you think of a better place to go when you’ve got a problem? When you first have a problem, do you call the psychiatrist? Do you call your lawyer? The very first thing you should do is call upon Jesus, right? Amen? Mary came to Jesus with her deepest need and Jesus provided her answer, and you can do the same thing today. Jesus has not gone out of the miracle business. Has He? Maybe your need is forgiveness. Maybe your need is physical healing. Maybe you’ve got something eating on you that’s destroying you. Maybe it’s your marriage. Maybe it’s your kids. Maybe your kids are in bad trouble. Whatever your need, come to Jesus, and Jesus will help you.
Mary came to Jesus. Now no mention is made of Joseph. It doesn’t say that Joseph came to Jesus. I don’t think Joseph was there. I think Joseph had died. I think Jesus had actually supported this little family, and He stuck with them until they were old enough to fend for themselves, and the brothers and sisters were able to be on their own. Only then did Jesus leave home and begin His public ministry. Maybe that’s why it was so long in coming.
Verse 4, The New King James Version of the Bible says, “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’" Now on Mother’s day do you sign the card, “Dear Woman”? How many of you do that? Jesus addressed His mother, ‘Woman’. Would you do that? We don’t do that, do we? We don’t say, “Dear Woman.” He could have said ‘Lady’, but He says ‘Woman’.
To me this is significant. This tells me, this reminds me that Jesus was omniscient. His omniscience. He had all knowledge. Jesus purposely avoided calling Mary "Mother". Could it be that Jesus could foresee the modern Mariology movement? You know, there’s a Mariology movement out there. People pray to Mary. Who should we pray to? We should pray to God. We have direct access to God, and people pray to Mary. They count the, you know, they go through the beads, and they’re praying to Mary. Thousands of people pray to Mary. Moslems pray to Mary. They worship Mary. Catholics worship Mary. All kinds of people call Mary ‘The Queen of Heaven’, and here Jesus refused to refer to the name which would not lend support to Mariology and her deification. When Jesus called her ‘Woman’, He was teaching that she was just a human like everybody else. She was His mother. We shouldn’t worship her. Luke, chapter 1, verse 28 says of Mary, ”Blessed art thou AMONG women.” It does not say, “Blessed art thou ABOVE all women.” Never, never says that.
Now let’s look at verse 5. John 2, and verse 5. "His mother said to the servants, 'Do whatever He tells you'." You know, in humility Mary does not tell Jesus what to do. And so often we have problems, and we say, “Lord, here’s the answer to my problems. Here’s what You need to do, for me.” No. Don’t tell Jesus what He needs to do for you. Let Jesus be in charge. Just come to Jesus, and say “Here’s my problem. You solve it in whatever way You feel is best.” Isn’t that wise? “I’ve got this problem. My finger doesn’t work. Here’s what You need to do Lord.” Or this doesn’t work, or that doesn’t. Just come to Jesus. Surrender your will to whatever His will might be, and let's be wide awake here. If you need a miracle in your life, you must totally surrender your will to His will. That’s what has to happen. Tell Him the problem. Don’t tell Him what to do about the problem, because His answer may be larger and better than what you would suggest. So let Him provide the answer.
In Jesus’ life, this miracle marked a watershed. A watershed event in His life. You see, the changing of the water into grape juice, into wine, is the beginning point of His public ministry. Prior to this, heretofore, Jesus’ only problem was the devil, basically. The Pharisees weren’t after Him before this. He wasn’t on their most-wanted list. He would be followed by noisy, jostling crowds from that moment on, and the only time that He would not be plagued by others would be when He slept. This single act of creating, from water, something beautiful would create jealousy among the religious leaders who would eventually get enough false evidence to convict Him and crucify Him.
As He stood there looking at the empty drinking glasses of all the guests, and thinking about all this at the wedding, He could see laid out before Him all that and much, much more. The hour had come for Him to begin His ministry. How long did this ministry last? 12 hundred and 60 days. Did you ever think about that? 12 hundred and 60 days, ending in His own agonizing death, and by making wine, Jesus began the official process of securing our salvation for us and establishing Christianity. His first miracle was to make grape juice.
Now if you were choosing something for your very first miracle, wouldn’t you choose something bigger than that? Maybe you’d pay off the national debt or raise the Titanic or cure AIDS, or something, if you were doing it today. You would choose something huge. He chose something simple. He began with juice!
Look at verse 6. John 2, verse 6. "Nearby stood 6 water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding 20 to 30 gallons of water."
180 gallons of water, made into juice. I have never, in my whole life, I’ve conducted a lot of weddings. I have never been to a wedding where they drank a hundred and 80 gallons of juice. Of anything. It was a super-abundance, and that’s what Jesus always provides, doesn’t He? Jesus’ supply is always more than our need. Amen? His great grace is supplied in superabundance, and Jesus is more than able.
Now these containers, were they dirty or clean? Was this sewer water? Was this, it was pure water, because it was ceremonially used, for washing of the feet, for washing of your hands, before you would eat. It was pure water. Can a miracle be performed in a dirty vessel? Now think about that. If you want a miracle in your life, don’t you need some cleansing first? Don’t you need to be cleaned up first. Don’t you ask the Lord, “Please forgive my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.” Then you can expect a miracle to come. Miracles don’t take place in dirty containers.
And Jesus’ very first miracle would not be in the wilderness to supply His own needs. He certainly had plenty of needs when He was in the desert starving, didn’t He? But He did not perform a miracle for Himself. His very first miracle is to perform something to supply a luxury. Did they need juice? They had already drunk juice. They didn’t really need it. They could have had water, but He worked a miracle to perform a luxury. That’s amazing. Jesus wants us to have what He never had. Your mother’s like that, your dad. They want you to have, as children, what they never had, and that’s just what Jesus wants you to have.
Look at verse 7. "Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’; so they filled them to’ what? They filled them to the very brim. Do you know what the brim of a big 30 gallon jug is? That’s the mouth of it, the opening. Right up to the brim. Why would that be? They filled the jars to the brim. That’s amazing. In other words, nothing else but water could be in there. If Jesus added anything, they would overflow, so He didn’t add anything, He just performed a miracle with what was there. That was proof that He didn’t add some special powder, or some special something. God always gives to overflowing. His blessings flow forth in generous amounts, and He told them, “Now draw out some and take it to the master of the banquet."
He performed His first miracle, and yet who did all the work? The servants did the work. They, it says, filled the jars. They drew out some wine. They delivered it to the wedding. They put it on the tables. The work was human, but the result was divine. Miracles require human cooperation. If you expect a miracle in your life, is God going to do it and you just sit back here and do nothing? We have to do our part. Somehow there’s an old thing that says ‘The Lord helps those that help themselves.’ I think we do need to do our part.
Now what is the water a symbol of? Well, Jesus Himself and His word, I would suppose. That’s what Jesus said. “I am the Water of Life.” “The words of this Book are the water of life.” The miracle started with water that was placed down inside of the dark, clay container. In the darkness is where this miracle took place. And that’s very similar to creation. He moved upon the face of the deep. It was dark. Darkness was over the face of the deep. Jesus created the vine which takes water out of the ground and makes it into grapes from which we obtain grape juice. Now that’s a miracle. What happens in your grape vineyard is no less a miracle. Just a miracle. What Jesus did was speeding up what the grapevine normally did. But Jesus can do that. Now I don’t know how that ugly vine can do that, but here Jesus speeds up the process. He does the work of the vine. And in fact, Jesus is the Vine, so we would expect grape juice to come from Jesus, wouldn’t we?
And what was the pot made out of? Aluminum? It was made of clay. That’s what they made their pots out of, and what was Adam made of? Adam was made of clay. He was made of the dust of the earth, and we’re all made from the clay of the earth, and Jesus wants to fill us with His miracle. Right? Even though we humans are poor and weak, we are earthen vessels, Jesus can use us to accomplish His mission. We are valuable in His hands.
Now the wine was actually pure, tasty, grape juice. I don’t think it was fermented wine. I don’t think it was alcoholic at all. I think it’s like the drink that we will drink new when we drink it with Jesus in the kingdom of God. It was the pure juice of the grape, and this wine represented the blood of Jesus Christ, and His blood would be pure. It wouldn’t be fermented like the fermentation process of making wine. The wine was a symbol of Jesus’ shed blood, and this is the fountain of every blessing that we have.
Now notice that the precious blood of God's Son must be poured out before it can benefit. Did that grape juice benefit anybody while it was still in those containers? You’ve got to pour it out before it can be of any benefit to anybody, and God’s Son must be poured out before He can be of a benefit to us. His blood had to be poured out. The first day of Jesus’ ministry pointed to the last day when He would pour out His blood for all of humanity. Jesus’ ministry begins just as it ended. Jesus’ ministry began, He drank the cup, and Jesus’ ministry ended, He drank the cup. He said, “I don’t want to drink this cup,” but He did. He drank it. The same way. At the beginning and at the end.
John 2, verse 9. Let’s continue our story here. "The master of the banquet tasted the water,” and his eyebrows went up. He thought, “Wow! This is something.” And “the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew."
Who knew? The servants. The servants knew. To know Jesus you’ve got to come near to Jesus, follow Jesus, and be a servant. Servants know more. Right? Those Christians who are willing to perform the humblest service are the ones that are the closest to Him, and who know Him and know what’s going on. The humble shepherds, they’re the shepherds, the servants are the ones who knew that Jesus had been born. The people up in the big hotels didn’t know, but the servants knew. They knew. The servants are in the know.
Amos, chapter 3, verse 7. "Surely God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto” who? “Unto His servants.” The servants are in the know. The ruler didn’t know what had happened, but the servants did.
The miracle had taken place and Jesus was beginning His ministry. All heaven rejoiced as Jesus embarked on the course that would actually secure salvation for people in McDonald Road. People that are listening to this sermon. Wherever you are, Jesus began the very work of salvation at that moment, and Jesus sure changed the value of water that day, didn’t He? I doubt if you could buy juice like that in all of Palestine. I think it was more than just ordinary tasting grape juice. I think it tasted really special. Maybe like the juice we will drink when we get to heaven. It was valuable water.
And you know, value is determined by what somebody is willing to pay for something. Let's say that I go down to the friendly used car dealer and he’s asking 35 hundred dollars for the car, and I offer him 3 thousand and he takes it. That means that he thinks the value is more what I thought it was, right? They’ve got an auction program on television. They discover all these doodads in peoples attics, you know, and they say, “well, that’s worth 25 thousand dollars.” I think all the stuff in my attic is worthless. It probably needs to go to the junk.
But, some things are valuable. Why are they valuable? Well, we are very valuable. Are we valuable? Are you valuable? What is our value? Now God has not retired, like Bill Gates did this week. God is still in business, and our value, in God’s sight, is pretty high. To Him, He has all the money in the world, money is no object. And to redeem us He could offer a sack of chicken feed or a scoop of coal. But what did God offer? What did God pay for us? He gave His Son to die for us. That tells us how valuable we are. This extremely high price tag is a true indicator of our worth.
I start out as worthless as water, but Jesus comes and takes up residence in my heart, and instantly I become something of great value. You know, auctions never cease to amaze me. If a famous person brushed his teeth with this toothbrush, somebody might give 5 thousand dollars for a toothbrush. Isn’t that the stupidest thing in the world? Would you do that? People, they’re always doing that at these crazy auctions.
I will tell you that our great value is because we belong to a great Person. Jesus has paid for us with His precious blood. That’s why we’re valuable.
John 2, verse 10. It says this. "Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."
Think about that. God saves His best till the last. The devil gives his best at the first. God saves His best till the last. Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 25 says, we "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season". Then it all is gone. The devil offers his first. Jesus offers His last. Heaven is the true blessing, isn’t it? There are many blessings now, but heaven is the ultimate blessing. God saves His best till the last.
The children of Israel had to go through the desert heat before they entered the promised land. The best was at the last. The cross comes before the crown. Proverbs, chapter 4, verse 18. "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." It gets better and better. The best is yet to be!
Dear friends, sooner or later, in your life, the wine is going to run out. It’s going to happen. You’re going to run out of wine. The wine of this old world is going to run out. Your health will leave you. Your money will be gone. Your friends will die. Something’s going to happen, it’s going to happen to you. It’s going to happen. None of us is immune. Your life will come crashing down. You’ll lose your job. Something is going to happen.
The prodigal son soon found himself without money. His billfold was empty, and when the money ran out, his friends ran out. The world will let you down sooner or later. The wine will run out.
Only Jesus can give you lasting joy, and Jesus stands today ready to ”give you beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Isaiah 61, verse 3.
Now notice what Jesus charged for these 6 barrels of heavenly drink. What did He charge for His service there that day? Could anybody have afforded it? It was free. It was free. Completely, totally, free of charge. This was a symbol of His blood, which tells me that His blood is free of any and all charges to me. He had to pay, with His life, but it’s free to me, and who was invited to drink of it? Whosoever came to the wedding, and we’re all invited to that. Our salvation is completely free. All we have to do is come to Jesus, and ask Jesus to save us, and at that moment, His precious blood will blot out your sins and give you new power and perform a miracle in your life.
You know, I’m like that empty, cold, stone vessel. I’m lifeless without the water of life in me. About the only thing that can be in me is a stinging scorpion. Did you ever put your foot in your shoe and gotten stung by a scorpion? We aren’t worth much. My sinful life can only be regenerated by an in-filling of the Water of Life, and the miracle of Jesus. But only as I am empty of self can Jesus fill my heart. So put self on the altar.
Are you thirsty for real life? Come to Jesus. He’ll fill you. He’ll make your life beautiful. He’ll make your life tasty. Come and drink ye all of it, all the salvation that Jesus freely gives to us. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
If you need a miracle in your life you keep coming. We’re going to examine quite a few of the major miracles of Jesus’ ministry, and if you need a miracle in your life, you keep coming.
Next week, Elder Paul Carlson will be examining John, chapter 5, the first 15 verses. Attend each of these Sabbaths about the miracles of Jesus, and ask that this same Jesus that performed the miracles in these days of old, will also perform a miracle in your life, and I believe that He will.
Hymn of Praise: #619 Lead On O King Eternal Scripture: John 2:7-10 Hymn of Response: #248 O, How I Love Jesus
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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 7/5/08