Thursday, August 5, 2010

Water Into Wine

Today I want to look at the miracle where Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana. I believe that this was one of Jesus most significant miracles in showing he was the messiah, and was also important that it was the first miracle he preformed as it set the tone for the change his ministry would bring about in the way people viewed and served God.

John 2: 1-10
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."

"Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come."

His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted 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. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10and 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."

This story is absolutely loaded with symbols that point to Jesus being the messiah.

He said to his mother – “My time has not yet come”. An Aramaic commentary on the gospel of John explained that Jesus was saying – “This is not the wedding I came for". He was referring to the wedding between Christ and his bride that is still to come. He was saying to his mother that there was going to be another wedding, another feast, and that wedding is the one he had come for, not this one.

Notice that Jesus made over 100 gallons of wine, possibly 160 gallons of the very best wine possible (The MC noticed it was better than the best, which he thought had already been served, and undoubtedly it had). That is a lot of wine.
In Amos, Joel, and many other books of the Bible the prophets say things about the day of the Lord that involve wine.

Joel 2:18 - the mountains will drip with New Wine…

Amos 9:13 – New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from the hills.

Jesus is associated with abundance and wine, in fact he becomes known as a drunkard and a glutton by the Pharisees later on in his ministry. His is a ministry of joy and abundance, not lack like many like to believe.

The most important factor of this miracle is that it changed the administration of how things were done in relation to God.
The water that Jesus used to turn into wine from from the jars used for Jewish rites of purification.
“In the Jewish Bible and other Jewish texts, immersion in water for ritual purification was established for restoration to a condition of "ritual purity" in specific circumstances. For example, Jews who became ritually defiled by contact with a corpse had to use the mikvah before being allowed to participate in the Holy Temple. Immersion is required for converts to Judaism as part of their conversion. Immersion in the mikvah represents a change in status in regards to purification, restoration, and qualification for full religious participation in the life of the community, ensuring that the cleansed person will not impose uncleanness on property or its owners.”

The law was concerned with the external life of the person. There were many times when the Pharisees confronted Jesus because he or his disciples did not wash their hands before eating.

Mark 7: 1-8
The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were "unclean," that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?"

He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: 

" 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."

Luke 11: 37-41

When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee, noticing that Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised.

Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.

Water is applied to wash externally, wine is always internal.
Interesting that the last of the prophets was John the Baptist who baptized people for the repentance of sins.
Jesus came, and with this miracle symbolized that no longer will our external works or religious functions and traditions make us clean before God. He is saying that we should apply the new wine – the holy spirit that was poured out- to the inside of our lives our hearts, and live changed from the inside out.
21 generations before this miracle occurred the lord said to the prophet Samuel -
The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

The turning of the water into wine showed us two important things about the nature of Jesus.

Firstly that he is far more concerned with our heart and our motivations than our acts of service. Proverbs says that as a man thinks in his heart so is He. Much of Matthew 5 6 and 7 is Jesus saying that if you desire sin, you have already sinned in your heart. We must guard our heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
So what is in our heart flows out. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. We must make sure our heart is full of good things. The best things. The best wine was saved till last, the wine of the Holy Spirit poured out to fill us. Lets always be fully filled with the new wine, the best wine.

Secondly it shows us that our God is a good God, who is not stingy. He never holds back. He always gives his best, and in abundance. He gave over 700 liters of wine. He gave his first-born son for us. He never holds back, and through him we can live in abundance all the days of our lives.