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Jesus the Winemaker (John 2:1-12)

March 7, 2021 Speaker: Bryce Morgan Series: John and the Seven Signs of Jesus

Topic: One Lord: No One Like You Passage: John 2:1–2:12

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I. A Job Description

See if you can guess the vocation. The job description may go something like this:

A [blank], also known as an enologist or vintner, oversees the entire production process of making [blank], including harvesting, crushing, fermentation, aging, blending and bottling. They combine scientific concepts with practical experience to alter a [blank's] chemical composition and make key decisions based on the levels of acid, sugar, sulfur and sulfite.

Who is being described here? A winemaker. This morning, God wants us to consider the most incredible winemaker in all of human history, and how that winemaker can radically change your life. Turn if you would to the Gospel of John, chapter 2. We are resuming our study of John's Gospel exactly where we left off.

 

II. The Passage: “Now Become Wine” (2:1-10)

I'd like to look at verses 1-12 this morning. But if we focus first on verses 1-10, I suggest we think about breaking that passage down like this: we read (in verses 1-5) about an unexpected hitch, then in verses 6-8 about unspectacular miracle-working, and finally in verses 9-10 about unbiased confirmation. Let's take a look at each of those sections.


1. Unexpected Hitch (2:1-5)


First, we read about an unexpected hitch:

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.”

Cana was about eight miles north, northeast of Nazareth. Interestingly, according to John 21:2, Nathanael is said to be from Cana of Galilee. If you recall, Nathanael is actually the last disciple mentioned in chapter 1. In the other Gospels, he's probably referred to as Bartholomew, that is, Nathanel, 'son of Tolomai'. Whether it was Nathanael or Mary, the mother of Jesus, who had some connection to the bride or groom or one of their families, that part isn't clear. However it happened, an invitation was extended to Jesus and those who had followed him as disciples.

As we see in verse 1, this wedding is said to have taken place on “the third day”.

Is that a symbolic reference to Easter; to the resurrection of Jesus? I'm not sure about that. I think if we simply take it at face value in the context, it simply means “on the third day” after Jesus (in 1:43) set out to travel from Judea to Galilee.

So what happened on that third day? As we read, a wedding. Why is that important? Well, we know the 'getting hitched' part thankfully went off 'without a hitch', but unfortunately the reception did not. This joyful gathering had run out of wine, and the mother of Jesus was concerned about the families being humiliated. So what does she do? She turns to Jesus. Now, it isn't exactly clear what she expected Jesus to do, but the response of Jesus is telling.

He connects her request with his “hour” (“my hour has not yet come”). This is a phrase we find in subsequent chapters. For example, he similarly tells his half-brothers in 7:6, “my time has not yet come”. Later in that same chapter we read that the Jewish leaders could not arrest Jesus because “his hour had not yet come” (7:30). The same is said about a later attempt in 8:20. But when we arrive at 12:23, Jesus triumphantly declares “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” That's right after what we call his 'triumphal entry' into Jerusalem.

So, based on the context (from chapter 12 onward) it's clear that Jesus' hour is fulfilled in his death and resurrection. But what does that have to do with this request for wine at a wedding in Cana? I think the connection is the public setting and what seems to be a request, by Mary, for some kind of public and miraculous intervention. So even though Jesus does intervene in an amazing way, he first makes it clear that a lack of wine at a wedding reception is not really a messianic priority, AND, he's not interested in a showy or attention-getting intervention.

 

2. Unspectacular Miracle-working (2:6-8)a

That brings us to the following account of what could be described as unspectacular miracle-working by Jesus. What do I mean? Well, look with me at verse 6-8...

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.

Did you see it there? Did you hear how John described this miracle of Jesus, the man Nathanael of Cana had confessed as “the Son of God” in 1:49? He described the spectacular in an extremely unspectacular way. Why? Because what Jesus did was unspectacular on the surface: he simply had the servants fill up the large, stone jars with water, and then, take the contents to the master of ceremonies. So what exactly was this spectacular intervention?

 

3. Unbiased Confirmation (2:9-10)

Let's look together at verses 9 and 10:

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.”

The spectacular miracle is described by John (almost in passing) in verse 9: “the water now become wine”. Wow! And look at how this master of ceremonies, without even knowing it, confirms that a true transformation had taken place. There is no trickery here. Jesus had not slipped a little wine into the water to produce some kind of watered-down imitation. No. What Jesus created was acknowledge by this “master of the feast” to be the “good wine”, the best of your supply; what you would normally serve early on.

Again, notice that John makes sure the reader understands that this man did NOT know where the wine came from. But the writer also emphasizes that the servants who filled the jars did recognize what had happened. We aren't told about the reactions/responses of those servants, but they did know about Mary's request, Jesus' instructions, and they water they had used.

 

III. Transformation as Revelation (vs. 11-12)

So what are we to make of this story? What would John want us to take away from this account? Well, notice the final two verses of this passage, verses 11 and 12. Verse 12 is simply a transitional verse emphasizing the fact that Jesus stayed in Galilee, but in the city of Capernaum: After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.

he most important verse in this whole passage is the only verse I haven't read. Verse 11:

This [turning water to wine], the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

As we've talked about in the very first message in this series, this book we call the Gospel of John is a book that could also be entitled, “The Seven Signs of Jesus”. And as we just read in verse 11, this miracle in Cana was “the first of his signs”. Notice what the sign accomplished. Yes, it kept the wedding feast on track and helped the families save face. But even more important than filling stomachs, according to verse 11, this miracle revealed glory. Who's glory? “His glory”. The glory of Jesus.

And as a result, look at that final phrase in verse 11: “And his disciples believed in him.” Now wait a minute. I thought his disciples already believed in Him. Why did they follow Him if they didn't believe in him? What about the confessions of chapter 1? I think what John is emphasizing here is that the understanding and the faith of these disciples was deepened here.

How? Why? Because they saw what Jesus did. And they recognized through this first sign that Jesus was indeed God's agent of creation. One of the disciples mentioned in verse 11 was John, who in all likelihood, was the author of this Gospel. Do you remember what John told us in verse 3 of chapter 1. Look back to 1:3:

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

That's what John taught us about the One he calls “the Word” in verse 1. He was God's agent of creation and “all things were made through him”. But also remember what we learn in verse 14 of chapter 1: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

That brothers and sisters, that friends, was the same glory Jesus manifested at the wedding at Cana: and [He] manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. God the Son, the Word, through whom the water and sun were made, through whom the seed and soil were made, through whom the vine and the grape were made, through whom came the process of fermentation, this same One, now dwelling in flesh, displayed that same 'creation glory' by (this time) instantly transforming that water into wine.

Jesus is not only the Word, the God who called into being what wasn't. He is also the Winemaker; the God who still transforms what is. Do you know Him in this way? Do you trust Him as such? To trust in Jesus the Winemaker is to trust that the incarnate Word still accomplishes miraculous transformations in our times of need. This is who and this is what this passage is revealing. Has this glory been manifested to you... even this morning?

Sometimes we are afraid of change. We don't like it. We don't want it. Even when there's the possibility things could be better, we stick with what we know. But at other times, all we seek is change. A change of scenery. A change of luck. A change of careers. A change of circum-stances. A change of partners. However you feel this morning, God is calling you to trust him, not simply for change, but even better... for transformation. Change is about swapping or replacing. Transformation is about becoming.

Remember, the Word was the Father's agent of creation. What is he creating or re-creating in your life? In what ways do you long for his transformative power? Please hear me: the One who turned water to wine can also turn...

Your fears... to faith.

Your pain... to purpose.

Your disappointments... to dependence.

Your road blocks... to rest.

Your trials... to testimony.

Your want... to witness.

Your barrenness... to bounty.

Your lack... to opportunity.

Your weakness... to strength.

Your mistakes... to milestone moments.

Your earthly illness... to eternal impact.

Your burned bridges... to healing and wholeness.

Your ordinary life... to an extraordinary channel.

Do you remember the Apostle's goal with this book? John wants to feed our faith with a sound and profound vision of Jesus. Has he done that this morning? All of us need Jesus the Winemaker, don't we? Will you trust him today as God's agent of both creation and re-creation? What do you want him to... not change... but transform?

Because His hour did come, because of the cross, and his resurrection (also “on the third day”) that greatest of all transformations can take place. Think about it: the all-too-common 'water' of a hardened heart, by His power, can be trans-formed into the eternal 'wine' of a soft heart; a soul remade; a redeemed guest not at the wedding John described in Cana, but at the wedding John described in Revelation 19:9: And the angel said to me, “...Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Which Lamb? John 1:29... The “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” Let's look to Him this morning with eyes of faith informed by the word!

 

 

 

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You Cannot Birth Yourself (John 3:1-15)

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