A wedding is one of the most joyous occasions of the human experience. I've performed more weddings than I could count.
When I first asked Kimberly's dad for her hand in marriage he threatened that if I went through with it he'd find a way to have me locked up in prison for 25 years. If he had followed through on his threat, a couple years ago I would have been a free man!
In Bible days a wedding was a 7 day feast with plenty of food and drink. But on this day the host ran out of wine, and was about to be publicly embarrassed.
The total number of miracles recorded in all 4 gospels: 36. Only 7 of them are in John's gospel. The reason? John selected these 7 for a specific purpose, in order to prove something to the readers.
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
The goal of these miracles is to prove that Jesus is who He claimed to be. Does this miracle accomplish that?
v. 11 There is a message behind these miracles. Jesus didn't change water to wine just to help out the host. [heal cripple solely to relieve his suffering / raise Lazarus to ease his sibling's grief]
John is showing us that what Jesus can do in the physical realm of nature, He can accomplish in a greater way in the spiritual realm of the soul. It was a truly great miracle when He created the universe...but a far greater one when He created a new heart in you and me! It's the greatest of all miracles.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Compare this first miracle of Jesus to the first miracle of Moses in Exodus, as he demanded that Pharaoh let his people go. He smote the Nile with his rod and it turned to blood. It was a miracle of judgment...Jesus' miracle was a miracle of joy. [misery/mercy]
1:17 The law brought condemnation, and grace brings salvation.
Compare this first miracle of Jesus with His last. This first was a wedding...His last, a funeral. So in the gladdest hour of your life [wedding] you need Jesus, and in the saddest hour of your life [funeral] you need Jesus. From the beginning of life to the end we need Jesus.
Some only come to church for those big events: Birth/Wedding/Funeral
When we're hatched, when we're matched, and when we're dispatched!
1. The Place of the Miracle.
a. A Humble Place.
v. 1 Cana is 9 miles NE of Nazareth, where Christ was from. It was a small humble place where Christ chose to work His first miracle. [think Ruggles]
ill.--when candidates announce they are running for office, they do it in a special place. We were right down the way back in 2006 when Obama announced over in Springfield in front of the capitol building where Abraham Lincoln once served. On that day he rolled over in his grave, also right down the street!
And everyone remembers Trump riding the escalator down from his lofty tower.
You'd think Jesus would work His first miracle, proving He is God, in imperial Rome, or intellectual Alexandria, or religious Jerusalem. But He chose Cana. And things don't have to be BIG to be important.
10 For who hath despised the day of small things?
Little is much when God is in it!
The average church today is 60 people. So we’re above average. But our church is considered small compared to today's mega churches. Point is, a church is LARGE in the eyes of God if it preaches the gospel. And your service in the church doesn't have to be big in man's eyes to be big in the eyes of God. You may work behind the scenes. If you do it for God's glory He smiles on that more than a person in the spotlight doing it for their self.
b. A Happy Place.
v. 1 A wedding is a happy time. Jesus went to support the happy couple, and to work a miracle, not for someone who was hurting, but someone who was already happy. No one needed healing, and this water didn't need walked on. I’m glad my God isn’t just the One to Whom I can turn in the valleys…but my friend with Whom I can walk on the mountaintops!
c. A Holy Place.
Jesus being invited to the wedding turned a humble place into a holy place! I hope Jesus has been invited to your marriage! [wedding policy]
ill.--one pastor had a unique opening line on visitation..."Does Jesus live here?" I hope you could answer, yes!
2. The Plea of His Mother.
vv. 3-5 Running out of wine was not only a public embarrassment, but it was against the law in that culture, and could be penalized by a fine!
And so, Mary makes this plea to her son, Jesus. It's an implied request. She wants Jesus to fix this. I don't believe she is thinking 'miracle' here, for He has never worked one. She is just asking Him to help. She had come to trust Him. I believe Joseph has already passed away at this point, and Jesus has been Mary's Rock...quite literally!
Let's spiritualize this for a moment: When we have a need in life, we should do what Mary did--turn to Jesus!
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
In God we trust! There’s much for which we can be thankful in our nation today, and how blessed we are. But be careful who gets the credit. We would never say, 'In Trump we trust.' So why do we act like it?
Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord!
When we talk about trusting God to meet our needs, we're talking about a fountain that will never run dry...a bank that will never fail...and He that puts great care into clothing the fields of the earth and feeding the sparrows is not gonna let us down!
Friends may let you down, banks may fail, stock prices may plummet...but my God will supply all your needs if you look to Him!
a. Turn to Jesus for financial needs.
God has promised to meet our needs.
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
God has promised to meet our needs...not our greeds. If we live selfishly, we may suffer lack. Giving is the opposite of selfishness, and God promises to give us back more than we can give to Him! Now, will God allow us to live in a debtor's prison of our own making? For a time, yes, but He wants to help us out of that as well...it's one of our needs, and he loves it when we trust in Him and look to Him to meet those needs!
God expects us to act responsibly, and just as He is concerned with the 10% He commands us to return to Him, it is just as important to our Lord how we manage the other 90% over which He has made us managers. [Dave Ramsey course]
5 Financial Principles:
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. [Proverbs calls it the firstfruits…first item in the budget!]
The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.
Too many people are itching for things they aren't willing to scratch for.
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Ill.—imagine a coin jar with a narrow mouth. You can barely get your hand in…but then if you grab some money you can’t get your hand back out.
We can handle our finances with an open hand or a clinched fist. God blesses the open hand of generosity!
23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?
You ought to know where you are at financially. You need a budget. Some are so over their heads today they don't even open bills anymore! They don't know exactly how bad it is, and they have no real plan to take care of it.
Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.
Today's 'prosperity' preachers have warped the word. God's purpose for prosperity is not for you to live a lavish lifestyle. Rather, it is for you to have more so that you can wisely use that for things of eternal benefit...like building the kingdom of the God who created you, redeemed you, takes care of you, and has commissioned you to win souls until He brings you to His heavenly home in which you will live in a mansion beyond imagination forever!
We aren’t to be building our paradise here…paradise is someday in heaven.
God wants you to have enough to live and to give. If you find yourself not able to do both of those things, something is wrong.
But where is your sufficiency? If you are trusting in your bank account or investments rather than in God, your faith is misplaced.
1 Timothy 6:17
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
Money talks. Mine says, 'bye bye!'
Our trust should not be in our provisions...but in our Provider!
a. Turn to Jesus for financial needs.
b. Turn to Jesus for emotional needs.
Your heart may sometimes feel like a raging storm...filled with anxiety. God doesn't want us to remain in turmoil at all times. He's the peace speaker who calms the storm!
[explain 3 part being: body, soul, spirit -- some problems may be physical, psychological, or spiritual in nature, and each affects the others...they are all connected.] And whatever it is, God will supply all your needs!
c. Turn to Jesus for spiritual needs.
His mercies are new every morning. And if we confess our sin, He is faithful to forgive. Our greatest need is forgiveness of sins. At salvation we get just that...a once and for all - all over bath. But then daily we need a foot washing as we walk thru this sin cursed earth, and sometimes make bad choices ourselves.
ill.--farmer walking down road w/ big sack of potatoes on his shoulder / sweat pouring / a friend pulled up and offer him a ride / "thanks, these potatoes are heavy" / he climbed into his friend’s truck but kept the potatoes on his shoulder / friend said, put those down on the floorboard / "No sir, I won't do it...it's enough that you'd carry me to town, I'm not gonna ask you to carry these taters!"
Jesus wants to remove it all from your shoulders! Don't try to carry spiritual burdens that God wants to carry for you!
Perhaps no emotion is more damaging than guilt.
Jesus frees from the penalty of sin, hell.
...the power of sin, addiction.
...the presence of sin someday in heaven.
...but also from the plague of sin, which is guilt...a cancer that eats away at the inside of man.
You've committed some heinous sins in your past, you asked God to forgive you, and He DID, and now you need to forgive yourself! Stop carrying that baggage around!
Once you've asked God to forgive you it is under the blood, cast as far as east is from west. Accept the forgiveness!
We'll look at the actual miracle next time...
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