THE BEGINNING OF HIS SIGNSSeries: The Glory of Christ
THE BEGINNING OF HIS SIGNS
Pt.7 - “The Glory Of Christ”
Sermon Outline By Terry Siverd
Cortland Church of Christ / March 08, 2015
This morning’s sermon comes from 4 4 the text of John 2:1-11.
I think that both beginners and long-time students of the Bible are aware of the fact that John’s Gospel is different.
The gospel accounts recorded by Matthew, Mark and Luke have a similar approach to the life of Jesus.
This is why they are often referred to as the synoptic gospels - - meaning “to see together”.
John approaches the life of Christ from a different perspective.
The text that provides a kind of thesis statement for John’s Gospel is found in Jn.20:30-31.
Many other signs therefore Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written
in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
The apostle John is rather selective in the biographical material he chooses to highlight.
His gospel ends in Jn.21:25 with this statement
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail,
I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the book which were written.
Of all the miracles Jesus performed, John focuses on SEVEN.
In Jewish thought, the number “7” connotes the idea of completeness.
John also authored The Book Of Revelation and it is full of “sevens”.
John employs the word SIGN rather than miracle. He uses this word 17 times in his gospel.
While these two words (signs & miracles) are often used interchangeably, the word sign points to a deeper meaning.
Signs were meant to signify something profound.
The etymology of the word “sign” and the word “significant” is interconnected.
SIGNS are SIGN-IFICANT.
This morning we want to look at the first miracle (the first sign) that Jesus offered.
As vs.11 concludes, the signs that Jesus “performed” (presented) serve to manifest or REVEAL HIS GLORY.
All of the seven signs that John highlights are immersed in individual stories (true stories from the life & teaching of Jesus).
Each sign flows from a real incident and each sign reveals something about Jesus as4 “the great I AM.”
Sometimes this revelation is implied and sometimes it is an outright declaration.
? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Chapter 2 – turning water into wine – Jn.2:1-11
Chapter 4 – healing of the officier’s son – Jn.4:46-54
Chapter 5 – the healing of the crippled man – Jn.5:1-17
Chapter 6a – feeding of the 5,000 / I am the bread of life – Jn.6:35
Chapter 6b – walking on water – Jn.6:15-25
Chapter 9 – healing of the man born blind / I am the light of the world – Jn.9:5
Chapter 11 – raising of Lazarus from the dead / I am the resurrection and the life – Jn.11:25
} Read the text of Jn.2:1-11 |
This story begins on the third day (I.e., two days after the “calling” of Nathaniel).
Nathaniel was from Cana of Galilee (Jn.21:2) which might give a hint at a connection to their wedding invitation.
Another (key) connection might be that Jesus’ mother was also in attendance - - - Cana was 8-10mi. NE of Nazareth.
Since Mary seems to have had a role in helping with the details, perhaps it was the wedding of a friend or relative.
So Jesus and His disciples go to the wedding feast.
Among His disciples were Philip & Nathanael and Andrew & Peter, and perhaps others not named in the text.
Notwithstanding Jesus’ 40-day fast in the wilderness, Jesus was not an ascetic.
He was not a hermit or a recluse. He was not anti-social.
In fact, just the contrary. Mt.11:19 states4 “The Son of man came eating and drinking”
This is not to say that there were not many occasions when Jesus would pull away for some “quiet time with God”.
Sometimes Jesus sought “seclusion” and “solitude”, but as a general rule, Jesus mingled with society.
Jesus was a PEOPLE PERSON who seems to have delighted in the company of others.
Wedding festivals in the ancient middle-east were protracted events - - lasting about a week or so.
Sometime after Jesus and His disciple arrived (perhaps immediately so), Mary tells Jesus that a problem has arisen.
Those of you who have planned weddings realize first hand that it’s not unusual for “the wedding invitation list”
to swell or balloon - - you might have initially planned for a 100 and all of a sudden it looks like 200.
In Ancient cultures weddings were really big deals - - celebratory events that attracted lots of attendees.
The problem was 4 4 they had run short of wine.
At this juncture I want to say a little about wine in particular and alcoholic beverages in general.
Clean drinking water was a somewhat rare commodity in the ancient days.
The drinking of wine was used to help avoid the dysentery that could come from consuming impure water.
Furthermore, much of the wine that produced and consumed in the first-century was a watered-down concoction
and not nearly as potent as the wine and other liquors that are consumed nowadays.
One scholar notes that it would take 22 glasses of the typical NT sweet wine to equal the alcohol in two martinis today.
Cf. “A Christian Perspective On Wine-Drinking in BibliothecaSacra, January-March, 1982, pgs.46-56)
In 1Tim.5:23, Paul gave the young preacher Timothy this directive 7
“No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”
Drunkeness was sinful then and remains so now for the Christian.
“Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation…” (Eph.5:18).
These words were written by the same apostle Paul to the church in Ephesus where Timothy labored.
In 1Tim.3:3, Paul notes one qualification for serving as a church leader is that a man not be addicted to much wine.
For the most part, we don’t have drinking water issues in our culture.
And we can see all around us many of the bad side-effects of alcohol beverages.
Very few of our families have not been negatively impacted by alcohol abuse.
Prov.6:27 warns against lustful sexual behavior saying, “Can a man take fire in his bosom…and no be burned.”
Now, I’m not Solomon, but I’d like to offer this proverb 4 “Can a man take firewater in his bosom and not be burned?”.
It’s sad that we have to digress to address this point,
but unfortunately many read this story in Jn.2 and interpret it as green light for social drinking.
Now, let’s return to our main story.
¡ Mary presented the problem to Jesus.
There is no mention of Joseph. Tradition says that he died at an early age.
This might explain, in part, why Jesus remained at home till the age of thirty.
Jesus very likely took over his father’s carpentry business.
We know Jesus was “a carpenter’s son” (Mt.13:55). Others also referred to Jesus as “the carpenter” (Mk.6:3).
¡ Vs.4 records Jesus’ initial response: “Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour is not yet come.”
While this sounds a bit harsh to our ears, it is likely that this is one of those “lost in translation” kind of statements.
Jesus’ response does contain a mild rebuke.
Jesus was laboring under God’s clock, not His mother’s.
Vs.5 depicts an upbeat Mary - - confident that Jesus will do something to help fix the problem.
¡ We don’t have time to explore all of the intricacies of this expression, “My Hour is not yet come”.
For the most part this is a Johannine literary device (appearing almost exclusively in John’s gospel).
cf. Jn.2:4b; 4:21 & 23; 5:28; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23 & 27; 13:1; 16:25 & 32; 17:1
¡ Jesus follows up on this mild rebuke of His mother by remedying the problem - - turning water into wine.
But what is important to notice is that this is done in a private and low-profile kind of way.
The expression, “My hour is not yet come”, can be thought of in the same way as “the Messianic secret”: stories in Mark’s gospel where Jesus does a good deed or miracle and yet He directs others to tell no one. cf. Mk.5:43 & Mk.7:36
¡ Jesus directs the servants to fill the pots/vats with water - - these were typically used for Jewish purification ceremonies.
Vs.6 notes there were 6 stone waterpots each holding 20-30 gallons.
Vss.7& 8 - Jesus tells the servants to fill them to the brim … and to take a sample to the headwaiter.
Vss.9 & 10 - The headwaiter raved about the quality of the good wine and makes haste to commend the bridegroom.
? ? If there was every such a thing as a modest miracle, this was it. ? ?
Here we have a marvelous, miraculous deed done in a quiet corner of a small village called Cana.
¡ But John notes (vs.11) that His disciples witnessed this event which revealed the GLORY of Jesus & they believed in Him!
Jesus would continue to use “the power of restraint” (see today’s FamilyMatters Essay) over and over the next three years.
Slowly but surely The Deity of Christ would become apparent to all who looked with open hearts and minds.
In a heart-breaking, yet joyful way (joyful because it would bring our salvation), it would be the
culmination of His mighty deeds and amazing words that would bring Him to “HIS HOUR”.
Jn.17:1 / “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee…”
John’s Gospel contains A REAL TWIST OF IRONY.
The first miracle Jesus performed in His ministry brings forth the new / “sweet” wine for the wedding feast.
However, as Jn.19:28-30 records, Jesus’ mission as the Messiah - - in the model and mode of
the suffering servant - - comes to a close with Jesus being offered “bitter” wine at His crucifixion.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I am thirsty’. A jar full of sour wine was standing there;
so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop, and brought it up to His mouth.
When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’.
And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.