Glory Revealed

Glory Revealed

Jesus provides salvation, security, abundant joy, and new life that lasts forever.

Thank you so much for that worship – wonderful, wonderful songs this morning. The hymns, the choir, the band is always wonderful. I love worshiping together. It’s one of the most important things we can do when we gather as a congregation is to sing and shout and just glorify the Lord. So, thank you again for all of you worshipping, and we’ll continue to worship as we open our Bibles to John, chapter 2.

We started back in January. It’s close to the middle of March and we’re just in chapter 2, so we’ll spend a couple weeks in Chapter 2. We’re just trekking right along with this idea of come and see. John, the author of this book, is presenting to us Jesus from his perspective, and he’s giving us some things that are not given to us in the other Gospels.

But remember, the purpose of the book is so that we would believe. And John is presenting us with a picture of the Messiah, and his book is surrounded by 7-8 miracles that set the theme of the whole book as you read through it, and it’s interesting, John never uses the word “miracles.” He says “signs.” It’s not that he’s diminishing miracles; he absolutely believes these are miracles, but he says these are signs so that you would believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that by believing, you would have eternal life.

We were introduced to Who Jesus was in the first 18 verses. We then saw the testimony of John the Baptist. Here is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. Because of that presentation of truth, Andrew and an unnamed disciple, most likely the author of the book, John decided to follow Jesus around.

And then Jesus notices them and invites them to come and see. We see Andrew invite his brother Simon Peter to come and see Jesus.  We see Jesus invite Phillip to come follow Me, and then Phillip finds Nathanael and Phillip says Nathanael, you need to come and see Jesus. Remember that Nathanael is the guy who said what good can come from Nazareth, and I made a joke about Central Cabarrus? Sorry! I didn’t know there were that many people from Central Cabarrus. And apparently, I forgot one. Somebody grabbed me this morning and said you were supposed to say nothing good comes from Mount Pleasant. There you go!

But yeah, but that was an initial reaction of Nathanael. Who’s this guy?  The Messiah is not coming out of Nazareth! And then Phillip says, come and see. And I love how chapter one ends, because it perfectly sets up what’s happening. If you look back at chapter one, starting in verse 50, Jesus says, “Do you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree?” And then Jesus says, “You will see greater things than this. Truly I tell you. You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Jesus says Nathanael, you guys, you five guys, you come and see, and you’re going to experience something that’s going to change your lives forever, and it’s an invitation that’s extended to all of us today is that we are invited to come and see.

So, if you remember also back to last week, they begin this journey from Bethany. It’s not Bethany that’s down near Jerusalem. It’s probably a village on the east side of the Jordan River, up in the north part. If you see those maps in the back of your Bible, that’s not going to be labeled, but it’s up in the north because just keep in mind you’ve got Bethany, you’ve got Capernaum, you’ve got Nazareth, you’ve got Canaan, and all of Jesus’s early ministry is starting up in this area, so they’ve left the outskirts of Galilee. They’ve now entered Galilee and what we’re going to see is that Jesus is at a party.

And as we read this, I want you to see that through this event, Jesus is going to show us His glory. He’s going to show the disciples His glory. It’s going to be glory revealed, and they’re going to believe. These five guys have been following. And then they proclaim that they found the Messiah, but we’re not really sure if they fully surrendered to Jesus yet.

This is happening before the events on the sea where Jesus calls Peter to be fishers of men.  It is very early in Jesus’s ministry. So, here’s what we read starting in verse one.

John 2:1-12:  On the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’s mother was there, and Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding as well. When the wine ran out, Jesus’s mother told Him, “They don’t have any wine.”

“What has this concern of yours to do with Me, woman?” Jesus asked. “My hour has not yet come.”

“Do whatever He tells you,” His mother told the servants.

Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained twenty or thirty gallons.

“Fill the jars with water,” Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim. Then He said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the headwaiter.” And they did.

When the headwaiter tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it came from—though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom 10 and told him, “Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are drunk, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.”

11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee. He revealed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.

12 After this, He went down to Capernaum, together with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples, and they stayed there only a few days.

This passage is packed full of a ton of gooey goodness. It’s what I call it. You know, when you snap open a Snickers bar and you get all the good stuff inside. This text is filled with so much, and it’s really got a ton of symbolism.

John is showing us that on the third day, the third day after the events of chapter one, the 7th day of Jesus’s ministry, they’re at a wedding. Now, weddings were a big deal in that day. I found it interesting as I studied it, and men that have daughters are going to love this:  do you know who paid for the weddings in that day? The groom’s family. And everybody who’s got multiple daughters are going to think that we need to go back to that!

In this day, these were arranged marriages. You know the parents would get together, the groom’s family would do this, the bride’s family would do this, and there would be a contract signed, and there would be a yearlong betrothal period.

After the contract signing, the groom and bride would go back to their houses for up to a year. It could be shorter, but most of the time it was close to a year, and then the groom would get his buddies together. They would take torches at night and go through the streets to get his bride. Now how many grooms have ever done that, right?

Weddings were a huge celebration. This is a huge deal for the groom and all his buddies and really the whole town. They’re marching through the streets. They get the bride. They go through the ceremony and then they have a party to celebrate the wedding. Now, we’ve been to some wedding receptions, and I’m sure you’ve been to wedding receptions. It’s a good time. There’s some good music, good dancing, usually fantastic food if it’s catered by a great caterer, which they all are if the bride’s family is willing to fork out the money, right? But this may have been the groom’s family. We need to go back to that. They had great food.

And it lasted seven days. The whole town would shut down. These were massive celebrations for the whole town. For seven days, they’re just enjoying each other. They’re celebrating this union and these families coming together at a wedding.

So that sets the stage for what happens next. You’ve seen your notes. We’re going to outline a problem, a provision, and a purpose.

1 – A problem.

But during the celebration, there’s a problem. This is actually a really big problem. When the wine ran out, Jesus’s mother told him they don’t have any wine. So, what you have is Jesus’s mother, who must have something to do with the party, whether it’s her family or whether she’s a part of the caterer or a part of the planning, she has found out that they’re out of wine.

Now, in a culture where hospitality is superior to almost anything, and if you’ve ever traveled to other cultures and other countries – especially over in Europe, hospitality is a big deal. We think we’re hospitable here in America. We’re really not in comparison to the rest of the world. Hospitality is absolutely essential, and to run out of anything is a big deal. This could ruin the groom’s family’s name in the social makeup of the village. They could be ostracized. Literally, the bride’s family can take the groom’s family to court and sue them. This is not a little thing. It is embarrassing. It has huge ramifications.

They have ran out of wine, and so Jesus’s mother comes up to Jesus. By the way, how is it that Jesus is at the wedding? Think back to chapter one where it says that the Word dwelled among us. The Word made flesh to dwell among people. Jesus is dwelling among the people. He’s at a party. He’s at a celebration. I think we don’t think of Jesus that way, do we? Some of us think Jesus is this stuffy, uptight God that can’t have fun. Jesus is at a party. He’s not doing anything sinful. He’s not doing anything illegal, but He’s having fun with his family, with his disciples. He’s dwelling among the people.

So, His mom comes up, and I think she’s got this look on her face. Hey Jesus, I remember what happened when You were born. I remember that I got pregnant, and I had never been with a guy, and this Angel came to me and told me all this stuff, and I know Who You are. And I see that You have some followers now, so I think You’re ready to start Your public ministry. Now, this is not what she says, but she is probably thinking that this would be a great place for You to go public because this family is getting ready to be drastically embarrassed, and we don’t want that. This is the perfect place for You to do a miracle. I know who You are, and I know You can do them. This would be a great place.

She says Jesus, they’re out of wine. Now, what happens next gets a lot of people up in arms because Jesus says something that seems incredibly harsh. What has this concern of yours to do with Me, woman. There’re some mamas in the room right now and they’re leaning over – if you ever call me woman, I will smack your nose off your face. I’ve used that phrase woman before towards a female. I was honestly joking, but it wasn’t taken that way, and you know my face hurt for a couple hours. We read this as pretty harsh. But I want you to understand, this is not harsh. Jesus is not being disrespectful.

Jesus actually uses the phrase “woman” several times throughout the Gospel of John. In this day and time, this word, this culture, it is the equivalent to “ma’am.” It’s very formal. It is not intimate. You’re thinking, why didn’t He call her “mother?” Why use this formal name? What does this concern you and me, ma’am? What does this have to do with us, ma’am?

It is a little rebuke, but it’s not a disrespect of His mother, and what Jesus is doing in this moment, He’s redefining the relationship He has with His mom. If she’s come to Him with an agenda, she’s come to Him to offer a suggestion, maybe to manipulate the situation, to ask Him to solve the problem. And Jesus, right now He’s starting his public ministry, He’s got to redefine His relationship even with His mom. And He’s got to look at His mom, and He’s got to say, listen, I’m not here to do the will of you or any other person. I’m here to be about my Father’s business. I’m here to do the will of God.  Mom, remember when I was 12 years old and you found Me with all the preachers in the temple, and you thought I’d ran away and you got really mad and I told you that I’m here to do My Father’s will? I’m here to spend time with My Father. This is the time. You can’t approach Me like you have in the past as My mom. You have to approach Me as a sinner who needs a Savior, because I’m not here to meet every one of your individual needs, I’m here to do the will of My Father.

So, how do we approach Jesus? How do you approach Jesus? Do you approach Jesus with a laundry list of things you want Him to do for you? Or do you approach Jesus as a sinner who needs saving, or as a person who says, what can I do for you, Jesus?  Jesus is about the will of His Father. How can I be on mission with Him? How can I find God’s will? By looking at what Jesus has for me. He’s redefining the relationship between He and His mother, and He’s teaching us that we should respond to Jesus in a way that is honoring and respectful, seeking to do His will, not trying to get Him to do our will. So, Mary has to learn how to approach Jesus, and it is a small rebuke.

And then He says this phrase: it is not yet My hour. And this, I think is an absolute reference to the crucifixion and the resurrection. The ultimate will of the Father is for Jesus to die for the sins of the world. The ultimate will of the Father is for Jesus to go to the cross, so that His blood can wash away the sins of the world. The ultimate will of the Father is to conquer sin and death through the resurrection of Jesus.

And here Jesus says yes, My path has started. This journey has started. I’m going to be teaching about the Kingdom of God, and I’m going to be doing things and I’m going to be revealing Who I am. But the hour of My death and resurrection has not yet come. By the way, the symbolism of being on the third day refers to this also. Remember, this is happening on the third day. Jesus will be resurrected on the third day. I don’t want you to miss any of the symbolism that John is using in this text.

So, they run out of wine. It was a big deal, but I want to tell you that wine is a symbol of joy in the Bible. Psalm 104 says this. Psalm 104 in general is talking about God’s provisions for His people. Psalm 104:14-15 – “He causes His grass to grow for the livestock. He provides crops for man to cultivate, producing food from the Earth, wine that makes man’s heart glad, wine that brings joy, making his face shine with oil, and bread that sustains human hearts.” The wine of the celebration, the wine that we’re talking about here, is symbolic of the joy that it brings.  This party has joy up until the wine runs out. And then there’s no joy.

And here’s another thing, I want you to see. We live in a world where things don’t last.  Have you ever noticed that? I buy a brand-new lawn mower, a brand-new weed eater, which I’ve done many, many times. They don’t last. I didn’t take good care of it. It didn’t last. My dad buys tillers for his garden. They don’t last. We have things on this earth that do not last. You know the things that we find joy in don’t last. The pleasures of this world don’t last. The security of this world doesn’t last. The pleasure we get from drugs and alcohol runs out. It does not last. The things of this world that we seek to fill our hearts with joy are temporary.

And often if we try to find joy in the things of this world, we find ourselves wanting more and more and more and more because they never fill us up or sustain us. I want to say this too as we get ready to transition. Religious rituals will not sustain us or last either. Religious activities that we do to try to make ourselves better or try to make ourselves feel better, they do not last. I have seen teenager after teenager after teenager go to camp, where the music is pumping, the preaching is far superior to almost anything, and they have an emotional experience, a religious experience. Within a week of coming home, it’s gone. You can’t stay on the mountain top forever.

2 – The provision.

And that’s so important to understand because Jesus is getting ready to take a Jewish religious ritual and turn it completely upside down. Because He is going to make provisions for this party, but He is going to show that He is providing provisions for life, and the provision is He’s going to turn the water into wine.

Mary says to do what He says.  She is a very persistent mother, but she has faith in Him. Do you see that? When she looks at these guys and says do what He says, she’s showing incredible faith. But even if Jesus does not turn water into wine, still do what He says. Hold that in your heart. That’s not really the point of the sermon I’m doing today. Hold that phrase in your heart forever and ever. Do what Jesus says. Obey what the Lord says. It may not be what you want. It may not fit your agenda. But do what He says. Do what He says.

So, Jesus sees these 6 purification jars sitting over here to the side. He walks around, looks at the jars, and He says to go fill these up with water. Now, don’t miss this. First of all, these are purification jars. So essentially for the party, someone would have taken water from these stone jars, you would have held your hands up, they would have poured the water down your hands cause you got to eat with clean hands. Then you would have put your hands down, let the water run down clean, cleansing you, then you would hold your hands up again, get more purified water, then hold them down and drip off.

But it’s significant that they’re stone and not clay. The Pharisees taught that clay jars could become defiled. Clay jars could get contaminated, but stone jars were completely pure, so pure water and pure jars. It’s a purification ritual to cleanse your body.  All these jars were used for all the purification rituals – pure water and pure jars, so keep that in mind as Jesus is looking at these purification jars, He says to fill them up.  And they filled them to the brim. As you read the Bible, don’t miss these little words. This is that’s very significant.

Anybody ever seen David Copperfield growing up? The guy that made the Statue of Liberty disappear? It was a TV trick, but yeah, it was awesome. He’s a magician. I follow these guys, these magicians on Facebook, and I watch their little sleight of hand tricks and I learned how to do card tricks and it’s all just an illusion. It’s not real magic, so if they filled the jars up to the brim, what John is saying is absolutely no way on Earth that Jesus was putting anything in these jars to make it turn the water. It isn’t a sleight of hand magic trick. This isn’t some Houdini waving his magic wand and saying, “Water, be wine.  Poof!” There’s no room for any magic. It is completely 100% filled with water, and Jesus takes it and turns it into wine because He is the divine Savior of the world, so don’t miss what John is saying. It’s not a magic trick.

This is the real deal miracle, and there’re going to be 180 gallons of this stuff. By the way, 180 gallons is enough for 2500 people. There is more wine than this village could go through in years. It is lasting.

3 – The purpose.

Jesus gives them something that tastes better than anything they’ve ever tasted, and it’s going to last longer than anything they’ve ever had, and He’s given it to this bride and groom as a gift. When you go to a wedding, you take a gift. I try to find the cheapest thing on the registry, right? That’s just me. As everybody who’s going to get married seems I’m not invited now, right? Jesus   was like I’m going to give them the best gift for the whole wedding. It’s the best wine. It’s the longest lasting thing. This is my gift to them. Jesus gives them a lasting gift.

You know what the Bible says? The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus. Do you see the symbolism of what’s happening? Through this miracle, Jesus is saying I’m offering the world a gift, a gift of an abundant life, abundant joy, a new life, a new creation.

The unsatisfying religion, unlasting rituals of the past have been replaced with the new covenant, the new Savior. That is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Later on, we’re going to read in John Chapter 6, verses 54 and 55 that Jesus is going to say that the one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life. I will raise him up in the last day because My flesh is true food and My blood is the true drink. And here is the introduction of that message.

Through this miracle, I also don’t want you to miss the fact this is the first miracle Jesus does. It is the first thing that Jesus creates as a human, as the Messiah. John starts his Gospel stating that in the beginning was the Word. The Word was with God. The Word was God. The miracle takes place seven days into Jesus’ Ministry, paralleling the seven days of Creation. And the first thing Jesus creates is something new. Jesus came to give new life, lasting life, eternal life, and it was all for the purpose of this message:  it is all for His glory, so that the disciples would believe.

The glory of Jesus is made visible in this sign. It’s interesting to note that it was not a huge public demonstration. The head waiter really doesn’t know Jesus did this. The people at the party don’t know Jesus did this. I’m sure eventually the word of mouth will get out, but you’ve got Jesus’ disciples who saw it. You got the servants. This is a very small number of people who see this, and Jesus’ disciples who have been following Him, they see it and they believe that He is the divine Son of God.

The power of Jesus to transform water into wine is absolutely an amazing story. But the power that Jesus has to transform a rebellious sinner into a saint is even more remarkable. The passage that we see before us is about transforming lives. And through this, the testimony of Jesus will begin to grow, many others will begin to believe, His following will grow, and His glory will be revealed.

Today I want you to know that Jesus can absolutely transform you and your life. He can transform your struggles. He can transform your dreams, your opportunities. He can transform your missed opportunities. He can transform your failures. He can transform your lost hopes. He can transform your brokenness. He can transform you from the inside out if you will just surrender your life to Him, to let him purify your heart. He will change your life.

Jesus provides salvation, security, abundant joy, and new life that lasts forever.

Let’s pray. Father, we thank You for being able to come here today and gather as a congregation. But we pray as we study the first of Your miracles, the first thing You did as being recognized as the Messiah at the start of Your public ministry, help us to see the truth that You have the power to transform lives, that this story is so much more than just about wine or a wedding. It’s about transforming lives and bringing glory to God. It is about believing in the One true Son of God, the Savior. Father, whatever we’re struggling with, whatever questions or whatever doubts, whatever is not lasting in our life, help us to come to You to find our lasting joy and our security. Help us to come to You for salvation. We ask these things in Jesus’s Name, Amen