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John 2:3-4


"And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. [4] Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come."

The Gospel of John includes 7 of Jesus' 35 recorded miracles, less than any other Gospel, yet this miracle is not recorded in any of the Synoptic gospels. Why? The fact that John included it in his seven makes it seem important, but the fact that the other three gospel writers overlooked it makes it seem less significant.

John's gospel is different. The other three gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called "synoptics" because you can lay them down beside one another and you basically have the same material. Sure, each has its distinguishing characteristics and is written from a definite point of view, but by and large each are substantially the same or at least similar to the others. Not so with John's gospel. It has a different agenda that John identifies in the book's conclusion. He wrote: "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." (John 20:31 NASB) This gospel is written with a significant purpose. That the reader may believe and continue to believe (the verb tense indicates the continuous action) that Jesus is the Christ, God's son and that believing will result in new life.

Everything in the Gospel of John is there for that purpose: to encourage belief. The gospel writers used two different words for miracle. The most common word is dunamis, (doo'-nam-is;). Our word dynamite derives from this Greek word. It is a word that puts the emphasis on the power that brings the miracle. It is a word that connotes force or power it took to perform the miracle. The other word is semeion, (say-mi'-on;). Unlike dunamis, it places the emphasis on what the miracle means. It is best translated as "sign."  This is the word John uses.

The reason John includes a miracle, excuse me a sign in his book, is not to draw attention to Jesus' miraculous power, but to serve as a signpost to point the reader in the direction of believing that Jesus is the Christ.

Driving southbound on Interstate 5 in Valencia, CA, the home of Six Flags Magic Mountain, is a large Disneyland billboard with a single word dominating 75% of the space. The word? Believe. That's the simple message of the Gospel of John: Believe. It is the same word, but with different meanings. Disney is asking the public to suspend their disbelief for a time and enter into their enchanted Kingdom for a day of recreation. They want us to pretend, for a time, that "make believe" is worth believing in. (Fresh Illustrations That is not John's message. John doesn't call on his readers to believe what isn't true, rather, he wants us to believe what he's come to know as truth. And he wrote about the miracles that give the reasons why we should believe.

Our text today is one of them. The day Jesus turned water into wine. The hosts of the wedding party ran out of wine-a major embarrassment. Mary, Jesus' mother turned to Him for help. Let's look at our text again: "And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. [4] Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come." (John 2:3-4 KJV)

Most scholars believe Mary acted in an official capacity when she tried to solve the problem of too little wine. An extra Biblical source identifies Mary as the groom's aunt. The fact that the servants obeyed her command shows she had a perceived authority. She said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it." (John 2:5 NASB)

Jesus told the servants to fill the six stone waterpots with water. These weren't ordinary water pots. The scripture said they were used for the Jewish custom of purification. When the guests arrived, they used this water source to clean the dirt and road grime off of their feet and to cleanse their dirty hands. These waterpots were tools of hospitality and good hygiene, but they were much more, they served a religious purpose. A few years later, Pilate, familiar with the custom of the Jews, would ceremonially wash his hands proclaiming his innocence of the blood of Jesus. After the ceremonial washing, the Jew considered himself clean. 

Notice that there were six waterpots. Seven symbolized completeness, six incompleteness. Even the best efforts of the ceremonial law were incomplete. Participants would never be totally cleansed. Jesus is sending a message by selecting these six waterpots as the source of water. What is it? Let me give you a hint. When we take the Lord's Supper, the fruit of the vine is symbolic of what? Listen to the words of Jesus: "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 1 Cor. 11:25 NLT

What was Jesus saying by turning Jewish purification water into wine? Let me give you another hint. What can wash away my sins? (Nothing but the blood of Jesus.) What can make me whole again? (Nothing but the blood of Jesus.) Oh precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus. 

The ceremonial washings could not wash away our sins. Nothing can. Nothing, except the blood of Jesus. 

When Jesus turned the Jewish purification water into wine he was making a bold statement about his mission. That's why John gave this miracle, excuse me, sign, such a prominent place in his gospel. Jesus was announcing his Messianic mission here. 

Jesus knew it, and John came to understand it, but what about the servants, did they have a clue? I seriously doubt that they thought for a moment about what Jesus' request symbolized, they were too bogged down in details. Details like the condition of the water in the pots.

What kind of shape do you think the water was in? Today we drive to church in our cars on paved roads. But what if we walked on dusty roads wearing sandals and we all washed our feet in the same pot, and then washed our hands with the same water, what kind of condition would the water be in? Would you want to drink out of it?

Jesus told the servants to fill up the pots to the top. Notice that he didn't instruct them to empty what was already in them. Pouring more water would cloud the water, bringing the dirt up from the bottom. It was murkier when they finished pouring than when they started. Look at what Jesus tells them to do next: "Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter." (John 2:8 NASB) They didn't argue with Him. They didn't question Him. They did it. They took the beverage to him as Jesus said. Like the Disneyland billboard Jesus asked the servants to believe. And they did. They believed that Jesus knew what He was doing, even if they didn't understand it. Jesus didn't disappoint them, according to the headwaiter, this was "the good wine."

You can know that same transforming power that turned "dirty bath water" into fine wine. Like the servants, you must believe enough to follow Jesus' instructions. Like Nikki did. A Jew, raised attending the Temple, Nikki wanted absolutely nothing to do with church. She agreed to attend church with her friend Dana, but just once. The next week she was back. "I never stopped going," she said, "the energy that was present around me was all consuming and actually addictive!"

Nikki was captivated. She wasn't seeking for God, but she did say, "God was constantly seeking me out. I was asking for proof, and finding it everywhere I looked." 

She had plenty of questions and went through a lot of confusion, but suddenly realized that "In 27 years of 'being' Jewish, never was I 'being' with God, much less in any sort of relationship with Him." On August 18, 1998 she realized that Jesus was the Messiah and her Savior-by God's grace, she became a completed Jew. 

Her life radically changed. "Today, I experience God all around me," Nikki said, "because the hole in my heart is now full of ever-flowing love for God." (Fresh Illustrations To put it another way, Jesus turned her ceremonial water into wine.

Impact Preaching: A Case for the
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