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when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no
wine.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine
hour is not yet come."
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,
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,
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 http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
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
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.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee?
mine hour is not yet come." (John
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
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
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.