Beyond the label...

I think they missed the point: Its not that Jesus was here, but rather that he had the power to do this.  However, there is more to the story...

John, Chapter 2
  1 The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there.  2 Jesus also was invited, with his disciples, to the marriage.  3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine.” 

  4  Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.” 

  5  His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.”  6 Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Jews’ way of purifying, containing two or three metretes apiece.  7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.”They filled them up to the brim.  8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the ruler of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and didn’t know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom,  10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!”  11 This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

First, remember that Jesus was at a wedding; not a somber occasion.  Marriage celebrations are not known for their quietness, but rather expressions of enjoyment.  Outward statements of happiness over the union of two people and the commitment of a lifetime.  There would be laughter and plenty of noise and perhaps a bit of rowdiness.  Really? Well, they had run out of wine!!!  Notice also that Jesus calls his mother "woman", which is a sign of respect and that even though he says "My hour has not yet come", he does her bidding. Not just a little wine, but a lot-and good wine too.  And yes, he had the power to do this--and this was just the BEGINNING OF THE POWER GIVEN TO HIM!!!  His disciples believed more than just what their eyes beheld--- DO YOU????

Bible Reading, Dec. 30

Dec. 30
Zechariah 13, 14

Zec 13:1 "In that day there will be a spring opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.
Zec 13:2 It will come to pass in that day, says Yahweh of Armies, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they will be remembered no more. I will also cause the prophets and the spirit of impurity to pass out of the land.
Zec 13:3 It will happen that, when anyone still prophesies, then his father and his mother who bore him will tell him, 'You must die, because you speak lies in the name of Yahweh;' and his father and his mother who bore him will stab him when he prophesies.
Zec 13:4 It will happen in that day, that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision, when he prophesies; neither will they wear a hairy mantle to deceive:
Zec 13:5 but he will say, 'I am no prophet, I am a tiller of the ground; for I have been made a bondservant from my youth.'
Zec 13:6 One will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will answer, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'
Zec 13:7 "Awake, sword, against my shepherd, and against the man who is close to me," says Yahweh of Armies. "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; and I will turn my hand against the little ones.
Zec 13:8 It shall happen that in all the land," says Yahweh, "two parts in it will be cut off and die; but the third will be left in it.
Zec 13:9 I will bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will test them like gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will hear them. I will say, 'It is my people;' and they will say, 'Yahweh is my God.' "

Zec 14:1 Behold, a day of Yahweh comes, when your spoil will be divided in your midst.
Zec 14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city will go out into captivity, and the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.
Zec 14:3 Then Yahweh will go out and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
Zec 14:4 His feet will stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in two, from east to west, making a very great valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
Zec 14:5 You shall flee by the valley of my mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azel; yes, you shall flee, just like you fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Yahweh my God will come, and all the holy ones with you.
Zec 14:6 It will happen in that day, that there will not be light, cold, or frost.
Zec 14:7 It will be a unique day which is known to Yahweh; not day, and not night; but it will come to pass, that at evening time there will be light.
Zec 14:8 It will happen in that day, that living waters will go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the eastern sea, and half of them toward the western sea; in summer and in winter will it be.
Zec 14:9 Yahweh will be King over all the earth. In that day Yahweh will be one, and his name one.
Zec 14:10 All the land will be made like the Arabah, from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem; and she will be lifted up, and will dwell in her place, from Benjamin's gate to the place of the first gate, to the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananel to the king's winepresses.
Zec 14:11 Men will dwell therein, and there will be no more curse; but Jerusalem will dwell safely.
Zec 14:12 This will be the plague with which Yahweh will strike all the peoples who have warred against Jerusalem: their flesh will consume away while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will consume away in their sockets, and their tongue will consume away in their mouth.
Zec 14:13 It will happen in that day, that a great panic from Yahweh will be among them; and they will lay hold everyone on the hand of his neighbor, and his hand will rise up against the hand of his neighbor.
Zec 14:14 Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the surrounding nations will be gathered together: gold, and silver, and clothing, in great abundance.
Zec 14:15 So will be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the donkey, and of all the animals that will be in those camps, as that plague.
Zec 14:16 It will happen that everyone who is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of Armies, and to keep the feast of tents.
Zec 14:17 It will be, that whoever of all the families of the earth doesn't go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Yahweh of Armies, on them there will be no rain.
Zec 14:18 If the family of Egypt doesn't go up, and doesn't come, neither will it rain on them. This will be the plague with which Yahweh will strike the nations that don't go up to keep the feast of tents.
Zec 14:19 This will be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all the nations that don't go up to keep the feast of tents.
Zec 14:20 In that day there will be on the bells of the horses, "HOLY TO YAHWEH;" and the pots in Yahweh's house will be like the bowls before the altar.
Zec 14:21 Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to Yahweh of Armies; and all those who sacrifice will come and take of them, and cook in them. In that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of Yahweh of Armies.

Dec. 30
Revelation 21, 22

Rev 21:1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more.
Rev 21:2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready like a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3 I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, "Behold, God's dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Rev 21:4 He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away."
Rev 21:5 He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." He said, "Write, for these words of God are faithful and true."
Rev 21:6 He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life.
Rev 21:7 He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son.
Rev 21:8 But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."
Rev 21:9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, who were loaded with the seven last plagues came, and he spoke with me, saying, "Come here. I will show you the wife, the Lamb's bride."
Rev 21:10 He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
Rev 21:11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, as if it was a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
Rev 21:12 having a great and high wall; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
Rev 21:13 On the east were three gates; and on the north three gates; and on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
Rev 21:14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.
Rev 21:15 He who spoke with me had for a measure, a golden reed, to measure the city, its gates, and its walls.
Rev 21:16 The city lies foursquare, and its length is as great as its breadth. He measured the city with the reed, Twelve thousand twelve stadia. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.
Rev 21:17 Its wall is one hundred forty-four cubits, by the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
Rev 21:18 The construction of its wall was jasper. The city was pure gold, like pure glass.
Rev 21:19 The foundations of the city's wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;
Rev 21:20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; and the twelfth, amethyst.
Rev 21:21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each one of the gates was made of one pearl. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
Rev 21:22 I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple.
Rev 21:23 The city has no need for the sun, neither of the moon, to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
Rev 21:24 The nations will walk in its light. The kings of the earth bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.
Rev 21:25 Its gates will in no way be shut by day (for there will be no night there),
Rev 21:26 and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it so that they may enter.
Rev 21:27 There will in no way enter into it anything profane, or one who causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.


Rev 22:1 He showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb,
Rev 22:2 in the middle of its street. On this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Rev 22:3 There will be no curse any more. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants serve him.
Rev 22:4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
Rev 22:5 There will be no night, and they need no lamp light; for the Lord God will illuminate them. They will reign forever and ever.
Rev 22:6 He said to me, "These words are faithful and true. The Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to show to his bondservants the things which must happen soon."
Rev 22:7 "Behold, I come quickly. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."
Rev 22:8 Now I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who had shown me these things.
Rev 22:9 He said to me, "See you don't do it! I am a fellow bondservant with you and with your brothers, the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God."
Rev 22:10 He said to me, "Don't seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.
Rev 22:11 He who acts unjustly, let him act unjustly still. He who is filthy, let him be filthy still. He who is righteous, let him do righteousness still. He who is holy, let him be holy still."
Rev 22:12 "Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work.
Rev 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city.
Rev 22:15 Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Rev 22:16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star."
Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" He who hears, let him say, "Come!" He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Rev 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book.
Rev 22:19 If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.
Rev 22:20 He who testifies these things says, "Yes, I come quickly." Amen! Yes, come, Lord Jesus.
Rev 22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all the saints. Amen.

Ecclesiastes, The Preacher's Observations part 1, Mark Copeland

                       "THE BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES"

               The Preacher's Observations - I (3:1-4:16)


1. In Ecclesiastes, we find the question raised:  "What profit has a
   man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?" - 1:3
   a. The key phrase is "under the sun"
   b. I.e., what profit is there in life when viewed from an earthly 
   c. I.e., what value is there in our labor when we fail to consider
      God's will in life?
   -- We have seen the answer given by the Preacher:  "All is vanity"
      - 1:2,14

2. How did he reach this conclusion?
   a. Based upon personal experience - 1:1-2:26
   b. Also from personal observations - 3:1-6:12

3. Our previous lessons examined the experiences of the Preacher...
   a. Now we begin to note his observations
   b. In which he also shares his wisdom for living "under the sun"

[His conclusion that life "under the sun" was vanity was partly reached
by observing...]


      1. "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose 
         under heaven" - 3:1-8
      2. "He has made everything beautiful in its time." - 3:11a
      3. "...whatever God does, it shall be forever...' - 3:14-15

      1. God has put it in man to search out this purpose - 3:9-11a
      2. But "no one can find out the work that God has done" - 3:11b
      1. "God does it, that men should fear before Him" - 3:14c
      2. I.e., to reverence God, and therefore seek to please Him - cf.
         Ac 17:26-27
         a. God has made man an inquisitive creature
         b. He has also made life such that we are always seeking for
            something better, or for some purpose
         -- Hopefully, we will keep seeking until we find Him!

      1. There is nothing better than to:
         a. "Rejoice and do good" - 3:12
         b. "Eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor" - 3:13a
      2. Yet the ability to do so is "the gift of God" - 3:13b
         a. So one must be in favor with God
         b. Knowing that God will require an account of our actions 
            - 3:15b; cf. 11:9; 12:14

[Without revelation, we cannot discern God's purposes; without His 
blessing, we cannot enjoy the good of our labor.  Therefore any effort
to live without God can only be vanity as we will find His purposes 

The Preacher's conclusion about the vanity of life was also reinforced 
by observing...]


      1. Wickedness in the place of justice - 3:16
      2. Power on the side of the oppressor, with no comfort for the
         oppressed - 4:1
      -- Prompting him to think the dead were better than the living,
         even better those who had never lived - 4:2-3

      1. God will judge the righteous and the wicked - 3:17a
      2. God will somehow use injustice and wickedness in carrying out
         His purpose - 3:17b (e.g., just as God used Assyria and 
         Babylon to discipline Israel)
      3. God allows injustice to test the sons of men - 3:18-21
         a. To help them see that they are like beasts, in that they
            will die and their bodies return to dust
         b. While they are also different from beasts, in that their
            spirit returns to God who gave it - cf. 12:7

      1. Once again, the value of rejoicing in one's own works - 3:22a
      2. For this is what God allots him, not what may happen on earth
         after he is gone - 3:22b

[In the remaining part of this section (3:1-4:16), we find the 
Preacher making various comments, which may be summarized as 


      1. He saw how that skillful work causes one to be envied by his
         neighbor - 4:4
      2. While it is foolish to fold one's hands and do nothing, 
         acquiring too much is not worth the effort for it really does
         not satisfy - 4:5-6
      3. What is best is to have little with quietness and contentment 
         - cf. Pr 15:16-17

      1. The Preacher saw one with no companion, neither son nor 
         brother - 4:7-8
         a. Who is never satisfied (indeed he can't be, cf. Ec 5:10)
         b. And doesn't think for whom he is laboring - cf. Ec 2:18-19
      2. It is much better to have friends - 4:9-12
         a. Who can help each other in their labor
         b. Who can help each other when they fall
         c. Who can help each other withstand forces of opposition

      1. It is better to a poor and wise youth, than an old foolish 
         king - 4:13
      2. For despite rising from poverty and prison to become king, the
         people will eventually prefer another much younger than he 
         - 4:14-16


1. The Preacher's observations about the vanity of life, along with
   wisdom for living "under the sun" will continue in succeeding 

2. But we have seen in this study...
   a. Why he reached his conclusions about the vanity of life
      1) The inexplicable purposes of God
      2) The injustice and oppression of men
      3) The vanity of skillful and selfish toil
   b. What wisdom he offers for living "under the sun"
      1) It is best to rejoice, do good, and enjoy the good of one's 
         labor, realizing that such is a gift of God to those who 
         please Him
      2) To appreciate the value of friends who can help us in time of
         work and need

3. As Christians today, we may be perplexed at times concerning the
   workings of God...
   a. But we have the assurance that all things work for good for them
      who love God and are called according to His purpose - Ro 8:28
   b. We have the family of God to help us in our labor and in time of
      need - cf. 1Th 5:11

And of course, there is no greater friend, than the One who is the 
ultimate end of all God's purposes in this world:  Jesus Christ! (cf. 
Ep 1:9-10).  Through Him we can "obtain mercy and find grace to help
in time of need." (He 4:15-16).

Are you a friend of Jesus?  Remember then what He said:

   "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you." - Jn 15:14

Let Jesus be your friend by obeying His will! - cf. Mt 28:19-20