1/16/14

From Ben Fronczek... The First Miracle of Jesus – Turning Water into Wine





The First Miracle of Jesus – Turning Water into Wine      
                
John 2:1-11  
“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Woman,why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”

There are all kind of unexpected things that have happened at weddings. Some good, some funny, and sometimes things that are not either good or funny. For example: Many years ago I was the best man at in a friend’s wedding. As most of you know, one responsibility of the Best Man is to provide the wedding rings at the appropriate time when the minister asks for them. Prior to the service I place the rings in the right hand pocket of my tuxedo. When the minister asked for the rings reached down into the pocket and found that they were no longer there. The rings were gone. In front of the crowded church I dug and searched in total shock and embarrassment. After what seemed like a long, awkward, and humiliating search my friend’s sister reached from behind and gave us her ring to use in the ceremony. Little did I know that there was a small tear in the pocket and the rings slipped down into the lining of my jacket and I found them shortly after the service.

Here are some others things I found that happened at other’s weddings:

●The bride and groom’s head table collapsed and knocked over all of the drinks and food during the reception.

●The groom passed out.
 
●The best man started crying and couldn’t stop.

●Mom stands by a candelabra at the alter and catches her hair on fire.
 
●When lighting the unity candle, the brides veil caught fire.
 
●The little flower girl screamed the whole way up the aisle.
 
●The bride tripped on her dress and falls flat.
 
●The mother of the bride shouted out orders…from her walk down the aisle and her seat. 

●The officiate was drunk…

In our text today we read that Jesus had been invited to a wedding in Cana. During this time their weddings could last up to 7 days. I am sure if the mishaps  were all recorded they also had their share of bloopers. In today’s story we read of how one such mishap was prevented with Jesus’ help.

Of the four Gospel writers John was the only one who recognized the significance of recording this wonderful story. He makes mention that this was the first miraculous sign that Jesus performed. I believe that there is more to learn from this story than Jesus simply revealing His power and glory.

 And so today I would like to mention a few lessons I see here in this text.

Read: 2:1-3   So Jesus, after having been invited to this wedding, is there with his mother and some of His disciples. In verse 3, we read that they ran out of wine. So I ask, ‘what’s the big deal?’                                                                           

In a small village such as Cana, a wedding would have been a community celebration.  It is said, “To fail to provide adequately for the guests would involve social disgrace. In the closely knit communities of Jesus’ day, such an error would never be forgotten and would haunt the newly married couple all their lives.” (Tenney)

The loss would not only have brought shame and social disgrace,  but also financial loss since grooms had a legal responsibility in that culture to provide a suitable feast for their guests.”
It also would have just destroyed their reputation and that was no way to start their new lives off as husband and wife.

And so we see Mary going Jesus and she lets Him know that they were out of wine. After reading this I asked myself, “Why did Mary do this? Why did she go to Jesus with this problem?” And I believe this leads us to our first lesson:

#1. Mary knew what kind of heart her Son had; that He was a caring and compassionate man. Over the years living with Him she saw how big a heart He had. As a boy she saw how generous and helpful He was.  Maybe He was the one going around and helping the other kids when they needed help. Maybe she saw how He helped the old people around their neighborhood.

She knew in her heart Jesus would try to help this couple. Later we see how much compassion Jesus had for each and every one of us when He went to the cross. We sing, “Why did the Savior come to earth and to the humble go? Why on that cross be lifted up – because HE loved me so.”

Let there be no mistake about it; no one loves you as much as Jesus, and He showed us that by stretching out His hands and feet on that cross where he allowed Himself to be nailed to it so that He could save us from ours sin.

But just like Jesus loved us and was willing to die for us, He also wants us to love one another, and make sacrifices for one another, out of our love. He is not asking any more of you and me than what He himself gave.

#2. She knew her son. He was not only generous and compassionate, He was also the most dependable person she ever met and knew He could get things done when a need came up. She probably depended upon Him for many years to do so many things and He probably never failed her ever.

Mary knew how dependable Jesus was and knew that somehow He could fix the problem. As far as being dependable goes; I wish all were as dependable as Jesus. When it comes right down to it, I have found that there are not many people that we can truly depend on, especially when it comes to getting things done. Companies struggle to get employees that are dependable, who they can trust to get things done. We ask our spouse or family members to do something for us over and over, and eventually we give up or do it our self. And how many times have we been hurt or disappointed by friends or even church members because they talked about something that was said in confidence, or we wanted to depend on them for help, but were let down.

Mary probably had no idea what Jesus was going to do, but she trusted Him and had confidence in His ability. She even instructed the servant to do whatever He said. And after doing so she probably left Him in a peaceful state knowing that just like so many other times before, when you turn your problem over to Jesus He will help you through the situation.

I hope that you make it a goal to be trust worthy and dependable. And when you are in a difficult situation and don’t know what to do, like Mary learn to give it to Jesus, who is not only compassionate, He is able to help us.

 #3. As for the third lesson I see in this text: Jesus can take something which is very common and turn it into something extraordinary. We read that Jesus told the servants to fill the six stone jars there with water. They fill the jars to their brim and then Jesus instructs one of them to draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. After doing so the master of the banquet was delighted and complements the bridegroom for the very, very high quality of wine that was now made available for the guests.

A couple of things are seen here: This shows that Jesus had the same power to create that God demonstrated in creation. 

In John chapter 1:3 he wrote that

 “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.”  
And just  like when He made everything in the beginning and said that it was good, here, by the same power, Jesus produced the best as He always did when He creates. That must have been REALLY good wine!

But what I find especially interesting, is the fact that He transforms something which is very common (water – very possibly with some impurities or bacteria) into some extraordinary (the best wine ever).

Jesus is so good at transforming things from one condition into another. Look at what do does when He touches our lives:  Fisherman, tax collectors, and even someone who persecuted Christians, became Godly men and apostles; great servants of the faith. Prostitutes, adulterers, slaves, prisoners, jailers, freemen and scoundrels of all kinds have been transformed by the touch of Jesus. (like turning polluted water into fine wine)

When the water of our life submits to Jesus, then even the worst circumstances in life can become rich and meaningful, and have value. It doesn’t matter how bad you lived, Jesus can re-create you!

#4. And lesson 4, the jars held between 20 and 30 gallon which represented about 120-180 gallon of wine; probably about 2400 servings. This wine was most likely fermented grape juice, possible diluted with a little water. This kind of wine was something that normally took much time to produce and ferment. To the Jew and others in this part of the world during, wine was symbolic of joy. “Many students of this passage have identified the wine as symbolic of the joy that Messiah brings. (Blum)

Some even go as far as seeing this as an example of Jesus going above and beyond so that we may be filled with joy because of His love for us. What He did brought joy to those people. And what did, and continues to do is meant to bring joy to us.

This miracle portrays not only the joy Christ brings into a person’s life but also the abundance of joy. . . .for the Christian there is a new life in Christ. The old is passed away and there is a whole new life and perspective in and because of Christ Jesus.  

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul wrote, 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

So in Conclusion:  

Jesus is trustworthy, and dependable. Trust Him, depend on Him in times of trouble and doubt. When Mary turned the problem over to Jesus, I would image it put her heart at ease. He can do the same for you.

Remember how much Jesus cares for you. And remember how he can take that which is ordinary (you & me) and make us into something extraordinary.

And last of all, remember that Jesus wants you to be happy, and full of joy. 

He said, “I came that you may have life, and life to the full.”  

Seize that joyful life! Everyday get up and thank Jesus for what He has done for you and what He has blessed you with…and choose to enjoy what you have and be happy.

From Jim McGuiggan... What God is really after

What God is really after

MacLeod Campbell has taught us that the purpose of Christ's atoning and reconciling work is best seen in the way Christ went about it. It's purpose and nature are one. How he accomplished it and what he wanted to accomplish aren't different in character.

The cross (death) of Christ is not just the termination point of his sinless life; it is the completion of that life freely offered. In his death Christ deliberately drew a line under all he did and might have done in his life on earth. His death was accomplished as well as endured. From one angle it had an historical contingency and on the other it was eternally purposed and carried out through and under contingent responses. (Beyond the historical inevitability there was no necessity for men to have murdered the Christ. That is, given the world as it was, the death of Christ was inevitable but the world didn't have to be as it was.)

So the death of Christ is to be taken up into the fullness of his life of holy obedience to his Father. But the death without the holy and sinless life would have no meaning. His life and death belong inextricably together in the atoning and reconciling work of God. There is no atoning life that is not poured out in an atoning death.

Having said that, the life of Christ (his death included) is not only the sacrifice that works atonement and reconciliation, it expresses the nature of the reconciliation that God seeks to accomplish. It is not just "some sort" of appeasement God is looking for. It isn't a mere absence of overt hostilities that he's pursuing. What he wants is shown in the whole Incarnation and Cross-experience of Christ. He demonstrates in Christ's living before him what it is he is after. In Christ he finds what he wants from and for humanity. In Christ, his living and his dying, God spells out the nature of "reconciliation" and spells out what it means to be at peace with him. And it is in Christ's atonement for sin that forgiveness is made possible so that reconciliation is freely offered to humans.

In the atoning life and death of Jesus Christ God makes it clear that his purpose is broader than any one of the rich blessings that is part of the full reconciliation enterprise in which he is engaged.


Whatever God is after is part and parcel of his atoning and reconciling work in Christ.

He isn't after a host of pardoned people.
 
He isn't after a host of people he can bless.
 
He isn't after a host of people he can take to heaven with him.
 
He is after a restored relationship with those who estranged themselves.

Therefore he is after a realignment of their hearts and lives with his.

Therefore the atoning/reconciling work of Christ is relational and realigning.

Therefore bringing us to the obedience of faith is part of his reconciling work.

Therefore bringing us to faith in Christ is realigning our hearts to God.

Therefore "faith" is ethical in character as well as a confession of dependence. (This might help in working with Romans 4 and James 2.)

Therefore to denude faith of its ethical character is a serious reductionism.



©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.

Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, the abiding word.com.

From Mark Copeland... A Faith That Is Genuine ( 2 Timothy 1:5)




                    "THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                     A Faith That Is Genuine (1:5)

INTRODUCTION

1. When Paul was in prison awaiting his imminent death, the apostle
   wrote to Timothy...
   a. Mentioning his remembrance of him in his frequent prayers - 2 Ti 1:3
   b. Expressing his desire to see him, which would fill him with joy
      - 2Ti 1:4

2. Paul's love and longing was due to Timothy's faith...
   a. A faith that dwelt first in his grandmother Lois and his mother
      Eunice
   b. A faith that Paul was persuaded dwelt in Timothy also
   -- A faith Paul describes as "genuine" (sincere, unfeigned) - 2 Ti 1:5

[Paul's statement implies that not all faith is "genuine".  How about
your faith?  What kind of faith do you have?  Let's examine the subject
of faith more closely...]

I. NOT ALL FAITH IS GENUINE

   A. FAITH THAT DISPLEASES GOD...
      1. There is little faith
         a. That fails to trust in God's providence - Mt 6:30
         b. That is filled with fear and doubt - Mt 8:26; 14:31
         c. That allows human reasoning to forget God's power - Mt 16:8-9
      2. There is dead faith
         a. That fails to produce works - Jm 2:17,20
         b. Like a dead body without a spirit - Jm 2:26
      3. There is demonic faith
         a. Who believe in God, but only to tremble - Jm 2:19
         b. Who believe in Jesus, but want to be left alone - Mk 1:24
      4. There is unconfessing faith
         a. By those who may believe, but will not confess Jesus - Jn 12:42-43
         b. Such faith will not save, for confessing Christ is necessary
            - Ro 10:9-10; Mt 10:32-33
      5. There is "environmental faith"
         a. I.e., a faith totally dependent upon one's external
            environment
            1) E.g., remaining faithful while under the positive
               influences of one's home, church, or "Christian" college
            2) But take that person out of such an environment, and his
               or her faith is lost!
         b. Some signs of an "environmental faith"
            1) Praying in public, but not in private
            2) Studying the Bible when at church, but not in private
            3) A lack of personal closeness and dependence upon God and
               Jesus Christ
      6. There is "blind faith" (credulity)
         a. credulity - "readiness or willingness to believe especially
            on slight or uncertain evidence" - Merriam-Webster
         b. Many have this misconception of faith
            1) That faith is believing in something without evidence
            2) As some have said, "You just have to have faith", rather
               than provide reasons for such faith
         c. Yet God expects us to love Him with our minds as well as our
            hearts - Mt 22:37

   B. FAITH THAT PLEASES GOD...
      1. Faith that is a strong conviction in things unseen
         a. Such is the Biblical definition of faith - He 11:1
         b. Especially in God and His promises - He 11:6
      2. Faith that believes God raised Jesus from the dead
         a. For such is necessary for our salvation - Ro 10:9
         b. For such is the source of great blessings - Jn 20:29
      3. Faith that works through love
         a. Faith that justifies by works, not by faith only - Jm 2:24
         b. Faith that works through love, not by works only - Ga 5:6
      4. Faith that is genuine
         a. Faith that is sincere, unfeigned - 2Ti 1:5
         b. The kind of faith that is the goal of God's commandments
            - 1Ti 1:5

[Thus not all faith saves.  How can we have a saving faith that is
genuine...?]

II. DEVELOPING A FAITH THAT IS GENUINE

   A. THROUGH THE WORD OF GOD...
      1. The Word of God is designed to produce faith - Ro 10:17
      2. Books were written to create and strengthen faith - Jn 20:
         30-31; 1Jn 5:13
      3. The Bible contains evidence to develop faith (harmony of the
         Scriptures, scientific foreknowledge, fulfilled prophecy,
         eyewitness testimony, etc.)
      -- Are we willing to allow the Bible to produce a faith that is
         genuine?

   B. THROUGH THE FAMILY OF GOD...
      1. Timothy had been blessed being around people of faith - 2 Ti 1:5
         a. His grandmother Lois and mother Eunice
         b. The good example of their faith undoubtedly cultivated his
            own
      2. Our faith is strengthened by our association with other
         Christians
         a. Whose frequent assemblies exhort us to love and good works
            - He 10:24-25
         b. Whose daily exhortations can ward off an evil heart of
            unbelief - He 3:12-13
      -- Are we willing to let fellowship with God's family nurture a
         faith that is genuine?

   C. THROUGH WALKING WITH GOD...
      1. Abraham is the father of the faithful - cf. Ga 3:7,9
      2. Abraham demonstrated his faith by walking with and wherever God
         told Him - He 11:8-9
      3. Abraham grew in faith as he walked with God, even to where he
         was willing to offer his son - cf. He 11:17-18
         a. His faith was not developed all at once, but in stages
         b. It grew as he walked with God throughout his sojourn in life
         c. The same could be said concerning the faith of the apostles
            of Christ
      -- Are we willing to let our own walk with God develop a faith
         that is genuine?

CONCLUSION

1. God is willing to help provide the kind of faith that pleases Him...
   a. He provides His Word to create faith
   b. He provides His Family to nurture faith
   c. He provides His Companionship to strengthen faith
   -- Working together to produce "A Faith That Is Genuine"

2. When people think of you, what kind of faith do you have that comes
   to their remembrance...?
   a. Does it produce gratitude as Timothy's faith did for Paul? - cf.
      2Ti 1:3-5
   b. Does it produce sadness, as Demas' lack of faith undoubtedly did
      for Paul? - cf. 2Ti 4:10

May we always strive to develop a genuine faith that pleases God and
delights those who know us...!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Gary... Bible Reading January 16


Bible Reading  

January 16

The World English Bible


Jan. 16
Genesis 16
Gen 16:1 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, bore him no children. She had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
Gen 16:2 Sarai said to Abram, "See now, Yahweh has restrained me from bearing. Please go in to my handmaid. It may be that I will obtain children by her." Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.
Gen 16:3 Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her handmaid, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to Abram her husband to be his wife.
Gen 16:4 He went in to Hagar, and she conceived. When she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
Gen 16:5 Sarai said to Abram, "This wrong is your fault. I gave my handmaid into your bosom, and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes. Yahweh judge between me and you."
Gen 16:6 But Abram said to Sarai, "Behold, your maid is in your hand. Do to her whatever is good in your eyes." Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her face.
Gen 16:7 The angel of Yahweh found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
Gen 16:8 He said, "Hagar, Sarai's handmaid, where did you come from? Where are you going?" She said, "I am fleeing from the face of my mistress Sarai."
Gen 16:9 The angel of Yahweh said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hands."
Gen 16:10 The angel of Yahweh said to her, "I will greatly multiply your seed, that they will not be numbered for multitude."
Gen 16:11 The angel of Yahweh said to her, "Behold, you are with child, and will bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because Yahweh has heard your affliction.
Gen 16:12 He will be like a wild donkey among men. His hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him. He will live opposite all of his brothers."
Gen 16:13 She called the name of Yahweh who spoke to her, "You are a God who sees," for she said, "Have I even stayed alive after seeing him?"
Gen 16:14 Therefore the well was called Beer Lahai Roi. Behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.
Gen 16:15 Hagar bore a son for Abram. Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.
Gen 16:16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram. 

 

From Gary.... There is a right way and a wrong way: Choose wisely!!!







https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=257394924434450&set=vb.101670060006938&type=2&theater

The picture is of a squirrel thanking its benefactor. And if you click on the link, you can hear its "Thank you!!!".  But, you will probably have to do it a couple of times to hear everything- you will understand what I mean when you click on the link.  I laughed when I listened and finally heard everything, but I wondered...  What if this is a squirrel's thanksgiving prayer?  It would be a good example of saying the right things in a wrong way- wouldn't it???  Jesus had to confront inappropriate prayer as well.  Read on to find out how he did it......



Matthew, Chapter 6
  5  “When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Most certainly, I tell you, they have received their reward.   6  But you, when you pray, enter into your inner room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.   7  In praying, don’t use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking.   8  Therefore don’t be like them, for your Father knows what things you need, before you ask him.   9  Pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.   10  Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.   11  Give us today our daily bread.   12  Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.   13  Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen. 

Prayer is a reflection of the heart, a mirror of the condition of the soul and an indicator of your spiritual well-being!!! The Pharisees were bad examples because of their attitudes and Jesus confronted their teaching example with one of his own.  Jesus' attitude is one we should emulate, but even a correct action can be performed incorrectly- so, REMEMBER THE SQUIRREL AND DO NOT PRAY THAT FAST!!! PLEASE!!!!!


PS. Thanks to Walter Vogt for putting this on facebook today!!!