Summary: A look at the first sign in the book of john and how Jesus can take useless rituals and replace them with His sacrifice and Spirit.
Water into Wine
In the Gospel of John, he makes no secret of why he write his account of Jesus’ life.
... that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John wrote the Gospel so that people may know who Jesus is, that He is Christ, the Son of God, and so that people might have life by believing in Him. John therefore picks out events in Jesus’ life, and teachings that He gave, that display Him for who He is. John includes in his Gospel the ’I am’ statements of Jesus. e,g I am the light of the world, I am the good shepherd etc. These statements show that Jesus is God, referring to the Lords description of Himself to Moses.
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: `I AM has sent me to you.’ "
These ’I am’ statements are meant to show more than who Jesus is in Himself, but also, and just as importantly, who He is in relation to fallen man, to you and to me.
John himself admits, in the verse before the one that we have just read, and at the end of his book, that there are many other things that he could have included. But instead John includes those miracles and teachings he records as evidence of who Jesus is to the people. Included are seven miracles which John explains are signs to show that Jesus is the one the prophets spoke of in the old testament. Through these signs John displays how Jesus is the fulfilment of the old testament.
Myself and Liz have just come back from holiday where amongst other things we climbed to the top of Mt Teide, the highest mountain in Spain. We went to the base by car and then did the rest with a mixture of a cable ride and on climbing foot. When were were about halfway up, and were walking through the heart of this dormant volcano, I looked around and was completely taken back by the scenery. It was completely breathtaking. I started to praise God for His wonderful works. God then revealed something to me. He said ’What you can see, however beautiful, is simply my signature. The beautiful creation is simply the signature of the creator.’ It gives us no excuse for not believing in Him.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Through the scenery we could simply a small part of God. Through a signature we just get a glimpse of the person who signed it. That is why you get so many autograph hunters chasing the stars, wanting that little glimpse of who they are. Some people chase the signature more that the stars and we have to be careful not to do the same with God. In the same way the signs that John picks out are just a signature upon the life of Jesus, giving us a little glimpse of who He really is. But just as a signature testifies to the fact that the document has the approval of the one who signed it, these miraculous signs that Jesus performs show that he has the approval of God.
We see that John was very concerned with revealing Christ to the people and so I want to look at each one of these signs that Jesus gave and how they fulfilled there objectives. Today I want to look at the first sign, which is the turning of the water into wine, in chapter 2 of John. This sign, like most of the other six, has certain properties. Firstly there is a test show the level of peoples faith before the miracle, then Jesus performs the sign as a revelation of who He is, and then finally John records the teaching of Jesus in relation to this sign. He shows how the combination of these three things affects the people.
I want to put you in the shoes of the disciples at this point in the wedding at Cana in Galilee. Remember that they were just simple Jews from common backgrounds working as fishermen and the like. Some Jesus had called as He walked past, others had had Jesus recommended to them by other disciples, and still others had had Jesus pointed out to them by John the Baptist as being the one that they had been waiting for. They had been waiting for the saviour, the king of the Jews, and had known Jesus for only a few days. They would have been watching Him closely and listening to every word that He said to see if He was the one that they had been waiting for, the one sent by God to set the people free. They were waiting for the person who would bring to Israel the new wine.