Summary: “There are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone”. (1 Cor. 12:6)
Theme: The workings of God
Text: Is. 62:1-5; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; Jn. 2:1-11
Introduction: God reveals His presence through His power and work. As a guest at a wedding feast in Cana Christ’s presence led to a miracle that left no doubt about His power. He intervened when the couple were about to be disgraced because the wine had run out. Marriage is very important to God and not only did human history begin with a marriage ceremony and end with another, Jesus used the occasion of a marriage ceremony to perform His first miracle. On this occasion Christ’s manifested His power to ensure that the joy and blessedness of marriage were kept intact. This miracle not only revealed the presence of the Messiah but also the compassion and workings of God.
Step One: The works of God
a) Identify Christ as the Messiah
The works of God serve as a sign to identify Christ as the Messiah. A sign points the way, draws attention to or gives information. Today we all rely on signs to give us information or point us in the right direction. A miracle is a supernatural sign that points to Christ, draws attention to Him and gives information about Him.
b) Reveal His love and compassion
Supernatural signs are important and do not only identify the person but also reveals the nature of the person. The purpose of the miracle of Cana was not only to identify Jesus as the Messiah but also to reveal His love and compassion and His willingness to meet their need.
c) Reveal the way to life
The miracles of Christ point to His person to reveal the way to life. They lead people to have faith that He is able to meet their need. The greatest need of every person is the forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life and this is only possible through belief in Christ, the Son of God.
Illustration: The first sign of turning water into wine fulfils many Old Testament prophecies about the Messianic age when wine would flow freely. In Isaiah 55:1 the prophet declares “everyone who thirst come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price”. He talks about a time when everyone shall see the glory of the Lord and this is repeated by Amos in the words “the time is surely coming, says the Lord, when the one who ploughs shall overtake the one who reaps, and the treader of grapes the one who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit”. At weddings the responsibility for providing the wine is left to the bridegroom and Christ, as the bridegroom, uses the occasion to announce the birth of the Messianic age by turning water into wine.
Application: Jesus used the occasion of the wine shortage to reveal God’s plan of salvation and redemption. Just as He changed an embarrassing situation of lack into abundance so He can change your situation today.
Step Two: The way to Christ
a) The search for Christ
For Jesus Christ to change our situation we have to follow His directions that leads us to Him. The way to Christ begins with a yearning for His presence, a yearning that motivates a search for Him and leads to a life-changing experience. Mary knew about this life changing experience and told them “to search everywhere in the house till they found Him”. Christ has been revealed to all people but it is our duty to find Him and submit to Him without making any conditions of what He should do for us. We need to come to Him willing to trust whatever He intends to do in our lives.
b) Our petition for Christ’s intervention
Christ will do nothing on earth without a man since God has given man authority over all His creation. His intervention at the marriage ceremony only took place after Mary, His mother had told Him about the problem and the need for His intervention. Trusting Christ with the solution to a problem is to invite His intervention even when the time is not yet right.
c) Our obedience to Christ’s commands
When we trust Christ with our petitions we should also be ready to obey Him. There would have been no wine if the servants had not obeyed Christ.
Illustration: Wine in the Scriptures often speaks of joy. Having no wine is a description of unsaved men and women with no lasting joy because their life is empty without Christ. “Do whatever Jesus tells you” is the best advice we can give to those facing problems in life. When we reach the end of the line there is only one thing that we can do – do whatever He tells us. We may not immediately understand what is happening but it must be good because it is in obedience to Christ. The six stone water jars used in this miracle were jars that were used for the Jewish rites of purification. The act of changing water into wine was symbolic of the passing away of the old order of the Law and the coming of a new and living way of grace to provide cleansing from sin. The jars being filled to the brim signifies that the time for ceremonial purification was now completely fulfilled and that purification would now come from the saving power of Jesus’ blood signified by the wine. The wine as testified to by the chief steward was not just any wine but wine of very superior quality. The old order could only give a picture of what it meant to be cleansed from sin. The new order actually accomplished the cleansing from sin. In his vision of the throne room of God in revelations John sees a great multitude dressed in white and when he asks who they are is told: “these are they who have come out of the great ordeal’ they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”.