English: Icon of the wedding at Cana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him (John 2:1-11 ESV).
What do you believe? Does it matter what you believe? If, for example, you believe that all religions lead to God, will that make it true? Is truth a matter of opinion, or does it remain the same whether or not we believe it? If we are sincere, can we be wrong?
A few years ago I took a flight from Port Vila to Brisbane. When I arrived at Brisbane, I was to take a train to another terminal to catch another flight to Sydney. I found the station where I was to board the train and confirmed it with the woman at the counter who told me that the train would arrive in two minutes. Sure enough, in two minutes a train arrived and I got on to go to the other terminal where I would catch the plane for Sydney. After some time, I began to see signs for the Golden Beach near Brisbane. Another train passenger told me that I was on the wrong train going the wrong direction. I had believed that I was simply transferring to another airport terminal. I was sincere. But I was sincerely wrong.
Pastor Rick Warren says, “You can be sincere, but you can be sincerely wrong. The fact is, it takes more than sincerity to make it in life. It takes truth.”
Many people put a lot of emphasis on belief. Many books are written about believing. Motivational speakers talk about the power of belief. We are told
- to believe in ourselves,
- to believe in our potential,
- to believe in belief.
We are told that believing is more important than what you believe. We are told that we have the power to create our own reality by believing. Even Christians get caught up in the false teaching that we should believe in our ability to create reality by our thoughts and words and belief and faith.
Is that what the Bible is talking about when it talks about faith and believing? Is our faith and hope in ourselves or is our hope in Jesus?
SONG: MY HOPE IS JESUS, ADRIAN LEWIS, HILLSONG – 4:12 (14 second lead)
JOHN, THE GOSPEL OF BELIEF
Today we want to continue looking at the Gospel According to John. This Gospel has been called “The Gospel of Belief.” John’s Gospel is the Gospel of belief because he emphasizes believing more than Matthew, Mark, and Luke combined. Those three gospels combined only mention believing 35 times, 65 times if we add the noun “faith.” But John uses the verb “to believe” 98 times. In fact, he writes this entire Gospel so that we would believe.
But John’s purpose is not simply to encourage us to believe. He wants us to believe something specific. His summary statement of purpose is found in 20:30-31,
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so 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 20:30-31 ESV).
It has been said that this gospel is
- A selective gospel: Jesus did many other signs which are not written in this book.
- An attested gospel: Jesus did these signs in the presence of the disciples.
- A purposeful gospel: It has a purpose: These signs are written so that you may believe.
- An interpretive gospel: The signs signify that Jesus is the Christ.
- A definitive gospel: Jesus is the Son of God.
- An effective gospel: by believing you may have life in his name.
So John’s purpose is not simply to encourage faith or belief, he wants us to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Is that important? Is it important that we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the one and only Son of God? John says that this is the way that we may have life, and the life that he is talking about is eternal life which is nothing less than knowing God and His Son Jesus Christ, both now and for eternity.
This is what Jesus said in his prayer to his Father in John 17:3,
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17:3 ESV).
Eternal life begins now. As John says in his first letter, 1 John 1:3,
that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3 ESV).
Belief is not enough. Sincerity is not enough. We must believe the truth:
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32 ESV).
Is it important that we believe the truth? Absolutely!
“I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24 ESV).
Knowing the truth, believing the truth, and living according to the truth is absolutely essential.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36 ESV).
Yes, John wants us to believe something specific.
- That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world” (John 11:27 ESV).
- That the Father sent him (John 11:42 ESV).
- That Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in him (John 14:11 ESV).
- That Jesus is God (John 13:19 ESV).
Belief alone is not enough. Belief in belief is empty. Faith in faith is meaningless. Our faith must have an object. We must believe some thing. We must believe the truth.
Today truth has been relativized. People believe that there are many different truths. You have your truth and I have my truth. What is true for you is not necessarily true for me. What is true for me is not necessarily true for you. Whatever works for me is true for me, and whatever works for you is true for you.
But that does not work! It does not work in math, or accounting, or science, or physics, or any other field of study. 2 plus 2 is 4, even if we believe that it is something else. If you go to the bank believing that 2 plus 2 is 10, and that you believe that you have 10,000 vatu in your account, you may be sincere, but the bank will tell you that you are sincerely wrong. Airplanes are carefully constructed with strict adherence to the laws of aerodynamics so that the plane will actually fly and carry its passengers safely from one place to another.
So why should we think we can have our own private truth about God who, the Bible says, cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18)? Why should we think that it matters little or not at all what we believe about Jesus who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)?
- Belief in false gods is not enough.
- Believing the wrong things about God and about His Son leads to false worship.
- Sincerity is not enough.
Believing In Jesus Christ
And John has written so that we might know the truth and believe the truth. John wants us to believe the truth about Jesus Christ. And yet, he wants us to believe more than that. He wants us to believe in Jesus Christ. In other words, it is not simply a question of believing certain truths or facts about Jesus Christ, though that is important. John is calling for personal faith in Jesus Christ, a personal knowledge of Christ, entering into a personal relationship, communion, and fellowship with Christ.
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:11-13 ESV).
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:14-18 ESV).
John is calling for active faith, active belief in and commitment to the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God whom God has designated as the only means of salvation. So John gives seven signs performed by Jesus Christ that point to who he is.
Now some people are always looking for signs. They see a sign and want to see another one, never understanding that a sign is meant to sign-ify something. A sign has sign-ificance—meaning—because it points beyond itself. When you see a sign on the road indicating the distance to your destination, you don’t stop and camp out at the sign. As you are going up toward Panginisu, you will see a sign for Port Vila that says 109km. If your destination is Port Vila, you don’t stop when you arrive at the sign. You keep going because the sign has told you vital information that you needed to know.
John has recorded seven signs that tell us vital information about Jesus. They tell us that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
- Jesus changes the water into wine (John 2:1-11).
- He healed the official’s son who was at the point of death (John 4:47-54).
- He healed the man who had been lame for 38 years (5:5).
- He multiplied five loaves and two fishes to feed the multitude of 5,000 plus women and children (John 6:1-15).
- Jesus walked on water (John 6:16-21).
- Jesus opened the eyes of the man born blind (John 9).
- Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11).
John also records seven great “I am” statements made by Jesus:
- I am the bread of life that came down from heaven (6:35, 48, 51). He is the source of life.
- I am the light of the world (8:12; 9:5).
- I am the door of the sheepfold (10:7, 9).
- I am the good shepherd (10:11, 14). He lays his life down for his sheep.
- I am the resurrection and the life (11:25). He would rise from the dead.
- I am the way, the truth, and the life (14:6). He is the only way to the Father.
- I am the true vine (15:1).
John’s purpose is to lead us to believe in Jesus Christ. But what does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ? It means that we understand who he is, that we put our trust in him, and that we follow him as his disciples.
- We understand who he is. John’s opening verse tells us who Christ is: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John tells us in 5:18 that every time that Jesus called God his own Father, he was making himself “equal with God.” Jesus tells Philip, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Thomas, seeing the resurrected Christ, calls him, “My Lord and my God.”
- We must trust him for our salvation: He is the only way to the Father.
- We show our love to him by obeying him:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15 ESV).
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me (John 14:23-24 ESV).
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love (John 15:10 ESV).
THE FIRST SIGN
In John chapter 2, we come to the first miracle that Jesus performed. John uses the word sign instead of miracle because he wants us to see that the miracles of Jesus were signs of who he was and is. This passage concludes with these words:
This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him (John 2:11 ESV).
The Setting: A Wedding
In chapter 1, we heard the testimony of John the Baptist, that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Andrew and John, two of the Baptist’s disciples, heard his testimony and followed Jesus. Andrew then announced to his brother Peter that they had found the Messiah. Jesus found Philip, and Philip found Nathanael. So at the end of chapter 1, Jesus already has a group of disciples. Now we read in chapter 2 that
…there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration (John 2:1-2 NLT).
Jesus’ presence at the wedding was his seal of approval on marriage. Sometimes I am asked if the marriage between unbelievers is really a marriage or if new converts should get married again. Let’s be clear about this. Marriage is God’s gift not only to Christians, but to humanity. You don’t have to be a Christian believer for your marriage to be valid. Marriage is a gift from God. Human marriage is a reflection of the true marriage that will take place when Christ returns for the Church which is his bride. The Apostle Paul speaks to this in Ephesians 5:31-32,
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31-32 ESV).
So Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding celebration in Cana.
The Situation: A Shortage of Wine and a Mother’s Concern
The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother [who as also there] told him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come” (John 2:3-4 NLT).
Literally Jesus said, “Woman, what to me and to you?” which means “Woman, what has this concern of yours to do with me?”
What we see here is a mother’s concern, but not just any mother. This is the mother of Jesus. It was to Mary, the mother of Jesus, that the angel Gabriel had appeared telling her that as a virgin she would bear a child who would be very great, who would be the Holy One of God, the Son of the Most High, the Son of God. His name would be Jesus, which means Savior, and he would reign as King over Israel forever.
As a virgin, Mary gave birth to that child. She and Joseph, being warned in a dream, had fled King Herod’s wrath by night. They had returned from Egypt and seen Jesus grow in stature and wisdom and in favor with God and man. They had seen him at the age of 12, amazing the elders in the temple. Mary had deeply contemplated all these things in her heart. She had watched. She had waited. Perhaps she had heard the testimony of John the Baptist. She saw that Jesus was gathering disciples. Now at the wedding, the wine supply had run out. This seemed to be the time:
“They have no more wine,” she told him.
Mary knew that the prophets Elijah and Elisha had worked miracles to supply oil in time of need. Surely this was the time for Jesus to supply the need, to manifest himself so that everyone would know who he was. Perhaps also she wanted to be vindicated against those who had accused her of immorality, who had said that she could not be a virgin when she was pregnant with Jesus.
“Woman, what have I to do with you? My hour has not yet come.”
Jesus does not address Mary as “Mother,” but as “Woman.” This is a term of respect that Jesus used on occasion when addressing women. But Jesus is here putting distance between himself and his mother. It is not her responsibility to determine when or where or how he is to manifest himself. That is not her position. She must learn that she can no longer approach him as his mother. She must come to him, not as his mother, but as his disciple.
His hour had not yet come. The hour that Jesus was talking about was his hour to return to his Father (John 13:1).
Mary no longer presumes to tell Jesus what to do. She simply speaks to the servants: “Do whatever he tells you.”
Six Stone Jars and a Sign
Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons (John 2:6 NLT).
That’s about 100 liters. These stone water jars were probably used to wash certain utensils and the hands of the guests (cf. 3:25). The “water represents the old order of Jewish law and custom, which Jesus was to replace with something better.”
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17 ESV).
Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.”
When the jars had been filled, 8 he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions (John 2:7-8 NLT).
Jesus did not touch the water jars or the water. He simply gave instructions which the servants followed:
- Fill the jars with water.
- Now dip some out.
- Take it to the master of ceremonies.
When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. 10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” (John 2:9-10 NLT).
Notice how discreet Jesus is in this miracle. He does not draw attention to himself. There is no big announcement as to what he has done. The master of ceremonies did not even know where the wine had come from. Jesus had not given in to the temptation to make a big display and to show himself.
In Luke 4:9-11, Satan had tempted Jesus to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the temple so that the angels would carry him so that he would not even hurt his foot on a stone. “Do something dramatic! Show yourself!”
In John 7:4, the unbelieving brothers of Jesus tell him, “If you can do such wonderful things show yourself to the world!”
Here in John 2, the mother of Jesus had suggested that he do something spectacular, that it was time for people to know who he really was.
But Jesus responded to the need in a way that would not draw attention to himself. He performed the sign without even touching the jars or the water. He drew no attention to himself so that only the servants and Jesus’ disciples knew that the wine had been water. They were the only ones who knew that Jesus had turned the water into wine.
It takes great power and great intelligence to turn water into wine. With all our advanced technology today, we still have no idea how to turn water into wine. Yet, all around us is evidence of God’s great power and intelligence. God is continuously turning water into grapes and oranges and bananas and papayas and tomatoes and avocados and mangoes. All around us are plants—factories, if you will—which turn water into every kind of fruit and vegetable. It takes great intelligence to know how to do that. And yet this time, Jesus did it without even using a grape vine.
Jesus did this as the first of his miraculous signs, in Cana of Galilee. In this way he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him (John 2:11 NET).
He manifested his glory. That’s what we read in the Prologue, the introduction of this Gospel:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14 ESV).
The glory that Jesus manifested was the glory of the only Son of the Father. And his disciples believed in him. They believed that he was the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
… these [miraculous signs] are written so 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 20:31 ESV).
SONG: CHRIS TOMLIN – KING OF GLORY
Thank you for tuning in to FM 107. This has been a ministry of Joy Bible Institute. You can visit our website at www.joybible.wordpress.com. Our prayer is that the joy of the Lord would be your strength.
 Carson, John, p. 173.
See also “Gospel of John”:
- The only true God and Jesus Christ whom he sent
- John 12:01-19, “The Triumphal Entry in the Shadow of the Cross”
- John 11:01-45, “When God Is Late”
- John 10:30-42, “Jesus, the Most Controversial Person in History”
- John 10:22-30, “Missing the Obvious: Jesus is the Christ”
- John 10:07-21, “The Good Shepherd, Part 2”
- John 10:01-06, “The Good Shepherd, Part 1”
- John 09:01-41, “Blind Man Seeing, Seeing Men Blind”
- John 08:48-59, “Who Does Jesus Make Himself Out To Be?”
- John 08:31-47, “Children of God, or Sons of Satan?”