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The first miracle of Jesus:
Turning water into wine at the marriage feast.
I would talk to you now about "The New Wine." There are so many new things in
the Gospel of John: new wine, new birth, new fellowship, new life, new light, and on and
on the list grows.
Here we look at one of the great miracles of Jesus, the first miracle sign in the
book of John. Only seven great miracles are listed in John. John said that there are many
others that He did which are not written in this book but said these are written that ye
might believe on Him and believing you might have life through His name. Let's read
about the first one, the first miracle sign as recorded by the Gospel of John, chapter two
verses one through eleven.
“And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of
Jesus was there. And both Jesus was called and his disciples to the marriage. And
when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet
come. His mother saith unto the servants. Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying
of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the
waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them,
Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not
whence it was, (but the servants which drew the water knew) the governor of the
feast called the bridegroom. And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth
set forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse, but
thou cast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in
Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory, and his disciples believed on
Three things about this miracle sign that I want us to look at: first of all, the setting
of the sign; and then, the symbolism of the sign; and finally the significance of the sign.
A. The Setting of the First Miracle Sign
The miracle takes place at a wedding celebration, a time of great importance and
joy in the Jewish family. And Jesus and his disciples were invited to this wedding. Jesus
did not separate Himself from the common day-to-day activities of the people.
1. Religion and Everyday Life
I like the whole connotation of religious activity and celebration related to not
only weddings but to every phase of a person's life. It's wonderful to have Jesus there
from dedications to funerals. Everything that happens to you in your life, having Jesus
there and His blessing upon it and His presence upon it and tying people's lives in with
the church and the blessings of the Lord is a marvelous thing. I like that. And Jesus was
there. He had come for a special purpose and that would soon be evidenced.
2. Background Activities
It seemed as if the celebration was going so well - maybe, too well. Then,
suddenly they were about out of wine to give to the guests. In the background there was
some discussion that took place. The Gospel of John is so beautiful in that it is portrayed
in many cases almost like the drama of a stage. Out in the foreground you see all kinds of
things going on with people, but in the background there are some things taking place
that people out front don't know anything about. This is why John's Gospel is different.
He was in the inner circle. John saw what was going on behind the scenes while others
only saw the front stage.
In most cases the real inspiration and faith and excitement of what's happening is
here in the background and some out front are never aware that miracles take place. You
know that's the way it is now. Jesus can be in a place and some people can sit right next
to a miracle and never see it. But some people are behind the scenes, so to speak, in their
understanding and faith. In their seeing deeper than others and in their looking behind the
scenes they see the handiwork of God and see God moving. They're not so excited or
carried away with their own things and what they're doing that they miss what God is
I would rather stand in the shadow sometimes if that means seeing Him closer. I
would rather stand in the background sometimes I think if that means hearing His voice
and seeing Him perform in a special way. Wouldn't you? I certainly don't want to be so
busy until I miss Him. But that's exactly what happens to us sometimes. We become so
busy until we miss out on what He wants to do for us. We talk so much we can't hear
3. Jesus and His Mother, Mary
So behind the scenes, His mother comes to Him and says, "...they have no wine."
It's amazing the things that mothers will do. A few days ago I was visiting with my
mother who is eighty-one years old and you know she still says, "Son, do so and so!"
And I say "Yes, Mom." Because that's the way it is. You know, there's just something
about your mother that when she asks a direct request of you, there's no argument.
So Jesus mother just comes to Him and says, “...they have no wine." But all of a
sudden He turns to her and speaks to her somewhat sharply. He does not call her mother.
But He says, "...Woman, what have I to do with you? My hour is not yet...”
4. Jesus and the Will of the Father
We will hear Jesus say in the Gospel of John three times, "...my hour is not yet
Then later on in the time of sorrow and darkness and agony and grief when He's
yielding up His life to the will of the Father and He's ready to drink the bitter cup, He will
say, "...my hour is come, glorify thy son." Then when He is there in Gethsemane He will
pray and say, "...Father the hour is come."
But three times He will say it as here, "...my hour is not yet come." The meaning
of course is that even though this is His earthly mother and she has come and exerted
some human pressure upon Him about a real need, yet Jesus will not be manipulated and
He will not be directed by human pressure. He is more aware of the divine will of God.
For when He says, "...my hour is not yet come," He has in mind the divine eternal will of
God that covers His destiny.
It causes Him to act strangely at times. Not that He isn't concerned with human
needs and human desires and human requests - not that at all. But when the dominating
influence of the divine inspiration and will of God overshadowed Him, it took priority.
That ought to be the way with us in this world. Regardless of human pressures that
pressure from high, the divine will of God has first place pushing down upon our lives to
direct us and control our wills.
I was amazed when I walked in this place because there was such a relaxed restful
peaceful atmosphere and such an atmosphere of worship and praise and oh, you just don't
find that everywhere. I've gone into places where immediately you were thrown at
attention because you just felt confusion and clamor and it took a while for God even to
penetrate and touch the peoples heart but thank God for His holy presence.
5. The Will of the Heavenly Father and Earthly Friends
Jesus is saying, "...my time is not yet come, woman." She will lose her son. She
will lose him as a son before she gains him as a Saviour. As if by divine hands, divine
scissors seem to clip the apron strings from off his life. Because now He is beginning His
ministry and He is hearing the voice of God and He will hear that voice and follow it
regardless of who presses upon Him.
In each case when He says, "...my hour is not yet come," it is in response to
requests by people who are close to Him, who are pressing their needs and desires upon
Him. Here, it's His mother. In chapter seven, it's His brothers and they're saying, "...there
is something wrong with your P.R., Jesus. Why don't you come over here and do some
great works so people will believe on you?" And John adds a little footnote and says,
"...for his brothers were not believing on him." Later on it is his close friends of the
family of Lazarus that press a need upon him.
6. Jesus Responds in His Own Time, in His Own Way
In each one of these three cases He does not respond immediately in the way that
they want. But later He does respond and takes care of the need and comes back on an
entirely different level. He comes in a richer, more wonderful glorious way, in ways that
they really do not even understand completely.
Let me just say this to you. Every time you come to Jesus Christ with a human
request, and it may be a legitimate and even urgent need, don't get upset and impatient if
the Lord doesn't hear your prayer immediately. It may be that He wants to teach you
something about patience and about faith and how to take hold of His Word and His
promises and take hold of His power and hang on in faith. Hallelujah! It may be that He
wants to teach you something about endurance and perseverance always coming back
later to answer your prayer and move in your behalf in a far deeper more important way
than you could imagine.
7. Mary's Faith
So His mother just simply turns and says no more to Him and turns to the servants
and says now, whatever He says, you do it because she figured he would do something
sooner or later. Oh what a marvelous thing that is. What simple childlike faith. That's all
that faith is. Faith is not screwing your mind up in some kind of a supernatural knot
where you reach out in some unknown place and take hold of reality, a supernatural.
Faith is hearing the voice of Jesus Christ and just simply saying, "Whatever He says, do
it." That's obedience to His Word.
You see when you don't fuss with God, you don't argue with God, you don't argue
with His will but you just simply as soon as He says it without any hesitation you start to
move that's faith and it brings results, powerful, glorious, wonderful results. It would be a
marvelous thing in this world if somehow we could get to that place where we say in our
own hearts whatever Jesus says, I will do it.
How long has it been since you've fussed with Jesus? You've said, "No, no, no
Lord. Not me! Not that! Somebody else. Surely you don't mean me Lord." How long has
it been since you've quenched the Spirit? I say to you now, whatever He says to you, do it
and you will see the glory of God. In your obedience will be your greatest act of faith and
that kind of faith will bring to bear on your life the supernatural and the miracles and God
will be glorified and His mighty presence will be manifested through you for His glory.
B. The Symbolism of the First Miracle Sign
1. The Six Waterpots
Look at what is symbolized here around this great miracle. First of all there are
six waterpots along the porch entranceway into this house with water in them for the
purifying of the Jews. Oh, these Jews and their religious ceremonies and practices and
how legalistic they were! They walk out in the market place or in the open and if they
happen to even step in the track were a Gentile had walked, ooh man that is just awful. If
they happened to bump shoulders with somebody who was a sinner, terrible. They had to
come in and wash and wash.
As they entered into anybody's house, they would dip their hands about elbow
deep in each pot of water six times. This was a special purification process so that they
would be purified. They'd wash off all the road dust, so to speak, and all the
contamination and people pollution that they had passed through on their way.
Well, we would poke fun at them a little bit, but I know some of us that get about
that ridiculous too, don't you? Jesus said to them, "...fill the pots up, brimming full." They
filled them up brimming full, running over a little I guess. Anyhow it says "to the brim."
And what's He doing?
Well, in the first place, John likes numbers. He especially likes threes and sevens
and that number six is just incomplete - just as that Jewish cleansing system was
incomplete and everything about Judaism is incomplete. That number six is not a
complete, good, Biblical number.
So he's not going to that source, but he will fill it full so as to set it aside in a
sense. And in that sense Jesus fulfills all that was looked for and hoped for and prayed for
in the Hebrew system. And He goes far beyond it. I tell you everything that was longed
for and looked for and prayed for and hoped for in the Old Testament time, Jesus fulfilled
it, hallelujah, and pour ed it to the brim with His own life and love and ministry and
power and you can be filled tonight with the abundance of His love and grace by believing
2. The Drawing out of the Well
Then He said to the servants, "...now draw out..."-- not out of the pots but go back
to the well. That seventh source is a living source. Go back to the well. And as they went
and started drawing water out of the well and brought it in He said, "...now bear it to the
governor of the feast." And as they did, somewhere between the well and the table, the
water turned to wine. The governor said, "...oh my, that's the best I've ever tasted you've
saved it to the last. What's this you're doing? Usually it is customary," he said, "All these
parties I've been to they always give you the best first and then after you've kind of eaten
and talked and you don't care so much, you're just eating for the fun of it, and just
drinking for the fun of it and you don't care what you put in your mouth, then they bring
the worst. But you've turned it around."
Jesus poured the same thing the Jewish system had used all these centuries -
water. In all their ritual and ceremony Jesus took the same thing and poured in His divine
blessing and grace and He made it much richer and much more beautiful and brought real
life and joy to that party. But I want you to know that Jesus is not just the life of a party
my friends. He is the source, the living source, of true joy and victory and grace and
power, hallelujah. I think He would have turned the whole well into wine if he had
needed to. I think that Jesus wants you to understand that there is a living source from
which you can draw to satisfy the longing of your life and will bless you far beyond any
expectations that you have ever known.
The first miracle of Jesus: Turning water into wine at the marriage feast.
Denomination: Church of God
Thompson's Chain Reference: 4069 (Miracles - Testify)
Author(s): F.J. May, D.Min.
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