How was your Christmas? This Christmas I’ve got a very special email from one Christian family. This man had bladder cancer three years ago. He is a cancer survivor. But a week before Christmas his urologist found a tumor on his bladder. He heard the news that his cancer came back. Right before Christmas he was scheduled for surgery to remove the tumor. Many people had been praying for him all over the country. Finally, the day came. The surgeon looked into his bladder and the tumor was gone! His cancer was gone! It was Christmas miracle indeed. And he and his wife shared this testimony with many people, and by this, the name of Jesus Christ was exalted!
God did many miracles throughout the Bible, and in the four Gospels there were many miracles performed by Jesus. One of the common words for miracles used in the New Testament was dynameis in Greek. Unlike Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the Apostle John intentionally used another word semeia, which literally means “signs.” A sign is something indicating the existence of something else. For instance, if we follow “Houlton” traffic sign though you don’t see it right away, eventually you get to Houlton. In the same way, John carefully chose 7 signs that point us to Jesus. In John 20:30-31 he tells us the reason why he wrote the book, saying “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” From today we will explore seven signs one by one each week. My prayer is that as we see each sign, we may clearly see that Jesus is the Lord, the Son of God!
The first sign is written in today’s passage. Jesus turns water into wine. In Jesus’ time a wedding celebration could last as long as a week. The bridegroom and his family were responsible for preparing and serving a variety of food and wine, which stands for joy. The fact that the wine ran out was very embarrassing and shameful situation. In this time of family crisis Jesus intervened and revealed his glory as the Lord. We say, “Jesus is the Lord.” But what does it really mean? What is the practical application of the Lordship of Jesus Christ? In today’s story we meet three different individuals and groups of people who truly live out Jesus being lord of their lives.
Trust: The Mother of Jesus (2:1-5)
The first one is the mother of Jesus. When the wine ran out, Mary didn’t turn to the bridegroom. She didn’t go to the master of the banquet. Instead, Mary turned to Jesus. When a storm sweeps into your life, when the need is great, who do you turn to? Mary turned to Jesus, because she did trust Jesus most. She said, “They have no wine!” But Jesus’ response was certainly abrupt, although the tone was not rude. He said, “Dear woman, that’s not our problem. My time has not yet come” (NLT). The answer was basically “No.” But Mary didn’t not give up. She didn’t know what Jesus would do, but she committed the matter to him and trusted him. She believed that he would do something. She went to the servants and said, “Do whatever he tells you.” Mary was the mother of Jesus. She had borne him, nursed him, and taught him. But Mary didn’t approach Jesus as his mother. She did approach him as a believer (cf. 2 Co ). she didn’t try to manipulate Jesus, but she responded as a believer and encouraged others to do the same, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Many people, many Christians believe in “imaginary” Jesus. In other words, they pick and choose what they like from Jesus. For some, Jesus is merely a human teacher. For some, Jesus is a social liberator. John Owen, the old puritan, warned people in his day: “You have an imaginary Christ and if you are satisfied with imaginary Christ you must be satisfied with imaginary salvation.” Thomas Jefferson was one of the founding fathers and a brilliant mind. But unfortunately, when it comes to faith, he didn’t believe Jesus just as the Bible says. He didn’t believe the Trinity. He didn’t believe miracles in the Bible. He defined his own Jesus and Christianity. So he was determined to reconstruct a Christianity. In fact, using scissors and paste,
produced his own edition of the gospels, from which all miracles had been eliminated
and contained only Jesus’ moral teaching.
But the Bible says there is only one true Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.
I want you to think about who do you say that Jesus is.
Obey: The Servants (2:6-8)
The second group of people who live out Jesus being the lord of their lives is the servants. In today’s story there were six stone water jars, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. We can easily calculate that the total amount of water would be approximately 120 to 180 gallons. We don’t know how many servants were there. But still, it is not a small amount of water. However, the Bible says that the servants filled them up “to the brim” when Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” It signifies “complete” obedience. Jesus also asked them to draw some out and take it to the master of the feast. And they took it. Again, it signifies “immediate” obedience. The servants give us a good example of what it means to obey. They had a clear identity about themselves: “servanthood.” They didn’t regard Jesus as one of the guests, but as their master. There is a clear limit and boundary for guests. They are not allowed to get involved in our private matters. Christians are the people who have invited Jesus to our lives. But for some, Jesus still remains as their guest. He might be a special guest, but still he doesn’t have full access to a primary decision-making. Is Jesus your guest or master? Does he have full access to your family matters, marriage, finance and every area of life? Or is he just a good adviser only for the well-being of your soul?
Commit: The Disciples of Jesus (2:9-11)
The third group is the disciples of Jesus. The Bible says that they saw the first sign and believed in Jesus. Based on today’s passage we can easily assume that there were probably many people either saw or heard about the sign that Jesus had performed, but not all believed in Jesus. For instance, the master of the feast tasted the wine turned from water. He got benefit from it, but nothing changed. For him, the sign was a one time interesting event. But as for the disciples, it was spiritual transformative experience that changed their lives forever. By faith they perceived Jesus’ glory behind the sign, and they put their faith in him. In the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, his disciples were kind of “loosely” following Jesus. In John 1:35-42 Jesus called the first disciples, including Andrew and Peter. But if we read the other gospels, Jesus had to visit them again and call them personally (Matt -22; Mark -20; Luke 5:1-11). It is believed that at first Jesus’ disciples loosely followed Jesus. In other words, one day they were with Jesus, and another day they stayed with their family and did their work. However, today’s sign, the first of Jesus’ signs, became transformative experience for them to make a total commitment to Jesus Christ. To believe the gospel is to believe in the person Jesus. To believe in Jesus is to follow him 24/7. Jesus still calls us today. How do you respond to his call? How do you walk with Christ today?
The First Sign
All of us are fearfully and wonderfully made. When God made our ancestors Adam and Eve, God said it was very good! Humankind was like the choicest wine – beautiful color, taste, and aroma – in God’s eyes (cf. Isaiah 5:2). But then, sin came to the world, and our life became like “insipid” water – no taste, no savor – and even messy and ugly. But this is not the end of the story. God never gave up on us! God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to make everything new. Jesus is God’s method. The Bible says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Co 5:17). When we receive Jesus as the Lord and live under his lordship, the insipid water of our old life has gone and the richness of new life in Christ has come! And just like the best wine, as time goes by, our life becomes more beautiful, tasty, fragrant and give joy to many people. Let us remember three marks of Christians who live under the lordship of Jesus Christ: trust, obey, and commit. Are you a follower?