Friday, March 16, 2012

The Good Stuff

This quarter we have been studying how the Word Was in the Beginning. Proverbs 8:22-35 taught us that Wisdom (Jesus) was here before creation and was with God who delighted in Him daily. John 1:1-14 taught us the Word (Jesus) was in the beginning, was God, was with God, was light, was made flesh, and was rejected. In today's lesson we see the power of the words of the Word (Jesus). He became flesh to fulfill the purpose as Redeemer for the believers. He had only laid aside his deity. He was all God and all Man. Our lesson focuses on John 2:1-12.

Scripture reveals that John the Baptist bore witness of Jesus the Christ as the Messiah. John 1:6-8,15-36. (See also Matt 3:1-17; Mk 1:1-11; Lk 3:1-22) A day after the baptism of Jesus, two of John's disciples heard John's witness as to Jesus' being the Lamb of God. They decided to follow Christ. John 1:37 The one was Andrew and the other was unnamed, but he is assumed to have been the Apostle John. Andrew was Simon Peter's brother. He brought him to Christ as a disciple. John 1:42 The next day following, Jesus went to Galilee and made Philip a disciple. Philip enthusiastically ran to tell the good news to his brother, Nathanael. Nathanael was of Cana. He was hesitant and of unbelief that a good thing could come from Nazareth. Jesus assured him he knew he had been sitting under a fig tree before he was called. At that point Nathanael believed and became a disciple. John 1:45-51.

'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.' John 2:1-2 "And the third day" is not "Wednesday" in modern terminology. It may refer to "three days after the conversation between Jesus and Nathanael in chapter 1". Or it may be in reference to the time that passed after John acknowledged Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:35), subsequently turning over His disciples and Jesus finding other disciples the following day, and we see the final date in this lesson. The exact location of Cana is unknown. The meaning of its name is "the nest". Cana is located in Galilee. It was a short distance to Capernaum. Cana was the home of Nathanael (John 21:2) and the place where a nobleman sought Jesus to help heal his son in Capernaum (John 4:46). Scripture does not nsme "Mary" as the Virgine Mary, but she is known as the mother of Jesus. She may have been a relative to the bride or groom or a participant in the wedding. She may have been in charge of some of the details. For whatever reason, she was present. Naturally for this joyous occasion you would want to have Jesus at your festivity. You would notice He was called. Perhaps He was a relative of one of those to be wed or a participant in the wedding. It does indicate that Jesus likes social events. He was there with His new discisples...Andrew, Peter, Nathanael, Philip, and the unnamed disciple.

'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.' John 2:3-4 A marriage feast among the Jews commonly lasted seven or eight days. The host was expected to have all food and beverages, to include wine, for that entire period to entertain the guests. They were not expected to run out of wine. Perhaps there were more guests than expected. The bridegroom's reputation had to be saved. It is unknown why Mary would have told Jesus of the dilemma. Perhaps she had counted on Him as a Man, but Jesus had not shown His power of Divinity. When He responded, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?", it was not in disrespect of Mary. It was as if to say, "Madam, or Ma'am, that does not concern me." Jesus was attempting to remind Mary that He was a guest of the marriage festivity, while she was attempting to fix the dilemma. Perhaps she had an inkling He was able to do so because she knew how He had been conceived and had witnessed other things she had kept close in her heart. She has waited 30 years for Jesus to tell Israel He was the Messiah. He told Mary, "...mine hour is not yet come." It was not time for Him to reveal his public ministry with the revelation that He is the Messiah. (After Jesus began His public ministry there were times when the people attempted to catch and imprison or hurt Him. However, His hour had not yet come. i.e. John 7:30; 8:20 When the hour had come for Jesus to lay down His life for all mankind and give us an opportunity to eternal life and access to His Father, He submitted that God would be glorified. i.e. John 12:23,27; 13:1; 16:32; 17:1)

'His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.' John 2:5 Mary does not pretend or dispute whether she has power over Jesus. She knows she does not. Whether she understood the exact meaning of His words or not, she directs the hired help to obey Him without question. She did not interfere and advise them to listen to her. The last recorded words of Mary in the book of John are of her pointing servants to listen to Jesus. "...Whatever He says..." This was good advice. During His public ministry He would advise them they were no longer His servants. 'Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.' John 15:14

'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.' John 2:6-7 The waterpots were stone vessels made for carrying water. They had the capacity to carry approximately 20 to 30 gallons of water each. The pots were present at the wedding for the purification of any contaminating elements and cleansing. Water was stored in pots to prevent the contamination. Jesus commanded the hired help (not the disciples) to fill the waterpots to the brim with water. Then Jesus did what no man could do. He changed the water into wine! He did not touch it. He did not advertise what He was doing. He simply blessed the bridegroom with more wine.

'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 hast kept the good wine until now.' John 2:8-10 Jesus then directed the servants to take a cup of the wine to the host of the feast. Surely they were confused. Had there not been only water? But the host of the feast tasted wine...and not just any wine, but the best wine. He called forth the bridegroom to praise him on his wine serving technique versus the normal protocol. He questioned why the bridegroom had brought out the "good stuff" last instead of first. By bringing it out first the guests would get "well drunk" on the wine and not know or care what kind of wine you switch it to. There was a Jewish religious requirement that all wine be mixed with at least three parts of water or it would not be blessed and the person drinking would be defiled. Although Jesus allows us to drink the wine, it is with caution. 'And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.' Luke 21:34

The new wine is like the Plan of Salvation. It is better because of the Word. Moses' first miracle was turning water into blood (Exodus 7:20) as compared to Jesus' first miracle, turning water into wine. It is a comparison of the law (the "old stuff"), which was good, and grace (the "good stuff"), which is best. 'Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.' Gal 2:16

'This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days.' John 2:11-12 This was the very first miracle of Jesus recorded. Any other miracles rumored that He may have performed at an earlier time period have not been proven. This miracle was witnessed by only the servants who performed the task and the five disciples who were his present followers. It does not say, but I assume Mary to be a witness, also. It does indicate, however, the disciples believed. They have now observed the divinity of Jesus in action and their level of faith is heightened. They are now eyewitnesses to the glory of the Son of God as John the Baptist had testified. It is uncertain whether Jesus remained for the entire length of time of the marriage festivities or simply after the miracle, but He left along with His mother, brethren (brothers?), and disciples. They went to Capernaum, a large and populous city about a day's journey from Cana, along the sea coast. They only stayed in Capernaum a few days. It was nearing the time for Passover. It was necessary to come back to go to Jerusalem to attend the Passover.

Thank you Jesus, for any sign of your love, grace, and mercy!

Written by Deborah C. Davis

No comments: