Today’s Assignment is to read John 2. For more information on the Focus Bible reading plan, please check it out here.
Last year during our Wednesday evening program for children, Young Explorers we studied this passage, when Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:1-11).
Our big idea that night as I was talking to the kids was that Jesus did this miracle as a sign. It was a sign that showed the disciples that he was who he said he was. But there are two other things that struck me about this passage that I didn’t share with the kids that I would like to share with you all:
The first one is that I have never identified with Mary more. I SO get it! Now, I was raised Baptist, so I have never drunk real wine. But I know how hard it is to plan a party, and how disappointing and embarrassing it would be to run out of something.
And I can’t turn this off when it is not my party. I could be at my husband’s co-worker’s cousin’s roommate’s wedding, and if I notice that the mother-of-the-bride concerned that they had run out of wine, I would be looking for ways to solve that problem. I’ve never bought wine, but I’d be whispering to Eric, “They don’t have any more wine! Maybe I should go buy some wine. Go ask if I should go buy some wine. Oh no, I feel so bad!” So… I get it. Mary and I have that in common. I think it’s called “not minding your own business.”
The second thing that I noticed is this: When Jesus did signs and wonders and miracles, they weren’t just arbitrary. They weren’t random. They weren’t just a magic trick for a magic trick’s sake. The miracles that Jesus performed told us something about himself and about God’s kingdom.
When Adam and Eve sinned, all sorts pain and suffering came into the world, because all of creation was under a curse. And when Jesus comes to earth, his miracles are “little reversals” of the curse.
For example, Jesus meets a man born blind. The man is blind because sin is horrible, and the curse of sin causes blindness, as much as sin causes spiritual blindness. So, Jesus comes and makes that man see.
Another time, Jesus raises a little girl to life, because little girls dying is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s a judgment from sin, and he is there to rescue the world from sin and death.
Each of these miracles is a sign that Jesus is the Son of God, but they are also the beginning of his work to save the world. He is repairing the damage that sin caused, and he is giving us a fuller picture of what the world is supposed to be like – without sin.
So, when we look at this water-to-wine miracle in that light, we have to ask, “What kind of God turns water to wine?”
You know, I think we think that our God changes wine to water. We look at the world’s pleasures, and we say no – Christianity is about self-discipline and self-denial. And that’s true – When you encounter Jesus, you are going to say no to worldly pleasures. We are told to take up our cross and follow him. In fact, Jesus promises us that in this world, we will have trouble, and heartache, and persecution, and grief.
And, a lot of us don’t have the life that we wish we had. We don’t have the spouse we wish we had. We don’t have the children that we wish we had. We don’t have the body, or the house, or the lifestyle that we wish we had. We just want to cry out to God and say, “Father! This isn’t what I want! I want wine, but you have given me dirty water!”
But what if a life that is changed by Jesus means our water turns to wine?
What if Jesus is saying, here – let me take your disappointments, your embarrassments, your boring, every day, laundry and dishes life – and let me transform it into something that is rich, and joyous, and full of blessing.
See, Jesus loves taking the old and making it new again. He loves turning dirty water into fine wine.
He might not change your circumstances. You might have the same life. The same struggles. The same heartache. But Jesus can change you. He can awaken your heart to the purpose for your pain. He can reveal his glory in your circumstances.
Jesus is saying, “Why don’t you let me turn your water into wine. Let me change your heart so that I can take the life you do have – and make it sing. Let me make beauty out of your ashes.”
If you do not feel that Jesus has turned your water to wine, I invite you to meet this Jesus. He takes is our great redeemer. He takes us and our broken hearts and our unremarkable lives and redeems us for his purpose. He gives us new hope, and satisfaction, and joy, and peace that we can only find in him.
When the disciples saw Jesus do this miracle, John says it “manifested his glory”.
When Jesus has changes you, everyone around you can look at your life and see the glory of Jesus. And they, like the disciples, will put their faith in Him too.
And we – even in suffering, or mourning, or disappointment – can look up at our Heavenly father, and say with all sincerity, “Oh God! I used to drink cheap wine. But you have saved the best until now!”
You are good. You love us. You change us.
We are sinners. We rejected you. We need to be changed. We need to be transformed.
Thank you for turning our water to wine. Thank you for breathing life and meaning into our hearts of stone.
May we reveal your glory, may we point others to you.
In Jesus’ name,