Jesus Reveals His Glory
Key Verse: 2:11
“What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”
In this passage, Jesus changed water into wine. John describes this miracle of Jesus as the first of the signs. John records seven of miracles Jesus had performed in his gospel. These are not merely miracles, but signs that have meanings and messages. What does this first sign point to? It points to the truth of who Jesus is. It also tells us the nature of his ministry. Jesus is the one who has power to change lives. Jesus will transform people, whose lives are drab and meaningless, into new creations who are useful to God and blessing to others. We may understand this first sign and see the glory of Jesus, so that we may believe in him. The wonderful change will take place in us when we faithfully walk with him, follow him, and believe in him.
First, they have no more wine (1-3)
Look at verse 1-2. On the third day after Jesus met Nathanael, on a bright, sunny morning, a beautiful wedding took place in the small town of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. Here Mary appears to be a woman of some influence like a co-hostess for the wedding. Probably Mary was a close relative. As we know, John the Baptist went to desert to preach the message of repentance. But here Jesus and his disciples went to the wedding. Why? In John’s gospel, everything is particularly put there for a reason. Though he was busy, Jesus took time out to bless this wedding as God blessed the first wedding. Though sinful men have defiled the marriage like business contracts which they can break or cancel at any time, still marriage is God’s utmost blessing for mankind. God initiated and ordained marriage for man’s happiness. The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” God then created Eve, not Steve, out of Adam’s rib and brought her to him. God joined Adam and Eve to be one through the first marriage. God blessed them “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over…” God should be the center of marriage; God should be honored in marriage.
On May/20 there was a wedding in Chicago. We, 56 members including little children, took over 16 hours bus ride from New Brunswick to Chicago to celebrate the wedding. Whose wedding was it? It was not a celebrity’s wedding. We did not mind total over 30 hours bus ride because the young man and woman decided to marry to honor God and to do God’s mission based on John 21. I believe that Jesus was also there to bless this wedding. Thank God for 2 Gen House Churches among us. Thank God for teaching us the marriage by faith, so that we may honor God as God in our marriage. Still, I want to be Samuel Hong’s wedding. I want to be Angela’s wedding. I want to be Faith and Grace Kim’s wedding. God may bless them to establish House Church for God and God’s mission. God blesses the marriage by faith because God desires Godly offspring.
Look at verse 3. In the midst of the joyful wedding, a serious problem arose. The wine was gone which made people delight and joyful. “They have no more wine.” In that culture, it was a serious offense against the guests and humiliating for the bride and groom. This wedding could have been remembered as the worst wedding to all. I still remember the wedding in Chicago as the joyful wedding in spite of long journey because of the delicious and abundant food. What If there was no more food? I did not even want to imagine it. Though they had planned and prepared the wedding for several months or even a year, the problem arose. “No more wine – problem” They want to believe that worldly joy and pleasure will last forever. But it always ends and the joy disappears. Do you have this problem “No more wine” which robes all your joy and makes your life miserable? “I have no more money in my bank account.” “I have no more A in my report card.” “I have no more sheep under my care.” “I have no more love for my husband; no more food; no more friend or boyfriend; no more jobs.” The list of troubles is endless. The root of these problems is the spiritual famine; no more the word of God in their souls. In the midst of material abundance and technological advances, they are weary and tired without the word of God. They have no more wine of God’s word. The word of God is the word of eternal life, the source of eternal joy. In John 4, there was a woman who had suffered a lot from no more husband/love problem. Jesus told her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (Jn4:13-14) Jesus is the living water, the source of eternal joy! That is why Paul encouraged the believers in all kinds of troubles; “Rejoice in the Lord (not in your bank account, nor boy-friend, nor girl-friend…) always. I will say it again. Rejoice!”
Second, “Do whatever he tells you.”
How did Mary handle the problem? At this critical moment, she did not blame anyone, nor complain. Rather, she brought the problem to Jesus. She knew that she could not do anything, but Jesus can do something though she did not know what exactly Jesus would do. In such time of despair, only Jesus is the answer. We should bring our problems to Jesus. What happened when Mary brought the problem to Jesus? Jesus said, “Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come” (4). Here the word “woman” was actually a very polite-respectful way of addressing a women. “What does this have to do with me?” It sounds like Jesus turns down her request. In fact, Jesus helped Mary to understand his spiritual identity and relationship. Jesus spoke to her as the Messiah, not as a son to his mother. Jesus had been a good and obedience son to her. However, now he put the first priority on God’s mission, not his Mother’s request.
Jesus also said “My hour has not yet come.” In John’s gospel, the ‘hour’ is always a reference to the time of Jesus’ glorification. John 12:23 says, “The hour has come for the son of man to be glorified.” It is time of his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Jesus lived according to God's time for him. He did not react according to people’s requests, not even his mother’s request, but followed God's time to reveal his glory as the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus was submitting Mary’s request to God’s will and God’s time. Those who live with God’s holy mission must give their first priority to God. They are not free to satisfy their human desires or the demands of their families. They must submit every request to the will of God and his time schedule. Usually when we pray we expect an immediate answer according to our own time and in our own way. Surely God loves us and answers our prayers, but he does so in his time and in his way for our ultimate good. So we should trust God and wait without doubting or complaining. God surely hears our prayers. 1 John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
Waiting on God does not mean sitting down and doing nothing. Verse 5 says, “His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’” She did not respond with anger or offense, saying “Son, do it right now!” She accepted that Jesus was no longer just her son, but he is the Lord, the Messiah. Trusting Jesus, she did what she could. She quietly stepped out to where the servants were. And she said, “Do whatever he tells you” Mary help the servant to be ready to listen to Jesus and obey him with absolute attitude. She helped the servant not to ignore Jesus as a guest, but obey him as the Lord. “Do whatever he tells you!” This is her act of faith that Jesus will do something wonderful according to his time and his way. She prepared an environment in which Jesus could work. Jesus works through those who accept his as the Lord and obey him. God uses obedient people, not rebellious people. One young man decide to go Turkey, leaving behind his wife and little children in Ukraine. Many people said “He is crazy.” However, God blessed his faith and obedience to his world mission command “Go, and make disciples of all nations.” He had the attitude -“Do whatever Jesus tells you.” God blessed his house church to raise up disciples of Jesus and even house church among young Turkey students. When we create an environment of faith and obedience, Jesus will do wonderful work among us.
Third, they did so.
Let us find out what Jesus had done. When the servants are ready to listen to him, Jesus went right to work. Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing (6). In total they could hold 120-180 gallons of water. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water” (7a). This task seemed unrelated to the problem at hand. They needed wine, not water. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways, beyond our reason, common sense or knowledge. Isaiah 55:9 says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Many people are unwilling to obey what they do not understand. But we cannot confine God to our human reason. That is why we need to trust God fully and train ourselves to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5).
What did the servants do? They did what Jesus told them. “They filled the jars to the brim” (7b). Look at verse 8. “Then Jesus told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet’” (8a). This word challenged the servants to trust in Jesus more. When we begin to trust God, he challenges us to trust him more. God wants to develop our trust relationship with him fully. What did the servants do? They did what Jesus told them to do. “They did so.” Look at verses 9-10. What had happened? When the servant did so, the miracle happened. The water turned into wine, not just wine, but the best wine. The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine (9a). Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (10). This tells us that the wine that Jesus made was the best. Because of this wine the joy of the wedding banquet increased all the more. But the joy of the guests was only temporary, for they did not know where the wine came from. On the other hand, the servants who had drawn the water knew where it came from (9b). They experienced Jesus himself, the fountain of joy.
Jesus used the servants’ complete obedience to reveal his glory – 180 gallons of wine! Amazing. What if the servants had refused? What if they had said “No way”? There will be no wine. The secret of having true blessing from God is to obey Jesus 100% from our hearts. One young man decided to trust and obey God not 100%, but 120% in his marriage. Then, God blessed him to establish a house church with beautiful woman of God. “Do whatever Jesus tells you” is a key to experience the power of Jesus in our spiritual life. “Do whatever Jesus tells you!” What would you do if God command you to sacrifice your son or daughter? This command sound to be very unreasonable. But Abraham obeyed it, because he trusted God fully. God blessed his obedience. God saved his son, Isaac and made him a blessing to the whole world. Here we learn that obedience to God comes from trust in God (Ro 1:5). What would you do if God commands you to build an ark on the top of a mountain? Noah obeyed God with holy fear (Heb 11:7). To people, he looked foolish; so they dismissed him as out of touch. But to God, he was very wise and courageous. Through this one man of obedience, God brought salvation to his family and preserved the human race. Those who obey God are truly wise and courageous people, and they are the most blessed one because they have the source of eternal life, the eternal joy, Jesus. Without learning obedience we cannot experience God’s blessing. Listen to the banquet master’s testimony! “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now” (10). Jesus always gives us the best, not left over. His grace is the best always.
Fourth, Jesus revealed his glory (11)
Apparently, while Jesus changed water into wine, the disciples did not do anything, in contrast to Mary and the servants. But John clearly tells us that this first sign had a great impact on them. Let’s read verse 11. “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” Here we find Jesus’ purpose in turning water into wine at the wedding.
First of all, it is to reveal his glory as the Messiah, especially to his disciples. This sign manifests – who Jesus is. Jesus is the one who changed the washing water into the best wine. Who can do such thing? Jesus is the Son of God who has power to work miracles. Do you have trouble to believe this miracle? It is because you do not understand what kind of God we believe. Our God is the creator. Through him all things were made, so that everything is possible - even the transformation of people into new creations.
This sign also tells us what he is going to do in our lives. Jesus came to transform people / change people. This is not like plastic surgery nor changing clothes. Changing water to wine is a change in the very nature of the substance. In the same way, when Jesus changes a person, he transforms the very nature of a person. Paul said, “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17) Jesus can make anyone who believes in him into a new person. There is no weakness, sinful desire, bad habit or character flaw that Jesus cannot change. For Jesus is the Son of God.
Amazing! Then why don’t I have this wonderful change while others do? It is because one trusts Jesus and other not. Even though Jesus has transforming power, it does not work automatically in all people. It works only in those who trust in him and commit to him. Mary trusted Jesus in prayer. The servants trusted Jesus in obedience. His disciples trusted Jesus in response to his changing power. They all experienced the power of God through Jesus when they trusted him. Like his disciples, we also need to believe that Jesus is the Messiah who can change us from useless people into useful people; from curses to others into blessings to others.
Preparing this message, I wondered if I might be the right person to deliver this message. It is because I am a man who has been deeply despaired for my unchanging sinful nature. What message should I deliver? “Jesus has changing power, but he cannot change me.” Here, I found my unbelief deeply rooted in my hearts. In John 11, there is Mary who is just like me. She believed and confessed that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. However, she did not believe that Jesus can raise Lazarus back to life. To remove her unbelief, Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” (Jn 11:40) Jesus wants us to remove our unbelief, but to believe in him from our hearts. This requires us to repent of our unbelief. Then, Jesus can work powerfully to change us.
I also find the hope to be changed in Jesus, the Messiah. I had wanted Jesus to change me as eloquent speaker, intelligent Bible teacher, Caring father, and loving husband. I wanted Jesus to change me into a perfect man. But Jesus did not change me as I wanted. How have he changed this sinner? First of all, Jesus changed my life purpose and life direction to live for the glory of God, not for myself. This change had happened when I accepted and obeyed this words of life. “Son, your sins are forgiven!” Jesus changed me as humble and diligent servant for God’s campus mission. It happened when I obeyed the word of God; “Even the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as the ransom for many.” As you know, one selfish sinner has been changed into a sacrificial servant of God when he has done what Jesus tells him to do. “You give them something to eat!” Do whatever Jesus tell you! Then you will see!
I repent of my unbelief. Doing nothing or following my sinful desires, I wanted Jesus to change me. That was not faith. Jesus did not ask something we cannot do. Jesus did not tell the servant “Change the water into wine!” That is not what they can do. Rather, Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water!” “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet!” These are what they can do - not out of reason or calculation, but out of faith. When they did so, the change took place. Nowadays, I have experienced his changing power when I go out campus to share the gospel, obeying his command. Though I share the prayer topic – to carry out 3 team 1:1 and to raise 1 disciple, I did not do anything. Then nothing had happened. Through 2 Chronicle 20 -“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s… Take your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you… Go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be you,” God encouraged me to go out by faith just to see God's deliverance. When I went out to share the gospel as my obedience to the word of God, God changed my fear into joy; the fear of rejection turns into the joy of sharing the Gospel. For a month, I do not know how many students I had met in the campus. Among many, 30 students stopped and listened to my testimony and shared their contact info. Out of 30, 15 gave me wrong email addresses, but still I have shared the word of God with 15 students via email. Now I am praying for Andrew, Brian, Michael, Hanif, and even Philip whom I just met this early morning to study the word of God. “Do whatever Jesus tell you!” If you do so, Jesus will do Wonderful change in your life.
John emphasizes that the disciples “believed in him.” This does not indicate mere theological knowledge, but faith that Jesus could change each of them into new people. When they believed in him, Jesus had changed them into kingdoms of priests. “Do whatever Jesus tells you!”
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