Jesus First Miracle

Second Sunday of Epiphany | January 20, 2019

Isaiah 62:1-5  •  Psalm 36:5-10  •  1 Corinthians 12:1-11  •  John 2:1-11

2The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”

 “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

 But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.

When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”

This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

John 2:1-11 New Living Translation (NLT)

While the other gospel writers begin Jesus’ public ministry with his baptism, John tells of the beginnings of Jesus’ ministry in a different way. We know little of the backstory to John’s account. How did the couple’s celebration end up with so little beverage? We don’t know. Why did Mary ask Jesus to get involved? We don’t know. What we do know is that Mary finds out that the celebration is out of wine and she asks Jesus for his help. Why would she do this? After all she did know that she had an extraordinary birth. She was told that her son would be the Son of the most high God. Perhaps she expected Jesus to be able to do something extraordinary, although it’s not recorded that he had done anything like that prior to this event.

Nonetheless, she asks Jesus to do something. Jesus replies “My time has not yet come.” Meaning that God’s agenda is not determined by human desires or will – hmm – that sounds familiar – (John 1:13). This will not be the only time that John records this reply. Jesus also gives the same reply to his brothers in John 7:8. 

I think we see Mary’s faith when she tells the servants, “Do what he tells you.” The servants await Jesus’ word. Jesus tells them to fill six jars with a capacity of over 100 gallons total with water and present them to the host of the celebration. We can see that God provided generously for his people – and he provided the best. Isn’t that like God?

Just last week, Pam and I received a blessing from God that I don’t think we will ever be able to repay – it was generous and it was the best. I couldn’t have even dreamed it in my wildest dreams. That’s the kind of God we serve. What’s even more amazing is that we didn’t even ask or expect it.

We may notice that there were just six clay jars set aside for purification – not seven – suggesting that they were incomplete in the purification that they provided – Jesus was the answer in that he came so that we could be cleansed completely. Jesus was full of unfailing love and faithfulness…From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses…God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17)

I believe that the transformation of the water into wine could also signify the transformation that Jesus can do in our lives. This miracle caused some of the disciples to believe in Jesus (2:11b.) Belief is one of the themes of John. This is one of the first signs that points the way that reveals the glory of Jesus. This glory that was revealed in Jesus flowed from the Father. It proved that Jesus was God’s Son. That Jesus rightly stands as the fullness of God’s self-revelation for his people. At this time, his glory was revealed to a small group of people until his time had come.

Today we can be thankful that God indeed did reveal Jesus to the world and the fullness of his glory, grace, and mercy. He is the one that can change us. He can change us from ordinary people to people that can give glory to the Father. If you believe, let us live in that glory.


Sunday Night Thoughts

Tonight’s version of Sunday Night Thoughts is going to be short. Last night we arrived home from Orlando. We had the wonderful blessing of attending The Gathering. It was a gathering of around 1,900 pastors and spouses for the purpose of worship, rest, and prayer. It was a wonderful time – we are thankful to several wonderful gifts that allowed us the privilege of attending. While we were there I was able to run with other pastors, we did a little sight seeing, got to see some old friends, met some new friends, and also got to meet some of our virtual friends (those who we knew through Facebook.) It was really cool and a wonderful blessing.

This morning Pam and I led our church through a Covenant Renewal Service. This is a service that was developed by John Wesley for the purpose of spiritual formation. It was a good service and I received many good compliments.

We are getting used to the cold weather again and it will soon be even colder. My brain is a little tired, so I am signing off. Have a great week!

The Mission Begins

Baptism of the Lord | January 13, 2019

Isaiah 43:1-7  •  Psalm 29  •  Acts 8:14-17  •  Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 | New Living Translation

Today is the first Sunday after Epiphany. That means that is the day known as the Baptism of Jesus. Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the baptisms and John records the testimony of John the Baptist. This event marks the beginning of Jesus ministry and immediately following Jesus is tempted in the wilderness.

In Luke’s gospel there are those who wonder if John the Baptist is the promised Messiah, but he denies it. John then baptizes Jesus and as he does the Holy Spirit descends like a dove and God the Father speaks, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

The Father and the Spirit testify that Jesus is indeed the Messiah – the Son of God. As I already mentioned, Jesus’ baptism signifies the beginning of the mission of Jesus. It is during this season that follows Epiphany that we focus on the mission of Jesus and the mission of the church.

God has been speaking to me about this quite a bit lately – what is the mission of the church? What is the mission of God’s people? Some of that answer came as we were gathered in Orlando as Wesleyan pastors this week.

One of our speakers spoke this, “If you want to rest, you must invest.” This means that we must invest in the next generation.” John Maxwell also spoke about how we reach the people who don’t know Jesus. It was a powerful message. That was followed up by Kevin Myers who spoke on the importance of telling the big story of Jesus rather than our small stories. Over the next few weeks, we will be focusing on the mission of Jesus, who gave us the command to go into all the world and make disciples. Let’s do it.

Prayer for the Week

First Sunday after Epiphany | Baptism of Jesus

Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.