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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Wedding at Cana -- Part 3

         Hopefully, you are beginning to see that the scriptures and the Wedding at Cana is full of symbolism. Jesus used ordinary settings to reveal His supernatural power and to reveal the Kingdom of God.
        The Gospel of John focuses on “newness” and Jesus’ fulfillment of scripture as the Son of God. Here at Cana, we have new wine. Then Jesus cleanses the temple and talks about a “new” temple in the hearts of His own. He follows with His discourse with Nicodemus about the “new” birth. Then He talks to the Samaritan woman at the well about “new” living water. In these events, Jesus is revealing that He makes all things new just as He will do at the end. (see Revelation 21:5) He is the Beginning and the End and all in between because He is the Living Word of God. This is why we can’t hold onto the old Law. The “old” condemned everyone to death for disobedience. No human can live up to God’s high and holy standards because we are born with a sin nature caused by the original sin in the beginning. The “new” in Christ brought eternal, spiritual life through God’s grace and truth. God did it for us! God through Moses changed the water into blood indicating God’s judgment against the enemies of His people but Jesus changed the water into sweet, abundant new wine symbolizing His shed blood and God’s grace and truth.

No Wine to New Wine
      “Nearby stood six stone water pots, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from 20 to 30 gallons.” John 2:5-6
         These water pots were the size of a 20 or 30-gallon garbage can in today’s world. There were 6 of them, so they would hold a lot of water and/or wine! As most of us know, six is the number of man (flesh), since God shaped and formed Man/Adam on the sixth day. When the Godhead shaped and formed Adam and breathed life into him, he was whole, perfect and complete because he was without sin. When the man and woman sinned, they became imperfect, incomplete, and fleshly. So the number 6 also represents imperfect, incomplete flesh, whereas 7 is God’s number of perfection and completeness. Without Jesus, we cannot be complete.  Six plus Jesus equals 7!
             Stone water pots were always in the homes of the Jews. They were used to cleanse before sitting down at table to eat and to cleanse between courses. If a Jew didn’t wash before eating, he or she was considered ceremonially unclean.  Mark 7:1-3: The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the Law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of His disciples eating food with hands that were unclean, that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders.) The Jewish religious leaders wanted to hold onto the old way of cleansing. Cleansing by the blood of Jesus and the water of the Word and Spirit is a superior way of cleansing! It is not an outward cleansing; it is an inward one and an eternal one. Jesus did it once for all on the cross. The spiritual is always superior to the natural! Jesus offers us more than religious ritual and strict rules and regulations. He loves and accepts us in whatever condition we may be and offers a transformed life that will bring joy and abundance even through the hardest of times. Love for mankind is His motivation and love for Him must be our motivation.
         These water pots were shaped and carved out of a large rock. The one shaping and forming these earthen vessels that hold the cleansing water would chip away at the rock until it was in the desired form. Then he would hollow it out and fill it with water. Stone jars would be more durable than regular clay jars. Believers in Christ are also carved out of a Rock! Jesus prunes, shapes and forms us into living stones who are shaped and formed into His image and likeness. Jesus is the Master Sculptor. When we are shaped and formed by Jesus, we have a sure foundation. Luke 6:48: He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. Notice this scripture says “who dug down deep.” It is the depth of the Anointed Word and the Living Word that plants us on a sure foundation.
       Before these water pots can be filled, they must first be emptied of the dirty water. Jesus too has to empty us of our fleshly ways in order to fill us with the fullness of the Living Water of the Anointed Word and new, spiritual life. As the unclean water in these stone jars had to be emptied out in order for the fresh water to be poured in, Jesus poured out the water of the Holy Spirit as our Helper to cleanse our impurities so the wine of His abundant life could be poured into us and out of us to others. Jesus will take our stony, fleshly hearts and chip away at them until He removes our uncleanness. We must be empty pots that are open to the “new.”
Fill the Water Pots
      Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the pots with water….” 2:7 Jesus gave an instruction to the servants at this wedding feast. No doubt Mary’s instruction to “do whatever He tells you” echoed in their ears. The servants not only filled these water pots with water; they filled them to the brim, almost to overflowing. In other words, they obeyed Jesus’ instruction fully. There was room for nothing else in these water pots. This task was not an easy one! This would be labor intensive since there were six pots holding 20 to 30 gallons each. The servants would have to draw water from the well many, many times to fill these large pots with fresh, clean water. Those who love and serve Christ must also draw from the well of His salvation and the living water of His Anointed Word for fresh, clean water that will cleanse us inwardly until we reflect the Light of Jesus. Drawing from the Anointed Word is also laborious. We must draw from His fullness continually so He makes us new creations and His fullness dwells in us. Just as Jesus transformed the water into wine, He wants to make us new, spiritual vessels filled with the water of His Word and Holy Spirit and sending forth His sweet fragrance to others. Abundance of life comes through vessels of Christ who are filled with the grace of God and the pure truth. Jesus in His humanity was filled with the love and grace of God, the Holy Spirit and the Truth because He had no sin and fully knew God and His ways. God did not give the Spirit by measure to Jesus. He had the fullness of the Holy Spirit within and without. The more we allow Jesus and the Holy Spirit to remove sin in us, the more fully He resides in us. We cannot be filled without Jesus. He wants us to have life more abundantly in Him.
Draw Some Out
      The servants have labored intensely to fill these large pots with water almost to overflowing. They are co-workers with Jesus. Then Jesus tells them to “Draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” John 2:8 As the servants drew the water out and carried it to the master (host), it was transformed into “new” wine. This was not just “new” wine but the best wine. The wine that Jesus gave was far superior to the earlier wine.  In the natural, aged wine is the best wine, but Jesus is the opposite of the natural! He saved the new and best wine for last. Jesus departed from tradition! Jesus changed the ordinary into the extraordinary! The obedience of the servants to the Word of God (Jesus) brought the transformation and the wine that is heaven-sent and pure. Anything that Jesus gives is heaven-sent and pure because He is heaven-sent and pure. And, when heaven touches anything, He brings righteousness, overflow and abundance. Jesus didn’t improve the old wine; He brought new, superior wine – a new beginning through grace and truth.
     The old wine represents worldly, carnal ways. The new wine represents Godly ways through the blood of Jesus and willing obedience to the Word of God. Jesus did the transforming, but He used His servants to fill the water pots and draw the water out that was transformed. Those who love and serve Jesus are His earthen vessels.  Jesus and the Holy Spirit want to fill us to overflowing with the water of Grace, Spirit and Truth so we can pour the new wine of Jesus out to others.  We are to be full of the wine of His love, grace and truth as we draw from the well of salvation and life through Jesus. As the master of this wedding feast tasted the goodness of God through these obedient servants, Jesus wants people to taste the goodness of God through those who love and serve Him.
            The host (master) of this Jewish wedding feast did not know the Giver of this new wine (see John 2:9) but Jesus’ mother and servants who drew the water knew. The host called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” John 2:9-10 The host complimented the earthly bridegroom but it was the Heavenly Bridegroom who supplied the need. The wedding guests at Cana were Jews who didn’t know Jesus. Jesus revealed His transforming power to His own first. His miracle was hidden from the “significant” (Jewish bridal party and guests) and shown to those who would be thought “insignificant” (servants). The host went to the earthly bridegroom of this wedding to compliment the wine, but hopefully he eventually went to the One and Only Spiritual Bridegroom Jesus and His Bride to receive salvation through the wine of Jesus’ shed blood and the sweet wine of His love, grace and truth that brings abundance and blessing.
     Jesus used this earthly wedding feast to teach us what He is doing spiritually and eternally. The fullness of His glory will be revealed at a wedding feast – the wedding supper of the Lamb at the time of the end. He will drink the fruit of our labors for His Kingdom with us in heaven. 
          New wine was prophesied through some of God’s priests and prophets in the Older Testament. (see Numbers 19:12; Deuteronomy 7:13; Nehemiah 10:39; Hosea 2:22; Joel 2:19; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:13) God used the earthly wine from earthly vines to reveal the spiritual new wine of Jesus. New wine comes from a new harvest! Jesus said, “I am the Vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5 Jesus will gather a new eternal harvest of souls at the end of time – both Jews and Gentiles who have loved and served Him. The wine will not run out at His Wedding Feast.                   

His Glory Strengthens Faith
      The revelation of Christ’s glory in this miracle strengthened the faith of His servants. They would continue to walk with Him and experience His transforming power and love. We get a glimpse of who Jesus truly is when His glory is revealed. God glorified the Son so He would glorify the Father. Jesus glorifies us so we will glorify Him in our words and actions.


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