The First Miracle (John 2:1-11)
When I was a kid, Jesus Christ came church. There was an elderly gentleman who lived just down from my house and who had serious mental issues (schizophrenia, more than likely). He would walk up and down our street pulling a wooden plank that was his “dog.”
One Sunday morning during the sermon, he busted through the back doors of the church building and loudly exclaimed, “I’m Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” The preacher stopped his sermon and asked some men to escort this gentleman out of the building. Some of the men got up and went back to this gentleman; when the men gathered around “Jesus,” he yelled, “Don’t you dare touch the Son of God!”
I imagine you’ve never seen Jesus Christ walk through the doors of this congregation. But I’m sure you’ve met people who thought they were god. Maybe you saw a doctor who thought he was God’s gift to humanity. Maybe you had a supervisor who thought she knew everything there was to know about everything. Maybe you had a college professor who thought he was the greatest scholar ever to grace this earth. Maybe your spouse thinks he or she is god and is always right.
You know the truth—Jesus Christ is the Son of God. When Jesus asked his disciples who they said he was, Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16), and Jesus praised him for that confession (Matt 16:17). This morning’s text is written to demonstrate: “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
The narrative before us this morning—Jesus’s turning the water to wine—is all about Jesus’s deity. This miracle caused the disciples to believe in Jesus (Jn 2:11). The point of every miracle recorded in John’s Gospel is to demonstrate that Jesus is God’s Son: John 20:30-31.
You need to believe that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Unless you believe “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God” you cannot be saved. That’s what Jesus said: “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (Jn 8:24). That’s what Paul told the Philippian jailer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31).
Let’s explore Scripture and learn that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Scripture (John 2:1-11)
Scholars are divided over the precise location of Cana. It was either 3 or 8 miles from Nazareth. While it would have been a decent walk, Cana was certainly close enough to Nazareth for the wedding host to know Jesus and his family.
Wedding hosts would invite as many people as possible. They would especially want to invite distinguished guests like teachers.
The women’s quarters at an ancient wedding were near the food, so it’s not surprising that Mary knew of the wine shortage before Jesus.
To run out of wine at an ancient wedding was a major faux pas. Hosts were expected to provide enough wine for seven days, the length of the wedding feast. Wine was important in the Jewish culture, for wine was a sign of joy and God’s blessings:
- Psalm 104:14-15.
- Proverbs 3:9-10.
Jesus’s addressing his mother as “woman” was not at all rude. The term was polite address, something akin to “Ma’am” in English. In fact, Josephus, the Jewish historian who was born less than 10 years after Jesus’s death and resurrection, used the Greek word “woman” as a term of endearment.
“What does this have to do with me?” In Greek, this question is “What to you and to me?” The question implies distance and even some hostility between the speaker and the hearer; Jesus is establishing some distance from Mary, for he is about to begin his journey to the cross. The “hour” in John’s Gospel refers to Jesus’s death; Jesus meant that once he began doing miracles his journey to the cross would begin. Jesus seemed to have been a tad exasperated that his mother didn’t understand that.
While Mary may not have understood the implications of Jesus’s beginning his ministry, she knew her Son and knew that he would do what she had asked.
Jesus turned water to wine.
The “master of the feast” was an honorary position at ancient weddings. His main responsibility was to oversee the distribution of wine and make sure no one got drunk and ruined the party.
This was Jesus’s first miracle.
The disciples believed. Why did this disciple believe because of this sign? No one could possibly turn water into wine—it just couldn’t happen. The disciples were witnesses—they saw Jesus turn the water into wine with their own eyes.
“Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” You know that—you’ve come this morning to worship him as Lord of heaven and earth. Yet, even you need to act on that truth this morning.
I want you to ask yourself if you really believe “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” You might quickly say, “Justin, of course, I really believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.’” However, you must understand that believing “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God” means more than showing up on Sunday mornings.
John recorded Jesus’s disciples believed in him. You need to examine your heart and see if you are really Jesus’s disciple. Notice the example of the very first disciples: Matthew 4:18-22. To follow Jesus—to believe in him—these disciples left everything: They left their business, their families, and everything they knew.
As you sit here this morning, what have you given up because you believe “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God?”
Have you given up your family?
You know Jesus expects you to do so: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt 10:37). Examine your relationship with your family and ask yourself:
- Do I do what my family wants, or do I do what God wants?
- Do I do what’s right only because my family expects me to do so or because God expects me to do so?
Have you given up religious error?
I know many of you have had to give up religious error to follow Jesus. In doing so, you followed the example of Saul of Tarsus. But are you holding on to some of that error, or are you searching Scripture to grow in your faith?
Have you given up your job?
I don’t mean you need to go in tomorrow and submit your resignation, but I do mean Jesus takes priority over your job. Jesus expects to take priority over everything. In a context of material possessions, Jesus told his disciples to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matt 6:33).
Do you seek the kingdom of God first at work? If you’re asked to do something sinful, how do you respond? If you have a choice between work and service to God, what do you choose?
Have you given up your sin?
You understand Jesus expects you to give up your sin to follow him:
- “Let not sin . . . reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions” (Rom 6:12).
- “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24).
Do you have sin you’re clinging to? What does your life really resemble? What sin do you need to put off?
Have you given up your recreation?
Are you so busy having a good time in life that you have no time to serve Jesus? There’s nothing at all wrong with hobbies. But:
- Are you so wrapped up in your own enjoyment that you cannot gather with the church on Wednesday evenings?
- Are you so interested in your hobby you can’t find time to pray?
- Are you taking up so much time with your hobbies that you can’t find time to speak to a friend about Jesus?
After Jesus turned the water to wine, his disciples understood that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Because of their faith, the disciples left everything to follow Jesus. Peter told Jesus: “See, we have left everything and followed you” (Matt 19:27). What have you given up to follow Jesus? Do you need to give up anything this morning?