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TUESDAY TEACHINGS
 
 

 

THE FIRST MIRACLE OF JESUSTurning the Water into WinePLUS THE LORD’S SUPPER

Revealing the amazing underlying, spiritual meanings of the miracle itself and its relevance to the Lord's Supper that we celebrate today.
PART 1 OF 4

 

 

INTRODUCTION

One day when I was reading the Book of John, my favourite gospel as it is written primarily to Christians, I came to the description of the first miracle of Jesus.

“Lord, there just has to be more to it than a great story of Jesus displaying His supernatural power for the first time.”

For in my experience, there is a purpose, a specific reason, behind virtually every recorded action of Jesus. Yet in this case, considering the importance of this, the first display of His supernatural power, the general explanations I have heard, did not satisfy me. Sure, it displays His miraculous abilities to alter nature to His earliest followers, and shows Him helping others too. It shows us that we can do great things in God, although I have yet to learn of anyone who has been able to repeat this particular feat! Likewise it illustrates God’s love to people, although some might wonder whether providing what most likely was an alcoholic beverage, was a particularly good expression of it! And you too, may well have other lessons or examples that can be learned from it.

But for me the very first miracle had to have a greater meaning, a real significance far beyond the ordinary, beyond the extraordinary even. And it has! For through this first miracle Jesus revealed both His person and His ministry.

Now that satisfies me! I hope will inspire you too, for our Lord Jesus came to radically change the world. Amazingly, the way He would do it was revealed here, in this, His first miracle. It showed who He was, who He is, and whom He is to come! Thank you Lord.

 

 

 

BACKGROUND

MIRACLES AND REVELATION
THE PRINCIPLE OF BLOOD SACRIFICE
JESUS AT THE TIME
JEWISH MARRIAGES IN JESUS’ TIME
BREAD AND WINE – REALITY AND SYMBOLISM
...Bread
...The Table of Shewbread
...Wine
...Bread and Wine Together
THE WEDDING FEAST ITSELF

 

The full background to this teaching is available online at this link
FIRST MIRACLE BACKGROUND

 

 

Online links to scriptures (New International Version [NIV] unless otherwise stated) are shown in blue

 

Reading the introduction is highly recommended to obtain the full value from this study. It is not hard going!

 

 

FROM THE WORD

 

 

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 
4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” 
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. 
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” 
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 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.” 11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. (John 2:1-11)

 

TURNING THE WATER INTO WINE

 

 

WHAT HAPPENED

 

As Jesus was sitting down enjoying the company and building a closer relationship with his first five disciples, a crisis developed. The unthinkable happened! Yes, Mary saw that the hosts had a hugely embarrassing situation on their hands. For after nearly a week’s feasting, the supply of wine had run out before the celebrations were complete. What was to be done? Mary had an idea.

Photo of a Jewish Bride.

You see, for the previous, now approaching 31 years, ever since the visit of the angel to tell her that she was miraculously pregnant, Mary had known that Jesus was someone special. This had had finally been confirmed when her well known nephew, John the Baptist, the final prophet of the Old Testament order who had predicted the coming of ‘the Christ’, the promised Saviour of the Jews, baptized his cousin Jesus as the one chosen of God. Confirmed too by the Holy Spirit alighting on Jesus like a dove, as well as the Father’s heavenly words of confirmation. So it’s little wonder that Mary, who was perhaps the chief caterer, called upon her special son, to help overcome this very serious and embarrassing problem.

So Mary went into the Feasting room herself, or sent a message in to ask Jesus to come out to the kitchen. When she explained the predicament and asked Him to help, He immediately questioned her request, saying, “My time (hour to act) has not yet come.” (John 2:4) This referred of course, in an oblique way, to His death, which was still 3½ years in the future. But Mary understood the destiny of her son. She realized the time for His ministry, as opposed to his death, had come. For John the Baptist had proclaimed it, both God the Father and the Holy Spirit had confirmed it, while Jesus too, had reached 30, the traditional commencement age for ministry under the Jewish system. So she simply told the servants to “Do whatever he tells you.” (John2:5)

 

 

John 2:1-5

 

 

So through this first demonstration of the miraculous in His ministry, as one set apart from all others, Jesus was about to illustrate precisely who He was, what form His ministry was to take, and how it was to end. Of course, the people didn’t understand at the time, nor could possibly be expected to imagine or comprehend what was going to take place over the next 42 months. How such a short moment in the vast passage of time could and would, change world history forever.

Jesus instructed the servants to “Fill the jars with water.” (John 2:7) For these, the 6 special, holy stone jars, had been emptied during the pre meal ceremonial hand washing rites that the guests, being devout Jews, had religiously performed.

Having carefully filled the precious jars with about 700 litres (150 gallons) of water, reflecting the considerable size of the wedding, the servants returned to Jesus.

 

 

John 2:6-8a

 

 

We are unsure as to where the water came from. Whether it was drawn from a local well or came from another source.

Photograph of typical Jewish cisterns

There is a possibility that it was special holy water containing traces of the ashes of the red heifer, (see Numbers 19) normally used for the sanctification and purification of those who handled dead bodies. For there are indications that this anointed water was in wider usage at this time. But, whatever the source of the water, because of the containers it was now stored in, it was regarded as holy, suitable for using in the cleansing rites to be observed prior to eating each meal.

Next, Jesus ordered the servants to draw water from the jars with what we would now call a ladle, and take it to the Master of the Banquet. Not knowing where it had had come from, for he would never had considered drinking it had he known that it was the holy water reserved for ceremonial washing and cleansing, he tasted what was now wine and found it to be superb! Amazed, he sought out the bridegroom, and taking him aside to avoid any embarrassment, complimented him on how he had saved the best until wine until last, at variance with normal practice. For usually, cheaper wine was served “after the guests have had too much to drink.” (John 2:10) Jesus simply smiled.

 

 

John 2:8b-10

 

WHAT IT REVEALED

 

 

A REVELATION OF JESUS AND HIS MINISTRY

 

Why did Jesus choose this particular moment to conduct His first miracle? Or ‘sign’, as the Apostle John prefers to put it, emphasizing the action’s significance, rather than its marvel.

For this miracle was indeed a sign to the world that the ministry of Jesus had begun, a fact we all know. But most importantly, it amazingly revealed through one simple action, specifically who He was (next week) and the form His ministry would take! (2 weeks time) Of course, as is the case with many things Jesus did, or said, the full implications were not fully understood at the time. It is only now, with the benefit of hindsight, that we can see the full picture.

The five disciples present too, would have had little understanding of the significance of the occasion. Firstly, because they had no real idea of what Jesus was going to do over the next 3½, turbulent years. For they, like the rest of the Jews, were expecting a warrior king, one who would set them free from the bondage suffered under the harsh Roman occupiers of their country.

This action of changing the water into wine would have been seen as a sign of the miraculous power of God being with their leader, a godly power similar to that which had enabled their ancestors to overcome impossible odds in the past. Such an anointing would certainly be required to defeat and expel the hugely powerful and dominant, Roman military machine.

 

 

John 2:11

 

Specifically though, 3 declarations were made through this miracle.

 

1. A STATEMENT OF GOD’S AUTHORITY VESTED IN JESUS

 

Not only is this miracle a general sign of divinity, but shows specifically, God’s authority being vested in Jesus. This could not be readily understood until after the final Passover meal during which Jesus linked wine with blood.

Today we can see that the water being turned into wine was symbolically depicting the change of water into blood. This understanding throws a whole new light on the event. For this is the third time such a miracle had been performed. The first two showed the authority the Father had vested in Moses, this final one revealing the authority of Jesus!

In the first two cases, water was changed directly into blood, while here, wine was the ‘substitute’ (As was Jesus for us) for the blood. Both the previous instances involved Moses during the release of the Israelites from their Egyptian captivity. Both too were signs of the authority that God the Father had invested in Moses.

In the first situation, the Lord told Moses to take water out of the Nile and pour it on the ground where it would turn it into blood. (Exodus 4:9) He was to do this in order to prove to the elders of the Israelites and the people that he was indeed God’s chosen messenger. It was done as the third in a series of signs, and the people believed. (Exodus 4:29-31)

 

 

Exodus 4:9, 29-31

 

 

Moving on a short while later to the second plague against the hapless Egyptians, the Lord told Moses to get Aaron to stretch out his staff (the symbol of authority) over all the waters of Egypt. Then to strike the Nile and all the water in the land would turn into blood. Which it duly did. (Exodus 7:17-24)
Moses and Aaron approaching Pharaoh.

So here we have two precedents for the action of Jesus. But as wine was here symbolizing the blood, the disciples would not, at the time, have understood this.

 

 

Exodus 7:17-24

 

 

But after the Last Supper, just prior to His death when the sacrament of Communion was introduced, the original five disciples may then have started to ponder a little upon the revelation of the miracle 3½ years earlier.

The authority of God the Father was vested in Jesus as it had earlier been in Moses. So this miracle was far more than a simple demonstration of power or divinity, but a sign from the Father, that the full extent of His authority was now vested in Jesus. For while Moses got Aaron to hold out the staff, it was God who turned the water into blood. So the people understood that it was God working, not Moses.

But here, Jesus Himself changed the water into wine, symbolic of His own blood, which He as the ‘Christ’, would freely pour out of His own free will 42 months later. The Father’s authority and power was fully vested in Him!

 

 

Matthew 26:17-30

 

NEXT WEEK PART 2. THE REVELATION OF HIS MINISTRY ROLE

 

Foretelling what the next, turbulent 42 months would bring.

 

 

A NOTE FROM DAVID

 

Whenever and wherever I have shared this teaching, people have been amazed at what God is saying and confirming through the changing of the water into wine. How great He is, and how privileged we are to participate in the grace of salvation through Jesus.

The powerful presence of the Holy Spirit invariably comes! Wonderful Jesus!

IMAGES AND ART: Jerusalem

Gates of the Old City

Jaffa Gate at Night


So named because the road leading from it goes to the port city of Jaffa (Joppa), this gate is the only one on the western side of the Old City. 

A low part of the city wall was torn down and the Crusader moat of the Citadel filled in 1898 for the visit of the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. This gate was also the famous scene of the English General Allenby's entrance in 1917.
 

 

 

 

So until next week.......
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD!

His servant and yours

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Previous parts of this Series (When applicable) are available to be read at:
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A DAVID'S DOODLING

Man's blood spilled, is to be feared. Jesus' blood spilled, to be revered.

David Tait         

 

 

 

Earlier Series of "Tuesday Teachings" can be read at:
www.wwj.org.nz/tuesday-teachings

 

 

Check out the WWJ website for….

More David's Doodlings: www.wwj.org.nz/dd.php
Waxing Lyrical: http://www.wwj.org.nz/waxing.php
If Only I'd Thought of it: http://www.wwj.org.nz/thought.php
Laughing at Ourselves: http://www.wwj.org.nz/laugh.php
A look at some of lifes curious questions: http://www.wwj.org.nz/why.php

 

 

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