Encounter: Party Guests (John 2)

https://growinggodlygenerations.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/march-20-2011_encounter-party-guests_john-2.mp3

MOTIVATE

Blaise Pascal (June 19, 1623–August 19, 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. When Pascal was 31 years old he had an ENCOUNTER which apparently he never mentioned to anyone. He did however write down a brief and very moving summary of it; He sewed this into the lining of his coat, and after his early death from stomach cancer his servant found the parchment.[1]

From about half past ten in the evening until about half past twelve.

Fire!
God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob,
Not of the philosophers and scholars.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
God of Jesus Christ.
“Thy God and my God.”
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except God.
He is to be found only in the ways taught in the Gospel.
Greatness of the Human Soul.

“Righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee,
But I have known Thee.”

Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have separated myself from Him.
“They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters.”
“My God, wilt Thou leave me?”
Let me not be separated from Him eternally.

“This is eternal life, That they might know Thee, the only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”

Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.

EXAMINE          John 2 party guests (of a wedding and of a religious festival encounter Jesus) and uncover 2 characteristics of Jesus.

Jesus is joyous (2:1-11)

John continues the Gospel, describing the identity of Jesus. This Jesus now has at least 5 disciples (John, Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathanael) and they are invited to a wedding. Jesus’ attendance at such a social gathering says at least 2 things:

1)       Jesus wanted to be with people, not withdrawn like John the Baptizer or other monastics.

2)       Jesus valued weddings and marriages; seen at Creation as well as start of new creation in John.

Wedding festivities lasted a week with guests coming and going throughout the week. It would involve a huge feast of food and wine with the financial responsibility belonging to the bridegroom. This wedding became a cultural catastrophe because they ran out of wine [literally: “the wine failed”]. Jesus’ mother approached Jesus with the problem. His response was “Woman, (Mam’) what does this problem have to do with us? My time has not yet come” In other words, Jesus wanted his own mother’s response to Him to be realized not upon the basis of family but of faith. In each of these encounters, Jesus poses profound questions to individuals to strike personal and dynamic faith.[2] The phrase “my time/hour has not yet come” is repeated 9x in the Gospel and is a significant theme building towards Jesus death and resurrection.

Jesus responds to the crisis by instructing the servants to fill six stone jars, which held about 20-30 gallons each. He does not send them to fill the wine vats but the jars of water used for Jewish purification rites; washing utensils, hands, etc. In other words, Jesus is saying that the means of cleansing is no longer in Jewish or OT law but in the work of Jesus. John’s use of the word “signs” is greater than the idea of miracle, in that the works point to something deeper and greater – that of Jesus’ work on the cross and in the resurrection. This would mark the first of seven signs in John’s Gospel that reveal Jesus’ glory and lead to the disciples’ faith (20:30-31).[3]

John 13:8b “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.”

1John 1:7b, 9 “the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin…If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Revelation 7:14 Speaking of saints out of the Tribulation “They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.”

 

Elisha Albright Hoffman, “Are You Washed In The Blood?”

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

       One question, why water to wine? Doesn’t Scripture warn against alcohol?

YES – physically

Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, beer is a brawler, and whoever staggers because of them is not wise.”

Proverbs 23:30 “Do not associate with those who drink too much wine, or with those who gorge themselves on meat.”

YES – spiritual wrath

Psalm 75:8 “For there is a cup in the Lord’s hand, full of wine blended with spices, and He pours from it. All the wicked of the earth will drink, draining it to the dregs.”

NO – physical & spiritual communion

Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will be bursting with wine.”

Isaiah 25:6 “The Lord of Hosts will prepare a feast for all the peoples on this mountain – a feast of aged wine, choice meat, finely aged wine.”

Joel 3:18 “‘In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water.

Amos 9:13-14 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when the reaper will be overtaken by the ploughman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills. I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.’

 

µ      Jesus is joyous in providing purification.
“looking unto Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand on the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

 

Jesus is zealous (John 2:13-23)

John continues marking Jesus’ timeline, during the Passover all the Jews are in Jerusalem. Jesus enters the temple and finds those selling animals and exchanging money. This did not sit well with Jesus so he made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the temple. His complaint was, “do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” Jesus wanted people to have zeal for the worship of God that leads to conversion rather than convenience.

The exchange of animal sacrifices and money made it convenient for Jews traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover. Passover was a religious festival, much like a wedding, for the purpose of celebrating God’s deliverance of the Israelites during the Exodus from Egyptian slavery. At that time, the people were commanded to take a spotless lamb from their own household and make the sacrifice.

–          The idea was for the people to take responsibility of their own worship.

–          In addition, the business side of the exchange became a market rather than a ministry. It was not serving people’s needs but greedy business practices.  

  • EX. Like purchasing food @ Athletic Stadium or Amusement Park = ROBBERY!!!

–          Lastly, all of this was done outside where the priests made sacrifice and in the court of the Gentiles – before unbelievers. The picture is that rather than the worship of God being a compelling and converting environment it was a place of consumerism.

The Jews did not appreciate Jesus’ authoritative actions. They believed Jesus was a significant person, which is why they didn’t arrest him on the spot. However, they challenged his authority; of which Jesus pointed to His mission to die and raise. The disciples would reflect back on these events and have their faith strengthened and their zeal increased.

µ      Jesus is zealous for our worship (Revelation 3:15-20)

15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy, and need nothing,’ and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, and white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent. 20 Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.

APPLY/THINK

ð      Have you realized Jesus’ identity as one of joy? God is not a kill-joy. He loves people and in Him is life!

ð      YET, Jesus’ identity is also zeal. What does Jesus need to drive out of your life?

  • Is your worship reflective of convenience and consumerism?
    • Do you value Bible study – small groups?
    • Is your giving of Time – Talents – Treasure personal and missional for others or is it more business & selfish?
      (giving to God, serve the nations VS exchange of goods, demanding God pay dividends in return)

 

ð      When you see the signs of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, are you believing or rejecting?


[2] See 2:4; 3:10; 5:6; 6:61; 8:10; 9:35; 11:26; 13:12; 18:7, 23, 34; 20:15, 29; 21:15-17.

[3] 7 signs: Changing water into wine (1–11), healing the nobleman’s son (4:46–54), healing the man who had been crippled for 38 years (5:1–9), feeding the multitude (6:1–14), walking on the water and the miraculous landing (6:15–25), healing the man born blind (9:1–8), and raising Lazarus (11:1–46).[3]

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