Jesus is God’s Sovereign King

Signs can be very useful. Some signs tell you the obvious. Some signs leave it to your imagination. Sometimes signs tell you what lies ahead. Some signs tell others what you don’t really want them to know. Some signs tell you more than they probably should. Sometimes they tell you what to look out for. Sometimes they tell more about the writer than the sign itself. Sometimes signs should not be taken too literally. Sometimes signs are just plain confusing.  But the best ones show us the way to heaven. In our Bible reading today we learn about the greatest sign in the world.

“What Jesus did here in Cana was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples put their faith in him.” (John 2:11)

Sometimes reading the end of a story helps you understand the beginning – and the middle bit too. That is true in this case. What happened at that wedding in Cana was therefore a sign. A sign that revealed who Jesus is, and why he came from heaven to earth. It was the first miraculous sign Jesus gave, so it was very important. It was very special.

And at the very end of the Gospel of John, to make sure we are in no doubt, John explains why he has highlighted particular signs. He says,

“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31)

Jesus The Sovereign King (John 2) from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

So John’s aim is three fold:

  1. To prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
  2. To lead us to believe and trust in this Jesus.
  3. So that we may have life in Him.

Well, lets see if we can work out what kind of a sign Jesus was giving that wedding day in Cana of Galilee.

1. The Sign of Jesus Presence

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.” (John 2:1-2)

When you think about Jesus, do you think he was always busy? Do you think he had time to sit down and enjoy meals? To play games with children? To ever go to parties? We are having a party at lunch time – we are saying goodbye to Francis and Georgina and the family. I hope you will stay.

Jesus blessed this family with his presence, but something had to happen first. What was it? He had to be invited.

Jesus is willing to bring blessing to our lives and families too but he won’t impose himself. He needs a personal invitation from each one of us. The Blessing of Jesus Presence.

2. The Sign of Jesus’ Provision

“When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:3-5)

At a wedding in 1st Century Palestine the food and drink were very important. To fail to provide hospitality was a serious embarrassment. But sometime during this party, the wine ran out. Perhaps Mary spotted the embarrassment on the face of the bride’s father. She asked Jesus to help and trusted he would.

Jesus Blessed them with Quantity

“Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water;” so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. They did so.” (John 2:6-8)

There was no scrimping. Lets work out how much wine Jesus provided. 6 x 30 gallons x 4.55 litres.  Jesus provided between 120 and 180 gallons of wine. Lets work out how much wine that was… That is the equivalent of over 1000 bottles of wine. Jesus did not scrimp on the quantity.

He provided more than enough. But He did more, so much more.  He not only blessed them with quantity,

Jesus Blessed them with Quality

“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  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.” (John 2:9-11)

Jesus only provides the very best. There was no scrimping, and no economising. This was no cheap plonk made of grape concentrate. It was the very, very best of wine. Here in the Makers Instructions, Jesus has provided the very best principles on which to build our relationships. The rich imagery of the bridegroom is applied to Jesus later in John’s account in chapter 3:27-30.

The imagery of wine is further developed in the analogy of the vine and the branches in John 15, in which Jesus himself is the vine, the source of the fruit of the vine.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

And most significantly of all, the analogy of the wedding banquet is elaborated by John in his Revelation in which he sees the Messianic wedding supper (Revelation 19:9; Luke 14:15-24) at which those who trust in Jesus will feast forever.

“Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:9)

That is what Jesus meant when he said, “I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Jesus longs to bless us by His presence but what must we do first? Invite Him! He wishes to bless us in abundance with His provision, but what must we do first? Ask Him! Jesus Presence. Jesus Provision. Above all, this is

3. The Sign of Jesus Power

“What Jesus did here in Cana was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples put their faith in him.” (John 2:11)

This was nothing less than a supernatural miracle.

Jesus could turn water into wine by simply thinking it. He willed it and the water turned to wine. He didn’t have to say any words. He didn’t even have to touch the jars of water.

The Son of God who turns water into wine in months, on this occasion, demonstrated that same power in milliseconds.

The miracle revealed who he really was, at least to His close friends. John tells us, his friends put their trust in Him.

I like to think the bride and groom did the same. When the master of the banquet came to praise the groom for his generosity, in holding back the best wine till last, I wonder if he owned up. Certainly they knew there was no natural explanation.  So I wonder whether they too became followers of Jesus, at least after the honeymoon… God was concerned enough to save a family from embarrassment.

But the miracle tells us much, much more.

The miracle reveals that Jesus is God’s sign.
God’s son. God’s Saviour for us. For Jesus started as he would continue.

The rest of His earthly ministry could be summarised by that first miracle. That first sign. He came to transform our lives, miraculously by His presence, by His provision, by His power.

It cost Him everything to do it, even a shameful death on the cross. A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the wedding of Gareth and Vickki Thomas. We began with the words, “Jesus was Himself a guest at a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and by His Spirit He is with us now.” He is indeed, not just at weddings but whenever we meet in His name.

It would be wrong to presume Jesus will perform the same miracle again over lunch today, but we can rightly trust him, because of this sign, that whatever we bring Him, however unimportant or mundane, He will bless. He will transform.

He will multiply by His power, because He loves you. If Jesus could perform this amazing miracle to save a family from embarrassment at a point when they didn’t even recognise Jesus, just think what Jesus can do for us who believe in Him, who follow Him.   What a sign. Jesus performed an amazing miracle of creation turning water into wine in moments instead of months. But what had to happen first?

First, the family had to….invite Him. Mary had to… ask Him for help and trust His wisdom. The servants had to… obey.

And the disciples had to add it up…

they had to put two and two together. So who demonstrated faith in Jesus? Who demonstrated the most faith in Jesus? Lets think about it. The story has a before, a during and an after. Working backwards:

Afterwards, the disciples, put their faith in Jesus. Why? Because they had seen the miracle. John is anxious for us to know that after this miracle, the disciples put their faith in Jesus. They recognised him. But what about the others present? What about the servants? During the miracle the servants also put their faith in Jesus. How do we know? Because they obeyed Jesus. They obeyed Jesus, even though they didn’t know what the outcome would be.

It must have been a strange instruction to fill these large containers with water in the middle of a banquet.

No doubt they wondered why, but no reason was given.

Was their faith greater than the disciples? The disciples observed afterwards. The servants obeyed during. And what of Mary? Before the miracle, not knowing what Jesus may or may not do, Mary demonstrated faith in Jesus. How? Having received a gentle rebuke, she nevertheless instructed the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” And remember this was before the first of Jesus’ miraculous signs.

So who demonstrated the most faith? Perhaps that is why on another occasion, the disciples ask Jesus “increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). Faith is not something that is static. If it is genuine, as we spend time with Jesus, our faith in him will grow. As we witness him at work, our trust in him will increase. As we walk more closely with him, our hope and confidence in him will deepen. So if you were to place yourself in this story, where would that be? What level of faith do you have? Where do you want to be? Having seen Jesus at work, have you put your trust in him, like the disciples? Having experienced Jesus at work, are you obeying what he has already commanded you, like the servants?

Knowing Jesus wants to complete God’s work in and through you, will you do whatever he tells you, whatever he tells you, like Mary? Jesus said on another occasion,

“According to your faith let it be done to you.” (Matthew 9:29). According to your faith.

The family gave, but it wasn’t enough. His mother asked, but it wasn’t the right time. The servants obeyed, even though it was only water.  But that was the moment Jesus worked his miracle.  He worked when they all recognised their point of need. On another occasion Jesus said, ‘If you can?’” said Jesus.

“Everything is possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

So let me ask you: Do you want Jesus to bless you? To bless your family? To bless your future? He will. If you invite him into your life. If you trust him with your future. If you follow him for the rest of your life. Then we will be known for much, much more than merely the sign on our tee-shirts. We will be a sign to others that we are Christ followers, because Jesus is at work. Lets pray.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)