One would think the first miracle would be
raising the dead,
or stopping a storm
— but turning water into wine?
Were You just trying to keep a party going?
So much more.
All the miracles in John are called “signs.”
There was a profound and wonderful meaning.
Let’s consider the setting.
A Jewish Wedding.
Think Fiddler on the Roof.
To get in the mood, watch this scene that happened at a Jewish wedding in 2010.
This week we’ll learn:
Why a wedding?
Why water into wine?
And why was the latter wine so much better than the first?
To give you a clue, consider again the difference between
What Religion Brings:
Death, Pride, Anger, & Bondage
Life, Humility, Joy, & Freedom
A secret I learned in listening to Tim Keller preach to pastors concerns how to read the Bible so that it transforms your heart. When you are reading a narrative passage and see negative behavior, consider how you may be capable of the same thing — for the gospel, in part, is bad news — telling us we are so bad that Christ had to die for us. (The good news is that we are so loved He did.) So when we consider the Pharisees, and how bad they were, we should realize we have a tendency to revert to religion as well. To go through the forms of reading the Bible, going to church, etc., but not be experiencing intimacy and fellowship with God. To make posts on Facebook showing what great Christian women we are, instead of walking humbly with our God. Facing this reality can help us be ever diligent to ask the Lord to help us connect with Him, be intimate with Him, to have nothing between us. Then, we will be experiencing gospel transformation.
1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study
To prepare your heart, watch Johnny Cash sing He Turned The Water into Wine at San Quentin Prison. When watching this, I wondered how many inmates have been hurt by legalistic religion — and how astounding that the first miracle of Jesus was to turn the water into wine!
Why a Wedding?
2. Before you read the following, why do you think the first miracle might have been at a wedding?
An enormous way that the gospel is different from religion is that the gospel is relationship. God gives us many metaphors to show us this: He is the Shepherd who cares for His sheep, He is the Friend who has such love that He lays down His life for his friends, He is the Father who gives good gifts to His children, and the most intimate of all, He is the Bridegroom who rejoices over His bride.The Bible begins with a wedding, ends with a wedding, and is shot through with pictures of a faithful Bridegroom loving an unfaithful bride. Jesus tells wedding parables: of a King who gave a great wedding for his son; of a guest who tried to get into the wedding without a white wedding garment, and of virgins who ran to meet their bridegroom – some were ready, and some were not. John the Baptist introduces Jesus as the Bridegroom (John 3:29).
Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:32 that earthly marriage is a mystery that points to the relationship that Christ has with His Bride.
Christianity in contrast to the world religions, portrays a God who longs for an intimate relationship with the ones His hands made. The only way that can happen is through the power of the gospel to cleanse us and make us as beautiful as a bride in a white wedding garment, and as pure as the new fallen snow. Without the cleansing power of the cross, we would not dare to step into the presence of a holy God. But with that power, we can not only dare, but have joy in His presence, the kind of joy we see in The Song of Songs, where the bride says that her bridegroom’s kisses are sweeter than wine, and that his banner over her is love.
Read John 2:1-5.
3. Summarize what happened in this passage, including the dialogue between Mary and Jesus.
4. When Jesus responds to his mother with “my hour has not yet come,” what do you think He is talking about? See John 12:23 and John 12:27. Why might He talk about this now?
When Martin Luther was endeavoring to recapture the gospel for his peers who had gone back to trying to earn favor with God, where did he turn? To the Song of Songs. He took the verse “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3) and talked about what happens in a wedding ceremony. Everything that belongs to the bride now belongs to the groom—and everything that belongs to the groom now belongs to the bride. So what do we, as the bride of Christ, give our Bridegroom?
And what does our Bridegroom give us?
How can this be? This is the great good news of the gospel!
5. Comment on Martin Luther’s word picture. What insight does this give you into how the gospel can begin to transform us?
Why Water Into Wine?
Our own Mary E. found this wonderful song and video from Michael Card. Watch and comment.
6. Read Mark 7:1-8 and describe the disagreement between the Pharisees and Jesus.
7. Read John 2:6 and explain the purpose for the huge jars of water at the wedding.
8. Describe what happens in John 2:7-11.
The water jars represented the ritualistic cleansing of the religion of the Pharisees. Wine represented the joy that the Holy Spirit gives when He fills a life.
Jesus, perhaps with a twinkle in his eye, transformed those jugs, ponderous symbols of the old way, into wineskins, harbingers of the new….The time for ritual cleansing had passed, the time for celebration had begun.
Philip Yancey (The Jesus I Never Knew)
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
A feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
Of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well-refined…
God is not looking for us to try to be nicer, to do better – instead, He wants us to long for Him so that He can change us. John Eldredge wrote:
Christianity is not an invitation to become a moral person…
It is only when we respond to God that His Spirit can make us new men and women. God wants to make us new creations – for the old to be gone and the new to come. In Luke, Jesus tells a parable about the danger of putting new wine into old wineskins. Because wine ferments and increases, if you put new wine into old wineskins, they will burst. In this passage, again, Jesus is in conflict with the religious. See if you can discern what He is saying about religion versus the gospel.
9.Read Luke 5:30-39 aloud.
A. What comments or questions do you have on the above passage?
B. What troubled the Pharisees about Jesus in verses 30?
C. Jesus answer is tongue in cheek. What did He say and what did He mean? (verses 31-32)
D. What question did the Pharisees have for Jesus and how did her respond in verses 33-35?
E. What parable does Jesus tell them and what is his point in verses 36-38?
Why is the Latter Wine Better Than The First?
10. In John 2, after Jesus turned the water into wine, the host is amazed, saying that usually the best wine is served first, but Jesus here the latter wine is better than the old wine. What do you think this means?
11. One enormous difference between the gospel and religion is the joy that comes from intimacy with Jesus, our Bridegroom. Have you experienced this? If so, share a specific way you do. If not, do you hunger for it? Why or why not?
Thursday-Friday: Free Keller Sermon
12. Listen and share your notes or comments: http://www.gospelinlife.com/lord-of-the-wine-6549.html
13. What’s your take-a-way and why?