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One would think the first miracle would be

raising the dead,

or stopping a storm

— but turning water into wine?

Really, Lord?


Were You just trying to keep a party going?

 Oh No.

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.

tzeitels-wedding-dress-fiddlerThink JOY.

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

pharisee And what the Gospel Brings:

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.

Sunday Icebreaker:

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?

            Our shame.

            Our sin.

            Our brokenness.

And what does our Bridegroom give us?

            His righteousness.

            His mercy.

            His healing.


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)


Likewise, D. A. Carson explains that the prophets said that Israel’s barrenness would be turned to fruitfulness when the Messiah came.

           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…

                                                                       Isaiah 25:6


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…

            Christianity begins with an invitation to desire.


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?

Leave a Comment

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  1. 5. Comment on Martin Luther’s word picture. What insight does this give you into how the gospel can begin to transform us? He must increase, I must decrease. Just to read the description of what is transferred from me to Him and from Him to me is light… as in His burden is light. He comes and lifts away all that oppresses and tortures me. The most beautiful thing is that while what He gives me changes me (praise be!) what He takes from me does NOT change Him. He is able. He is strong. But if I try to take back my burden and carry it, I once again feel the crushing weight. Like a lily of the field I can only blossom when I am free from the burden of my shame, sin, and brokenness. A bruised reed He shall not break. The gospel transforms us because it frees us.

  2. Watch and comment: The video was lovely! I am always cautious when movies add words to scripture but the depiction is so very good for brainstorming and considering possibilities. Was Andrew portrayed as doubtful in scripture? The water into wine was “next” in John after the disciples started following Him. I am always moved by a physical depiction of Jesus – makes me so very eager to run to His physical arms. I was also struck by the servant’s response to the wine! I had not considered the servants response! He was joyful and amazed, which seems obvious now, but was so neat to watch. I still do not know about the conversation about Jesus and Mary – I do not think she “convinced” Him to part with a plan… there must be another vantage that I am not seeing. The amplified Bible says, “Jesus said to her, [Dear] woman, what is that to you and to Me? [What do we have in common? Leave it to Me.] My time 9hour to act0 has not yet come.” (v4) I am trying to take a cue from Bonhoeffer and not turn to commentaries but to ponder myself and see what the Lord has for me… But I will admit I am anxious to listen to Keller. =)

    1. O! One more thing that struck me in the passage was the servants “filled them up to the brim.” This speaks to me of trust and lavish grace!

    2. Jill – I too, thought the video was lovely.  I loved watching it, but was troubled by precisely the same things you were!  Andrew being portrayed as doubtful puzzled me greatly…..where did THAT come from??  The conversation between Mary and Jesus bothered me a lot more – I understand that artists “add to” a story, but to me it actually leads us away from the reality of what the Scripture is trying to teach us here!  I agree with you that Mary did not “convince” Jesus to do something that was not in the Father’s plan!  To end on a positive note, I too, love depictions of Jesus physically and this one truly made me want to tuck up under his arms!  

  3. The thing that stood out to me as I’ve done this study and read about the miracle of the wine we watched the video is that Jesus required us to do something in order for the wine to be made….why did the jugs have to be filled with water? Why can’t he just fill them up with wine? It got me thinking!
    How many times have I missed the miracle because I didn’t obey? What is Jesus asking of mgr today, what is my “water inn the jug”?
    the other thing that really stood out was the joy. I know Jesus wants us to live in joy and yet so often I choose worry over joy. Unfortunately joy is often in short supply in our churches today. I think this is so sad as Christians we should be the most joyful people on the face of the planet because we have hope.

    1. Cyndi, you make a very good point that I have noticed even in the Old Testament at times… when the Israelites were to cross the Jordan (when it was a flood stage) God did not stop the waters until the men carrying the arc had their feet in the water.  They had to take that step.  

    1. Dee–praying for your time in Texas–safe travels, soft hearts, kind guards, and for Him to pour His mercy and grace over all~

      1. I echo Elizabeth, Dee…may your travel to/from Texas be safe, may you experience genuine hospitality from the guards and others in authority, may the Lord’s presence be evident to all, may each receive what is needed and provided by the Lord wholeheartedly and with gratitude.

    2. praying for tender hearts Dee. and a quickening of the spirit. also that God would comfort you as you see so many sad stories.

    3. Praying, Dee!

  4. 5. Martin Luther’s word picture is beautiful and quite a lot to think about. In a marriage, when 2 become one each bring that which becomes the whole. The glorious thing about our Lord is that what we bring, our sin, shame, even death, vanish. I picture them burned up by His glory in the gospel. Another way I picture this in my mind is that when He died on the cross He took all of that to hell, placed it there and came back to me. Picture them in the bottomless pit and us free. That is as far as the east is from the west.
    Last night i went went to the meeting I mentioned. Again, so much to think about. The Holy Spirit was present and I wanted so much cleaned up in my heart, but I could not really connect with Him. I was so uncomfortable with the whole meeting. There was so much yelling and what felt like disingenuous conjuring up of worship TO ME. I wanted out but was there with my friend who was meeting the Lord there. There was truth and there was grace present in that place. 
    I think I have mentioned before how broken race relations are in this area. The sin has come full circle until the prejudice has reversed and infested the ones who were once the brunt of bigotry. since I have been in BSF I have seen that so clearly. It has infested the family of God. 
    We finished on time and as people were leaving they just began to love one another. I received so many genuine, loving embraces that my heart was touched. I had thought that it was such a mistake for me to be there but now I don’t think so at all. I think that though there is much sin that needs to be rooted out of my life, this is the one that God is going for right now. And didn’t I ask Him to reveal? I don’t see prejudice in my life but how do I respond when it is directed at me? And can I worship with those who worship so differently from me? That is at the heart of it I think. I will go back if I can And see if we can finish this work in me. If you have made it this far, thanks for listening ☺️

    1. Thanks for posting, Anne.
      I love your visualizations…I found the first especially moving…my sin “burned up by His glory in the gospel.”
      I can relate to your feeling of discomfort and desire to leave the revival meeting; I too would find it difficult with yelling and such to stay…kudos to you for staying.  I was so struck by your last paragraph, the realization that perhaps discomfort and our obedience is what God wants for us to see more clearly.  Perhaps the revival meeting was a “beginning” for many with seeds being sown that will reap a bountiful harvest…oh I pray that is so.  So thankful that the Lord has a greater plan than we can imagine…what beauty He can bring out of that which appears not so.

    2. Anne – this window into what God is doing in your world blessed me greatly this morning!  Isn’t it true that when the Lord is moving in our lives and we are realizing and repenting of sin, it can be SO uncomfortable?!  You painted a great picture of the spectrum of emotions we can go through in the midst of this process with the Lord – and others.  Always what His Spirit is doing in our being has immediate impact upon those around us – particularly the body of Christ I think.  His faithfulness to us, to finishing the work He began in us and making us like Christ one day, just leaves me almost breathless!  

      1. thank you Nanci and Jackie for your encouragement. I was a little surprised by this because this wasn’t even on my ‘list’. After we finish with this, I still have the list :/

  5. 2. Before you read the following, why do you think the first miracle might have been at a wedding?
    This is not an off the top of my head answer but some ponderings anyway, if you will bear with me. I think this is Jesus’ only behind the scenes miracle. He is not well known at this point. I puzzle about why Mary asked. What did she know? What had she seen? Or what had Jesus told her about who he was and what he could do? She must have expected Jesus to do a miracle or she would not have told the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Verse 11 says this is the first of his signs to manifest his glory. My ESV study Bible tells me that this is his first miracle and that he did not do any miracles in his childhood or early manhood, contrary to suggestions of apocryphal literature. So how did Mary expect it? Honestly, I don’t know. It was also for the benefit primarily of his disciples to help them believe in him (verse 12). It definitely shows that Jesus is not a “party pooper” but loves celebrations, especially weddings. 
    My other thought is sort of wacky but I wonder if this “surprise” blessing is how Jesus sometimes treats us. We are going along in our lives, doing the best we can, and run into a wall – no obvious solution, potential embarrassment, celebration spoiled. We whisper a prayer, hoping, but not really expecting much. Then suddenly things work out. We don’t know how, but the crisis is averted. 
    We breathe a sigh of relief and go on. Do we even notice and stop to say thanks, to REALLY say thanks? Do we even recognize that God has done a miracle on our behalf “behind-the-scenes”? Do we glorify God for them? Do we watch for the behind-the-scenes miracles? Do they help us believe? These are God’s most common miracles today. Let’s not miss them!

    1. Diane, I loved what you said about Jesus “working behind the scenes”. I have experienced some lately at school and whereas I used to just go about my merry way, I am more inclined now to see the “hand of God” in my circumstances. He does give us new eyes and hearts to see clearly the manifestations of His love and care to us. “Oh, what wondrous love is this!” I am praying I won’t miss those God moments.

    2. Such an excellent post, Diane.   You raise great questions.  Did Mary know things about Jesus, having known him better than anyone else could have?  I had never thought of that, but it surely makes sense that she would have.  Though he hadn’t done miracles before, she seems to have complete faith that he could solve the situation.    I also LOVE your thoughts about Jesus working in our own lives and do we even notice?  Or just breathe that sigh of relief.  So good and relevant.  

    3. Such rich pondering, Diane…thank you for sharing. 
      I hadn’t thought about perhaps the miracle not only being for the obvious benefit of the wedding couple, but for the disciples to provide them with additional belief and confidence to move forth with Jesus.  Verse 11 says, “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” 
      I too pray that I don’t miss those “behind the scenes” miracles the Lord provides.  Those “behind the scenes” miracles are what is needed likely in more ways that I could ever comprehend this side of heaven…:)  my heart is full with the thought of how much He cares and loves…thank You, Lord. 

    4. Diane. Good thoughts. I really like your “wacky” thought, I had something along the same lines something about the face of Jesus in that video spoke to me about He delighted to bless the people at the wedding. Redemption come… Can’t quite articulate what I’m thinking but I really appreciate your last paragraph. Thank you.

    5. My commentary (WBC) suggests that Mary was not expecting a miracle, but rather that wedding guests were expected to contribute to the feast and she brings the need for wine to his attention as something he could address.

      The disciple group invited with Jesus will have been viewed as his family, for whose contributions to the marriage feast he will have been responsible. It is a natural assumption that this motivated Mary’s drawing the attention of Jesus to the lack of wine—not that she hoped for a miracle, but that his presence with the disciples, jointly embarked on a mendicant ministry which rendered them unable to fulfill the obligation of guests, contributed to the embarrassing situation (for customs on the obligations of wedding guests and their relation to this event see Derrett, Law in the NT 228–38). Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36, p. 34). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

      I don’t have the other book he refers to though.

  6. 9.Read Luke 5:30-39 aloud.
    A.  What comments or questions do you have on the above passage?  
    The Pharisees obviously had no joy!   They not only felt they had to worry about their own lives and devotion, but they made it their task to evaluate everyone else’s level of devotion as well.  Here it is obvious that they were “grumbling” awhile before they finally directly confronted Jesus and his disciples.   
    B.  What troubled the Pharisees about Jesus in verses 30?
    The problem the Pharisees bring up about Jesus eating with “sinners” is that they think his merely eating with them would indicate He condones their behavior.   However, Jesus could see all hearts and knew that there was no way he was going to be able to eat with a non-sinner, as all have sinned in one way or another.   
    C. Jesus answer is tongue in cheek. What did He say and what did He mean? (verses 31-32
    This is another purpose statement by Jesus.    If there was only concern for the healthy,   Jesus would not have come to earth.  His purpose was to tend to the “sick” sinner, and he came to call everyone to change.
    D. What question did the Pharisees have for Jesus and how did her respond in verses 33-35?
    The Pharisees wanted the disciples to be as miserable with fasting as they themselves were (my words entirely here!!)   They questioned why the disciples were not fasting, but were eating and enjoying themselves.    Jesus replies that while He (the bridegroom) was with them, there was no cause for them to fast; but later there would come a time when they would fast.   In fact, it would be impolite to refuse to eat and drink at a wedding banquet.   God’s kingdom is like a wedding banquet, with Jesus as the groom/host.   Jesus tells the Phariseess that “the days will come”  when the disciples will fast, and well they did fast as recorded in Acts 13:2.     
    E. What parable does Jesus tell them and what is his point in verses 36-38?
    Jesus told the parable of the new wine and old wine skins.   Fermenting wine produces a lot of gases, causing new wine skins to stretch.   But old wine skins are more brittle and have lost their flexibility.   Thus putting new wine into old wine skins would be disastrous — ruining the wine by spilling and tearing the wine skins irreparably.   I think what Jesus was trying to say was that trying to put the old ways of the Jewish law and worship would not fit into the new coming of God’s kingdom.   But, of course, many people dislike change and prefer the older ways.   They need to “let go” and experience the joy of God’s kingdom.   

    1. Correction:   Actually I think I accidentally stated the answer to #E above  in reverse.   It was that “the new wine” of the coming kingdom of God could not be poured into the old format of the Jewish law.     He was calling for people to make a change (need new wine skins as well).      

  7. “In Luke, Jesus tells a parable about the danger of putting new wine into old wineskins. Because wine ferments and increases, if you put old wine into old wineskins, they will burst.”
    Did you mean to say “put new wine..”?

  8. 5. Comment on Martin Luther’s word picture. What insight does this give you into how the gospel can begin to transform us?
    ~Its beautiful, we give Jesus the worst part of us, sin, shame and brokenness and he gives us back His best: righteousness, mercy and healing. The truest gift of all gifts. It’s nothing we had to earn, Jesus love is that good, freeing and joyous.
    Sorry all, but this will be my last post. Im currently reading another book/study and we are about to start our studies at our church tonight. I will silently do these for myself. I enjoy Dee’s studies, maybe when then next study rolls around I may participate in post. 

    1. Take good care, Staci…pop in when you can to let us know how you are.  See you in a bit…:)

  9. Michael Card video comment…..
    i realized after reading some of the comments that only a few (disciples?) knew he performed this miracle. It was not the time, but maybe they needed to know at that time as Mary suggests in the video.
    i also wanted to say that when I have read this in the past I had a funny thought….it’s almost like Mary wants to show off her son as a mother; like we would do if our kid has some extraordinary gift (star pitcher on the baseball team, gifted at academics, etc). It always been kind of humorous to me!

  10. 2. Before you read the following, why do you think the first miracle might have been at a wedding?
    Because this is the reason He came-the center. He came to rescue us so that He could make us one with Him..He is our bridegroom and He died and rose again to make us His Bride. 

    1. rebecca–your wording always moves my heart ” this is the reason He came-the center. He came to rescue us…”

  11. 6. Read Mark 7:1-8 and describe the disagreement between the Pharisees and Jesus. The Pharisees are worship in action only – “looking good.” Their hearts are far from God. They have added more and more “rules” to God’s original commands in order to be more and more holy and above those around them. They are arrogant and have missed God’s heart. Their hearts are much more concerned about “being right” than about “being right with God.” They are only washing the outside with their purification rights, not their insides/hearts.
    7. Read John 2:6 and explain the purpose for the huge jars of water at the wedding. The jars were for the “rights of purification” which I assume was the same rights that Jesus argued with the Pharisees over. This is amazing. The jars were used for OUTWARD cleansing but when Christ filled them with wine is was a prophecy of the INWARD cleansing He was there to offer. Wow. Wow. Wow. Oh – so cool!
    8. Describe what happens in John 2:7-11. Jesus commanded the servants, they obeyed, “to the brim.” Then He commanded them to present it to the master of ceremonies. He did not command them not to tell (as He has in other miracles) but the text indicates that they did not tell which makes me wonder if their necks were on the line for not obtaining enough drink for the party? Then it is revealed that this is the best wine. I so wish the text would continue the story – what did the Bridegroom say? Would he even have known the wine was out to begin with? Here’s what really gets me: If these jars were used for purification there was a chance they were dirty, right? If everyone had washed their hands in them? Yuck but Christ takes what is nasty and turns it into the best wine!
    What we attempt to clean ourselves with still ends up dirty but He makes pure our inside even though we are full of dirty water. I am in awe this morning.

    1. jilwitaj, wow wow wow oh so cool, I agree 100%, and thinking of how many times we strive to clean up out own act and fail. We NEED the Savior to clean us up. We can dress up the outside and take ourselves to church yet our true and deepest desire and need is for HiM. 
      I have only ever made 1 comment before a couple of years ago, but the Lord is at work in me and I Pray I will be chiming in more frequently as he leads me into a deeper desire to seek Him above all.

  12. Read John 2:1-5.
    3. Summarize what happened in this passage, including the dialogue between Mary and Jesus.
    They ran out of wine at the Wedding and Mary went to Jesus to get him to do something about it and Jesus kind of-at least it looks like it-“corrected her” saying his hour hasn’t come. He also calls her ‘woman’ instead of ‘mother’ which is interesting to me..it seems almost like a rebuke-perhaps he is making a point by saying ‘woman’?

  13. 9. Read Luke 5:30-39 aloud.
    A. What comments or questions do you have on the above passage? All the comments I had lined up with subsequent questions so I put them there. =)
    B. What troubled the Pharisees about Jesus in verses 30? That Christ would eat and drink with those that were dirty (sinners and tax collectors).
    C. Jesus’ answer is tongue in cheek. What did He say and what did He mean? “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” The pharisees were obviously not “righteous” as God is righteous, so this must have been a comment on self-righteousness? Those humble enough to see their depravity would be the ones to respond to Him?
    D. What question did the Pharisees have for Jesus and how did he respond in verses 33-35? The Pharisees ask why don’t Jesus’ disciples fast. Jesus’ response is that guests don’t fast when the bridegroom is with them. I wish I knew more about the Jewish wedding feasts, I think this knowledge would add good perspective to this. Fasting is a way of seeking God, and God was with us when Christ was on earth so for the disciples to break bread with Him was closer than they could ever get to God by fasting to hear His voice and press to Him.
    E. What parable does Jesus tell them and what is his point in verses 36-38? I am a little unclear of v. 36-39 but my thoughts go to putting “self-righteousness” i.e. the purification rights onto a new self – Christ makes us new so why would we put on the old restrictions in order to attempt holiness/righteousness? Or why would Christ offer only a band-aid? No He makes the whole person new. And once we have truly tasted God, we do not desire to consume anything but because it is so good. (“And no one after drinking old wine desires new.”).

    1. Oh, that so succinctly clarifies, Dee.   This miracle, being the beginning of his ministry and the new covenant.  And that Jesus was, all during the time of his ministry, his loving and delivering people from pain, sickness and despair, knowing that the greatest pain and abandonment awaited Him.  Suddenly, I feel a surge of grasping the gospel once again.  Not only the passion/crucifixion/resurrection but every bit of Jesus’ teaching and even the joyous celebrations like this, pointed to His purpose in coming to be our Redeemer. “What wondrous love is this, oh my soul”   
      Was wondering this morning, when I prayed for you, when you were actually speaking.  Prayers for travel and continued preparation too.

      1. Am hearing this morning of the prison bus accident in West Texas that killed 8 offenders  and 2 staff.  My mind went immediately to your travel and ministry, Dee.  I don’t know in what part of TX you are speaking, but what a needed message you will bring.  We will pray.

    2. That’s funny Dee, I thought “his hour” meant for Him to be known to all….

    3. This explanation of Mary brings to mind how the Lord can use anyone and anything to further His will…sometimes those folks are aware of the Lord’s use of them and sometimes unaware.  I’m thinking in particular of how a blog sister writes a comment in answer to a question that is true to her, but has no idea how the Lord is using it for other sisters. 

  14. I have always liked this part of the passage, so I thought I’d share just a few thoughts–
    3. Summarize what happened in this passage, including the dialogue between Mary and Jesus.
    When the need arises for wine, Mary turns to Jesus. I think she instinctively knows He is the One to go to for help, He has the power. Maybe in the same way we know certain people are just the ones to “go to” at certain times—but I believe it is deeper. Mary was chosen by God, we know her faith in God was real and deep and led her to step out beyond her own fears. So she stepped out here in faith, I think—remembering what the angel had said before, trusting.  He calls her “Woman”—which I never thought of as negative, but more that it sounds like He’s detached a bit—separating Himself as her son, pointing to His Sonship with the Father. And He tells her it isn’t time yet for Him to reveal Himself—but still, she trusts He will help, and instructs the servants to listen to Him, and He performs the miracle. 
    It does seem like this interaction of disengaging as Mary’s son, saying ‘no’, but still doing the miracle—emphasizes a lot. As He aligns Himself more as the Father’s Son, He states there is a “time”—a time when He will die, when He will be our  Advocate, when His glory will be revealed. The hesitance from Him also shows the importance of miracles—they were no small thing, not something He did just because He could–but significant, meaningful signs to show us more of who He is. His going ahead with the first miracle, in this setting, emphasizes the importance of the Wedding to Jesus—His love as our Bridegroom, His role to provide, and I tend to think also an honoring to Mary of obedience as her son. 

  15. 3. When I read this dialog it gives me insight on how to be a mom to an adult child. Jesus was not being disrespectful but he was very clearly independent of her, she was not going to “make” him do anything. As a recovering control freek/homeschool mom I have found that parenting adult children to be my very biggest challenge in life! perhaps its just cuz of where im at but this conversation makes me feel more comfortable with the fact that I am no longer “in control” of my sons life.

  16. The discussion about new wine in old wineskins is so rich.  I remember exactly where I was and who was teaching when I first heard it described.  (Renee, you were there.  1975-76)  🙂    I want to think deeper on the theology of the new covenant replacing the law, but it also always makes me think of this short song by Keith Green.  How my old, cold, stony heart needs to be washed anew and softened up with the new wine of His love and grace.  

    ~ My Eyes Are Dry~

    My eyes are dry. My faith is old.
    My heart is hard. My prayers are cold.
    And I know how I ought to be:
    Alive to You and dead to me.

    But what can be done for an old heart like mine?
    Soften it up with oil and wine.
    The oil is You, Your Spirit of love.
    Please wash me anew with the wine of Your Blood.

    1. Love that song, Wanda!  I am a huge Keith Green fan!

    2. Wanda, thanks for sharing this Keith Green song. It fits so well with what we are studying and the concept of replacing the old wine of legalism with Jesus’ new wine of the new covenant. Keith Green’s songs pack such a wallop. He was truly used by God (and continues to be).

    3. Wanda, 🙂

  17. 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?
    I can look at this on two different levels.   First of all, the everyday way, involving social customs in that day.   I imagine it was pretty much the way the headwaiter stated it:   a host would plan to serve the best wine at the beginning, when sober guests would be able to discern and appreciate it; but later when guests were already getting drunk, why would one serve really good wine ?  So nearer the end of the event, the lesser quality wine would be served.    However,  I can also see that when Jesus turned the water into wine, of course, it would be of better quality than regular wine — it was divinely made!   This would perhaps be a sign that the coming kingdom will be much better than what we are experiencing now.

     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?
    I have experienced the joy of intimacy with Christ — but I don’t go around that way all the time!   I can’t say that I always have the joy, but it isn’t that I have never experienced it.   There have been times when I have made a mess of a relationship and I have come before the Lord confessing what the situation is and asking for His help — “Lord, I have truly messed up; please give me an opportunity to make this right!”   Then amazingly the opportunity has appeared, and He has led me through it.  Such a relief, and such joy!     Then too, there are times when I feel I am being instructed, and thoughts flow into my mind, reminding “Be sure to do this…”    I find myself actually talking back,  “Thank you, Lord, it would have been terrible if I would have forgotten to do that.”    I love it when I sense that the Lord and I are working together on things — that brings me great joy!    However, there are times when our chatter grows silent for a period of time, and when that happens,  I find myself longing for it to resume again.  

    1. Deanna I love your 11. He is so good And how blessed we are!

  18. Had a couple of ‘aha’ moments this afternoon.  Earlier, when we were pondering what significance ‘the third day’ could have, I was using a different Bible.  Today, I worked in my usual study Bible and discovered that I had notes in the margin that shed a little bit of light.  I know this was from a class I was in with my favorite pastor doing the teaching.  (He retired and is no longer in our church and I so miss his wisdom.)  Anyway, There are a lot of clues in the text (though I admit, I still don’t get the whole significance).  John 1:29 is the first time ‘the next day’ is used.  So that means the verses prior to then, were “the First Day”.   Whether or not that means, the first day of the week (Sunday), I don’t know.?  But, this would mean that verse 29 is on “the Second Day.”  Then in verse 35, ‘the next day’ would be “Day 3”.  Verse 40, ‘Day 4″,  Verse 43 marks “the Fifth Day” and the next time a reference is made to days, is in our passage:  John 2:1 which says ‘The Third Day’.  This would suggest that it was on the 3rd day AFTER Day 5 which makes it the “8th day” and only one week from the day that John declared that he was not the Christ but that he was declaring Jesus to be the Christ……(the next day being when he made his famous statement, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. )  It gives me a ‘chill’…..(in a good way) to see how these pieces fit together.  John declares him ‘the lamb of God’ and now, just a week later, his mother shows her confidence that He is sovereign and by turning the water into wine, using the jugs that were ceremonially used for the keeping of the law, and introducing the ‘new wine’; the wine of His covenant, he is beginning to reveal God’s redemptive plan and the purpose for why He has come.   Never before have I gotten such a clear picture of this first week of Jesus’ ministry as I have today.  Feeling like my heart is ‘filled to the brim’ as were the water pots!

    I also have a margin note, where I wrote, ‘New Creation Week. New Wine. New Temple.” Jesus is about to clear the temple in another display of the old passing away and the new life He is bringing.

  19. 7. Read John 2:6 and explain the purpose for the huge jars of water at the wedding.    The water that was set aside in these pots was for the Jews to cleanse themselves before eating at the wedding feast.  (a hand washing station as it were).  But it seems that it was much more symbolic than to be only used for hygienic reasons.  There was a religious, traditional reason to wash and therefore, the water jars could be representing the old laws and traditions; the rules to make oneself clean.  Those rules will become completely obsolete with the ushering in of the new wine representing the blood of the new covenant of salvation by His grace alone.
    A printed note in my study Bible says,  “Jesus brings a newness that cannot be confined within the old forms”  in reference to the new wine in the old wineskins.  

  20. I love Keith Green, too! The song you shared, Wanda is one of my favorites. One can never be the same again once you meet Jesus. He has a way of speaking to our very core. If you have time, listen to Evie and Pelle Karlsson, “Never the same again”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv4Q3Tq1ujY    So true, Jesus thank you!

    1. I remember ‘Never the Same Again’ by Evie but haven’t heard it in ages.  Will listen!   I saw her in Minneapolis back in the ’70’s and still have a couple of her albums. Evie was very popular with the Scandinavians in the midwest!)  

  21. 6. Read Mark 7:1-8 and describe the disagreement between the Pharisees and Jesus.
    Jesus and the Pharisees argued about hand washing and the “rules”of being a Jew. They didn’t understand how Jesus could take food from someone who wasn’t a Jew (the person would not have clean hands). Jesus said (my paraphrase) they were following rules and not their heart for God; they only cared about the rules, not the spirit. 
    7. Read John 2:6 and explain the purpose for the huge jars of water at the wedding.
    These jars were to be used for the “ceremonial” washing!
    8. Describe what happens in John 2:7-11.
    Jesus turns water into wine using the large jars. The servants and a few others know. The rest of the party, including the bridegroom, does not know and think the wine is the most special. The banquet “master” notes that the special wine was usually given first and then the regular wine. In this case it was the opposite. He tells the bridegroom. This was/is known as the first sign of Jesus’ glory. The disciples believed in Him.

  22. 9-10 Jesus can not be added to the law, he is a new thing, grace and relationship and redemtion and total, forever forgiveness, they are all new, the pharasis wanted to keep with the old ways, they wanted to keep cleaning the outside and “looking” good  without being changed. Jesus is to big for that! you cant put him in an old wine skin, he will blow it to pieces 🙂 He went were the hurting were because he wanted to save the lost, not make the “found” feel better about themselves. 
    JOY JOY JOY the one thing that if we are Christ followers should be exploding out of us.We celebrate because we know we are HIS bride, that there is not sorrow that heaven cant heal. We have joy when we are sad because we know it will not always be like this, that HE has broken the chains that bind us here and HE has made a way to healing and freedom.

  23. 11. I want to share this song with you, I know many of you are hurting and I want it to be a blessing to you.
    As I write this tears stream down my face…He is SO loving to me and has been so kind to show up when I have most needed HIM, I FEEL his love this morning. HE is so strong and I am so very weak. I am so thaknful for the grace and Holy Spirit being real and comforting in my life. my heart breaks for the many lost and hurting…..He is such a comfort that I long to share!

    1. Cyndi – I RARELY post songs to my FB timeline, but this song was one I made an exception for!  I had posted it there for a couple of months because it had meant so much to me.  Thanks for reminding me……:)    

    2. Cyndi ~
      Thank you for posting this.   Needing reminding. Again.   That there is no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.   Sometimes it all just seems to hang so heavy and for so long.

  24. I’m currently sharing this series of studies with a group I lead. This week when I asked for comments about Luther’s word picture, one lady’s eyes filled with tears as she said that it was a completely new insight into the gospel for her. We discussed the transformation marriage makes, especially when there is a great difference in social status between bride and groom. And how it would make no sense for the bride to continue to live as she had previously; her life would be transformed by her new status. Then applied these insights to the gospel.

    1. Kerryn, OH HOW WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!! He is moving..how beautiful..I am so encouraged. 

  25. 5. Comment on Martin Luther’s word picture. What insight does this give you into how the gospel can begin to transform us?
    This may be off topic but I will give a personal example. I had several things happen at work, and at home in my relationship with my husband and kids that revealed my approval idol rearing his head..It is performance related..I feel like the worst mom, wife and manager..I am not mean enough at work..I am too nice with my employees..I am not the kind of person who can yell at my employees or threaten them with job loss if they don’t straighten up, and there is one employee who is taking advantage of me. I am not attentive to all of my husbands needs, I am either too strict or too loose with my boys. When I feel like a complete failure, it is in those moments I forget and am not resting in His approval. It is so easy for satan to whisper his insidious lies when I am in bed with my approval idol. BUT BUT…GOD comes to my rescue! His Holy spirit inside me just all of a sudden in the middle of my emotional swings whispers truth..here is the conversation I had with Him…somewhat like this, “why am I feeling this way..why am I feeling defeated? Why am I feeling like I can’t do anything well or right? Then He said, “Do you Love me?” …and wow..that hit me..I am striving for man’s approval because I think that will satisfy me-to do everything just right..to have the reputation of being the best manager, and good managers, wives and moms don’t mess up as often as I do-and then they are the mountains in my life-I have run to another lover. I am telling the God I say I love that mans approval is more satisfying than Him. That breaks my heart! YET…the beauty of the Gospel is that I don’t have to ‘stay there’..If my answer to him is, “no I am not loving you!” He won’t leave me..I can trade in my shame for not loving Him and rest in His righteousness covering me, I can trade in my sin for being in bed with my idol and rest in His unrelentless mercy, I can trade in my brokenness and walk in confidence that He will finish the work He has started in me for we are One and no one can separate us. I can trade in all my yuk each day and go to Him in confidence because what is His is mine..He is transforming me. 

      1. Dee, is that by Manning? Yes, I would love to read it.

  26. Sweet sisters..pray..I get the phenomenal privilege of leading Idol Lies in our mixed community group. An answer to prayer! It starts this Sunday night. Pray for open hearts…that I would be open too! That I would listen to Him and to everyone well. 

  27. 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 here the latter wine is better than the old. What do you think this means? My thoughts have always been that of course its the best wine! Jesus made it, He would make nothing less than the absolute best. Beyond that it was because the wine represented the sacrifice He would make, the ultimate sacrifice to finally bridge the gap to relationship.
    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? I grew up Christian and even though I experienced joy connected with certain events in my life when God sent kisses from the King, I did not have the “fundamental joy” deep in my heart until 1 year (+4 months) ago. The 2 biggest ways I experience intimacy with Jesus are 1. His Word is alive to me now.I do not know how to describe it except to say it is like living water. I have been amazed at it. Dee’s studies have been a tool from Him to understand and see.
    And 2. When I “turn to Jesus” He is there. I know that He was there before but I was so self-centered, not understanding who He was, that I would “turn to Him” as one turns to a magic spell to solve problems in a fairy tale. Now, I turn to Him and He is there, solid, unchanging, pouring over me to assure me – not to assure me that my problems will dissolve but to assure me of His love and that in light of His love problems become cast in new light. His light. Free in His love and grace … freedom… this is the biggest joy for me that comes from intimacy in Christ.

  28. My notes on Keller triggered the security so they wouldn’t post. I’ll try just my highlights here and see if I can get those to post. =) Sorry for the lack of formatting and quotation marks, I was trying to not trigger security again.
    Keller argues that the conversation between Jesus and Mary transpired the way it did because Jesus’ thoughts were elsewhere. He was thinking about His own wedding (who doesn’t when you attend a wedding) and He was thinking about what it would take to provide the wine for His people through His death.
    Keller testifies that he has seen many, many brides come down the aisle and he has never seen bridal adornments fail at making the bride ravishing and the groom amazed. We are dressed in Christ’s bridal adornments and we are ravishing in them and Christ desires us! Keller pointed out that God does not just want to rule us as a King, or shepherd us as a shepherd, but to know us intimately as a Bridegroom.
    I thought the How to receive from the sermon was beautiful. Admit you are empty and take all the credit for what Jesus did.
    Keller gave 4 application points. The two that stood out to me were One. Submit to His timing. We ask God for things and sometimes He gives us a sort of brush off but then puts things in our lives that don’t look like they are getting you anywhere. But just as the servants obeyed we too should do whatever He says. and Two You have power over your joy. Jesus say sipping sorrow so we could sit in sorrow sipping joy. Love life! You have control over your joy, look at His glory!

    1. Oh Lord, thank you that there is such a wideness and gentleness to your mercy.   Depending on you to give Dee the right words at the right moment for these women and men in prison.   

    2. Continuing to pray for you with the prisoners, Dee. Lord, speak. Use Dee and Linda and the others to touch a deep place of spiritual longings in the hearts of these men and women.

    3. Lord, Fill Dee up with yourself, let your spirit be so strong that the prisoners are supernaturally drawn to hear her and to except the love you have for them. open closed hearts, soften hard hearts, bind satan, dont let him have any power in that place today. Your power Lord, Your glory fill the prison! let lives be so changed that when the women go back to their cells that the others will see and want what they have….fill that place. Your are the LIGHT and the darkness WILL NOT overcome it.

    4. Praying, Dee even if you have already spoken to the women. That right now, God’s words through you are making an impact in the souls of these women.

  29. I LOVED the Keller’s free sermon, especially the last part about how God touches us deep with powerful sensations, how understanding God brings joy. Lots of points I had never thought of before. Keller does an excellent job at drawing out what Jesus was thinking about, the significance of the wine and the wedding — pointing to the cost of wine of his blood, and the Wedding of the Lamb, the ultimate wedding. 

  30. 13. What’s your take-a-way and why? I learned so much about this story in John and I truly have been amazed by it. I am absolutely blown away by the depth and breadth of scripture. Again and again God opens the scripture and shows me there is so much more than what is just written. While I have really gained a deeper understanding of the symbolism in the Old Testament I do not think I had let that same lesson seep into the New Testament. The Old Testament is shadows of Jesus, a story of Jesus, and so when i got to Jesus (New Testament) I just read it because Jesus is obviously there! i think I was simply trying to read Jesus and just try to understand what He was saying, but I think now I see that Jesus speaks in glimpses of the whole picture just like the Old Testament gives glimpses of Jesus. So its not just understanding that verse, or that story, but putting into the whole picture of WHO God is and what He has done. Each scripture must be unfolded, delved into, mysteries explored to see the picture, not just application for my life or my heart but to see God and let His light change my heart. (Do hope I have made some sense here.)
    I also loved pondering the scripture for myself. There is nothing wrong with commentaries (many are so very helpful!!) but this time I was convicted to not just “find the answer” but ponder and and meditate and pray and ask God and I was so touched and amazed when He showed me (through Dee’s good questions leading!). It was much more intimate than looking up the answer, though in the end Keller was so appreciated to tie up loose ends. =) Dee is teaching me how to ask the good questions – just like she did in the Psalms – and now I pray I will learn the same for the Gospel.

  31. 12. Listen and share your notes or comments.
    Another incredible Keller sermon…so much to ponder and digest further. 
    Following are my notes:
    The changing of the water to wine by Jesus was not only a miracle, but a miraculous sign chosen by Jesus to be the first sign.  This miraculous sign of the changing of water to wine is a picture of all that Jesus is and what Christianity is. 
    Who Jesus came to be…
    An interesting term is used in v. 8-9, “master of the banquet” (master of ceremonies…the person to preside).  In Jesus providing what is truly needed for the party (i.e., the wine), He reveals Himself as the true master of ceremony (Lord of the Feast). Jesus came to bring festival joy.
    Jesus shows us what He came to do…
    The key to understanding the whole passage is v. 4.  Mary knows Jesus’ power and love.  Explanation of Jesus’ response being abrupt and harsh is that He is troubled and thinking of something else.  Jesus is thinking of His own “wedding.”  The consciousness of His wedding day would have stirred Him deeply.  (Keller explains that God wants to relate to us as a husband to a wife…Jesus is the bridegroom.)   Jesus is thinking of what it will cost Him to provide wine for His own wedding feast. (“the hour” means the hour of Jesus’ death)
    Jewish protocol was to wash their hands before going into the presence of God; a sign signifying that we are sinners in need of cleansing to be embraced by God.  Jesus’ blood will cleanse us. 
    At the wedding feast/reception, Jesus is sitting in midst of joy sipping the coming sorrow.  To drink the cup of joy with us, Jesus will need to drink the cup of justice.  The worst worldly persecution is nothing in comparison to Jesus’ experience of being separated from God; what Jesus endured is infinity greater suffering.
    Shows us what Jesus comes to offer…
    powerful sensation:  The bible characterizes the salvation Jesus provides as wine and the kingdom of heaven as a feast.  Sensory language is used to describe our relationship with God (e.g., taste and see that the Lord is good).
    The bible’s continual use of sensory experience is explained by Edwards, that we are not invited to anything less than this; we are invited to experience God (experience lovely, beauty, amiability, and gloriousness).  Our heart gets a new sensory ability to experience (e.g., we know that honey sweet, but that differs from actually experiencing the sweeatness of honey). 
    What is the difference between knowing and tasting?
    Sensory perception cannot be truly explained in one realm in the terms of another.  In movement from the realm of knowing to tasting (new sense of the heart) the steps are:
    Hungering and thirsting for it,
    delighting in it, allowing it to ravish me, and lastly
    allowing it to satisfy and overwhelm (e.g., wine going to your head)
    **the love of God outshines all, therefore I am not afraid; the wisdom of God is beyond all wisdom, therefore I am no longer anxious; the mercy of God is beyond all mercy, therefore I am no longer ashamed.  
    Jesus offers complete reception…
    When Jesus refers to Himself as the groom, He is saying that we are His bride.  He is ravished by us (His bride), He wants to give Himself to us as we give our self to Him.
    How do you receive this?
    Jesus is not willing to make a move until I admit that I am empty.  Once I admit that I am empty and only Jesus can provide for what I need, then I get all the credit for that which Jesus earned.
    This teaches us that we can go to Him with little things; nothing is too small for His detailed care.
    We should submit to His timing.  At times it may appear that Jesus is putting things in my life that is not getting me where I want (or think) I should be; we are not smarter than Jesus, I need to do whatever He says even if it doesn’t make sense.
    There has never been and will never be a marriage like the one with Jesus; the perfect marriage awaits.
    I have power over my joy; I should take responsibility for the level of joy in our life.  Jesus sat sipping the cup of sorrow in midst of joy so I could sit in sorrow and sip joy.  Don’t let little things overshadow the great joy…look at His glory and have faith in Him.

    1. Nanci–thank you for these great notes! Really helped me focus my thoughts. I love–Once I admit that I am empty and only Jesus can provide for what I need, then I get all the credit for that which Jesus earned and nothing is too small for His detailed care

  32. I am terribly distracted from all of my study. I know that I lack discipline but I also sense God taking me to deeper issues. Peeling back layers. I think He may be teaching me to follow the Spirit. 
    All week I thought about the meeting I went to Monday. I sense the call to worship with brethren very diverse in worship styles. I went back last night. My friend was there and said “Anne, the very next night we had the Presbyterian speaker!” Lol
    These meetings are so important for me personally and for the body of Christ. I’m sorry if I am talking too much off subject but I have the sense that my testimony may be helpful. God took me back to a place buried in my life. A seemingly insignificant choice in my life, forgotten by me. In order to avoid the cliff of falling into sin, I hardened my heart, denying it’s sinfulness. I took care of it myself because I was far from God at the time. The effect was like walking on a broken foot and never getting it fixed. It fixes itself with scarring and becomes useless for anything other than weight bearing. Now I stand before my Lord, ready for healing. It is scary, like falling backward and trusting Him to catch me. 

    1. Anne, I am thankful for your sharing…  I can relate to the hardening my heart in avoidance, trying to care for my heart rather than allowing the Lord to care for my heart and the resulting brokenness that albeit “fixed itself” ultimately produced scarring and essentially uselessness.  Slowly, but surely, the Lord is healing and restoring… 

    1. Praying, Dee, for that you are experiencing the strength and wisdom of the Spirit — also praying for those you minister to

  33. Dee, your description of the ministry you are doing in the prison/hospital so touches my heart.  To think of each of those prisoners as individuals for whom Christ died.  Somewhere, in some Texas prison resides the father of one of the boys who lives in my son’s foster family.  It breaks my heart to think of the abuse he brought on his son; this teenager we have grown to love.   And it breaks my heart to think of how God never stopped loving this man, even when his actions broke the heart of our loving Father God.  Tears.  Oh, how your love and ministry are meeting hearts in those dismal places.  
    Takeaway:    How do I find the words succinctly?   I truly have never, in my 57 years of being in the church and in years of study/classes/sermons seen the deep, true meaning of this, Jesus’ first miracle.  I’m taken aback by how profound this truth is.  Somehow, I knew that ‘my hour’ meant his death or his suffering, but I had never connected the dots with the marriage significance and the ceremonial pots of water representing the old covenant and traditions and the wine being the wine of His blood in the new covenant.  AND the joy!  I had missed the joy.  This was a feast and a time of community rejoicing.  I was struck by everything in Keller’s sermon.  Really. Everything.   I took pages of handwritten notes, and THANK you, Nanci, for posting yours here!  (It helps me to have a nice neat version to re-read and file)  Keller quoted from the prophecy from Isaiah 25 that describes the future feasting of the redeemed.  It completely captivates my heart.  
     “On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine- the best of meats and the finest of wines.   On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever.  The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.”  Isaiah 25:6-8
    I never cease to be amazed and stirred by the way all the pieces fit together.  Oh the love.  The grace.  The JOY that Jesus brought us when He drank of the cup he so feared, dreaded and yet did so in humble submission.  Oh the suffering that brought us our salvation and our redemption forever.  
    “Oh the love that drew salvation’s plan.  Oh the grace that brought it down to man.  Oh the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.    Mercy there was great and grace was free, Pardon there was multiplied to me.  There, my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.”   William R. Newell  1868-1956
    What a great week in the Word.

    1. Am also realizing that a great week in the Word doesn’t always mean a great week with personal struggles and relationships.  Rebecca, I resonate with your thoughts so much about feeling like a complete failure.  I am there, this morning.  Purpose in life eludes me when I feel like this.  So, I am EVER grateful for this place of comfort, support and example of leaning on the One who never fails.   I shudder to think of life otherwise.  

  34. I thought I was hanging in there for the first part of the week, and then toward the end of the week, I just fell on my face.   I haven’t listened to Keller, and I’m not sure I am going to be able to do it.  I so appreciate Nanci being the diligent one and posting such good notes.    Very helpful!     Dee, I feel like a wimp when I complain of being too busy, because when I see all of the ministry you are involved in, I am awed!     I hope (there’s always hope!) that next week I will be able to do better!    

    1. Deanna, before I posted my sermon notes I looked to see if you had posted; your notes are always so thorough and complete, had you posted your notes, there would have been no need for me to post mine.  Dear sister, you provide week in and week out wonderful sermon notes…thank you for your diligence, thoroughness, etc….:)

  35. My take-aways:  I didn’t finish the study, partly because I had so many take-aways early in the week. I sorta camped there and worshipped.  I did appreciate the sermon notes (might be able to listen in the air).  My take-aways had so much contrast — and I see God’s hand in that:
    1) The JOY, the delight of knowing Jesus.  I was so intrigued by the intro.  
    (even more confused about his abruptness with his mother after reading sermon notes.  So, it’s okay to be abrupt when thinking about something else? Jesus seemed harsh, yet was without sin. So, if I snap at someone when I am thinking about something else…???)

    2) Elizabeth’s post about “messing up” struck a chord with me — about not being good enough, and that their still is a core of that triggered by some interactions.  I followed up with this in a conversation later this past week (and used the word “shame”) and the other person responded “So you feel defective?” That was it — shame because of my defectiveness, with some hopelessness about not being able to fix it.  It’s hard to put words to it, but that feeling of shame and whatever else prepared me for the following: 3)

                Our shame.
                Our sin.
                Our brokenness.
    And what does our Bridegroom give us?
                His righteousness.
                His mercy.
    His healing.

    The SHAPE of the cross, as much as the words themselves, zeroed in on my needs.  I could see grace and truth intertwined, how Jesus continues to take my shame, my sin, my brokenness and replaces them with his righteousness, mercy, and healing.  And He is NOT defective.  Soo…that was/is a lot for me to grasp.  Yet, the TRUTH doesn’t depend on my ability to grasp it.Dee, not sure if the words above, with the longer line in the middle to form a cross, were from you or Luther??  It was the visual image of the cross in those words that “made everything click.”

    1. BEAUTIFUL POST RENEE. My take away is Renee’s!

      Also wanted to share this with you Renee, from Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in Our Weakness, by Barabara Duguid:

      “If the Holy Spirit is carefully and lovingly managing all our falls into sin and using them for God’s glory and our good, then there is great cause for joy and peace whether you are leaping forward or crawling through the Christian life.” 

      “If the goal of sanctification is actually growing in humility and greater dependence on Christ, then the Holy Spirit is doing an excellent job. Through his ongoing struggles with indwelling sin, the maturing believer will spend many years learning that he is more sinful than he ever imagined, in order to discover that he is indeed far more loved than he ever dared to hope.” 

    2. Renee, I think hearing the sermon will help you to understand what Keller is saying.  I just looked up verse 4 in 5 different versions.  Keller makes the point that the NIV is soft pedaling Jesus’ response by adding ‘Dear to ‘Woman’ based on the original texts, but even without the ‘dear’, I don’t think it has to be read as sharp.  I think that I’ve gotten that impression from other’s interpretations.  The words themselves could have been spoken with any tone, I think.  Maybe even a soft and sad tone.
      And ‘defective’ is exactly what I’ve been feeling in the past 24 hours.  Those ‘common’ temptations.  
      The cross graphic is powerful.  

      1. Interesting Wanda. I haven’t gotten to the sermon yet, but I have always seen where He calls Mary “Woman”–not as harsh at all, but rather a distinction, that while He is her earthly, and obedient son, He is ultimate the Father’s Son–and in the context, I thought He was making the distincy=tion–probably not making sense and should stay off today, sorry for the interruption here! 😉

    3. Renee, I always read your posts with care. You speak to my heart. I also have been struggling for the last couple of days. Your words are a balm to my weary soul. I know it is the dark days of winter and that many suffer with depression this time of year. Still, I need to work very hard NOT to feel discouraged, “not good enough” and then I get down on myself for feeling bad. A vicious cycle. I so need Jesus’ “grace and truth intertwined, how Jesus continues to take my shame, my sin, my brokenness and replaces them with his righteousness, mercy, and healing.  And He is NOT defective.” 
      And, Elizabeth, thank you for the words of Duguid. I guess I am in those “many years’ of learning how sinful I am. So glad that now and then I taste a bit of the love and joy Jesus offers.

      “If the goal of sanctification is actually growing in humility and greater dependence on Christ, then the Holy Spirit is doing an excellent job. Through his ongoing struggles with indwelling sin, the maturing believer will spend many years learning that he is more sinful than he ever imagined, in order to discover that he is indeed far more loved than he ever dared to hope.” 

  36. Just to echo, Wanda. What a week in the word.
    I have always loved this passage, but never understood all the points that have been shown this week.
    It is a miraculous sign and the future wedding feast is so apparent. We bring nothing, and Jesus’ sacrifice makes
    all possible.It is marvelous that this sign was at a wedding and Jesus, our bridegroom was so aware of what lay ahead of him.
    The story of the wineskins was also lost to my understanding. This is so pertinent in differentiating religion from the gospel.
    I know that some of my friends just have no knowledge of the difference and it is my desire to communicate this to them as
    opportunity is provided.
    I loved the contributions made: the video of the wedding with Michael Card, the words to Keith Green’s song, My Eyes are Dry.
    Nanci’s sermon notes were wonderful. I loved the sermon and the details portrayed so clearly!
    Dee, your prison ministry is wonderful. i am going to embark on a piece of this as I have had my orientation to a womens’ correction center in Western Ma. This is a great opportunity and a humbling environment to visit.
    “What can be done with an old heart like mine. Soften it up with oil and wine. the oil is You, Your spirit of love. Please wash me anew in the wine of your blood.”

    1. So fabulous that you are also beginning an involvement in prison ministry, Shirley.  Will look forward to hearing how it is going.

  37. What a wonderful week of reading your notes here, dear friends. I was busy in school but made time to read the passages and your comments (most of it) and listening to Keller do another splendid job in expounding Jesus’ first miracle. Beautiful insight into an ordinary affair with implications made extraordinary for us who read God’s Word today.
    My take-away:
     To be honest, I have a hard time putting my thoughts into words. There is a sense of inadequacy (did somebody use the word “defective”) in me, a sense of not being good enough. The more I understand the Word of God, the more aware I am of my sinfulness. But I am taking heart since Jesus has taken himself to the cross (love the cross illustration) and exchange my guilt, shame and brokenness for His righteousness, mercy and healing.
    Elizabeth quoting of Duguid  has been helpful. “If the goal of sanctification is actually growing in humility and greater dependence on Christ, then the Holy Spirit is doing an excellent job . Through his ongoing struggles with indwelling sin, the maturing believer will spend many years learning that he is more sinful than he ever imagined, in order to discover that he is indeed far more loved than he ever dared to hope.” 
    And also Diane’s positive words of tasting and seeing the joy and love that Jesus has to offer.
    And thank you for the good notes, Nanci. Love you all!

  38. Dee I was thinking about that time you came and spoke at a church in my area 6 years ago now. That church truly invested in it’s women and my life was changed. The follow up with this blog was a large part of it but even before that, I was changed more than ever before. Praise God and thank you for your faithfulness. I am praying for your strength. Sorry that you are feeling old but it did seem that you invested a lot in this one. Also it seems like there would be a lot of emotion stirred by visiting prison. That can be so draining.
    i didn’t formally get the study finished this week and so benefited from other’s answers. The old covenant and the new, with the new being the better unlike with wine. Cyndi’s busted wineskins! I love the wine analogy for I associate wine with joy, which is why i have to be very careful with it. My joy is in the Lord, not wine. I do think that this miracle was for the disciples because verse 11 says that Jesus displayed His glory and the disciples believed.
    My take away this week is combined with this study, the meetings I have attended and the last chapters in Job. I realize that without that wondrous, holy reverence for God I cannot truly appreciate His grace toward me. It is fall on my face stupendous! I want to say why? How? And YES!

  39. I echo others in that I haven’t had a great deal of time to post or read posts this week, however I have tried to keep up with the questions and study myself.
    I LOVED Kellers sermon! I am SO thankful for people who interpret scripture because I would have never understood these passages without some help! I love how Keller explains the wine; it is fresh, new, better than the old! It is Him! Jesus! There is so much there….the vessels themselves are a picture too; ceremonial washing vessels to be used before eating….they represented the “law” and rule following of the past. I can’t believe that this little story is packed with such meat! The part about Jesus thinking of a wedding to come; our wedding! What it meant to Him and how he would have to die. So bittersweet. Keller was funny at one point; oh I can’t remember now, but it was something like “He wouldn’t say He would create the miracle and then say “just kidding,” and then not do it.” Finally, His addressing of His mom…..I don’t think it was rude; what if He was kidding with her? Like “come on now, it’s not the right timing?” She must have known He was capable or she wouldn’t have asked, right? He uses “Woman” to address her when He is on the cross too, right? I think it must have been a way to talk to her that we don’t understand; a cultural thing? My son jokes with me sometimes and calls me that; he knows it gets under my skin!
    Anyway, I’m with others on this….so much I didn’t know and still so much to ponder!

    1. 😉