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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. 1.What stood out?
    Funny, when I was reading in Job last week I was convicted that I too was like Job’s friends. My pride kicked in and I thought surely I can’t be that prideful and insensitive-my pride is telling me I am not that prideful!  but I am! And it humbles me to know He loved me so much he died for me and He loves me so much that He searches my heart and brings up these things and helps me see and cleans me. That said, the thing that scares me about my heart are the things I don’t see yet, or the seconds/moments when I rationalize inside-even when i am in the Word! 

    Great wedding video and the celebration-wow they did a great job with that song, and the words to the song celebrating life. They went out of their way to love on that Bride. 

    1. Oh Rebecca me too! I was convicted that I think I understand things when I don’t! Grant it Lord that we may we be quick to listen and slow to speak.

  2. oh Dee! This is fabulous! I’m so excited! New life! New life! In Him was life! I see how a wedding is a metaphor for new life. My son is in his second year of marriage and when they were here at Christmas I saw how new his life is. The old, the years he was with us are now only the foundation. 
    There was one place in the wedding song where the maid of honor said that a wedding to make us want to live another day. And the wine…we will get to that. How exciting and encouraging.

  3. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Oh I loved the joyous wedding celebration!  Weddings should not be funerals!  They are the beginning of life together…not the end.  
    Why a Wedding?
    2. Before you read the following, why do you think the first miracle might have been at a wedding?
    Oh I think and wedding and marriage are a continuous theme running throughout the Bible so it must be significant to God.  In Genesis we see the first marriage, then, when we accept Christ as Savior we become a part of the Bride of Christ (so we begin life with Him), and finally our reception celebration will be in heaven one day.  I love Michael Cards song about this (Jesus turning the water into wine…because He is longing for a wedding that’s yet to come!)  It’s called The Wedding   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrbeiseqjrU

    1. Msry thank you for posting the song. I had never heard it. There was a good metaphor in it too. That water symbolizes lifeless living.

    2. Mary E. ~  Thank you for calling our attention to this beautiful song!  Much to think about there.  Grateful.

  4. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? The question why was turning water into wine Jesus’ first miracle. I am intrigued and know that if Dee asks the question there is a great, significant answer. I haven’t really asked the question before. I have, however, always wondered why jesus said, “Woman, my time has not yet come.” But then performed the miracle anyway. 
    The wedding song was too fun. =)

  5. What stood out?  “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.”  I am in Esther right now and Haman’s pride, trying to destroy his enemies, and confidence in his secure position gives me a lot to think about.

  6. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Honestly, I feel very emotional from all of this. I didn’t continue reading yet past question #1–but the miracle is what stood out to me. You wrote “All the miracles in John are called “signs.”–and I feel struck by His love for me, for us. For the Day that is coming, the great wedding that all of “this’ has been pointing to. I remember we talked before about our ultimate wedding to Him. The Bible is the True Love Story–it begins with marriage and ends with the ultimate marriage–when our eternal chapter begins. And so I sense His joy at being our Husband, I feel His desire to make all things new, free, overflowing. I don’t know all te specifics of the wine verses water, but I do feel moved by His passion, His joy at the wedding–and how that moved Him to provide this miracle. 
    I also felt gripped by the reminder of how like a pharisee I am. Over the last few weeks, He has been breaking me down even more. I have begun to see how on some level I still want to “not mess up” and THEN I will feel His peace.I keep thinking-‘can’t I have one day where this sin is not a struggle for me? One day where I can respond perfectly?’ I have been living according to my own self-righteous standards, I want to ‘feel better about myself’ for me–instead of fully relying on His grace. I will struggle with sin until that wedding day–but He loves me, now, today. I still fail, daily–but He has chosen me as His Bride. To the extent I am willing to see the truth of my sin, I must not then turn to my own attempt to cover up my nakedness. Only His robe will cover. And the gift He reminded me at Christmas–that He first breathed life on this earth in a dirty smelly stable–so no, my heart is not too much for Him. He covers me and calls me His Bride–and eagerly awaits that Day!–Sorry, a bit long winded–now to read the rest!

    1. Oh my, Elizabeth — tweak a few words here and there, and I’m thinking the same.  My “not mess up” phrase is “not good enough” or “won’t be good enough.”  And I can see now that as these particular thoughts aren’t as frequent, I’ve adapted another phrase or two to have a similar meaning.  The Lord has begun to show me self-righteousness that’s inherent in that belief, AND He is a gentle teacher.  I’m thinking of the places I absorbed the “not good enough” message; by the time I reached the second place, I knew the Gospel well enough that I even challenged the message, saying the Bible indicated otherwise.  It seemed like knowing the Gospel was enough to counter the “old-style” legalism; someone shared a verse in Romans with me when I was 19 or 20, and I was free of that legalism.  But the “not good enough” message (“You can’t”  i.e., “God will never be able to use you”) still is triggered by certain topics or people.  When I actually see this typed out, I see that the message I heard was more of a slap in the face to God than to me.
      Though it can be so easy to see the truth of our sin, it’s important not to remain there to the extent that we beat ourselves up. Jesus COMPLETELY took that beating for us.  Now, as I am praying about a direction God was leading me decades ago, I struggle once again with the “damaged goods” identity.  Maybe the reason the rule-based legalism doesn’t intimidate me too much is that I can follow rules if I so choose (I sometimes choose not to now 😉 ).  But one more subtle form of legalism freaks me out, and my radar is over-sensitive.  God alone has the power to change my identity — and he has changed my actual identity.  Unfortunately, my perceptions of and emotions surrounding that identity still are whacko at times.  I have received much of the “common grace” referred to in the video last week and can see how God used that to sustain me.  The Gospel, grace and truth intertwined, is so clear –yet I seem to muddy it so quickly. 

      I’m also reminded what a pharisee I am in a situation now, but already through this weeks lesson, it has soaked in that I’m forgiven.  Jesus died for me, and I don’t ALWAYS need to have an emotional, deep soul searching, painful experience.  I’m forgiven and whole.  I’m not damaged goods because He has restored me and His power is at work in me.  Case closed (even though I attempt to re-open it).

      Elizabeth, I’m praying that you will rest in his peace, his forgiveness, his love, his complete work on the cross, and in the power of the resurrection.  (and as I am praying this for you, it popped into my brain that this will be my prayer for several people).

      1. oh Renee–bless you for this. Thank you for even reading my words, but mostly for this filled response. Your wisdom and love-thank you. I ‘know that I know’ the truth–I just so easily default. I think there is just this tension–I’ve always related to Paul–we press on and yet, the struggle with the flesh continues.One relationship will likely be a struggle all my life, and I think I have to accept His grace in that area–that I may never see this perfected in me on this side–and that is hard, but I am sensing He is saying His grace covers that too. Just this balance of pursuing sanctification and areas that seem to remain a struggle–and accepting grace without complete sanctification on this side. Our Christian culture can talk so much about victory over sin–but what about the areas that are thorns, that just continue to draw us to our knees because they are, and remain hard. Probably not making sense here–and talked more than I meant to already today 😉

        1. LOVE what you said about the continued thorns drawing us to our knees (I need that reminder now).  And so good to know that his grace covers the struggles, even those in which we don’t see complete — or any — change.  Yet, I continue to be amazed at what does change, in His time, not mine, through His work.

    2. I feel the same way most days. I will struggle with my sin daily, but I do find God’s grace surrounds me even when I feel I don’t deserve it. His grace gives me great hope and joy knowing He chose to love me even in my sin, and now that Im a Christian, He still chooses to love me on my worst days when I fail.  I loved this “The Bible is the True Love Story–it begins with marriage and ends with the ultimate marriage–when our eternal chapter begins. And so I sense His joy at being our Husband, I feel His desire to make all things new, free, overflowing.” Very beautifully put.

  7. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Love, love, love the wedding party gift to Vanessa!!! So joyful! So loving! You always “pump” me up with Fiddler on the Roof Dee! It made me cry it was so sweet!
    The contrast between the “anger” of religion and joy of the Gospel. It bothers me that the “religious” idea is angry. Weren’t the Pharisees just tying to “play by the rules?” Maybe they just forgot to use common sense? The converse (gospel) is following the rules joyfully because you want to become like Jesus. Perhaps the Pharisees of today accept Jesus and still follow rules but are “given the right” to become children of God as well? Can’t you be legalistic and still understand and accept the Gospel? isn’t that what we spoke of last week…..having grace with truth? Truth would be the rules part and grace would be the gospel. Can’t you be a little of both?

  8. 1.  What stood out to you & why?Dee, this is ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL.  The video was so JOYous, but I was delighted even before I watched the video.  The questions themselves— “Why a wedding? Why water into wine? And why was the latter wine so much better than the first?– even without the answers made me happy.  I was reminded that HE DOES this.  As usual, I was chomping at the bit to check to see what was on here and I saw the transition between weeks 😉   Now a few hours later, 1) my soul still is happy in the Lord; 2) I heard the verse on the radio (I very rarely think of putting on Internet radio) about Jesus enduring the cross, despising the shame, FOR THE JOY SET BEFORE HIM.  This reminded me of the JOY SET BEFORE ME, as well joy available to me now.  And, 3) how much my joy in the Lord impacts how/if others see the Gospel.When I read this on my cell phone, I stopped around the pic of the pharisee/legalist.  I see there is more & will read that now!

    1. Okay, I just read the last paragraph before the ice-breaker question.  Oh wow, I do see my negative behavior and that sometimes begins a downward spiral of defensiveness or despair. I wonder if I sometimes am too self-reflective.   I learned the negative behavior/guilt so stuff well that my focus is “off” when I hear application points or a Christian to-do list before I focus on the Gospel.  This paragraph reminds me (and I need FREQUENT reminders) that the following is TRUE “we are so bad that Christ had to die for us. (The good news is that we are so loved He did.)”  It’s interesting to me that, as well as I know John 3:16 or John 1:12, that these or other related verses don’t automatically pop into my brain when I think this way; I’m also encouraged by this awareness because I know that can/will change by God’s grace.  Seems to be the way He works in my life 🙂

  9. What stands out:   The angry faced Pharisee pointing the finger at me and then the contrast photo depicting the freedom we have in the gospel, through Jesus’ transforming of us.  Also, when you wrote of Keller’s lesson on how to read and teach the Bible so the gospel transforms, I thought of something one of my pastors told us several times. He talked about how Luther looked at each command of the scriptures as having both law and gospel in them.  The Law crushes and the gospel gives life.  (Actually, I know Keller says this too and maybe he quotes Luther also.  I need to find the words that Luther said).  For example:  I Thess. 5:18 says ‘Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you, in Christ Jesus’.  Do I always give thanks?  No.  Definitely not.  I don’t obey God’s command perfectly at all.  But, the gospel comes in the phrase ‘in Christ Jesus’.  His transformation of my heart, making me clean before Him is my only hope of keeping God’s commands.   Luther taught that we should look at each command in this way.  That example, was an easy one to see.  I admit that I find this a challenging thing to do and can’t always find both components in each passage,  but when I do, it can really break through my issues of pride and self righteousness.  

  10. What stood out?    The beautiful Jewish celebration video….. The surprise, the love, the “coming together” of both sides of the family and all entering into the joy.  Brought tears.
    Also, these sobering words:  To make posts on Facebook showing what great Christian women we are, instead of walking humbly with our God.    

  11. And oh my!  The wedding surprise for Vanessa.  I’m speechless.  I don’t think anything they could have done could have topped that!

  12. 2. Before you read the following, why do you think the first miracle might have been at a wedding?Maybe because he liked to celebrate with people?  Or there might be some tie-in with the church being the bride of Christ?  Or he didn’t want people to get sick from drinking whatever else was available? Or because his mom asked him to?

  13. QUESTION:  I have a question about the following:

    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.

    I want to make decisions based on Scripture rather than my experience.  Is it okay to think about the good news of the Gospel first (before the bad news)?  I focused differently on the beginning and end of the intro, partly because I read them at two different times.  I suspect that I didn’t get STUCK in feeling guilty for being a Pharisee because my soul already was happy in the Lord and safe in Him.  If we are supposed to start with the bad news part, how do I then get unstuck, i.e., get my eyes off myself and run to him?  It’s kinda weird that I have such a hard time intellectually separating grace and truth, when I’m having a hard time combining them in viewing God’s work in me.

  14. I’m really not feeling led to post much anymore, but I did want to share this way that God kissed me this morning. Just before church, my youngest was running barefoot to the car and got a splinter in his foot. After I finally got it out, I said something like ‘maybe God is trying to teach you to put on your shoes first, like I’ve told you”. All I heard back was ‘yes mamm’, and I thought it was over. Once in church, he held my hand through songs as usual, but OH the look on his face–he was near tears. I bent down and asked why he was so sad. He said ‘because I don’t want to mess up like that anymore’. UGH. Ton of bricks fell on my heart. I had passed on to my 8 year old the idea that the goal is to stop messing up. God really wants me to get the truth this time–he often uses my son in this way. I bent back down and whispered “I’m sorry. I was wrong with my words earlier.” He pulled on me to bend down again and kissed my cheek. Smile. As the sermon began, on Luke 2–I heard what God brought me to hear “You are my Beloved Son, with You I am well pleased” (v.22). Yes, He says this to me, His daughter, His Beloved. As I am. 
    I guess I answered #2 in my answer to #1, but I am so moved, as I read on–by this “Everything that belongs to the bride now belongs to the groom—and everything that belongs to the groom now belongs to the bride.” When my husband and I married, we both have a ton of family “baggage” and either of us could say ‘uh, I’d rather not take on THAT’–but with Christ, He takes all of my mess, and He brings only the best! How foolish can I be to say no to His righteousness, His mercy, His grace? I am the fellow heir. I get it all. I want it all. And I am my Father’s delight. Really truly. So often I think ‘I know this stuff already’–but I really do have to preach the gospel to my soul every day. The default mode, so prone to self-righteousness. But the marriage gives me the right, today, to my inheritance of His righteousness.

    1. Elizabeth, SO moving.  I cried…

    2. I felt like I was there when you shared Elizabeth. I pray for such a sensitive heart. Thankful the Lord is working on the junk that has greased over my heart and is cleaning out the baggage in my secret chambers. Sanctification is a process.

    3. Oh Elizabeth, this story about your son is so sweet.  And it is so wonderful how God lets parents get a glimpse into His relationship with us through their children.  

    4. Ah, Elizabeth…no parent is perfect, we can only do our best.  The love and humility you modeled to your son is sweet, likely he will remember that for a lifetime.  Similar to Renee, I struggle with “good enough” (I do see headway being made in this area, thanks be to God)…similar to you, I am fearful that this “not good enough” has been something taught to my daughters.  That being said, awareness is “power”…power to acknowledge, power to seek change/transformation, power to repent.  Blessings to you sister…may you be gentle with yourself.

  15. Oh Elizabeth…… lump in my throat.    

  16. I have been pondering last week’s study on gospel transformation and the differences between the gospel and religion. Last night at a community event I had an opportunity to chat with a lovely Catholic lady who was bemoaning how so many come to Catholic mass at Christmas time, but never darken the door the rest of the year. She said even her kids who were faithfully brought up in the church don’t attend any more. I asked her why she thought that was and she honestly didn’t know. Then she defended them by saying what good kids and helpful people they were, though. I commented that it was really about “relationship”. She misunderstood me and said “yes, all the people we meet and are friends with through church”. I missed the opportunity to push further that I meant it was about a relationship with Jesus, personal deep love. But this conversation, along with snippets of conversations that I heard at a funeral this week like “she lived a good life”. “family is what it is all about”, “we have family and health, what more could we ask for”, makes me sad. They are thinking all that matters is “living a good life”. What they are not admitting is no one can live a good life, a good enough life. We pretend it is all right when it is not. We all need rescue. How do we break through that deep LIE? How do we do it?
    This morning the pastor (my husband) told the story about “Peace Child”, based on a book of that title. Years ago, missionaries were trying to reach a cannabalistic tribe in New Guinea for Christ. The warring tribes had no way to build trust between them and instead honoured treachery instead of building friendships. Then a mother wishing to find a way to bridge the impasse between the warring parties, gave her baby to a woman of the other tribe. By doing so, the warring tribes became family. In their culture, families do not kill one another. Peace was established. The baby was the “peace child” – bridging the hatred. Jesus is the Peace Child — bridging the hatred between us and God. God gave his only Son. “He himself is our peace, breaking down the walls of hostility between us”. The analogy made me cry. What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!

    1. Diane,  I loved your entire post!    I especially loved the story of the Peace Child! 

    2. Diane–beautiful post. Are you husband’s sermons taped, available online? I’m guessing no, but I would love to hear Aubrey–some day! I have this picture of him in my head–wise, calm, strong…almost Steve-like, clearly Christ-like. 

    3. BEautiful, love this!

    4. Diane, I remember the name of the book, Peace Child, but I don’t think I ever really knew it’s meaning.  Thanks for this very fitting illustration and what an act of selfless love, which (whether she realized it or not)  mirrored the love of God, from that mother. 

    5. “makes me sad. They are thinking all that matters is “living a good life”. What they are not admitting is no one can live a good life, a good enough life. We pretend it is all right when it is not. We all need rescue. How do we break through that deep LIE?”
      Diane, I see this as well and it makes me sad…I’m not sure how to break through the false belief that we can be “good enough” via our actions to deserve or earn our salvation.  The heart motivation of this mentality clearly points to “self” rather than our true and sole Lord and Savior. 

  17. I have to say the song by Johnny Cash was a standout for me. My father connected with Johnny Cash and I grew up listening to him. I really like the San Quentin album and the thoughts of how he connected with those prisoners is so moving to me. Thru his life he had such challenges and the loss of his brother so connects to me.
    The other piece was the Keller secret of reading scripture. I do allow the Holy Spirit to search me, sometimes to the point people tell me frequently I am hard on myself. But sometimes I can be reading and think of how others need to be reading this as this is something they need to see. How UGLY is that! Just being honest. The Pharisee in me for sure!
    I have to say too I am not sure if it was Laura who mentioned about the Pharisees but I too have a bit of a heart for them too, I guess because they are so often portrayed so badly. I guess I want to believe they just needed help in seeing the error of that way just the same way that I do. What in their lives lead them to take that road of thinking?

    1.  Oops I realized i jumped ahead on the Johnny Cash video:) Oh well.

  18. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?  
     I so thoroughly enjoyed the joyous  Jewish wedding reception!    As I have mentioned over the last couple of months, we are in the process of planning my daughter’s August wedding.    You always want to personalize the wedding celebration, and believe me, a performance such as the one on the video would do it!     We wouldn’t be able to duplicate that for a number of reasons  — the most important is that we are not Jewish; in fact my husband’s family are Christian Lebanese Arabs!   So I am pretty sure there won’t be any “L’Chayim” sung at that reception!   🙂  But I certainly enjoyed the family’s spirit in that video!     I have probably seen Fiddler on the Roof  about four times.   

    Also what stood out for me was:    “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.)”      We definitely need both parts, the bad news and the good news.   The bad news confronts us and causes us to repent, so that we will turn toward our salvation in the good news.      Of course, this may be another description of the truth and grace we were discussing last week.    The bad news is the truth, and the good news is the grace.   

  19. hi I am new to this postong and the comments are all so wonderful.  I am afraid that I am rooted in a stronghold of not seeing the joy of life.  What stood out to me was the wedding song and how joyful it was. I am still in tears.  I want to see the joy that Jesus brought, along with His salvation and His grace. why did His first miracle happen at the wedding? Escpecially when He said it wasn’t His time?  I was never really sure of that.  I have thought he wanted to honor His mother but Jesus always did things with a purpose in mind to teach about Himself, the Father and the Kingdom of heaven so there must be so much more to it than that.  
    Dee thank you so much for this study, I do so much want to be transformed by the gospel.

    1. Welcome Joann! I am so glad you are here. I am praying for your joy in the Lord and His transformation in you.

    2. Joann-welcome! So glad you are joining us and posting. 

    3. Welcome, Joann.  So glad you’ve joined us.

    4. Joann welcome. The wedding made me a bit tearful as well.

    5. Joann, welcome. Praying this morning for the stronghold to be broken and for the joy of the Lord to break through and ravish you!

    6. Greetings, Joann…let me also bid you welcome…:)  You are among friends here, all seeking similarly…transformation by the gospel.  Welcome!

  20. I just learned today of an event in my area that is the joint effort of 6 Raleigh churches. It started New Year’s Eve and continues until the 20th. My understanding is that it is about seeking Jesus for personal sin, hurts and struggles, our marriages and our families. We will humble ourselves at the foot of the cross in seeking revival. i am planning to go tonight and would covet your prayers. It will cost me the better part of tonight sleep because I have to get up so early. But oh how I want revival, personal, local and global. 
    I visited a different sort of church of church today. It was a very small and very worshipful group of people. I sensed the Lord so near and suddenly I saw in my mind, my daughter in law with the warm light of the Spirit all around her. I knew that the Lord was speaking to me about her.  I don’t know how or what but He promises.

    1. Anne that sounds so encouraging.  I so pray for unity in our churches! Our church is starting a week of prayer tonight. Praying and expecting some breakthrough!    

    1. Praying, Anne & Dee!

      1. thsnk you both for prayers. I did decide to to tomorrow instead of tonight. 

        1. Best wishes tonight, Anne…what a lovely gift the Lord bestowed on you yesterday (“saw in my mind, my daughter in law with the warm light of the Spirit all around her.”)

    2. Dee I will include this in my prayers.

    3. I will be praying, Dee…how did it go last evening?

    4. Dee, how did Alpha go????

  21. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I so loved the video of “To life…” What a wonderful small peek into the anticipated joy of the wedding supper of the Lamb! (Revelation 19:7-9)
    “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.”
    My heart was pricked by the comment above. I say to myself, “Surely when I feel like I am doing some good thing for the Lord (reading my bible, going to church etc.) or for somebody, I become aware of the insidious movement of pride within.” Just as I think I have gotten truth as truth should be, I begin to show less grace to others. I am Pharisee several times a day! I am the prodigal older brother in the story of the prodigal younger son. And yet, God loves me enough to send His son to die for my sins. I need God daily to help me surrender self on His altar- and to seek Him more than anything in this world. And to depend on Him to live the Christian for I can be so wretched if it were not for His grace and love.

  22. Why a wedding? 2. 
    Why a Wedding?  Water to Wine
    Why the 1st miracle at wedding?  This made me brainstorm and really ponder.  Perhaps other ideas besides the Bride and Bridegroom may be:  1)  A surprising miracle at wedding celebration would be readily accepted without judgment  2) Jesus, His mother, (probably family & friends), and disciples were present to witness (a faith-builder)  3) The True Vine produced wine (joy) celebrating a new union (relational) 4) A miracle performed in vessels of tradition demonstrate that vessels will be miraculously filled later with something (Holy Spirit) new and better  5) Sign of the New Covenant (purification by water and cleansing by His blood); A spiritual foreshadowing of His piercing pouring forth both water and blood on the cross (redemption) Ps. 22:14 “I am poured out like water.” John 19:34: “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”  6) Establishing timing of His Hour: 1st water to wine “My hour has not yet come” foreshadows when His hour did finally come, “But for this purpose, I came to this hour”, He would truly pour out water and wine Himself for eternal redemption, relationship, and a future joy in celebration at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  I  have often wondered and imagine perhaps there could have been pieces of communication of body language or dialogue between His mother and Jesus that might have not been recorded in John 2 in this passage that may have taken place between His saying, “My hour has not yet come” and then her response, “Whatever He says to you, do it” and His asking for the water jars to be filled for the manifestation of the 1st miracle. It makes us wonder, but shows us the divine knowledge and faith His mother had in the Son–and His respect for His mother.  This miracle reminds me of a passage in Isa. 55:1 “Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters. . . Come, buy and eat.  Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. . .” Rev. 22: 17b: “And let him who thirsts, come.  Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”  We buy without money, and the cost, giving ourselves completely to Him in exchange for living water, life, joy, transformation.  To sell all to buy the pearl of great value with all that we have and are.  The ultimate exchange!
    Sunday Icebreaker:  What stood out to me is the way we often do read the Bible self-righteously judging the people or acts while being blinded to ways we ritualistic perform acts or words (prayers) or catch ourselves being hypocrites in word or action.  Oh, do we ever need to be aware of ourselves first, of using the Word as a mirror to see and compare ourselves to Jesus and His ways–to connect to Him, reflect Him, be transformed by Him, and to please Him.  Let me be more watchful what my heart often reflects, to judge myself, to get the beam out of my own eye, to be honest, transparent, and grow in  loving, worshipful intimacy with Him. What a strong statement from Jesus:  “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips. But their heart is far from Me.  And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”  Matt. 15:8-9 
    Dee, I ended this week’s study with worship to your friend, Kathy Troccoli, singing: “Water into Wine”.  How appropriate were the words to the song:  “I have seen a miracle. Now I believe. You turned the water into wine.  Looking back, I see many times, You made the simple things divine.  With the touch of your hand, You changed this heart of mine: You turned the water into wine. Lord I need a miracle!  Lord, I need You!”
    “For the Beloved is better than wine.” Song of Solomon 1:2b  It always begins and ends with His love!

    1.  I appreciate your post here, Marsha.  You’ve given me a lot to think about with so many references to the wedding and to the wine. Good thoughts!

  23. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

  24. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I loved the video of the wedding;the celebration of the wedding, but what touched me was how the whole song and dance pointed towards the bride. Everyone was celebrating her, wishing her the best in her life changing event. It was a beautiful thing to see the joy and happiness this brought everyone, but especially to her, the groom and family.  The celebration just touched my heart as to how God must celebrate over us, the bride. 
    I also enjoyed the man in the water photo, lifting his arms up, surrendering his all to God, holding nothing back. 

  25. 2. Before you read the following, why do you think the first miracle might have been at a wedding?
    I honestly have no idea why he would have performed the first miracle at a wedding….maybe because there were a lot of people there from all walks of life? Maybe He wanted to get to as many as he could? 

      1. Good vocab word Dee! I’m ashamed to say I do not know a lot of the sequence of events of the miracles. I didn’t know the water to wine was first. After reading your explanation of the bride and bridegroom and all the weddings throughout the bible, I was taken with the idea that it is a recurring picture so it must be something special. It makes me want to learn more!

  26. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    “…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”
    What good guidance…to deeply consider the truth of the gospel in light of self when reading passages with negative behavior brings it all “more home.”  More often than not my tendency when reading these passages is judgment and critical thinking, rather than “bringing it home” to my own need of grace.  Going forward, I will strive to put this guidance into practice.

  27. 2. Before you read the following, why do you think the first miracle might have been at a wedding?
    At first thought…hum??? I don’t know…why a wedding?  After some additional consideration, all the references to weddings in the bible comes to mind…e.g., the Lord as bridegroom and the church as bride, I am my Beloved and my Beloved is mine, the King’s invitation to the wedding feast that is blown off by those initially invited and He then instructs His servants to extend the invitation to others (etc.).  Many references the Lord uses in the bible are in the context of the wedding and marriage.  I’m thinking that this has some connection, unfortunately my mind isn’t really grasping what precisely that might be. 

  28. 3. Summarize what happened in this passage, including the dialogue between Mary and Jesus.
    Mary, Jesus, and Jesus’ disciples are attending a wedding reception.  The wine that has been planned for is not adequate in supply.  When Mary becomes aware of this, she makes Jesus aware of this, kind of prompting Him to do something.  There seems to be some resistance on the part of Jesus (“why do you involve me, my hour has not yet come”), but it appears that Mary knows that the timing is indeed right and the heart of Jesus…Mary tells those assisting with the reception to do whatever Jesus instructs them to do.

    I haven’t yet had the opportunity to read the prior comments, but will read them during my lunch time today.

  29. 2. Before you read the following, why do you think the first miracle might have been at a wedding? Weddings are a theme in the Bible. We studied this in Song of Songs, what a wedding represents and how that is a shadow of our own relationship with Christ, here on earth as well as the great wedding yet to come. Weddings are a beginning, joy, a unification of what was separate before. Love.

  30. 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? My thoughts go with the privacy of the sign. Only Mary, the disciples, and the servants knew of the sign performed. Perhaps this was not the time for him to be declaring publicly? The John 12 passages are right before His crucifixion. I am struggling to see connection. Mary could not have known the importance of wine as a symbol of His blood could she? Although he did use the stone jars used for purification which is significant.

    1. Jill – I’m still attempting to answer most of the questions privately, but I had to jump in and commend you on pointing out how PRIVATE the first miracle really was!  I’d been pondering that same thing…..even though a wedding is a huge affair (I assume?), the text clearly tells us that only a very few actually knew that Jesus had changed the water into wine!  I have no idea what the significance of that is, but we know that the Scripture reveals this to us and thus, we need to look thoughtfully and prayerfully at it.  Thanks.

  31. Also, I’m sure that it’s quite puposeful that it was humble servants who saw his first miracle!  Reminds me of the angels announcing his birth to the lowly shepherds.  God’s heart.  

  32. Moved by the words and music of Johnny Cash this morning.  I have always thought his music was unique…so different from others in it’s genre, or maybe it is a genre by itself.  I think the reason he touches my heart so much, is that his story is so real, so telling of the deep sorrow and deep regrets in life, yet the redemption that is freely given through the wideness of God’s mercy.  Reading his biography brought tears.  I saw him in his older years when he traveled with Billy Graham, but this young picture of him taking seriously the words of Jesus,  ‘I was in prison and you visited me’ speaks to me.  From what I understand about that visit too, (I have a live album so you can hear some of what he said to the prisoners) , he was really there to relate to them and not to make a cameo for his own renown.  In fact, he went against what his producers wanted him to do.  Just a tangent here, I know, but it has me thinking of the rights and wrongs of things celebrities do; the industry of music and entertainment and how, in the midst of the materialism and sin,  God is still sovereign, still working individually with those he draws to himself.  

  33. 2. Before you read the following, why do you think the first miracle might have been at a wedding?
    First of all, I want to say that I was very intrigued by the Johnny Cash video.   I thought it was good that he gave the little prologue, telling of how he came to write the song.   I was also impressed with the seriousness with which he sang the song — no show-biz flare, which would have spoiled it for the occasion.   I was most intrigued by the faces of the prisosners listening to him sing.   Dee said she wondered how many had been hurt by legalistic religion in the past.   That wouldn’t have occurred to me, but it is a very valid question.   What I thought I might be seeing is that the song lyrics were taking them back to stories they had heard in their childhood and hadn’t thought about for a long time.   It was like an “oh, my goodness!” reaction, I felt.   We will never know for sure.   
    As to why the wedding in Cana was the site of Christ’s first miracle — I have pondered that several times before in my life.   As bewildering as it might be,  I think God  had a good plan.   It was far better for Jesus to begin in a small, limited social gathering.   I’m sure there were a good many at the wedding who did not even catch on to the miracle.   They may have just thought the host had done something different by putting out the better wine last.   If Jesus had first performed a miracle like that at a synogogue or in the multitudes who followed his preaching, it might have been too fast.    There was a plan/schedule for Jesus’ coming out as the Messiah.   It needed to grow from something small.   Otherwise, the inevitable discord with the religious leaders would have developed too soon, before Jesus had time to get all of his teaching out there, and his death might have arrived prematurely.      I firmy believe God doesn’t do anything accidentally.   I don’t have an answer for the dilemma of Jesus’ words to his mother, Mary, that  his time had not yet come.    Perhaps he was just indicating that it wasn’t time for him to do something “big” and that this would just be the first sign of many signs.   

  34. Read John 2:1-5.
    3. Summarize what happened in this passage, including the dialogue between Mary and Jesus.
    Jesus and his mother are attending a wedding in Cana.   The host ran out of wine, and Mary alerted Jesus to the problem.    At first Jesus seems to put Mary’s words aside, telling her his time had not yet come.  However, Mary  was persistent and told the servants to do what Jesus told them to do.   Jesus told them to fill 6 stone water jars which were normally used to hold water for ritual cleansing.   Then he told them to draw out some of the water and take it to the head waiter.   It had turned to wine, in fact, it was better wine than was served previously at that wedding reception.
    4. When Jesus responds to his mother with “my hour has not yet come,” what do you think He is talking about?
    Sorry,  I should have looked ahead.   I answered this part under question #2.    
    See John 12:23 and John 12:27. Why might He talk about this now?   
    I think these two Scripture verses both bear out what I was saying in my answer to #2.   There WAS a PLAN!     There was a schedule in which there was a time for Jesus to begin doing miracles, and later there was specific time at which Jesus was to die and be glorified in his resurrection (verse 23)  even though He would have preferred not to have to go through “the time” for him to suffer on the cross (verse 27).  However, thankfully, Jesus’ love for us led him to remain faithful to the Plan in order to redeem us from our sins.    

  35. Why at a wedding?  My initial response is because He was to be the bridegroom of His church.  Then I also thought about the Drink Offering that is poured out, seemingly wasted, on the ground.  Perhaps he was alluding to His death and resurrection.  I don’t have time to find both the Old Testament and Paul’s New Testament references, but I am certain that we are to understand that such an offering is not in vain, but necessary.
    I also agree that the purpose of the wedding miracle is to show the importance of relationship over plain legalism.  I am reminded that the rules of the Old Testament are to be our tutor – showing us our inadequacies, while the New Testament show us that the relationship with Christ encourages us to understand our weaknesses and how Christ and His Holy Spirit renew or transform us by filling the voids and gaps with forgiveness for the weaknesses and love for the believer.  This connects to the grace and truth of last week’s study.  It would be cruel to just point out weaknesses for we would always fail to gain perfection.  But through the relationship with Christ we can gain His mind and His walk and get better at detecting the weakness before the action of wrongdoing, sin.

  36. John the Baptist introduces Jesus as the Bridegroom (John 3:29).   This verse really gave me pause, now that we’ve spent some time thinking about John the Baptist in earlier lessons.  I see him and his relationship to Jesus in a more real way after the things we’ve discussed here.  So, when John says that ‘the friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him’  it has such a deep meaning.  John was the one who went ahead of Jesus to tell others of His coming.  But he knew from day one (his mother knew from the day he leapt in her womb) that he was not the one the world was looking for or looking at.  (in the prologue, this is so clear).  John was not the focal point.  Jesus was.  And here, in plain terms, he states his devotion to his Lord, the bridegroom.  He would wait.  He would listen and he would REJOICE when the bridegroom came!  No eyes would be on John.  His attention and focus would be on His Lord and with that, he would draw others toward Jesus, his Lord and his own bridegroom.  He is Jesus’ special attendant, but he is also a part of the corporate bride of Christ.  And what is his definitive statement about his position?  “He must become greater; I must become less”.  Profound.  I think about the protocol of a wedding where the attention is to be focused on the bridal pair and the groomsmen and bridesmaids should not usurp that position.   John surely gave us a great example of that protocol, but in a spiritual way with theological ripples running all through his famous statement.

  37. Mary–I love the Michael Card song you shared with us–he’s an old favorite and these lyrics are so beautiful as we study this! 
    Lord of light, oh, come to this wedding
    Take the doubt and darkness away
    Turn the water of lifeless living
    To the wine of gladness we pray
    Mother Mary’s gently requesting
    That you might do whatever you can
    Though she may be impatient she loves you
    And so she asks what she can’t understand
    So amidst the laughter and feasting
    There sits Jesus full with the fun
    He has made them wine because He is longing
    For a wedding that’s yet to come

    1. And oh how we are ALL longing for THAT wedding!!! =)  

    2. These lyrics are SO GOOD.  Both the wedding to come and life here and now. Thanks for posting the lyrics.
      The NOW part, “Take the doubt and darkness away, Turn the water of lifeless living, To the wine of gladness we pray” speaks to me right now.  Recently, I attended a birthday party and the person we were celebrating jokingly said “Another meaningless year.”  That has been bothering me, partly because I’m concerned for him, but also because I’ve been tired enough that I was wondering (for a couple of weeks) if my year was meaningless. He’s the only one who can turn the lifeless living into the wine of gladness.  Praying that will be true.

      1. oh Renee–yes, makes me sad for your friend, but I trust you KNOW your life, no life is meaningless. From the tiny facet I see of how He uses you here on this blog–your tender heart, your deeper than deep thoughts–meaningFULL. And I can only imagine the LIGHT you bring to your students, your colleagues.

        I think we all share that “wine of gladness” as we sit at our computers/phones/tablets from all over the world and yet somehow someway come together in this place to just know Him more, love Him more–WOW. Isn’t that beautiful, just incredible, really. Tastes of joy, like hearing pieces, stanzas of the Song–until one day we get the whole Dance! (ok, got a little corny–but it’s TRUE! 🙂

      2. I agree with Elizabeth in her affirmation of how meaningful you are to each of us, Renee.  And with our long history of friendship, I couldn’t begin to count the ways you’ve added huge meaning to my own life, dear friend.  (Oh my.  Just thinking about the past 5 years fills my mind to overflowing to say nothing of the previous 34!)  This afternoon, I was letting my mind wander (in a good way) and I began to think of several women here or on the facebook page who have very difficult circumstances and/or struggles.  And the more I thought about it, the more I think that we are all so ‘weak’ as individuals.  Weak because of besetting sins (I was feeling that in myself today) and just plain worn out or struggling with some really hard stuff that life throws at us.  (Began reading Keller’s book on suffering today so my head was spinning).  But then I thought of what a place of STRENGTH this blog is!  I wish I had a good way to describe it. But it seems that the weaknesses of each of us form to make one strong unit.  And of course, not due to any strength of our own.  It’s the bonding of hearts and souls who are united through the GRACE of our Loving Lord.  It encouraged me today to think of this even as I feel sad at times, for all of the pain that individuals here are experiencing.  “We LOVE Him, because He first LOVED us.” and we love each other because of HIS love too. 

        1. Thanks for encouragement, Elizabeth & Wanda.  You’re right — I don’t have to think very long before I see meaning.  In my attempt to be less tired and less susceptible to feeling lifeless, I have a new goal (well, I’m not that goal oriented so maybe I will call it a “new thing”) of turning off the computer and bright lights by 9:00 each night (or 9:30 🙂  )

  38. 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?
    Hard question!!  Both vs 23 and 27 in John 12 refer to God being glorified in conjunction with the “hour.” From the beginning of v 12 ” “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’?”, likely referring to his crucifixion.  So, maybe this hour refers to Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension??
    A couple other verses that intrigue me are:

    2:11  This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
    12:16  His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.

    Jesus was referring to greater miracles and suffering to come.  I’m puzzled because the translation I read sounded as if he was sharp or rude to his mother; yet she seemed to “get it” in that she said “Whatever He says to you, do it.
    According to vs 11, Jesus manifested his glory at the wedding, too — and this was the beginning of the signs, even though it was not “his hour.”  Plus, v11 says his disciples believed in Him.  Maybe giving the disciples this sign was an example of God’s grace, in that he gave them a taste of his glory to strengthen their faith.  In that case, turning the water to wine, would have had at least two purposes: to provide wine for the wedding as well as to show his glory.I’m looking forward to reading the “right” answer.  Not sure I am connecting all the dots.  I’ve never thought about this before, and it’s fun 🙂 

  39. 5. Comment on Martin Luther’s word picture. What insight does this give you into how the gospel can begin to transform us?

    Wow!  Right now, I can’t articulate insight.  It bypassed my brain, and I sighed in relief and experienced a sense of peace.  Visually, the words form a cross.  A death and a wedding at the same time.  It’s like SoS all over again, though I can see more clearly how my shame, my sin, my brokenness were & are dealt with at the cross.  Grace and truth intertwined.

    Too soon to tell for sure, but this seems to be another one of those moments when God is doing some deep cleaning & healing (and I’m not even miserable).  He is showing me his glory, and I am responding in trust — similar to the disciples at the wedding??  I haven’t been ranking high in the trust category lately & the contrast is evident.

    1. So funny Renee….”…and I’m not even miserable…!” LOL

  40. 5. Comment on Martin Luther’s word picture. What insight does this give you into how the gospel can begin to transform us?
    In the wedding of Christ (groom) with the believer (bride),  “Everything that belongs to the bride now belongs to the groom—and everything that belongs to the groom now belongs to the bride.”   We come to Christ with nothing to offer but  our shame, our sin, and  our brokenness.  Normally we prefer to view weddings where the groom and the bride are able to bring equal assets to the marriage, but we come to Christ in a very deficit condition.   However, Christ’s love for us is so unconditional, that he generously and self-sacrificingly offers us his righteousness, his mercy, and his healing.   How can one be the recipient of such limitless love not be touched to the core?  The contrast between what we deserve and what we receive is so astonishing that our legs buckle and we fall to our knees in worship and adoration.   Our previous lifestyle begins to be  blended with that of our Lord, and the progressive process of our transformation begins to take place.   

  41. Oh, sorry I didn’t bring this up at the time I wrote my answer to #3.  I have a question:    Verse 1 begins “On the third day…”    I am wondering what that is counting from.   I note in Chapter 1 verses 29, 35, and 43, each of those begin “the next day.”      So this “third day”  would seem to be at least the “fourth day.”   Usually one would expect that the counting of days like that would proceed from some exceptional event.   I don’t think they were just  counting the days of the week.   This is just something curious that I wanted to throw in here to see what other think.    I’m wondering if it is counting from Jesus’ baptism?

    1. Deanna – I wondered the same but assumed it meant day of the week, but you are probably correct that it means something different (wondering if Keller will address this?)!

    2. I also read it as the third day of the week….thinking it must have been a Tuesday.  But, now I’m curious!  Might try to dig into it a bit…..or wait for someone else to do that and share here!

      1. and now I see that Staci did dig in and posted some interesting info below.

  42. 2. Why a wedding?
    He is the Alpha and Omega-the beginning and the end.  He starts with a wedding and will end with the best wedding of all! This is what comes to my mind when I read Question 2.
    I also love the verse from Isaiah 62…so shall your God rejoice over you. Me! Despicable me! (Hey, that’s the title of a movie LOL) My God rejoicing over me. I can not comprehend this-so awesome!!! I think of another verse in Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
    I remember my Mom and Dad at separate times singing over me when I was sick. Their voices were soothing to me and I miss them very much. Tears. Imagine my God rejoicing over me with singing. I long for that day!

    1. Bing–what a sweet memory of your parents singing over you! And Zephaniah 3:17 is one of my favorites too~

    2. Agree, Bing.  That is a very sweet memory and application of a wonderful verse.

  43. 6. Read Mark 7:1-8 and describe the disagreement between the Pharisees and Jesus.
    The Pharisees and some legal experts from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus to find fault with his disciples, accusing them of not following the Jewish ritual cleansing before eating food.   As I understand it, this had nothing to do with cleaning away germs, but was more of a demonstration of obedience to the Jewish laws.   There were more laws than anyone could ever obey — not just those that were written, but also those handed down orally by the elders.    Jesus responded by quoting Isaiah, “This people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me.  Their worship of me is empty, since they teach instructions that are human words.”   
    I think it is worthy of note that Mark felt it necessary to explain the Jewish practice of becoming ritually pure.  He wouldn’t have needed to do that just for Jews, so he must have known that his gospel would be read by non-Jewish people as well.   
    7. Read John 2:6 and explain the purpose for the huge jars of water at the wedding.
    Jesus instructed the servants at the wedding in Cana to use the six stone jars that normally would have been used to hold water for ritual cleansing.     Makes me wonder if there were some Pharisees at the wedding who might have been upset that those jars were commandeered to make wine.   

  44. 2. Before you read the following, why do you think the first miracle might have been at a wedding?
    ~Im not sure, but to me the bride/weddings are very significant to God. Weddings on earth are a reflection of our relationship with God. Weddings represent our relationship when we give our life to God, we are the bride so maybe the wine being the first miracle could be a symbol of celebrating us becoming Christ like. We surrender our hearts, and God does a miracles thing in our hearts, he starts to change us within…so maybe the water being changed into wine is representing that and celebration. That’s my go on it. I have really enjoyed this bible study, it makes me see how much more these miracles mean and have a meaning other than changing water into wine. 

  45. Read John 2:1-5.
    3. Summarize what happened in this passage, including the dialogue between Mary and Jesus.
    ~I find it interesting the bible states  this happened on the 3rd day, when you google it this is significant to ceremonial, the resurrection was on the 3rd day. This really struck me since Jesus is telling him mother it was not His time. Here is something I found interesting on the internet:
    Third Day Patterns
    A Bible pattern is when a spiritual truth stated in one part of the Bible is repeated in a similar fashion in yet another portion of the Bible. Examine the third day patterns. The first two days don’t tell the whole story – the third day is the conclusion.

    On the third day — “the earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit.” (Genesis 1:12)
    On the third day — “Abraham looked up and saw the place [Mount Moriah] from afar.” There he intends to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering to God. Yet he assures his companions, “We will worship and return.” (Genesis 22:4-5)
    On the third day — Pharaoh releases his chief cupbearer from death-row. (Genesis 40:20-21)
    On the third day — Joseph releases his brothers from prison in Egypt. (Genesis 42:17-18)
    On the third day — The Israelites request Pharaoh’s permission to make a three-day journey to offer sacrifice in the desert to God. (Exodus 3:18)
    On the third day — Plague Nine, the Plague of Darkness, in Egypt ends, “though the Israelites enjoyed light in their dwellings.” (Exodus 10:22)
    On the third day — God descends to Mount Sinai in fire with the sound of a shofar. He then reveals The Ten Words, Israel’s constitution of new life as a nation after their resurrection from the death of slavery in Egypt. (Exodus 19:16-19)
    On the third day — Israelites are to purify themselves with water after being in contact with the dead. (Numbers 19:12)
    On the third day — After coming to the river and preparing themselves, the Israelites cross the Jordan “to enter and possess the land that the LORD [their] God is giving to [them] as a possession.” (Joshua 1:11; 3:2)
    On the third day — Joshua’s spies emerge from hiding from the Jerichoites, then return to their commander. (Joshua 2:16, 22)
    On the third day — a famine during David’s reign ends. (2 Samuel 21:1).
    On the third day — a famine called for by Elijah the prophet ends. (1 Kings 18:1)
    On the third day — after asking God for release, King Hezekiah is healed of his fatal disease and offers thanks in the temple. (2 Kings 20:5)
    On the third day — Jonah is expelled from the fish belly. (Jonah 1:17/2:1 Heb) (Matt 12:40; cf Matt 16:21; 17:23)
    On the third day — After fasting, Esther puts on royal apparel and enters the palace of the Persian king in order to thwart a death-plot against her people, the Jews. (Esther 4:16; 5:1)

    I see a lot of symbolism here.#1, bearing fruit(our lives spiritually) and there are others as you can read. I really like #2 and 15 also. 
    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?
    ~It was not Jesus time to be glorified, meaning his death was the most significant for glorifying God? Verse 24 talks about the grain of wheat falling to the earth and dies alone, but it bears much fruit. Another metaphor spiritually we die to self and become alive in Christ.
    verse 27 Jesus knew His death was the ultimate glory. Not sure I answered this all correctly, but I think I understand the significance.

  46. I am having a very hard time keeping up with both reading the bible  chronologically, and doing the questions on this study. I have to admit the bible reading is difficult (Job); hard to understand for me, and the study this week is equally difficult! It all makes me feel so STUPID. Trying to figure out what Jobs friends, and now his young, wise one, are saying is crazy! So, I am answering what I can on the study when it seems like “gold.”
    5. Comment on Martin Luther’s word picture. What insight does this give you into how the gospel can begin to transform us?
    I found ML’s comment about going back to SOS intriguing. The scripture leads us to remember that we are married to each other. We care deeply for one another (Christ and me). It refocuses my attention exactly where it needs to be; on Him. Instead of gaining His favor, we are reminded of his love.

    1. Laura – I found this outline of Job to be helpful. If you skip the summary at the beginning and the questions at the end there is a nice brief summary of each thing said in the speeches back and forth in plain English. You can click on “next” and “previous” at the very bottom to look at previous chapters and the next chapters. I hope it helps you as it did me. You are not stupid!! =)

      1. Thanks for the link, Jill.  I’ll save it.  Laura, I’ve had many questions about Job too and it’s made me want to actually study Job and read some commentary.    BUT I am reminding myself that I’m reading chronologically for the purpose of wanting to gain a more complete picture of the Library of the Bible.  And the more in depth study for me, is what we do here.  I’m also doing the chronological reading in a Bible that is mostly just text and doesn’t have study notes to distract me.  I’m just trying to accept that this is more of a ‘speed reading’ to get a better feel for the Bible as a whole.   That said,  I know I have way more time than you do to spend reading and also, it’s only the first 2 weeks.  I wonder if I will be able to persevere too.  

      2. Thank you so much Jill! I will check it out tomorrow morning 🙂

    2. Laura – Such good responses you received from Jill, Wanda and Dee!  Hopefully, the Lord used some of their words to ease the pressure a bit.  I especially wanted to echo Wanda’s words  to the effect of reading through the Bible in this way just to get a better appreciation for the flow of the library of the Scripture.  Many questions will inevitably arise (perhaps you could jot them down in a separate notebook?), but I don’t think “speed reading” is always a bad thing!  Maybe you could look at it as just reading a portion and being content to walk away saying in your heart – “Wow, Scripture is incredible!  So many, many questions……I can study this for a lifetime and never be finished!  How exciting.”  And then save the deeper studies for a forum such as this study blog!  🙂