In Keller’s sermons, he’ll often humbly say: “I’ve preached on this before but I didn’t see this until recently…” I loved that about him for I have much more trust in a humble man than in a proud one. He was always about exalting Christ and not himself.
We do see more as we mature and need to admit that we see something we missed before — even if it was the whole point of the passage! One of my favorite quotes from Keller is: “When you look back at your younger self ten years ago, you think: What a fool I was! But NOW you think you have it all together!”
In truth, Paul tells us, in this life, we see through “a glass darkly” and that dark glass will not be removed until we see Him face to face. Therefore, we must walk humbly with our Lord and with one another.
Keller opens this sermon by explaining his epiphany of seeing that John put these two events together: turning water into wine and overturning the money tables. To quote him: “Over the years, I’ve studied these things many times, and it’s only in the last couple of weeks that I realized that John has put these two things together… “
Indeed, seeing them together brings so much light to both events!
Sunday: The Presence
1. How have you experienced His presence this week through His Word, His Spirit, His people, or His creation?
2. What stood out to you from the opening? Could you identify? Explain.
Monday: The Context
3. What do you learn from John 20:30-31 about:
A. The signs of Jesus?
B. What was John’s purpose in writing His particular gospel? How might that have affected which particular events he chose to include?
4. Read John 2:1-12
A. Keller says Jesus often answers people with non-sequiturs. How do you see this in John 2:3-4?
B. Yet though His answer would have been confusing to most, it was not to Mary for she knew things about Jesus the others did not yet know for certain. What did she know about Him and how did she know it? (Draw from Luke 1-2 if you need to.)
C. Are you able to explain how this miracle showed the purpose for Jesus coming to earth?
5. Challenge Question. Give a few examples (perhaps with help from Exodus or Leviticus) of God giving a command with the only explanation as being: “I AM the Lord your God.”
Tuesday: The Text
6. Read John 2: 13-17
A. What time is mentioned in verse 13? Why might John have included this?
B. How is this a different side of Jesus than we saw at the wedding banquet? Find several things.
C. For what purpose were the animals and doves being sold? What did God want His people to understand when they sacrificed an animal?
D. What prophecy did the disciples remember and why might this add light?
7. Read John 2:18-25
A. What did the Jews immediately demand?
B. Why might Jesus’ answer have seemed like a non-sequitur?
C. What were the two responses people had to the miracles of Jesus?
D. Why did Jesus not entrust Himself to man? Why should we take this to heart?
Wednesday: Part 1 of the Sermon
8. Listen for about the first 13 minutes when he begins to give the example of Job.
A. What stands out to you after listening and why?
B. What does Keller say are the two most important words linking these two events? (Verse 12)
C. How do both events show the authority of Jesus?
D. What did you learn about the word for “cords.” Significance?
E. When God has overturned your tables, have you backed away from Him or pressed in? Why?
Thursday: Part 2 of the Sermon
9. Listen up to minute 26 — just before he gets into the Lord of the Rings.
A. What stood out to you from the above and why?
B. How did God answer Job when he asked why his tables were overturned? Point?
C. What was Keller’s point with the fiance calling off the wedding after her intended lost his money?
D. Why did Keller believe Jesus was so upset with what was happening in the Temple?
E. In the same way, when we approach worship mechanically instead of reflectively, how does that hurt our God?
Friday: Final 3rd of Sermon
10. Finish the sermon
A. What stood out to you and why?
B. How was the main character in Lord of the Rings a Christ figure?
C. Why is it important to let Jesus contradict you? Why should you obey even when you don’t understand or disagree?
D. Is there an area we could pray for you to better obey?
E. Just as Jesus had many things to do, there was one thing always on His mind. What was it? How does Keller suggest we apply this to our own walk?
11. What is your take-a-way and why?