19 September 2013

Water into Wine - a study

Whenever I have read the story of Jesus turning water into wine, it has always bothered me. It is the first miracle that Jesus performs and heralds the beginning of his public ministry, yet this miracle consists of creating a beverage at a party.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry he heals loads of people, feeds multitudes with a little bread and some fish, and yet, his very first miracle to reveal his glory was to make a beverage!

I figured I must be missing something and so I endeavoured to do a bit of study and see if I couldn't grasp some greater meaning that I was missing…and I found a few things so I thought I’d share for anyone who is interested and may have felt the same about this miracle. This is not an exhaustive study, nor is it the final say, it’s just some things I've found and thought I would share.

The story is recounted in John 2:1-11 if you want to refresh your memory.
(Scripture quoted in NKJV)

It is important to firstly note that wine is used to describe the blood that Jesus shed on the cross.

So here we have a wedding. Weddings are used in the bible as an allusion to the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus uses weddings in some of his parables. The Church is the bride of Christ…I could go on and on.

Next we have “six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews.” (v.6) that Jesus has the servants fill full of water which he then turns into wine…

For those who are interested in the significance of numbers in the bible, six is the number for man/labour and leans toward imperfection (this is not sound doctrine so you can disagree if you like, but it’s pretty widely agreed upon…you can Google it if you want to look a bit more into it).

And so these six stone waterpots get filled with water, the Jewish custom for cleansing, and get turned into wine. They begin by representing the Law, the traditional way of purification but when Jesus is finished with them, they represent the new covenant.
“Then he took the cup (of wine), and gave thanks, and gave it to them saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:27-28)
The servants then draw some out and take it to the master of the feast as directed by Jesus and the master of the feast drinks it and says… “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine till now!” (V.10).  Just as the wine Jesus made was better than the first, so is the new covenant better than the old
“For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.” (Hebrews 10:1)

I believe this is just scratching at the surface of what is in this part of scripture…but it has given me a much greater appreciation of Jesus’ first miracle and my mind is buzzing at the significance that is oozing out of it. It is the perfect miracle to represent what Jesus had come to the earth for…For all those who are willing to come to the wedding feast, he offers to imperfect man with his substandard way of doing things, the opportunity to be transformed by his blood. This miracle showed that Jesus was about to usher in the new covenant...I wonder how many people at that wedding missed the point as badly as I always have...

10 September 2013

Prayer Life

I’d like to go through a little exercise for those who are willing…

Think of someone in your life who inspires you in your walk with God.  Someone who encourages you to do better and move forward.  Someone you love to hear from because they almost always add something to your life.  It doesn’t have to be someone you know personally.

Now, imagine this person said they wanted to stay at your house with you for a week to help you to grow and work with you in your daily life to encourage and teach you. 

And so this person comes to stay with you, but you have to go to work and you tell them you have a party to go to after work which will probably go quite late so don’t bother waiting up.  When you get home from this party that person is awake sitting at the table waiting for you, but you are exhausted and so you say goodnight.

When you get up the next morning that person is already up sitting quietly waiting for you, but you just remembered you have to meet someone for breakfast so off you go…and when you get back a few hours later you are so full from a big breakfast you sit down and turn on the TV. 

This goes on in a similar way all week and at the end of the week you have a horrible day at work and when you get home and see this person waiting for you, you get angry and say:

“You said you came here to help me grow and to be there for me and I feel like I don’t know you any better than before you came.  We’ve barely spoken while you’ve been here, and I’m certainly no better a person with you than without you!”

Now, of course this is completely ridiculous for obvious reasons…but this is what we do to God.  I found myself crying out to God one day “why do you feel so far away?” I was going through a rough time so where was God?And I realized it wasn’t that He was far away, it was that I hadn’t been taking the time to spend with Him…and yet I found myself blaming Him for his distance.  The truth is, He is there ALL THE TIME just waiting for us to make time for him…