Aug 12th, 2018
Hello and welcome to episode eighty-six of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next, well, eleven minutes or so we’re going to look at Jesus first recorded miracle in the Bible, turning water into wine.
In John 2:1-11 we find that on the third day after John baptized Jesus that “a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’s mother was there, and Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding as well. When the wine ran out, Jesus’s mother told him, “They don’t have any wine.” “What does that have to do with you and me, woman?” Jesus asked. (Some manuscripts say Jesus replied, “You and I see things differently.”) “My hour has not yet come.” “Do whatever He tells you,” His mother told the servants. Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained twenty or thirty gallons. “Fill the jars with water,” Jesus told them. So, they filled them to the brim. Then He said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the headwaiter.” And they did. When the headwaiter tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it had come from -- though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom and told him, “Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are drunk, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of His signs, in Cana of Galilee. He revealed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”
In verse six we see that there were six stone jars set there for Jewish purification that Jesus tells them to fill to the brim with water. At a Jewish wedding, there is a set time before the ceremony, usually around seven days, of eating and drinking that all the guests are invited to participate in. The thing is that the law requires the ritual washing of the hands before and after eating. These pots then would have been how the hosts provided for all the guests to follow the law while attending the wedding. Every attendee would have had their hands in at least one, if not more, of these jars by the time the party ran out of wine. This is most likely why in verse nine John makes a point of emphasizing the detail that the headwaiter or governor of the wedding, “did not know where (the wine) came from — though the servants who had drawn the water knew.”
This turning of water into wine is the first sign pointed to as proof that Jesus is the Messiah. The belief of the day was that the Messiah was supposed to do the same miracles that Moses did. Jesus first public miracle was turning water into wine and Moses first public miracle was to turn the waters of Egypt into blood. On the surface, there are the similarities between the two, but beyond that, there seems to be more going on here. Moses turned the water into blood as the first official action of a ministry that would bring us the law of sin. Jesus chose an everyday aspect of that law to perform the first official action of His ministry that would bring us the law of the Spirit of life that would set us free from the laws of sin and death.
Paul attempts to explain the difference between what these two men brought us in Romans 8:1-9, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law(s) of sin and death. What the law could not do since it was weakened by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit. Now the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. The mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit to God’s law. Indeed, it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”
When Moses turned the waters of Egypt into blood it was setting the precedent that what he was going to bring was going to be of works and flesh. When Jesus turns the water, contained in the jars set out for Jewish purification according to the law, into wine He was sending the message that He was replacing the old corruptible law of sin, that law based out of works and flesh, with the law of the Spirit of life by fulfilling the requirement of that law.
Now, technically in context, in Romans 8:2 when we read, “because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” The modern English should read “laws of sin and death.(Plural)” In chapters five through seven Paul talks about the law of death and the law of sin, two different laws that in chapter eight he is saying Christ took care of; not in the physical (you know, cause people still physically die), but in the spiritual.
Paul goes as far in Romans 5:12-14 to say, “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned. In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to a person’s account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam’s transgression. He is a type of the Coming One.”
“sin is not charged to a person’s account when there is no law.” The law of death came into the world through Adam’s transgression and the law of sin came through Moses. Christ brought the law of the Spirit of life. A law that says if Christ is in you, your flesh may be dead because of sin, but the Spirit gives life because of the righteousness credited to you because of your faith in Christ. The kind of faith that we talked about in episode eighty-five.
Here at the end of this podcast, I wanted to bring up something from the last episode. When I listed the three things that have been in my heart for the Berean Manifesto and The Ekklesian House from the very beginning, number three was to, “Have a faith in, and passion for, Christ that is sincere.” I expounded on that by saying that this was, “Knowing the difference between the religion of Christianity and actually being a follower of Christ.” You don’t have to look very hard to see that Christianity has become a religion, which misses the whole point of what Christ came for. One denomination does this one thing, another denomination does this other thing, and they both swear to their own hurt that their way is right, and the other guy is missing it. It reminds me a lot of the Pharisees and Sadducees that Christ chastised for leading the people astray.
I implore you to, as Paul puts it in Galatians 5, “For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.” He goes on to tell us that if we pick back up religious law then Christ will not benefit us at all. If we continue with Christianity as a religion, then Christ will not benefit us at all. Find out what and how your life should look, not based on what some religion or religious person tells you. Jesus gave us only two personal commands, outside of making new disciples of Christ, that sum everything up. The first, to love the Lord your God with all your spirit, soul, and body. The second, to love your neighbor with the same love you would give yourself. Everything else should be between you and God, or else it becomes law/religion/slavery/death.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”