What is the secret to great relationships in life?
How can you successfully navigate the tremendous trails of marriage?
Why does it seem as though marriage is marked with conflict, strife, and in many cases division?
Unity is a core value of our church, how can we possibly have unity with so many different individuals with various personalities and perspectives and opinions?
Let’s explore the first recorded miracle of Jesus that took place at a wedding – by intentional design.
The miracle at the marriage presents the basis for a healthy, sustainable New beginning in not only marriage but all relationships.
Marriage is the most fundamental of all human relationships. The principles and truths that apply to a successful marriage will also apply to all other relationships. So, lean in as we unpack the key truths that will radically influence every relationship in your life. At home, at work, and everywhere else.
But, I want to address the elephant in the room head on. The point of this miracle is not about water to wine. If you start down the road of wanting to justify your position on wine, whatever that position happens to be, YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT OF THE MIRACLE. What a shame! We often shake our heads in wonder at how the Pharisees missed the point of the miracles of Jesus because they had their own agenda.
Do not be distracted by the greater glory of this passage. Certainly I am not implying that the issue of alcohol is not important, it is very important but what I am saying is the primary point of the passage has nothing to do with the argument pro or con about alcohol. Distractions have often prevented us from seeing the greater truth that God is trying to teach us. We become like the disciples when Jesus told them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. He had just performed the miracle of feeding thousands with a couple of loaves of bread. They missed the point. They thought Jesus was talking about their not having enough bread. Jesus rebuked them and said,
Matthew 16: 8-12 “You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread?9“Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up? 10“Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up?11“How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
What is the point of the miracle?
The miracle demonstrates the beginning of a NEW ERA or DISPENSATION. A NEW COVENANT. Actually, it is rather simple. Your bible is divided into two major parts. The Old Testament and what is the other? The word “Testament” is better understood as “COVENANT”.
Let’s look at the Old Covenant that is reflected in the OT.
It came about at the end of forty days and nights that the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant. Deut 9:11
John introduces the difference between the two covenants in the very first chapter of the gospel of John:
For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. John 1:17
Jesus clearly introduced this New Covenant in Luke 22:19-20
And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
How does this apply to your marriage? Your family relationships. Your work relationships? Very clearly – Listen
You are going to relate to people in one of two ways:
Most people relate to others based on PERFORMANCE.
Few people relate to others based on GRACE & TRUTH.
One is based on legalism and the other is based on love. One is a constant focus on failure and the other is a constant focus of faith.
One quickly sees the wrong, blind spots, missteps, shortfalls of others while the other quickly sees the opportunity for growth, development, patience, and potential of others.
Let’s walk through the marriage miracle as it unfolds and see the possibility for a New Beginning in your life in your Marriage and other relationships:
John 2:1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there;
Last Sunday we saw that all new beginnings are based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This first miracle happens “On the third day” which I think is a reference to the resurrection and how the resurrection ushers in the New Covenant Jesus spoke of when he took the cup of wine at the Last Supper and
“This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
The WATER to WINE demonstrates that only Jesus has the power to take that which is NATURAL and transform its nature. It is the foreshadowing of the transition from the OLD covenant to the NEW covenant. Jesus said this:
Luke 5:33ff … No one puts new wine in old wineskins. The new wine will expand and the old wineskins are inflexible and cannot cope with it so both are lost. You cannot mix law and grace! It will not work.
Your relationships must be based on GRACE.
Again, I want to ask the question, Why is this first miracle of transformation at a wedding? Marriage is the basic building block of all relationships. Our entire society is based on the building block of marriage. That is God’s plan. Marriage is the first institution God ordained. God chose marriage to demonstrate the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church. Look at Ephesians 5:31
(Quote of Gen 2:24) then Eph 5:32-33 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
Now, I want to go back to the unfolding of the miracle and lean into what is happening so we can apply it to the relationships in our lives and in particular our marriages:
John 2:3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”
Evidently Mary was a very close friend of the bride and groom and must have been given oversight at the wedding, we would think of it as the wedding director. We know this because later in the account the servants did exactly as she instructed them.
But, what is very unfamiliar to us is the tradition of a Jewish wedding in the first century. It normally lasted 7 days. That’s right. Talk about a celebration. The groom was to ensure that proper provisions were made and wine was an essential part of the wedding. To run out of wine was scandalous and would have been shameful to the groom and an embarrassment to the entire wedding party. It would have ruined the wedding. So this was not a slight problem. They ran out of wine.
Mary wanted to act quickly and quietly to avoid having the groom embarrassed. So she did what was natural. She turned to Jesus. Her son who had proven through the years to be faithful, responsible and resourceful.
This is the first truth that will change your relationships:
TURN to CHRIST.
If you are having problems in your marriage, turn to Christ. You can’t fix them. You need to be fixed. You see the problem in our relationships is not the problem we think it is but it is the problem rooted in our hearts. James puts it this way: What is the source of your quarrels, arguments, conflict, battles???? I tell you what it is: YOU.
Your heart is selfish and egotistical and you want what you want and you want it when you want it and how you want it and you aren’t happy until you get it and it doesn’t matter who has to pay the price or even how high the price they have to pay.
They say the number one problem in marriage is money. No it isn’t. The number one problem in marriage is our selfish, carnal, depraved hearts. We want what we want to impress people we don’t even know so we spend money we don’t have to impress people we may not even like. You can’t fix yourself.
Mary faced an impossible situation. There was no more wine. It wasn’t like she could send someone out to get some more. It was a need that appeared impossible to meet. But here is a real twist in the account that will set us on our ear.
John 2:4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.”
Jesus’ response was a gentle rebuke. What is happening? Jesus is basically saying to his Mother, I am not on your timetable. I will respond as my Father wants me to respond. In other words, Jesus is saying that He is not a Genie in a bottle to be used as others see fit, even his own mother. This is a vital lesson for us to learn here. Don’t miss this:
JESUS DOES NOT INTERVENE ON YOUR TERMS.
Remember the man who wanted Jesus to tell his brother to divide the inheritance with him and Jesus refused! Jesus is not going to be BOSSED around. (Luke 12:13)
“My hour has not yet come” again this miracle foreshadows his death and resurrection and the inauguration of the NEW COVENANT.
Some of you are saying to God: Change my mate. Make them more like this or that. Jesus is saying to you: I will not be bossed around by you. I am not your genie that does your bidding.
Here’s what God is looking for and the response of faith HE desires as demonstrated by Mary: John 2:5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
Here is the second key truth that will transform your marriage and all your relationships:
Mary said, WHATEVER he says to you, do it. There were no conditions. She responded to his gentle rebuke that he will not be manipulated by anyone by saying: whatever is in accordance to HIS directions, obey! Jesus has a plan and His plan is based on his will and his timing.
God will transform your marriage but it may not be in the way you are thinking or when you are thinking. The truth is you may unwittingly be trying to manipulate God by telling him how he ought to change someone else. God is concerned with one thing: YOUR SURRENDER.
He wants you to say YES to whatever he wants.
If your mate is an unbeliever, focus more on you than on Him. That is what the Word of God says. Listen to 1 Peter 3:1-6. How do you win an unbelieving husband, focus on your heart, your surrender to the Lordship of Jesus.
John 2:6 Now there were six waterpots of stone set there after the Jews manner of purifying, containing two or three firkins apiece.
Again, six is the number of man and it is the number of incompletion. The stone water pots were used for the ritualistic purification in accordance with the legalist spirit of the day. Jesus took the incomplete, the legalistic and transformed them into something incredible.
John 2:7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
Keep in mind, this is a miracle of the new beginning of a new covenant. A covenant that is based on grace and truth. It is based on love. But the only way any one of us can ever demonstrate the grace and truth of God is by being filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:15-18 Look therefore carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise; 16redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit
Fill the waterpots to the rim! WHY? Because that is the only way there can be no mistake that I am the one who changed them. You can’t add one thing to what I do. Be filled to the rim with the Holy Spirit. The problem is that we LEAK that is why the command is in the present tense participle: Be being filled with the Holy Spirit.
You want a great marriage? Most people do want a great marriage and better relationships but they are unwilling to pay the price. Not in terms of MONEY. Not in being a DOORMAT. Not in agreeing to avoid conflict.
But in total surrender to Jesus Christ. Not seeking to change the other person but in seeking to Holy Spirit to change you by totally surrendering to him.
Jesus is the perfect demonstration of what it means to live for God. Did he get along with everyone? Did everyone agree with him? Did some get angry with him? Did he ever get angry with other? Did he ever confront others? Did Jesus perfectly follow the will of God? Did he demonstrate the original purpose of man? Absolutely. The original purpose of man was not to go to the cross and die. That was the purpose of Christ. But he also demonstated the purpose of God for man in his life.
How? We miss this key characteristic in his life.
John 12:49 “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.
Jesus surrendered his words to the Father. But that began in his heart!! Most of the time our words get us in trouble, especially in marriage. But we do not have a word problem. We have a heart problem. We are crass because our heart is crass. We are unkind in our words because our heart is unkind. We gossip and criticize because our heart is full of ungodliness and criticism. When we surrender to Jesus totally and work with him on the work of our hearts, he transforms our hearts so that our mouth reflects a heart that is fully given to him.
John 5:19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner
Conclusion: Jesus ushered in a new covenant. Not based on performance but based on grace and truth. Your life cannot be transformed by the law. The law will only condemn you and focus on your failures and flaws. God’s grace and truth will transform your heart as you turn to Jesus Christ without seeking to manipulate him or make him into who you want him to be but you come to him in total surrender. You say yes to whatever he says. Your goal is not to change other people but to submit to the hand of God in your heart to change you.