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Skip Heitzig - John 2

Skip Heitzig - John 2
Skip Heitzig - John 2
TOPICS: Expound, Gospel of John, Bible Study

We have, at the beginning of this chapter, what I see as sort of the equivalent of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. You remember, some of you, do you not, CS Lewis's the Chronicles of Narnia and the first book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? And so when the kids get to Narnia, they discover there's snow on the ground. "It's always winter but never Christmas." That's what the line says.

"It's always winter but never Christmas" because this character called the White Which has put a curse on the land of Narnia. And that curse remains on the land. It is a joyless land until Aslan comes, that great lion, that Christ-like figure, comes. And when he comes back, when he comes on the scene, the melting begins. The joy begins to spring forth.

In John chapter two, we come to the first miracle that Jesus performed, the first miracle that Jesus performed, the wedding at the feast of Cana, the turning water into wine. And it's interesting that that's the first miracle of Jesus, at a wedding, seemingly for no other reason except it's going to cause His disciples to believe in Him in a greater fashion. That really is the heart of it. But as far as a miracle that would have a big, lasting impact, this wasn't the one.

But He brought joy to a group of people at a wedding, giving them a lavish gift. And we're going to explore that. You know, you might think that the first miracle that Jesus would perform would be some dazzling, miraculous cosmological feature that everybody in Jerusalem, say at the Passover or at the Feast of Tabernacles where you'd have hundreds of thousands of people gathered. And maybe He would just write something in the sky, I am the Messiah. I'm here. But the first miracle that Jesus performs is a private miracle, not even a public miracle. It's at a private wedding feast at Cana.

Now, in the Gospels, we have a total of 37 miracles. If you count all of them in the Gospels, we have a total of 37 miracles that Jesus performed. John gives us only eight of them, and eight significant ones. And each one is in its own category. It's different from the others. They're all different signs. He gives us eight.

Now, He did many more than that, of course. There were times He did more than eight in a day. But what John says towards the end of this book is, "truly many other signs Jesus did in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that, by believing, you might have life in His name."

So John is selective. And John is the one that gives us this very unique picture at the first miracle of Jesus in Cana of Galilee. It says in verse one, "on the third day." Now I always think that words are there for a reason, and you ought to find out what they mean. On what third day? The third day of what? Third day of the week? No.

It probably refers to the story right before it when Jesus, in the first day of His ministry, selected His disciples. And so right now, there aren't 12 disciples with Him. There are five disciples with Him. There's Andrew and Peter and Philip and Nathaniel and John, the author. Those five disciples are present with Jesus on the third day after that first interview down by the Jordan River, or, you might say, the third day of Jesus's public ministry.

So on the third day, He has made it back up to the Galilee from that southern area down by the Jordan River. He's up close to His hometown. His hometown, He was raised in Nazareth. Cana of Galilee is about nine miles to the north-northeast of where He grew up in the city of Nazareth. People, I'm sure, knew of Jesus in Cana. We know that Nathaniel, one of Jesus' disciples, was from Cana of Galilee.

If you were with us on the tour to Israel, we went right through Cana on that bus ride from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee as you go over that first hill and go down into that valley. Do you remember that? You're going, no. I mean, that's all I did is go up hills and down valleys on so many different days. But it's in my mind's eyes still. We drove right through it on the way to the Sea of Galilee.

Now, it's funny. Whenever you deal with miracles, you always run into people who have a very difficult time with them, and not just people that you come in contact with. I'm talking about Bible commentators, people who write Bible commentaries, commentators. And there are some taters that are more common than others.

But some commentators have a real problem with the miraculous works of Jesus. And one of them is one of my favorite commentators for a specific reason. And that is William Barclay. If you're going out buying commentaries for your library and you come across a commentary by William Barclay, it's worth the money. But I'll give you a warning.

William Barclay will give you all great history and language and context and geography. He'll plumb those depths. But when it comes to the miraculous stuff, you might as well just don't even read it. Or just rip out that page because it's absolutely worthless because, as much as I love William Barclay's research, Barclay had a tough time with the miracles of Christ. He had a tough time with the deity of Christ, had a tough time with Christ! And honestly, anybody who has a hard time with Jesus, I have a hard time with him.

He had a hard time believing Jesus was God. He had a hard time believing that the laws of nature could be superseded or suspended even by God Himself. So when it comes to the miracles, it's humorous to see how Barclay treats them.

For example, the feeding of the 5,000, Barclay says it really wasn't a miracle. Everybody actually brought their own lunch. But they were selfish, they hid it. But then when Jesus got that little kid, you know, to cough up his lunch, everybody started going, well, you know, I feel convicted now. So they started bringing out their food and sharing it with those who didn't bring it. And everybody was fed. That's how he treats it.

Or another explanation Barclay says is, perhaps, disciples stored mass amounts of food in advance like in some cave in Galilee. And then Jesus was on the mountain. And He was there knowing where that food was. And He just sort of backed up as He was speaking toward the mouth of the cave and just, you know, brought those loaves under His arm and the fish. And it appeared to be miraculous, but the disciples knew better.

One of my favorites is Jesus walking on the water. Says Barclay, He didn't really walk on the water. That's impossible. What happened is our Lord was walking by the shore of the Sea of Galilee in ankle-deep water. But, you know, when there's a storm out and you're on a boat and the moon is reflecting off the water, you don't really know what you're seeing. You're just freaked out.

So they thought it looked like somebody was walking on the water when they were really just walking on the beach. And I'm telling you, I read some Barclay's stuff and I think it takes more faith to believe Barclay's writings than just the simple narrative of the Gospel. Talk about somebody who stretches it.

So I've looked at it this way. Once you can get past the first verse of the Bible, the rest is all downhill from there. The rest is easy. If you can believe Genesis 1:1, everything else is a snap. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Deal with that miracle. And if you can buy into that miracle, then it's duck soup after that, walking on the water, turning water into wine, not a big deal.

When it comes to miracles, it's also, to me, interesting how we have a tendency to talk about them. We, I'm talking about just people in general, Christians in general. It seems either we over naturalize them or we minimize them. On one hand, we naturalize them. We over naturalize them.

We say things like, oh, when a baby's born, that's a miracle. Well, no it's not. It happens every day. It's been happening for a long time. There's nothing out of the ordinary about that. It's not like, I can't believe it happened! OK, you've got bigger problems.

It's not a miracle. It's not the intervention in to natural law. That's natural law. Or a sunrise and a sunset, oh, those are miracles. Well, sure, you can't do that. But that happens every day, once again, rotation of the Earth and the planets around the sun. Or, you know, it's a miracle! I found a parking space in uptown! Well, that may be a miracle, actually.

So some people just naturalize them. Other people try to minimize them, and that's William Barclay, just try to say that these things didn't happen. And there are alternate explanations for it. And he explains it away. Is it really hard for God to turn water into wine? I mean, in 1950s we built a nuclear submarine. In 1969, we went to the moon.

If man has the capability to put a person on the moon back in the '60s and bring that person back alive, is it really hard for you to give admission that God, who created the heavens and the earth, can turn water into wine? He can do that in His sleep. But of course, He doesn't sleep. So you've got nothing to worry about. This is a private miracle.

"On the third day, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. And the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, they have no wine."

There were two miracles at my wedding. The first was that my wife, Lenya, said yes. That was the first miracle. And the second miracle is that I showed up. I was so scared. I was scared of commitment because I knew this was permanent, this was forever. And I remember even having, you know, thoughts parking the car, walking toward the venue where the wedding was taking place. I just thought, I was shaking, I was so nervous. But God got me through that one.

Now this wedding in Galilee probably took place on a Wednesday. How do I know that? I know that because that was a typical day that Jews had weddings 2000 years ago. That's pretty easy. We know one thing, they didn't have their wedding on Saturday like we do because Saturday was Shabbat. It was Sabbath day. It was a holy day. Nothing happens on the Sabbath day. So weddings, especially weddings for young virgins, happened on Wednesdays.

And a wedding was a big deal back then. It was probably the best week of the couple's life. It was lavish. It was that one opportunity to celebrate like no other week. And it lasted about a week, about a total of seven days. The bride was made ready. A party came to her house, escorted her to the groom's house.

The groom, back in those days, the groom, was the one who footed the bill. And the groom's family footed the bill, not the bride's family that has now been traditional in our culture. So he's responsible for all the fixings, all the meal, all the expense. And then, typically, after the wedding ceremony, a parade to take the couple to their residence goes on where the wedding party takes the most circuitous route through the little village or city, wherever they are, to get as much street exposure to the crowds to give them well wishes and prayers and make a celebration and loud noises and singing, as much of that as possible. So it was a great, great celebration.

Now, the fact that it mentions the mother of Jesus and Jesus and His disciples, now five disciples, would indicate that this was a close friend of Jesus and His family or a relative, perhaps, who lived in nearby Cana. But you'll notice, in verse one, there's no mention of Joseph. Just the mother of Jesus, Mary, was there. Joseph is not mentioned.

Probably, we don't know for sure, but probably Joseph had died by this time. Now, we know, in three years when Jesus is on the cross, Mary is placed into the care of John the Apostle by Jesus because Joseph isn't around to take care of her. So most scholars assume that, probably by this time already, Joseph has passed away. Jesus is there. She would be dependent upon Jesus, the eldest son, the responsibility to take care of her. But it says, in verse three, "when they ran out of wine", isn't that funny? No matter how much you plan for a wedding, something goes wrong. Did anything go wrong at your wedding? Can you remember that far back? Do you choose to remember your wedding? I'm looking at blank faces, some of you. Are all of you unmarried?

Now, my wedding was terrific. But I do you remember, there was a problem. I picked up my tuxedo, and didn't even think about trying it on. I assumed that's what you pay the guy for, right? He measures you. You rent a tuxedo. You go, and it's going to fit perfect, not a good plan. When I got to where the wedding was and I'm changing into my clothes, I put on the shoes they gave me. It's two sizes too small. My toes literally were curled up like claws. And I had to go through my wedding. And it's like I'm at the altar, and I'm crying. They're going, oh, that's so precious. No. No, I'm in pain.

I could have used a miracle at that time. But something seems to go wrong. And I've had the privilege, I love doing weddings. It's a highlight for me because I get the best seat in the house. I get to see the emotions that the bride and the groom, the looks in the eye, the nervousness, the shake, the sweats. And I get to see it all.

But there's a couple of weddings that stick out to me. One was when a bridesmaid fainted right here, right on that last step on this platform. She fell, and I'm thankful we have carpeted and padded steps at the time. And she hit her head on the steps. She was OK, but it made a thump. I thought, we'll never forget this wedding. Another time, I did a wedding and the groom fainted twice in the wedding.

He fainted. We picked him up. We got him standing up, and then he just went out again. And we finally had to sit the groom in a chair seated next to his wife standing tall next to him. That was fun.

The first wedding I ever performed, don't worry, I won't keep going with this. But let me just tell you. The first wedding I ever performed, I call it the sweaty wedding. It was the first wedding I ever did. And the reason I call it the sweaty, it was in the winter time. And the couple had this great idea of having us all stand in front of a blazing fire in the house.

So if you can picture a fireplace and then, standing just in front of that, are the bride and the groom and then me. So I'm a few feet away. But they're right next to this blazing fire. So as the wedding's going on, the poor bride and the groom, and they were an older couple, were just pouring down sweat. It was hilarious, again. A lot of fun. One more.

I promise. It was the silent wedding. It was the wedding that was planned at a beautiful stone church, an old church, classy architecture. It was gorgeous. Everything was staged and planned and perfect except the musicians got the date wrong.

And there was no music at all. It was dead air for this wedding. The only thing we managed to do is I think I started leading in a chorus of some kind, some lame way to get something going just to break up the curse of dead air. That was very interesting. And that was not a fun wedding. That was tough to get through.

OK so, this is the best wedding because Jesus is at the wedding. And let me just tell you, if you're planning a wedding, make sure you invite Jesus. Make sure He's the center of the wedding. Make sure He's the center of your relationship. It's a good wedding if Jesus is at your wedding.

They ran out of wine. "The mother of Jesus said to Him, they have no wine." Wine was a symbol of joy. This was a huge faux pas. This was a huge social embarrassment. For a groom, let me just tell you. For a groom to not have wine at the wedding would be a stigma that that family would live with the rest of their lives. That's how serious this was.

It's like, he can't even provide wine at his own wedding. How's he going to provide for this girl? That was the stigma he would have to live with. In fact, in some cases, this would have been grounds for a lawsuit. In that culture, during that time, the family of the bride could actually bring charges in a court of law for not providing wine at a wedding.

Now, wine was a symbol of joy, back to the Chronicles of Narnia story, a symbol of joy. Psalm 104 speaks about God's provision to us as humans. It says, "He gives the wine that gladdens the heart of man. So it is always a symbol of joy. To not have wine at the wedding is like not having joy present, the symbol of joy present at the wedding.

So Mary's there. The mother of Jesus says, they have no wine. Now I don't know for sure, but probably Mary walked up to Him kind of like winking, like that little grin, going, hey, they have no wine as if, perhaps, a suggestion to Jesus that He ought to present Himself at that time. This is now where you present yourself as the Messiah, the deliver.

Now why would Mary be anxious to do that? Think about it. Mary knows more than she's saying. Mary knows who this is. Think of what's in Mary's memory banks. An angel appeared to her and says, Mary, you're pregnant. How can that be? I've never even been close to a man. I know, Mary. You're a virgin. But that's even prophesied. You're going to give birth as a virgin to a son. You're going to bear a son because she was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Then, when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, the babe in Elizabeth's womb, John the Baptist, jumped when Mary entered the room because of that babe inside of her. She would have remembered the shepherds coming to visit when Jesus was born saying, we saw angels tell us to come visit you or when the Magi came and presented gold, frankincense, and myrrh or when Jesus was presented at the temple and Simeon said, now I can die in peace, Lord, as he held up Jesus in front of Joseph and Mary. I can die in peace, Lord, for my eyes have seen your salvation, this baby.

Or when Jesus was 12 years of age and He was in the temple teaching the elders, Joseph and Mary were part way back to Nazareth, realized Jesus wasn't with the company and went back. And there is Jesus teaching. And Jesus said, don't you know that I must be about my Father's business? Now all of those events, the Bible says Mary kept them in her heart, pondered them in her heart. So she knows who this is, and she thinks this would be the great time for you to assert yourself, present yourself to the nation beginning here, close to your hometown.

There's something else. And I believe it would be very difficult for Mary to want anything else than that. There has been a rumor circulating about the origin of Jesus. How did she get pregnant? They were only engaged. The ceremony hadn't taken place yet, but she's pregnant, in that culture, at that time, something that was the grounds of being stoned to death in that culture. And Joseph didn't want to put her away privately.

And there was talk. If you remember, the leadership of the Jews said to Jesus one day, we were not born of fornication as if to say, we know that you were. Those are the rumors going around. There was some affair that your mom had. We weren't born of fornication. So all of that, Mary had to carry around. She was very anxious to see Jesus reveal Himself.

So I don't know if that's what she is saying. But she does make this suggestion seemingly, they have no wine, because listen to Jesus's response. Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come. His mother said to the servants, whatever He says to you, do it."

Now, when I first read that verse, I thought Jesus was sure being harsh. If I called my mom "woman", I don't know how you were raised, but I would have my mouth washed out with soap. It happened on more than one occasion, not that I called her "woman" but that I got my mouth washed out with soap. She wouldn't tolerate that. My dad wouldn't tolerate that, "woman."

But in that culture during that time, to use this term was polite but it was formal. It was formal. It was not intimate. And this is important to make this distinction. It wasn't harsh. It wasn't disrespectful. It was respectful, ma'am, woman.

You know, whenever I go somewhere, if I'm at Starbucks, even, I'll say, yes ma'am. And it's funny how people get upset when you call them ma'am. I don't know why that is, but don't call me ma'am. And I say, my mom would make sure that I called you "ma'am," ma'am. It's a sign of respect. Well, it makes me sound old. Well, get over it.

Let someone be respectful. Sir and ma'am, let's bring that back, nothing wrong with that. But anyway, "woman" is sort of like a formal and polite "ma'am" or, if you prefer Downton Abbey, "my lady." To call somebody by this term, "woman," is the equivalent of saying "my lady."

Now, Jesus uses the term "woman" in speaking to different women six times in the New Testament, always a term of respect. When Jesus was on the cross, I'm now reading out of John chapter 19. You don't have to turn there. I'll just read it to you. "When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved", that is John, "standing by, He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son.' And He said to the disciple, 'behold your mother.'"

When Mary Magdalene appeared after the Resurrection, Jesus said, "Woman." Now, it's a formal term. It is not an intimate term. So that's important to understand. You can't just bypass this and go, well, He's just treating his mom respectfully. It's more than that because He says, "what does your concern have to do with me?" Literally, in Greek it's "what do you and I have together?" What do we have in common?

What this is signaling is a change in their relationship. She has been the mother. He has been the son. He has obeyed her all of His life. Mom is making a suggestion, they have no wine. "What does your concern have to do with me?" In other words, what is happening here is a change in relationship, the very change Jesus predicted when He was 12 years old.

I must be about my Father's business. You're my earthly mother, but the day is coming when I must be consumed with not my mother's business but my Father in Heaven's business, not my mother on earth. So He is signaling a change in that relationship. He is now in His public ministry. He is now consumed and on the Father's agenda. I must be about my Father's business.

And then I love what Mary says. "Whatever he tells you to do, do it." I want you to mark that in your hearts. Mark that in your hearts. Whatever Jesus tells you to do, do that. I grew up in a religious system that believed that Mary was sinless and that Mary herself was, they called it, assumed into heaven. And that brand of Christianity I was raised in, Catholicism, is called the Assumption of Mary. And it is quite an assumption, by the way.

She was assumed into heaven. And as a sinless person, she just ascended into heaven, was assumed into heaven, where Jesus crowned her queen of the universe. And some sects of Catholicism even say that she is the comediatrix and coredemptress of the human race.

I have a problem with that. The problem I have with that is actually solved by Mary herself because Mary, when she was told that she was pregnant, she said something very interesting that reveals how she saw herself, not as sinless, not as one who deserved to be assumed bodily into heaven. She said this, "My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit rejoices", listen, listen, "in God, my Savior."

She acknowledged that she needed a Savior. Only sinners need Saviors. The only people that need saving are people that are fallen human beings. And all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. To call God her Savior, she's saying something about herself. And she clears up the problem.

So, on one occasion, Mary comes and the brothers and sisters of Jesus, the family, comes to where Jesus is ministering. And somebody tells Him, while He's in the middle of His sermon, hey. Your mom and your brothers are outside. They want to see you. And Jesus said, well, who's my mom? Who's my mother? Who are my brothers? And he looked around at the crowd and said, whoever listens and keeps the will of God is the same as my brother, my mother, my sister.

On another occasion, and this is perhaps the most poignant, Luke chapter 11. Somebody saw Jesus and uttered something that sounded like what I was raised with. Somebody in my church would have said this, in Luke chapter 11. They said, "blessed is the woman that gave you birth and blessed are the breasts that nursed you." And Jesus answered and said, "More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it."

So listen to Mary. If you love her, if you revere her, if you want to honor her, listen to what she's saying to you. "Whatever He says to you, do it." Obey Jesus. You want to honor Mary? Obey her son. Those are her words. "Whatever He says to you, do it."

Now verse six, John chapter two, verse six. "Now there were there set six water pots of stone according to the manner of purification of the Jews containing 20 or 30 gallons apiece", so a capacity of between 120 and 180 gallons. That's a lot of water, right? What did they use that water for? Purification.

And notice it says stone water pots, not clay, not earthenware, but stone. Why? Because the Jews believe that earthenware can contaminate, can be defiled, easier than that which is coming straight from the earth, stone. Stone can't be defiled. So water for purification was kept in stone containers because it just, for ritual purification, was the best way to keep water.

Just as an aside, Matthew chapter 15, just keep this in your head. On one occasion, the religious people got mad at Jesus because they said, your disciples aren't keeping the traditions of the elders. They don't wash the proper way before they eat.

Now, that is a reference to utilizing stone water basins, pouring water a certain way so their hands were up like this. And then water poured down so that the water dripped off the fingers from the wrist and then putting it up again so it would go from the fingers to the wrist. They had a very elaborate way of washing their hands before they ate. So this was for ritual purification in stone water pots.

"Jesus said to them, 'Fill the water pots with water.' And they filled them to the brim." Now, don't bypass these little words. Why would John write that they didn't just fill them up, but they filled them to the brim? Because he wants you to know something, there's no possible chance that anything was added to that.

Those water pots were completely consumed with water. It's not like somebody just filled it up and said, that's good enough. And somebody kind of like threw wine in there later on. It was filled all the way to the brim, the very top. John wants you to know this is a bona fide miracle. Nobody was fudging on it.

"And they filled them to the brim. And He said to them, 'Take some out now and take it to the master of the feast.'" That would be the emcee, the one in charge of the festivities. "And they took it. When the master the feast tasted the water that was made wine".

OK, now stop there. And just think about this, 180 gallons of wine. There's not a wedding party on earth that can drink 180 gallons of wine. Why that much? It's how Jesus does things. It's a lavish gift. It would've been such a gift to this couple, they would have been able, if they wanted to, to sell it and live off the proceeds for a long time because there was plenty for the wedding feast.

And it was so good, word got out. It's so good. And they have 180 gallons of it. It was just a way to bring joy. And I can see Jesus smiling like, fill up those water pots. I'm going to give them such a gift, such a blessing that they'll be able to enjoy for weeks and days and months to come and could even make money off of it. So the water was turned into wine.

Now, I did the exact opposite at my wedding. I managed to turn wine into water. No, let me explain. At my wedding, I didn't want any alcohol at my wedding because I know people get stupid whenever there's alcohol around. They just, even at a wedding, they get stupid. They drink too much, and they say stupid things. I didn't want to. I just said, there's not going to be any alcohol at my wedding. So I had some problems with some family members, you know, got to have alcohol. I said, go out and go to a bar afterwards if you want. But it's my wedding. We're not going to have it.

So I did concede to have what's called Martinelli's sparkling apple juice. Are you familiar with that? Now, when it's in a glass, it looks like champagne. It bubbles up. It has the color of, you know, alcohol. But it's just apple juice, sparkling apple juice. So you should have seen just the look in people's eyes. They went, oh, our dream has come true! Behold, alcohol... for moi! And when they drank it, it was like, oh, man. It's sparkling apple juice. So I didn't do that as a trick, but it was funny to see wine turned into water, so to speak. I just wanted to share that with you.

"When the master of the feast tasted the water and saw that it was made wine and did not know its origin or where it came from. But the servants who had drawn the water, they knew." You know, servants know stuff. If you're a servant, if you're busy serving, you know things others don't. They knew.

"The master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said, 'Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine.'" First couple drinks, you want to make the impression. It's like, oh, that's good. "'When the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. But you have kept the good wine until now.' This is the beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee."

Now, this first miracle was an act of creation. I don't think it's by accident that John wanted to include this as first. You see, the first act of God was an act of creation in Genesis. The first act of Jesus in His ministry was an act of creation. He turned water into wine, His first miracle.

Now verse 11, "This is the beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee and manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him. After this, He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples. And they stayed there many days."

There's two things John wants you to know about this miracle. First thing he wants you to know, this is the first miracle Jesus ever performed. Why is that important? Because, if you are a student of ancient literature, you may have come across apocryphal books like the Gospel According to Thomas. Have you ever heard of the Gospel According to Thomas? It's a book that is not a biblical book. It's in apocryphal book.

But in that book, they have Jesus as a youth growing up in Egypt making clay birds and then throwing them up and turning them into live birds. And so this little tradition is even in the Quran. It's mentioned, has been passed down. It's not legitimate because this is the first miracle Jesus ever performed. He didn't make clay pigeons and turn them into live pigeons.

There's another old saying that, when Jesus was in Egypt, was a little boy, He cursed a boy playing some sport with Him. He cursed Him and the little boy fell down dead. And Jesus had to walk over as a little boy and heal him. It's all fictitious. And we know that because this is the first miracle Jesus did. John wants you to know this is miracle number one.

The second thing John wants you to know is, in doing this miracle, it cemented the fledgling faith of these five disciples. You know, they were following Him. But when they saw this, they believed in Him. Their faith went deeper at this point.

Now, it brings up a question. I just want to touch on it because I'll be asked it afterwards if I don't bring it up. And I don't mind being asked it. But why not answer it before I get it asked? Is it OK for Christians to drink? And I love the answer I heard years ago. And it stuck with me. I tell people, I drink as much as I want to. And I don't want to. I don't want to drink, so I drink as much as I want to. I just don't want to.

Now, the Bible doesn't say anything bad about wine. In fact, in some cases, it commends wine. Timothy was told by Paul in first Timothy five to take wine as medicinal purposes for his often infirmities. He had a weak stomach. It's like, dude, you have such health issues, you need something to kill the germs in the water. Drink wine for your stomach's sake, your often infirmities. So it was used, prescribed, by Paul the Apostle for medicinal reasons.

Now again, they drank wine in the New Testament. I don't have a problem with drinking wine, per se. But I'll just say I've chosen, as a pastor, not to do it because now it's not an issue. If I don't do it, it doesn't become an issue. If I do it because I have liberty and I have freedom, somebody's going to see me and say, hey. I saw Skip at the bar the other night slamming a couple things down. And it's like, wow.

You can see how that would be complicated. Or what if somebody who struggled with alcoholism sees it? It could be detrimental. It could be destructive. So here's the rules for doing things that are gray areas in the Christian life, because I know you've all had questions about, well, does the Bible say I can do this? And it's funny, the questions we ask. It's almost like, what can I get away with and still be save?

There's a better way to approach life than these questions. But nonetheless, listen. It's answered for you in the Bible. Listen to what Paul in Corinthians, "All things are lawful for me." I can do anything, but listen. "All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any."

So Paul said, I can do anything I want to do. But I don't want to do anything that will control me or put me under its control. And if you drink too much wine, you will lose control. You are now under its control. And I've heard people say that, dude, I love you, man. And I know that's the alcohol speaking. You would never tell me that. First of all, you've never met me before.

I've been loved by so many drunks. "So all things are lawful for me. But I will be not brought under the power of any." Then listen to what else he said. "All things are lawful for me, but not all things edify or build up." What that principle says is, yeah, you know what? I can do anything. But I have to be very careful of what people think as they watch my life. Is it edifying them? Is it building them up? Or is it giving them permission to do something that's questionable?

So those are good things to govern the gray areas of your life. Does it build people up? Will I lose control? And will it control me? So I just choose not to make it an issue. But again, no condemnation, man, if you want to do whatever, if you want to go out and have a glass of wine after church tonight, I won't fault you. Just don't tell me. No, I'm just kidding. I won't fault you. It's really not a big deal. It's not an issue to me. OK, there's something that I just can't pass up here. No, no it has nothing do with that, nothing to do with that. We're having fun, aren't we?

OK, so look. So look at something here. Look at verse 11. No, look at verse 12. "After this", after this first miracle, "He went down to Capernaum." Now, if you have a map in the back of your Bible and you find Cana of Galilee and then you find Capernaum, it's this way. It's up. It's north. North of Cana, just Northeast a little bit, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee is Capernaum, where Jesus will be headquartered for the next three, three and 1/2 years. That's where He will move to and live, in Capernaum.

But it says "He went down to Capernaum." So if I say, hey, let's go down to Capernaum, it looks like I just canceled my speech by what I'm pointing to. Now, look at something else, verse 13. "Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand. And Jesus went up to Jerusalem." Now, from Galilee, Jerusalem is south 90 miles. So I've said, I'm going to go down to Capernaum and then up to Jerusalem. You would go, dude, you are so messed up.

But here's what I want you to see. This is something in the New Testament that is very particular to ancient writings. They didn't look at things geographically but topographically. Cana was higher in elevation than Capernaum. If you're on your feet, if you're walking, you'll be going down, and you'll know you're going down. If you're going to Capernaum, you're not thinking about a map. You're thinking about, I'm going down in elevation.

I'm going down to about 600 to 700 feet below sea level. That's where Capernaum is. And then Jerusalem is about 2,300, 2,400 feet above sea level. No matter how you approach Jerusalem, you always, no matter what direction you're coming to Jerusalem in, you're always going up. And the Jews saw this not only topographically but spiritually.

Whenever you go to Jerusalem, man, it's always a step up. You're always going up. That's why, if you're Jewish and you want to immigrate to Israel today, it's called making Aliyah. Making Aliyah is, literally, to go up. I'm taking a step up. I'm going to become an Israeli citizen. I'm moving up to Zion. So they're going to go down to Capernaum and then up to Jerusalem.

OK, verse 13, let's see how far we get. "Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand. And Jesus went to Jerusalem. And He found, in the temple, those who sold oxen and sheep and doves and the money changers doing business. When He made a whip of chords, He drove them all out of the temple with the sheep and the oxen and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, 'Take these things away. Do not make my Father's house a house of merchandise.'"

In the 1700s, Charles Wesley wrote a song, a hymn. "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon this little child." Have you ever heard of that? This will change your mind about Jesus. Oh, Jesus can be gentle and meek and mild. But, you know, there's "gentle Jesus, meek and mild." But then there's, you know, lethal Jesus, not gentle Jesus, fired up and riled. How's that?

I love this about Jesus. He was a man's man. He wasn't some politically correct, effeminate person just standing over in the corner going, I'm "gentle Jesus, meek and mild." I mean, come on. He shows up in the temple courts. He looks down on the ground, finds some rope, probably from the carts and the animals, and just takes them and just starts moving around and overturning tables. Those things weighed some, they were hefty. And I see Jesus doing that going, yes! I want to go to His church.

Here's a guy protecting people from the chicanery of the leaders who are trying to gouge the people. What do I mean, gouge the people? Well, if you go to Jerusalem for Passover, and it was required for you to go to Jerusalem. If you lived 15 miles in any direction, you had to be there at three festivals a year. If you lived outside of that perimeter, it was suggested you be there.

If you were Jewish anywhere in the world, you'd want to be there at least one year for Passover. That's the dream. In every Passover, as part of the liturgy of the Passover, "next year in Jerusalem." That's how the feast ends, "next year in Jerusalem." We want to go there. So Jerusalem was crowded full of people, people from all over the world there.

Now, if you travel from anywhere in the Roman Empire to Jerusalem, you're not going to take animals with you for sacrifice. That's too much carry on. You know, you can't fit that in the overhead compartment. That sheep, sir, will not fit in the overhead, I'm sorry, or under your seat. You can't bring it, right? So you would be animal-less.

But when you get to Jerusalem, they'd smile and go, that's OK. We have an app for that. Yeah, we have animals here. And these animals are pure animals. Now, you go, well, that's great. How much will they cost? A lot, they charged exorbitant prices. And they gouged people, exploiting their desires to worship God by charging them a crazy price for that animal.

Or let's say you did bring your own animal. You would have inspectors look at it and go, hmm. Now these inspectors, according to Levitical law, had spent 18 months on a farm examining animals to tell what's clean and unclean. They got really nit picky.

And, invariably, they would look over your animal even though you looked it over before you left home and you think it's kosher. They'll look at it and go, you know what? It looks pretty good. But look under that ear. See that little flaw? And you're going, no. I don't see it. Well, I do see it. I have a trained eye. We reject this animal. You must buy one of these animals. So you had to cough up the extra money to do that.

Number two, you had to bring a temple shekel or the Tyrian shekel. The Tyrian shekel was a piece of money that had a certain amount of silver content as you would go up to the temple to worship. Now, that was part of the law. Everybody had to bring that to upkeep the sanctuary. However, if you were a foreigner and you had coinage from anywhere else in the world, to exchange it into the Tyrian shekel or the temple shekel they would charge you 12% to 20%.

Jesus saw that. He didn't lose control. Never think Jesus was out of control. It's not like He's having a bad Messiah day. It's not, oh, I'm so mad at these people. He was never out of control. He was in absolute, total control because notice what it says about what He did.

"He made a whip of chords," verse 15. "He drove them all out with the sheep and the oxen and poured out the changers' money and overturned tables and said to those who sold doves", He's not overturning the cages of the doves and hurting the animals and breaking their property. He's in total control. "He said to those who sold doves, 'Take these things away. Do not make my Father's house a house of merchandise.'"

Now the fact that Jesus didn't say "our Father's house" but "my Father's house" indicates a special relationship that He is claiming with the Father in heaven, with God. He's asserting Himself as their Messiah, as the Son of God, as the one who has rightful authority over the house of God. "The disciples remembered that it was written." They're now remembering the quote from Psalm 69, "zeal for your house has eaten me up."

"So the Jews answered and said to Him, 'What sign do you show us since you do these things?'" They challenged Jesus's authority. Why? They challenge Jesus's authority because Jesus had just sidestepped their authority. They have no authority in His heart, His head. It's His Father's house. I'm taking charge of it.

They said, "'What sign do you show since you do these things?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple. And in three days, I will raise it up.' Then the Jews said, 'It has taken 46 years to build this temple. And you will raise it up in three days?' But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this to them. And they believed the scriptures and the word which Jesus had said to them."

Fascinating, Jesus said something that nobody understood. Even his disciples didn't get it for how many years? Three years. They won't understand this saying until after the Resurrection. Jesus said it knowing they wouldn't get it for three years.

You know, some truth is stage truth. Some truth, you're just not ready for. Some truth, Jesus is so patient and loving toward you that He knows you won't get it. But eventually you'll get it. Something will happen. You'll read it again. You'll go through something in your life. And when that happens, you'll remember it. That's how patient, that's how committed to spiritual growth God is. His disciples didn't get it for three years.

Now he said, "Destroy this temple, and I'll raise it up in three days." Now they were thinking of one thing, a temple of stone. He was thinking of the temple of flesh. John 1, "And the word became flesh and tabernacled amongst us." But they're thinking of a temple of stone. He's thinking of a temple of flesh.

They love their temple. The temple had started to be built, the Temple of Herod, the temple that Jesus is in had started to be built 16 years before Jesus was born. It, by this time, had been going on for 46 years. And it wouldn't be finished for another 24 years. In fact, the finishing touches were still being put on the temple in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed it. It wasn't done yet, and it was destroyed.

By the time Jesus was born, Herod the Great had already taken and put a wall around a mountain and leveled the mountain to a 35, 36-acre complex called the Temple Mount. So when you go to Jerusalem and you look at the western wall, the Wailing Wall, you're looking at stone that was laid before the birth of Jesus, before He even came to Jerusalem.

So here's what happened really briefly because I have two minutes. I'm thinking, is this even possible? The temple was destroyed in 586 BC. You know that. 70 years later, they came back to rebuild it. Zerubbabel, Joshua, a different Joshua, started to build it with the people. They're building the temple. They get it pretty well done. Zerubbabel was discouraged. The prophet Haggai and Zechariah encouraged him. Come on, man. Keep building it. And he did.

Once it was finished, this refurbished temple that was destroyed, Solomon's Temple. Once it was refurbished by Zerubbabel, some people shouted for joy. And other people, who remembered how beautiful the first temple was, mourned and wept because it wasn't as pretty as it used to.

So enter Herod the Great 30 years before Jesus was born, 30 BC. And he started the temple, as I mentioned, 16 years before His birth. He decided he would make something so magnificent that even the Jews, in their writings, said "He who has not seen the Temple of Herod in Jerusalem has never seen splendor in his life." He took that huge Temple Mount, that mountain, and leveled it off and erected this magnificent temple. I won't even get into the details because of time.

They loved their temple. It, to them, represented the presence of God. As long as there's a temple, God's presence is here. To this day, Jews believe that the presence of God has never left the Temple Mount. So they're thinking about the temple of stone.

The fact that Jesus is speaking about the temple of His body is very telling. What He is saying is that, greater than the presence of God in a stone temple, is the presence of God in this fleshly temple. I am the logos. "I am the word who spoke things into existence and became flesh. And I am present in my Father's house."

And He was speaking of the temple of His body, which, can I just say briefly before we close tonight's study, do you know the Bible says your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit? It means two things in my view. Worship should be taking place inside of you regularly. And number two, you should be taking care of this temple. And every time you do something good for your health, be it eating right or exercise, it's a way of saying, God, thank you for the body you've given me, the temple you've given me.

So Jesus uniquely, now, compares the temple of stone to the temple of His body, speaks about not construction but Resurrection. The disciples won't get it for another three years. I think we'll just read it. And then we'll pick it up next time because it's a perfect segue. Actually, the way I see it, if I would have been, was it Philip Langdon in the 1200s who put the chapters in?

I would have ended chapter one at verse 22 and began chapter three at verse 23. I'll tell you more about that why next time. But look at verse 23. "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them because He knew all men and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man."

It's a play on words. Let me give you a literal translation. Many believed in Him, but He did not believe in them. Many were committed to Him, but He was not committed to them. The question is, why? What was the nature of their faith? Why would Jesus not believe or be committed to them? And who was in the crowd listening that day that this would have special application to? We'll meet him in the very next chapter.

One of the guys in the temple that day was Nicodemus, a Pharisee. He'd been watching the whole thing. And he's dying to have a private conversation with Jesus, a one-on-one, a face-to-face, and an eyeball-to-eyeball conversation, which he will get. And John's intent is to introduce Nicodemus in contrast to those who saw the signs and wonders and followed Him for that. Compare those to this guy who will believe in Jesus and have a new birth, not just a shallow commitment, but a real, heartfelt commitment. More later.

Father, thank you for the opportunity to go through your word, chapter two, a very important and telling and revealing passage of scripture that lifts our hearts, that edifies us. Lord, how blessed we are that Jesus is risen, that the temple of His body that was destroyed came back to life. And we serve a living Savior who gives us hope and conquers our death and conquers our fears and conquers our worries. So Father, we have sung to you. And then we heard from you. And now we're talking to you. And we're going to sing to you in closing. It has been a two-way conversation, us talking to you, you talking to us through your word. And we just want to close by saying we love you and we honor you. And just as Jesus was invited to that wedding, we want to invite you into our relationships, into our friendships. We want to keep you at the center of those things and walk away realizing that death didn't destroy Jesus Christ, that death wasn't the last word, that Jesus Himself was the last word. And I pray that our faith would be strengthened, deepened, furthered. It's in Jesus's name we pray, and everybody said amen.

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