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Fill the stone water pots

 

 

John 2:1-3; 6-10 (NET)

1 Now on the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine left.”

6 Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washing, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus told the servants, “Fill the water jars with water.” So they filled them up to the very top. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the head steward,” and they did. 9 When the head steward tasted the water that had been turned to wine, not knowing where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine when the guests are drunk. You have kept the good wine until now!”11 Jesus did this as the first of his miraculous signs, in Cana of Galilee. In this way he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.

There is a lot that can be unpacked here. Follow me this way: Jesus is at a wedding. There is wine at the wedding.

  • Jesus went knowing there would be wine.

The wine ran out. His mother was concerned that the wine ran out and told Him to do something about it. It is interesting that this is His first miracle (the next verse, v11, tells us this) and yet His mother knew that He could do something.

  • Jesus went knowing there would be wine.
  • Mary knew that Jesus would furnish more wine.

Oh, let’s go there. Verse 10 has the steward speaking of serving cheap wine after the guests get drunk but that this wedding is serving the best wine after people are drunk.

  • Jesus went knowing there would be wine.
  • Mary knew that Jesus would provide more wine.
  • Jesus created wine for inebriated people.

 

This is not a post about drinking, alcohol or drunkenness, mind you. The Bible is clear that drunkenness is wrong and that drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of God. We’re clear on that, right?

So all that I wrote above is true. The point that should be made here is that we have a party going on (Jesus didn’t rebuke the party goers); people are drinking (Jesus didn’t rebuke the drinkers); people were drunk (Jesus didn’t rebuke the drunks).  Jesus didn’t rebuke the party in any way and He didn’t get up on a soap box and preach them a good message about sobriety. He didn’t tell anyone that they were bad (un-Christian) people.

The point here is that Jesus didn’t get all hoity-toity as many “preaching” Christians get. He didn’t get on a soapbox and make sure that they all knew they were doing wrong. He didn’t get in the face of the sinner and rebuke them for their sin [1].

He loved them.

We have to add that most people (generally) who go to weddings and imbibe, these people are not normally alcoholics. Jesus didn’t feed an addiction here. Further, I don’t believe that He condoned the drinking — even though He offered the drinkers a way to continue. Rather, their drinking wasn’t the important thing here.

Jesus had the stone pots filled and He turned the water into wine. It was the best wine they had ever tasted! The servants saw this happen. The head steward was (eventually) witness to the miracle. The disciples believed in Jesus because of this miracle. Do you think that word circulated around the crowd, to the drinkers, to the party goers?

I’m not saying that the wine given to the drinkers was forgivable because of the results. I’m saying that the wine given to the drinkers was a non-issue; the filling of stone pots was the issue.  (Actually the changing was a spotlight on Jesus’ ministry, which started here:  the old shall be changed into the new; but I’m not writing this to make this connection.)  Today many Christians make such a big deal over people’s sin — whether it be that they drink or whatever other sin they have in their lives — instead of making a big deal over loving them into the Kingdom.

Jesus didn’t preach at these people. Why do you?

Jesus didn’t rebuke their sin. Why do you?

Are you not to act like Jesus? Would you make new wine for the drinkers at a wedding party? Would you really?

When I was unsaved I had many Christians who would point out my faults and tell me how close to Hell I was. They would chastise me for my failings and rebuke me to get right. They would beat me over the head (proverbially) with their Bible.

And I never got saved as a result of it. I never found Christ in their rebuke.

Love always — always! — must precede and accompany any rebuke. In the story of the wedding at Cana there is no rebuke to be seen. At all. In this story, there is only love. Love that the glory of God be shown through this miracle so that those present would know that Jesus was special. They would, in the next couple years, come to know that He was the Son of God.

When I received Christ it was not under rebuke — it was under the love of my best friend, my soon-to-be girlfriend who would later become my wife. It was a gentle (albeit tricky!!) leading to meet Jesus face to face.

Now, we have discussed faith and we’ve discussed how to act out our faith. I present to you that the examples shown here are an ultimate act of faith. Just as Jesus could have rebuked the wedding guests, my wife could have rebuked my lost state. But there was faith present that God would do what He said He would do. He so loved the world….

Remember that it is not your rebuke that saves people. It is not anything of you. It is God. God calls and the Hold Spirit moves. You are a tool that is wielded in love. If you take this into your own hands and leave the arena of love you do a disservice to the mighty working power of God’s love.

1 Corinthians 13:1
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

Without love all your speaking, all your tongues, all of you is a noisy…clanging…

With love, Christ works through you to the glory of God.

[1] In fact Jesus only rebukes the Pharisees and Sadducees. To the “normal,” everyday person Jesus taught, preached, loved and embraced. Take the woman caught in the act of adultery: there is no rebuke for her, but forgiveness and a lesson; there is a command: go and sin no more.

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