John Message #6 “Water Turned to Wine” Ed Miller, Dec. 20, 2023

Listen to the audio above while following along in the transcript below which is also available for download at

Good morning, all!  Welcome to our gathering to behold our Lord again.  Before we look in the word remembering about how only the Holy Spirit can teach us, I want to share two verses, one from Psalm 119:102, and then one from John 6:45.  Psalm 119:102, “I have not turned aside from Thine ordinances, for Thou Thyself hast taught me.”  The principle there is that there will be no real change in my life unless the Lord is teaching.  Otherwise, I will turn aside from what I learned.  It might change my theology, and maybe even my behavior for a short time, but unless I’m taught of God, it won’t be permanent. 

The other verse having to do with being taught of God is John 6:45, “They shall all be taught of God, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.”  How do I know if I’m being taught of God?  The answer is that Jesus said, “If you are being taught of God, you will come to Me.”  Christ is the test on whether we’re being taught of God.  If it doesn’t lead to Him, you’re not being taught of the Lord.  With that in mind, let’s ask the Lord to guide us.

Heavenly Father, we thank You so much that You’ve privileged us to gather together, and we just commit our session unto You, and pray in a special way that we would behold the Lord.  We pray that you would meet us where we are.  You know our hearts, and You know what we’re going through, and You know that some of us may be in heaviness, and some of us may be parched.  Meet us where we are and take us where You’d have us, and unveil the Lord Jesus in a living way.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Welcome again to our meditations from the gospel of John.  This inspired book takes us by the hand and leads us forward into three great truths.  All three are mentioned in the gospel of John as His stated purpose for writing the book.  Let me review those three things.  John 20:31, “These have been written so that,” now he’s telling us why he wrote the book, “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have Life in His name.”  I just divided that into three principles.  John wrote so that we would believe in the Lord Jesus, so we would know who He is, so that we would trust Him, and then so that we could enjoy Him, Life in Him.

Last week we finished our little look at the prologue in chapter one, and actually we went through the rest of the chapter, and we finished by looking at God’s illustration, His servant, John the Baptist.  Here is the illustration.  John 1:6&7, “There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through Him.”  John becomes the illustration of one who is sent by God to be a witness of the Light, and to know that he is not the Light.  Once again, I hope you want to be sent by God to be a witness of the Light.  Last time we showed how God prepared John.  Number one, he had to see that he was not the Light.  Number two, he had to see by revelation that Jesus was the Light.  Number three, he had to proclaim Him, as God revealed Christ to him.  So, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”  As he was sent by God as a witness to proclaim the Life, the more that’s true of us, the more people will leave us and run to Jesus.  John 1:36&37, “He looked at Jesus as He walked,” that’s John the Baptist, “and he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God,’ and the two disciples heard him speak and they followed Jesus.”  So, if you’re really sent by God as a witness to testify about the Light, you’re not going to get a following.  People are going to hear your message and turn away from you and turn to the Lord. 

When I closed, I called attention to the first of many descriptions of faith in the gospel of John.  Verse 12, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”  The first illustration of faith in the gospel of John is receiving a gift, “As many as received Him.”  Receiving Christ as God’s gift is the first step you take in faith, and it’s a lifelong privilege that you’ll be doing all the time.  We tied that into Colossians 2:6, “Therefore, as you have received Christ, so walk in Him.”  We closed our study by reminding you that it is never more difficult to believe in the Lord than it is to receive a gift.  That’s how easy it is at the beginning, and that’s how easy it will be all the way through your life.  Over and over we continue as we began.  When we started, we came as needy sinners, and the Holy Spirit showed us our provision in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we accepted that, and said, “Yes,” and we received it.  That’s how we started, and it will never get more difficult.  He’s going to continually show us Christ, and continually you’ll see your need for Him, and all the Chrisitan life is, when you got saved, you gave Him a big “YES”, “Yes, I accept Jesus,” but now you are going to give Him little “yeses” all along the way.  Every time He shows Christ, you’re going to say, “Yes, yes, yes,” receiving Christ.  If you missed that discussion, it’s available on CD or you can download it from the website. 

That brings us this morning to John 2:1-11, the wedding at Cana, or the miracle of turning the water into wine.  I’m not going to read the full record, but we’ll refer to it enough times so that you’ll pick up the storyline.  Clearly, we want to arrive at the distinctive revelation of Christ, how does this story reveal the Lord Jesus, His turning the water into wine.  Before we do that, I would like to give some preliminary observations.  I’m going to make six short, quick observations, that give us a little look and prepare us for this story.

My first observation is from John 2:1&2, “On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there, and both He and his disciples were invited to the wedding.”  We read at the beginning of verse 1, “On the third day,” and we know that expression connects chapter two with chapter one.  There are expressions at the end of chapter one, John 1:29, “the next day,” and then John 1:35, “the next day,” and John 1:43, “the next day,” and then John 2:1, “on the third day.”  So, it’s all connected together.  I call attention to that because it’s says that the disciples were invited to the wedding.  Usually, when we think of the disciples we think of twelve, that there were twelve disciples.  But at this point there were not twelve; there were only five.  In chapter one we read that there was John the Apostle, and then we read there was Andrew and then his brother, Peter, and then Phillip and then Nathanael.  So, the ones that went to the wedding, counting Jesus, there were six, with five disciples.  That’s just an observation.

The second observation is from John 2:4, “And Jesus said to her,” that is His mother, “‘Woman, what does that have to do with us?  My hour has not yet come.’”  I want to call attention to just the word “woman”.  In our society, that might sound a little disrespectful, if someone said to his mother, “woman,” and just called her woman, but in the light of the complete Bible record, I think this expression applied to Mary was more of an honor, more of respect than of disrespect.  Remember that He did it again when He was hanging on the cross, John 19:26, “When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple who He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!”

The fact this was Mary, the mother of Jesus, the mother of Messiah, it might have even been a greater honor, because He might have been identifying her with the first prophesy in the Bible.  In Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”  The whole point of that is that God promised a Savior through the woman, and when He called her “woman”, He might have been identifying her as that promised, that honored one who would be the mother of Messiah.  That’s just an observation.

The third observation comes from John 2:6, “Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.”  Let me mention a couple of things about that.  Why were these water pots there?  What were they used for?  What is the Jewish custom of purification?  I think it could be one of a couple of things, or maybe both.  Listen to Mark 7:3-4, “The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and the copper pots.”  You know that the Pharisees were very, very intent on externals; they made sure that the outside of the cup was clean.  They didn’t really care what was on the plate; they served poison.  But they had a clean plate on which they served their poison. 

For a large gathering, they might have that waterpot for the washing of the hands, or we know from Luke 7:44, that there was another custom, “Turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman?  I entered your house, and you gave me no water for my feet.  She has wet my feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair.’”  Remember that this is Simon the Pharisee, but it illustrates the custom.  If you were to come to my house, or I were to go to your house, as a courtesy because they wore sandals and the feet got a little crusty, they would offer to you to wash your feet.  Sometimes they would have servants to do it, or they would do it themselves.

Let me make a comment about the capacity of that.  According to verse 6, it says, “containing thirty gallons each.”  The King James says, “ten firkins.”  The point is, it’s general.  We don’t exactly know the capacity, twenty or thirty.  If it’s twenty, twenty times six is one hundred and twenty gallons.  If it’s thirty, then it’s one hundred and eighty gallons.  So, all through my lesson I’m going to take the midway, and I’ll be talking about one hundred and fifty gallons of water.

So, the number of disciples is just five.  The name “woman” is a term of respect, and the one hundred fifty gallons is used for washing, and if it’s for foot washing water, that would add to the miracle.  Imagine turning foot washing water into wine!  It just shows He changes the quality, as well.

I want to make mention of Joseph, the stepfather of the Lord Jesus.  He is not mentioned by name at this wedding, and most commentators think this was a family wedding, because of Mary’s position.  She seems to be in charge.  She knew when the wine ran out, and she gave orders to the servants.  Many people think it was probably a family wedding, somebody related to Mary, a relative.  We don’t know.  But where was Joseph?  Why isn’t he mentioned?  I was surprised to read how many think that because he’s not mentioned, he was already dead, that he had probably by this time already died.  Somewhere between when Jesus was twelve years old and Joseph was mentioned, and then eighteen years later, and now He’s thirty years old, somewhere in there they say that Joseph must have died.

I don’t think he was dead at this time, and I base that on John 6:42, the Pharisees were rejecting the Lord Jesus, and they were saying, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph whose father and mother we know?  How does he now say, ‘I’ve come down out of heaven?’”  Just that expression, and it’s not one hundred percent, but they seem to say, “We know Mary, and we know Joseph, his father,” and I think that he’s probably still alive.  I don’t know why he wasn’t mentioned.  Maybe he had a reason for not showing up.  Maybe he was working on some project in the carpenter’s shop, or maybe he didn’t feel well, or maybe, like me, he didn’t enjoy a large social gathering.  My Lillians makes me go to some of these.  We don’t know why He wasn’t there, but I think he was still alive, but I don’t know.

Two more simple observations, and then we’ll get to the heart of this story.  There were only five disciples, and “mother” is a term of respect, and the water was used for cleansing, and Joseph maybe was alive.  My fifth observation is the use of the word “wine” in the Bible.  It’s very symbolic.  It’s literal, but it’s also symbolic, and highly developed in the Bible.  In the Old Testament and even in the New Testament it was the symbol of natural joy.  Psalm 104:15, “Wine which makes man’s heart glad, so that he may make his face glisten with oil.”  As you know, the book of Ecclesiastes presents “life under the sun”, in other words, apart from fellowship with God.  When you go through that book, you’re seeing how man, who doesn’t know the Lord, how they think and how they act.  It’s life apart from fellowship with God.  And when the one who is living apart from fellowship with God sought for joy, Ecclesiastes 2:3, “I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine, while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives.”  So, Solomon at that time, out of fellowship with God, looked to wine to find happiness and joy.  It becomes a picture of natural joy, and I just add that natural joy leaves a hangover, and supernatural joy does not. 

This is how the lost person reasons.  Listen to Ecclesiastes 10:19, “Men prepare a meal for enjoyment, and wine makes life merry, and money is the answer to everything.”  Isn’t that how men think?  But you turn one page from that, and you come to another book, and this is the Song of Solomon, and the Song of Solomon is not describing life under the sun, apart from fellowship with God.  This book is describing intimate fellowship with God, and you’re only two verses deep in the book, and what do you read?  Song 1:2, “May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!  For your love is better than wine.”  He’s contrasting natural joy with supernatural joy, the joy the world gives and the joy that is found only in the Lord.  Even in the New Testament we see that contrast.  Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”  Over against one you have the other; wine is man’s way, and the Holy Spirit is God’s way.  I told you that the symbol of wine is highly developed in the Bible.  That which at first pictures natural joy, becomes one of the elements in the Eucharist, one of the elements at the Lord’s Table.  So, you can see how that symbolic use of the word “wine” is used to show how much it costs to bring real joy to the heart.  I wanted to make a comment about wine.

Then, one more simple observation.  It’s John 2:4, “Woman, what does that have to do with us?  My hour has not yet come.”  This is the first time, but not the only time, we’re going to read about “His hour” in the Bible and in the gospel of John.  Actually, the gospel of John is going to mention it ten times.  As we go through the book, we’ll call attention to that.  It always refers to redemption, until it finally takes you to the cross.  That was His hour, the hour of redemption.  But it also appears along the way.  Along the way, sometimes we read that there was a delay, “My hour has not yet come.”  It certainly came at the cross, but on the way there seems to be delay. 

I’m going to suggest two possible reasons for the delay of His hour.  John 2:11, “This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.”  The big answer to when His hour comes is when His glory is manifest.  I have two suggestions.  The first one is the lesser suggestion.  I think His hour was waiting for nature to fail; I think He was waiting for the wine to run out.  That’s one reason He doesn’t manifest His glory, until we’re in an extremity, and then He manifests His glory.  He waits for our provision to dry up.  When our resources are exhausted, then He comes through manifesting His glory.  That’s why He waited, I think, with the woman who touched the hem of His garment, until she had spent all that she had, and went to every doctor, and was not better, but even worse.  That’s why He waited, I think, until Peter failed, that his natural strength failed, and then He comes to the rescue.  So, it was the storm-tossed disciples that He comes in the fourth watch of the night.  It seems like He waits until the end when we become helpless.  When you go through the miracles, you’re going to see as he heals the blind, and the deaf and the lame, the leper, and when He raises the dead, it’s always at the extremity, it’s always at the end.

But the main delay for His hour is clearly stated.  I may be wrong by saying He always waits for your wine to run out, but I know I’m right here.  John 8:28, “Jesus said, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.  And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.’”  Jesus always waited for the Father’s direction.  He said, “I never do anything on my own initiative.” He never did a miracle until the Father said, “Alright, now it’s time.”  He never taught a teaching until the Father said, “This is what You are to teach.”  When we come to chapter 7, there’s a very interesting illustration of this truth, and we’ll deal with that when we get there.  But before His hour comes, He has to wait for His Father to give a word.  There’s this interesting observation, as well.  While He waited for His hour to come…  It’s interesting here that He said to Mary, “My hour is not yet come,” and then a minute later it came.  That seems a little strange, but He was waiting for His Father’s word.

Until His hour comes, we read that He was always at rest; He was always at peace, and never anxious, even though the Father seemed to delay, He just continued to walk, and He would walk right through the midst of trouble, and He was just waiting for that.  Sometimes, while we’re waiting for the fullness of time, we’re waiting for the Father’s hour to come, we’re not at rest; we’re anxious a little bit, and sometimes we’re fretting, and we get antsy when there is delay.  It’s easy on the level of earth to get anxious when deadlines are coming up, and we think that something has to be done, especially like in this chapter when you have a little pressure from your mother.  Jesus’ mother said, “He’s the one,” and she pressured Him, and He said, “My hour is not come.”  It’s alright if our family members and loved ones or our Christian friends pressure us, “You’ve got to do it; you better do it quick; you better do it now,” or even if the enemy threatens us, and we think, “Oh, it’s an emergency.  I can’t wait for the Lord; I’ve got to do something now.  Something needs to be done this moment.”  In that connection I love Isaiah 28:16, the margin of the New American Standard, “He who believes will not be in a hurry.”  Isn’t that wonderful!  “He who believes will not be in a hurry.”  King James says, “He who believeth shall not make haste.”  Don’t ever be rushed, brothers and sisters in Christ.  If someone says, “Oh, you’ve got to donate right now, and it’s the last chance you are going to have,” I would just turn and walk away.  You don’t have to be rushed into the will of God.  There are twelve hours in a day, and there’s always enough time to do the will of God.  “As your day, so shall your strength be.”  I’m certain that if you add to the God-planned day, you may run out of strength, but God has promised that there will be enough time, and we don’t need to worry. 

Let’s get now to the story itself.  I want us to end up seeing the revelation of Christ in this miracle of turning water into wine.  I’m going to start with verse 11 to get closer to that revelation.  “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and his disciples believed in Him.”  According to the record, this is the first miracle that Jesus performed when He was on the earth.  So, set aside all those apocryphal writings about His boyhood miracles.  I’ve read them and some of them are pretty farfetched.  This is the first miracle that He did, and it’s called a “sign”.  I think you’re familiar enough with the gospel record to know that there were thirty-five miracles that Jesus performed.  Some people divide those miracles and get two or three out of one, and so on, but the point is that there are thirty-five miracles, and out of those thirty-five John only mentions eight miracles.  Out of those eight, six of them are unique to John; they’re only in the gospel of John; they aren’t found in Matthew, Mark or Luke.  The only two that John repeats is the feeding of the five thousand and then the walking on the water in the stormy sea.

Because the first miracle is called a “sign”, and because there are only eight miracles in John, some people say that there are eight sign miracles, that the miracles in John are signs, but the other twenty-seven are not signs.  I think that’s a mistake.  I think all of the miracles are sign miracles, and not just turning the water into wine and healing the nobleman’s son and the crippled man at Bethesda and the man who was born blind and Lazarus raised from the dead and the post resurrection miracle of multiplying fish, plus the feeding of the five thousand and walking on the water.  All the miracles are signs, all thirty-five of them.  A sign means that it’s a picture that points to something else, and all the miracles are just pictures.  They’re literal but they’re symbolic and they point to a reality, and the reality, of course, is our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Matthew calls the miracles “mighty works”.  Mark calls the miracles “wonders”.  Luke calls the miracles “glorious things”, and he’s the one that actually uses the word “miracle”.  John calls the miracles “signs”, but they apply whether they’re mighty works or wonders or glorious things or miracles or signs; they apply to all. 

When Jesus healed the leper, He really did heal the leper, but that was a picture.  The reality is that He will heal all those who have the leprosy of sin.  When He healed the blind, it was to show us that He can make people see who are spiritually blind, and those who are spiritually deaf, and He raised the lame so that He could teach people how to walk before God and before men, and He cast out demons to show the reality that He can set you free from your own sin nature and from the enemy, and He raised the dead in order to illustrate that He gives Life.  They are all miracles.  Now, some people quote Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever,” and they say that He’s the same; He healed back then, and He can heal now.  He gave them sight; He can give sight now.  He opened the ears of the deaf; He can open them now.  I’m not saying He can’t; He can do whatever He’d like to do.  I’m not saying that He doesn’t; sometimes He does, but He did not come to reproduce the picture in your heart.  He came to reproduce the reality in your heart.  He still lives in you to give sight to the blind, and to give legs to the lame, and to open the ears and loosen the tongue of those that are deaf and dumb.  He still lives in us to repeat the reality, and not the sign.  So, sometimes I think we look for the picture rather than the reality.

Because the transformation of the water into wine is the first sign miracle, I believe this miracle represents all the miracles.  I speak now as a fool, but if God said to me, “Ed, I want you to choose the first miracle, and I’m going to mention thirty-five of them, and you choose which one you would put first to represent all of the others.”  I think if He did that for me, I don’t think I would have chosen this miracle, turning water into wine.  I might have chosen casting out of demons.  That seems like a powerful miracle.  Or I might have chosen any healing miracle, or feeding the five thousand or multiplying fish, but at the wedding what was the problem?  They ran out of wine?  Come on, the man born blind, he had a problem.  A woman humped over for eighteen years, she’s got a problem.  Jairus and his wife who just lost a twelve year old daughter, they’re the ones who have a problem.  I don’t think I would have said, “The most important miracle is they ran out of wine, so let’s discuss that.”  I wouldn’t have put that first, but the Holy Spirit chose this miracle as a miracle that represents all the other miracles in such a way that it reveals Christ as He will appear in every miracle that follows.  For the remainder of this lesson, God assisting me, I want to show you why this is the perfect miracle to come first, and how it reveals the Lord Jesus in a way that He will be revealed in every miracle that follows.  This will prepare us for all that is coming. 

All miracles are signs pointing to something spiritual, and that spiritual is the Lord Jesus, and He manifests His glory in this miracle by revealing Christ in this way.  What way?  That’s what we want to see.  So, let me show you how this miracle is the sample, the illustration of all the miracles.

For those who like logical connection, I’m going to present four revelations of Christ in this miracle that will appear in every miracle.  Let me begin by just saying that this is a joyous Life miracle; joy illustrated by the use of the word “wine”, and joy illustrated by the fact that it’s wedding.  A marriage is taking place.  All miracles you are going to find are joyous Life miracles; they’re all miracles of mercy, every miracle.  You might say, “What about the cursing of the fig tree?  That doesn’t sound like a miracle of mercy?”  Even that is a miracle of mercy because He cursed the fig tree not made in the image of God, which was picturing the hypocrites who were proclaiming fruit when they had none.  He could have blasted the hypocrites, but He blasted the tree, and that was mercy.

How does this manifest His glory?  The answer is that in this miracle Jesus is presented as the One who transforms water into wine.  Look John 1:3, “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”  In other words, Jesus created water in the first place, because all things came into being through Him, and now He’s transforming the water He created in the first place into something that it wasn’t.  He’s transforming it into wine, and He’s doing it by recreation.  In other words, He’s changing something from what it was into something that it was not.  In this miracle He’s not changing bad wine into good wine; He’s changing water into wine; He’s transforming water by recreation. 

All miracles are signs, and we read the reality into this.  Do you remember when you first trusted Jesus and you got saved.  What do we read?  2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature,” he’s a new creation, “the old things passed away; behold, new things have come,” and all things are of God.  Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…”  It’s a new creation.  He will appear in every miracle as the One who is the joy-giver by recreation.  He’s going to transform.  That’s what He does in the miracle, and this first miracle presents Him as the One who brings joy by the miracle of transformation, by recreating us.  This manifests His glory.  My only hope, and yours, to have any real joy in your life is that the Lord will do a miracle and recreate.  That’s the only possibility.  For me that miracle began in 1958.  It’s a lot of years ago, and it continues to this day.  He’s constantly recreating me from what I’m not into what He wants me to be.

The second revelation of Christ which is true in all miracles is that He presents Himself here as the sovereign God of grace.  That’s wonderfully illustrated in this miracle.  Did you notice that He initiated everything, and He did it with His naked will?  What do I mean by “naked will”?  In some miracles He speaks a transforming word, “Go your way; your son lives.”  He speaks a transforming word, “Stretch out your hand,” “Pick up your bed and walk.”  In some miracles He not only speaks but He touches; He touched the leper, He put clay on the eyes of the man who was born blind, He took Jairus’ daughter by the hand.  But in this miracle, this first miracle, He didn’t say a word.  He didn’t even go near the water.  He just willed it from His heart; He just determined it.  There was no word; there was no touch.  He initiated the whole thing, and He displayed His grace.

His grace is also displayed in John 2:7, “Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the waterpots with water.’ So, they filled them up to the brim.”  That expression “to the brim” is very instructive because it illustrates that it was all His work, and you can’t add anything to something that is already filled to the brim.  He doesn’t add His work to my work; He doesn’t add His work to your work.  I know about spilling things that are filled to the brim.  I was walking across my study, and I had a cup of coffee and it was filled to the brim.  I don’t walk too steady these days, and when I was walking across, Lillian’s nice green rug got coffee stains all along, so I was going to surprise her.  I did surprise her, but let me just suggest that if you have a green rug, don’t try to take out coffee stains with bleach.  That’s what I did.  So, if you come to visit us now, you’ll see this beautiful throw rug over the top of those stains.

The whole point I’m trying to make is that it was filled to the brim, and He doesn’t add His work to mine; He changes mine altogether.  It’s even more powerful, as I said, if it were foot washing water.  I think sometimes we think in our Christian life that I’ll go as far as I can go, and then I’ll trust God to do the rest.  That’s a great mistake.  “Lord, I’ve got three hours of patience, and my patience is running thin because I can’t put up with this much longer, so I’m asking You, Lord, to add Your patience to  my patience.  How about a week of patience?  Add a week to my couple of hours of patience, or add a month.” or so on. And we think that God is going to add His patience to our patience.  I don’t have patience, and you don’t have any, zero, nil, none.  We don’t have it.  We need the Lord in everything.  He doesn’t add His strength to my strength.  I don’t have strength.  He doesn’t add His courage to my courage.  I don’t have any courage.  It’s all Him, and it’s illustrated here with that water that’s filled to the brim.  He doesn’t add His work to my work.  He does it all.

I think it’s tremendous grace, also, that He saved this bride and groom from embarrassment.  He didn’t have to do that, but He save them from embarrassment.  How gracious!  I, for one, am very glad that He hasn’t exposed everything in my life to the public eye.  I know Numbers 32:23 when Moses was rebuking the two and a half tribes, the borderline tribes, he made this comment, “But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.”  Some people don’t understand that verse, “Be sure your sin will find you out.”  They think, “Uh-oh, I’m going to get exposed.”  It doesn’t say, “Be sure your sin will be found out.”  It says it will find you out.  You will know and repent.  God takes no pleasure in exposing your sin to the public eye unless it manifests His glory.  If it goes against His glory, He doesn’t care about your reputation or mine, but in every miracle we see this sovereign grace.  It begins with God, and it continues with God, and it ends with God.  He doesn’t add to my work.

Let me ask you this morning, aren’t you glad that God hasn’t embarrassed you by exposing everything you know is in your heart?  You found out and you repented, but praise God others haven’t found out, and it’s only mercy that keeps it a secret.  I’m so thankful for that grace.  That’s the second way He manifests Himself.  First is by transforming us, and the second is by being the God of grace, and the third is that He manifests His grace by showing us His adequacy over against my lack of adequacy.

It’s a wonderful thing when God is able to turn you away from your sufficiency and turn you toward His.  2 Corinthians 3:5, “Not that we’re adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.”  The principle is true in all of life, but it’s first application is in terms of marriage.  This miracle takes you right to marriage.  John 2:3, “When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’”  The wine ran out; they came up short.  I’m sure they had made preparations.  You don’t just go to a wedding without making plans; you make preparations.  I’m sure they figured it all out, and they did the math, “Here’s how many people are coming, and here’s how much food we’re going to need, and here’s how much wine we’re going to need.” 

Running out of wine is just the picture; it’s a sign.  The principle is running out of adequacy, running out of sufficiency, and I promise you, trust me on this, I’ve walked with the Lord quite a few years, and I’ve learned by mistake that I don’t have  what it takes to live the Christian life, and neither do you.  I don’t have what it takes for the test.  I don’t have what it takes for the trial.  I don’t have what it takes for the temptation.  I don’t have what it takes for my discouragement.  I don’t have what it takes for my difficulties, for the situation I’m in.  I’m going to run out of courage, and I’m going to run out of faith, and I’m going to run out of ideas, and I’m going to run out of strength, and I’m going to run out of patience.  The challenges of being a servant of the Lord, the challenge of aging and growing old, the challenge of facing a reverse and facing a loss, having something come into a life, hearing a doctor’s report, loosing a loved one are tremendous things that come into our lives, and we are not sufficient and we have no adequacy. 

I’m sure that bride and groom, like very bride and groom…  A lot of my grandkids are getting married these days, and I try to warn them.  They’re all telling me, “Oh, this is a perfect marriage.  I’ve got the best one.  Our marriage is going to be unlike any other; it’s going to be perfect, because I’m bringing to the marriage understanding, and I’m bringing to the marriage all the affirmation that my wife will need, and I’m bringing to this marriage forgiveness, and I’m going to be forgiving, and I’m going to be patient, and I’m bringing communication and we’ll be able to talk things out, and it’s full of love, and I’m bringing love.”  The wine will run out.  There is no adequacy in us, and praise God when it runs out, because then we run to Jesus who IS our sufficiency and our adequacy. 

Bless God for everything that drives you to Him, but when do we discover Him as our adequacy? Once again, we turn to the miracle.  John 2:2, “Both Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding.”  We’ll not know His adequacy until we invite Him to the wedding.  I promise you this, that when you invite Him, He will always come as a guest, but in a very short time He will turn into the host; He comes in as a guest, and He becomes a host.  Revelations 3:20 illustrates this, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him,” that’s the guests, “and he with me,” that’s the host.  When He comes into your life, He doesn’t come in to take the spectators’ seat.  He doesn’t come in to do His part; He comes in to take over.  When he comes into your life and mine, He comes in to take over.  I’m never going to know His adequacy unless I invite Him into my situation.

Then there’s another condition, John 2:5, “His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.’”  That’s obedience, unconditional obedience.  As far as the record goes, this is the only command that Mary ever gave.  I think as Christians we sometimes belittle Mary.  She has a wonderful place in God’s heart and in the scriptures.  I think we should obey Mary, because this is what she said, “Whatever He says, do it.”  That’s her command, so I’m going to obey Mary.

I’m going to discover His adequacy when I have invited Him in and when I obey with unconditional obedience.  He doesn’t need me, and He doesn’t need you.  He doesn’t need us corporately, but He wants to use us, and so He gives us a part.  He says, “You gather 150 gallons of water and leave the rest to Me.”  That’s a precious thing because it’s impossible to do anything spiritual apart from a miracle.  I can gather water.  That’s not spiritual, but I can’t do anything spiritually.  God says to me, “I want you to study before you go to teach anybody anything.”  So, I do, and I study.  I’ve got a lot of books, and I read them.  I promise you, all I’ve got is water.  If He doesn’t turn it to wine, you get nothing.  He’s got to turn it to wine. 

You witness and your share Christ with somebody, but He better follow up, and He better bless that word that you’ve given, that seed that you’ve sown, because if He doesn’t, nothing is going to happen.  You can pray, and I can pray, and you can give somebody a love gift, but only God has to show them it’s from the Lord, and that’s not from me.  You can’t convince anybody.  You can say the words, but only God can convince.  The duty is always ours, but the event is always His.  The duty is ours, the privilege is ours, but the power is not ours; the power belongs to Him.  He’s got to work the miracle.  So, He says to somebody, “Stretch forth your hand.”  He said, “I can’t; it’s withered,” but he did, by the might power of God he did, because every time God gives a command to do something spiritual, He gives an enablement to do that.  “Take up your bed and walk.”  I can’t, I’m crippled,” but he did, by the mighty power of God he did, because always gives an enablement when He gives a spiritual command.  “Lazarus, come forth.”  “I can’t; I’m dead,” but he did, by the mighty power of God he did!  Every time God commands us something spiritual it’s impossible.  “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church.”  “I can’t.”  Yes you can, by the mighty power of God you can.  “Count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptation.”  “I can’t.”  Yes, you can, by the mighty power of God you can.  “In everything and for everything give thanks.”  “I can’t.”  By the mighty power of God you can.  “Love your enemies.  Turn the other cheek.  Give your cloak, also.  Go a second mile.”  “I can’t; it’s not possible.”  By the mighty power of God it is, because He gives you the enablement.  How about this one, “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  “I can’t.”  But He’s our adequacy.

Let me mention one final revelation.  Presenting Jesus as the One who transforms, presenting Jesus as the God of grace, presenting Jesus as our adequacy, all the miracles will do this.  The final picture is in verse 10, “You have kept the good wine until now.”  In all of the miracles, Jesus comes across as the One who sets hope before the person he is ministering to.  According to the passage, it looks like verse 10 is teaching that when the world expects the worse, the Christian can expect the best, and that’s exactly what verse 10 teaches.  Of course, the grand illustration is when we die.  When we die and go to heaven, you know He has saved the best wine until last.  That’s true, but it’s also true along the way to heaven. 

Proverbs 4:18, “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.”  Old age in the Bible is not presented as the setting sun.  That’s how man looks at it.  The Bible presents it as the rising sun.  Old age is growing brighter and brighter.  For me, the older I get and the weaker I get, this has become the most exciting time of my Christian experience.  I’ve been saved a lot of years, but now when things are winding down and my mind is forgetting and all things are failing, it’s exciting.  What’s He going to do next with me, and how is He going to use me?  I wake up giddy in the morning just wondering what’s going on today, “Jesus, this is an exciting day.  Is it going to end up in a nursing home, in a hospital, in a morgue?”  I don’t care; it’s just exciting to me at this stage of life; it grows greater and greater.  When you are weak and you are tired and you’re sluggish and experiencing all these things, the outer man is decaying but I’ll tell you, that inner man is being renewed day by day.

It seems to me that the world always has to look back to see the times of glory.  So, you see on the TV, “Oh, yes, I got that Emmy and I got that Grammy, and that’s where I made that great touchdown, and that’s when I was in this movie, and those are my glory days.”  Not for the Christian; you don’t look back.  Our glory days are in front of us, always in front of us.  Philippians 3:13, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold it yet; but one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.”  In this connection I love Psalm 92:13, “Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.  They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green.”  I told my wife, “I don’t want to grow old and grumpy.  I want to grow old fruit bearing and my Lillian told me yesterday, “It’s working, because you are full of sap.”  Can you imagine my wife telling me that!

This is the revelation of our Lord Jesus; He transforms us by recreation.  He’s a God of grace; He starts it, continues it and finishes it and doesn’t add to anything we do.  He presents Himself as our adequacy, and He always puts hope in front of us; the best is yet to come.  Let me close with John 2:9, “When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew).”  I have an idea that most people at this wedding, probably all of them, didn’t have a clue that a miracle had taken place.  In fact, they gave the groom the credit, “You saved the best wine until now.  Attaboy; you did good!”  They didn’t know that Jesus was behind the scenes doing it, but to those who invite Him in, to those who move with unconditional obedience, the Bible says, “Those who drew the water knew.” 

It’s such a privilege to be in the loop, such a privilege to know what God is doing.  Others don’t know it.  You see things going on around you and you know what happened, and you know the Lord did it.  They don’t know, but you know what happened.  How did God do the miracle?   Did He all of a sudden turn 150 gallons of water into wine all at once?  He could of; I don’t know.  Or did He do it like He did of the feeding of the five thousand, when they handed it out, He multiplied it.  I know in my life He doesn’t fill the grainery; He doesn’t pad my bank account.  In my life it’s been, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and day by day, as I need it, it’s there and it’s always there.  He’s providing.  The point is He did this mighty miracle.  He’s the joy-giver by transformation, He’s the God of grace, and He is our adequacy, and He’s the One that has the best in front of us.

There’s one more thing about this story that we’ll pick up next year, the next time we get together, and that is that Mary learned a lesson that she had pondered for eighteen years, and she learned at the wedding of Cana.  So, next time we’ll look at the lesson that Mary finally learned after eighteen years.  Let’s pray…

Father, thank You for Your word, not what we think it means, but everything You’ve inspired it to mean.  Work that in our hearts.  How we praise You for the revelation of our Lord Jesus as the One who doesn’t leave us on our own but recreates us and transforms us, who always shows grace, who always initiates, continues and finishes what He’s begun.  Thank You for showing us that You are our adequacy, and that the best is yet to come.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.