A message by Aaron Stevens
It’s time to look up. There’s more to life than what’s on your screen. Go off the road on the adventure of a lifetime and experience the greatness of God.
Explore colorful canyons of the Southwest from a rock-solid faith and discover that God is monumental. Well, we are very excited about VBS this week. It’s been a long-few-weeks of preparation and decoration and many long days and late hours.
I do want to sincerely thank about 30 of you who showed up yesterday and helped us get all of the classrooms ready and helped us get this amazing set ready for the main stage.
I feel like I’m back in Phoenix, to be honest with you, with all this desert landscape and rocks and Cactus and everything else, but hopefully no scorpions. But anyway, so I thought it would be apropos today to talk about the idea of being transformed. The reason that I thought about that was that we have clearly transformed our stage.
This whole idea of transformation got me thinking about some things. It got me thinking about the transformation process that you and I go through. It also got me thinking about the miracles of Jesus. It got me thinking about these amazing things that Jesus did during his time on Earth. Now, these are obviously just a few of the miracles that Jesus did:
- When he turned water into wine
- He healed the Royal officer’s son
- He healed the demonically possessed man
- He fed the $5,000
- And it goes on and on and on
Now, what I want to look at today is I want to look at a story from the Gospel of John. I want to look at a story from the New Testament because when we jump into the New Testament, we have to remember that miracles hadn’t been seen in about 400 years. But I want to look today at one of the important miracles of Jesus.
Why Miracles of Jesus:
- To fulfill the prophecies
- To prove the divinity of Christ
- To serve others
- To convince others to follow Him
But before we jump into that, let’s backtrack, let’s backtrack back to Isaiah. If you look with me in Isaiah, Chapter 35, and we start in verse five, it reads:
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
It continues on verse six
Then the lame will leap like a deer
and their mute tongue shouts out for joy
water will gush from the wilderness
and streams in the desert
Now, that, of course, is Isaiah prophesizing about the fact that one day Jesus would come, and that Jesus would perform these amazing miracles.
So, the question that I want to look at is,
Why are Jesus miracles important?
- Why did Jesus perform miracles during his time here on Earth?
- Was he just putting on a show?
- Was he trying to show off?
No, of course not, he was not doing that.
Jesus came to fulfill the prophecies!
- He came to fulfill and to prove to people that:
- He really was the “son of man.”
- He was not just another man
- He was not just somebody walking around claiming to be something that he was not
- He came to prove the divinity of Christ
We’re going to spend some time in the book of John. The main reason that John wrote his gospel was to prove that Jesus was who he said he was.
Another thing that the reason that Jesus did these miracles is that Jesus lived a life of service.
He lived the life of a servant. He says I came to serve, not to be served.
Jesus did some amazing things to help some people out. Of course, he did this to convince others to follow him, to convince others to get on board with this amazing thing that Jesus was trying to do during his brief Ministry on Earth.
Today we’re going to look at his very first miracle, and that was at the wedding feast when Jesus turns water into wine. Now, don’t tune me out because I know some of you are going, I already know that story, and I hope that you do, that’s great. That means you’ve been spending time in the Word. But what I want to look at today is why Jesus did what he did. More importantly, what are the things that you and I can learn from this passage and take away from this lesson and apply to our daily lives based on this miracle that took place so very long ago?
So let’s get a little context here. When we get into our scripture, when we get into this fact, first, we’re going to see that it talks about being the third day. What that means is Jesus had just come onto the scene, right? Jesus had just kind of made his appearance.
He had just kind of started becoming known because we don’t know a whole lot about Jesus’ childhood. We know he went to the temple, and he was teaching in the temple, and he was about his father’s business.
The Context of Jesus Life
- The third day
- John declares Him the Lamb of God
- Jesus had begun assembling His team of followers:
- Simon Peter
- The “wine”
- The beginning of the ministry of Jesus
- Why did John write his Gospel?
We talked about that last week, but we don’t really know much about Jesus until he kind of arrives on the scene in the first chapter of John. When it says it was the third day, that means this was kind of day three of Jesus’ Ministry, day three of Jesus’ time here on Earth. Now, that’s pretty significant, and we’re going to circle back to that a little bit later on. But we also know that John refers to him as the Lamb of God. John being John the Baptist, of course, refers to him as the Lamb of God. It’s also important to understand that at the beginning of the journey of John, we also see that Jesus is starting to assemble his crew, so to speak.
He’s assembling his team. He’s assembling his first followers and three of these names you probably recognize. One of them maybe you don’t, but they are:
Andrew, Simon, Peter, Philip, and Nathaniel.
Nathaniel is actually not one of the twelve. He’s kind of a friend of a friend, sort to speak. He’s a friend of Philip. He was a friend of Bartholomew. If you remember the story, Nathaniel was the one sitting under the fig tree that Jesus called to follow him. He was definitely a follower. He was definitely a disciple.
Jesus is starting to assemble his team. He’s starting to assemble his followers. Now, it’s important that you understand that because when we get into the story a little bit later on, it’s important you understand who these people were and why they were there.
Now, this story talks about the wine and it talks about the wedding feast. There’s a lot of controversy about this particular story in this particular miracle because some people like to say, oh, well, Jesus turned water into wine because he wanted everybody to get drunk. Now, if you spend some time in your Bible, you know that that’s not the case and we know that later on.
What is the Bible very specifically says that we are not to be drunk? We are not to be drunkards. So, you can’t really use us as an argument to get drunk. I’m just saying. But nevertheless, this is the first miracle that Jesus performed during his time on Earth. It was the beginning of his Ministry. Now, I find it very interesting that the very first miracle that Jesus did is only found in one of the four Gospels. This story is only recorded in the book of John, and I find that very interesting.
Now, I can’t sit here and pretend to explain to you why that is, because I don’t know. Maybe that’s one of those things that one day when we get to heaven, if there’s a question-and-answer session like, hey, why was that only in one book? I don’t know. I don’t know if that’ll happen or not, but John wrote his gospel with the intention and with the purpose and the framework of his entire gospel was to prove that Jesus is who he says he is and he doesn’t waste any time getting that started.
So again, what I want you to think about and what we want to look at as we go through this story because again, this is probably a fairly common story for most of us is I want to look at what are the lessons that you and I can take out of these bible verses?
If we just read the story, if we just read the scripture, that’s great. You’re checking the boxes, you’re spending time in the world. But are you really studying it? Are you really understanding it? Most importantly, are you applying it to your daily life?
If we miss that part, then the rest of it doesn’t really matter. We’re going to be in John chapter two. Open your Bibles. I want you to read with me, John, chapter two. We’re going to start in verse one.
Miracles of Jesus: Changes Water Into Wine
2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[b]
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink, but you have saved the best till now.”
Now, we don’t know exactly whose wedding this is, but it’s clearly a friend or an acquaintance of some type because they were invited, so they were not wedding Crashers, they were invited to the party.
Now, it’s also important you know that at this time and in this place, weddings were a little bit different. Today, if you get invited to a wedding and that wedding starts at 04:00, as a rule of thumb, you go to the wedding, they say some vows and they exchange some rings and they go off for 3 hours and take pictures and then you have dinner at some point and maybe some dancing and the party’s over.
That’s kind of typical of how weddings work today. I’m blessed to do some weddings here and there. But back in this time, these things went on for days. This was not just a one-and-done type of thing. This was not just a Saturday afternoon. These were days of celebrating and eating and drinking and being together. This wedding was not just a one-afternoon thing. This would have been a day after day after day occurrence.
If we pick up verse three, it says, when the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, they have no more wine.
There’s our first lesson. When his mother realized that the wine was about to run out, where did she go? She went to Jesus. This is interesting because, remember, Jesus just came onto the scene. He hasn’t really done anything yet, just yet by design. But what did his mother do when the wine was about to run out? She didn’t go to the master of the feast and say, hey, you’re almost out of wine. She went straight to Jesus. That’s our first lesson.
Seek Jesus when times are tough or when we are in need
That’s our first takeaway from this miracle is:
- Where do we go when we’re in trouble?
- Where do we go when we need help?
- Where do we go when times get tough?
- Where do we go?
- Do we fall back on our bad habits?
- Do we look to our addictions?
- Do we look to the world for help?
- Or do we go to Jesus?
Because as we know in this story, Jesus can turn water into wine, and he can also fix the problems that you and I have in our lives. But we have to go to him.
Mary sets that example. Now, the story of Mary is fascinating. I love the story of Mary because she has been through so much during her story from finding out she was going to be pregnant as a Virgin all the way to being there with Jesus when he was on the cross.
But she sets a very important example here. It doesn’t say:
She went to the servants
She went to the head of the feast
She went to Jesus
She went to the person she knew could fix the problem
So, I ask again, where do you and I go when we need somebody to fix the problem?
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is sometimes we go to all the wrong places.
Verse four, it says, Woman, why do you involve me now? Again, I’ve told you guys this before, and I’ll tell you again, this is not a derogatory term. Jesus is not talking bad to his mother. This was a very common way that they referred to women. It was not derogatory in any way. It was not derogatory. He was not demeaning his mother. He was not talking down to his mother.
He is simply saying, hey, what are you telling me for? Why are you bringing this to me? It says, Jesus replied,
My hour has not yet come
His mother said to the servants, do whatever he tells you. Now, it’s important that you don’t miss this little phrase right in the middle where Jesus replied, My hour has not yet come. Jesus had no intention of performing a miracle that day. Jesus had no intention of solving a problem that way. Jesus was a guest at a wedding. He was intending to go to this wedding fellowship, talk, have fun with people, and probably enjoy a good meal. He had no intention of performing a miracle. But as they do sometimes, Mama came along and said, oh, yes, you will.
Now, it’s also interesting to note in this verse, the last phrase says, do whatever he tells you.
Again, Mary is really driving the show today, right? She went to Jesus. She basically said, hey, you got to fix this. And then she turns to the servants and says, hey, whatever he tells you to do, that’s what you need to do.
Now, there’s our lesson number two. See, Jesus is the one we should obey without question.
Do whatever he tells you to. There’s our lesson number two.
- Are we doing what Jesus has instructed us to do?
- Are we living our own lives?
- Are we living a life for Jesus every single day?
- Are we living a life for me? Me?
Now, we’re very fortunate. We have this amazing book, right, called the Bible. And these days, hardcover Bibles or soft cover Bibles are getting fewer and farther between. But the good news is we can have our Bibles everywhere, right? Because we all have something in our pocket or our purse. It’s called the cell phone. And it’s got a Bible app, and it’s even free. He gave us the instructions. When it says, do what he tells you to do.
I encourage us to do what he tells us to do, it’s right there at your fingertips.
You just have to look for it just like anything else. You have to open it for it to work. Your car doesn’t start if you don’t turn the key. You don’t find the instructions.
You don’t find Jesus’ will for your life. If you don’t spend time in the Word, do what he tells you to do.
Verse six says nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from 20 to 30 gallons of water.
I put the picture up there just to give you kind of an idea of what these might have looked like. Now, there were no iPhones back then, so I can’t tell you exactly what they looked like at this particular wedding feast, but they probably looked something like this.
Now, the part that got my attention was 20 to 30 gallons. That’s big and that’s heavy and that’s a lot. You figure milk is what one gallon usually, or maybe a half gallon. Of course, if you’re in my house, you go through about ten gallons a week.
But these huge pots of water, and they were ready, and they were nearby. These were used for ceremonial washing because see, that was a practice the Jews had. These were used to clean. They were used for washing things away.
Verse seven says, Jesus said to the servants, Fill the jars with water, so they filled them to the brim. Verse eight says, then he told them, now, draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. And they did so, see, they got the memo.
Then Mary said, whatever he tells you to do, I want you to do it now.
I want you for just a moment to put yourself in the hands or in the mindset or in the lives of the servants. Now, the servants knew what was going on. The servants knew that the wine was about to run out. And Jesus tells them to take these big, giant 30-gallon jars and fill them with water.
Now, what do you think the servant was thinking? Excuse me, we’re not running out of water. We’re running out of wine. How is this going to help?
And then you want me to take this water and take it to the head of the feast?
This guy is going to fire me. I’m never getting a job as a waiter at a wedding again. That’s what they had to be thinking because he didn’t say, look, I’ve got some wine over here. Take it to the head of the feast. He said, look, fill the jugs up with water and take it over there. Sometimes we have to do some weird things so that Jesus can perform miracles. Now, when I say weird, some of these things may not seem weird to you and me, but they seem weird to others. Some of the things that you and I do seem weird to others.
We take Communion every Sunday, and we talk about heating the body and drinking the blood. Not being facetious, of course. But how does that sound? How does that look to someone who’s unchurched? They probably think that’s pretty crazy.
- We’re asked to live a life counterculturally
- We’re asked to turn the other cheek
- We’re asked to love others
- We’re asked to accept others no matter what
And see, that goes against what our culture tells us.
It goes against what our heart sometimes tells us. See, we’re called to be countercultural.
These servants had to be thinking, what are we doing? What are we doing? Why am I going to take water? This guy’s going to fire me. But see, Jesus had something better in store.
Sometimes we have to do things that don’t make sense to us because he has a bigger plan. See, that’s part of trusting in Jesus.
We don’t always understand the plan
We don’t understand why things happen, and we may never understand why things happen, but what we do know is that by faith, we walk with Jesus, and he has the plan. He has a plan for us. When we give ourselves to Jesus in prayer, we may be transformed by the miracles of Jesus.
Sometimes we got to do some weird things to get to the plan.
The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. It says he did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. And then he called the bridegroom aside, this is Jesus’s first miracle. Now, we don’t know where the actual transition took place. We don’t know if it’s when they put the water in, it became wine, or as the servant was carrying it over, did it become wine?
It doesn’t really matter. But what we do know is the servants just said, okay, we’ll do it.
They did exactly what Jesus asked them to do
What did Jesus do in return? He performed a miracle. This is what I love about this story. This is the part I want you to not miss. This is the part that I want you to tune in for just a minute and hear this. If you don’t hear anything else.
The water pots weren’t transformed. What was inside them was transformed.
The miracles of Jesus take place in real life settings you and I can relate to.
That’s the exact same thing that happens to you and me when we give our lives to Jesus Christ. When we’re baptized in the water and we come up out of the water, we don’t look any different. Chances are we might be cleaner. I don’t know, but we don’t look any different now. Do I wish maybe I could be better looking by getting baptized? Of course. But it doesn’t work that way. Is there a physical sign on me once I get baptized, and give my life to Christ? No. I’m just like these pots. From the outside, I probably look exactly the same, but what’s inside gets transformed.
That’s the message that I want you to get. This morning, we’re transformed by Jesus Christ. I went through a period in my life that was really difficult. I had some things happen in my life. And unlike this story where Mary turned to Jesus, I turned away from Jesus. I’m just being transparent this morning. I went through a period of my life that I’m not proud of. I’m not proud of it. I made some mistakes. I did some things that I wish I hadn’t done. Then Jesus did something amazing. He sent Lizzy into my life. After Lizzie and I had been dating for a while, things were fantastic, and things were going great.
Then I said, there’s just something not right. Like our relationship is fantastic, but there’s something missing. We both looked at each other and said, I think we need to go to Church. I started looking up churches in the area, and I was living on the far side of Mission Viejo. I grew up, I was born, and raised in the Church of Christ. So of course, I started searching for a Church of Christ.
I found this Church. Then I walked in the back door of this Church very nervous. I hadn’t been to Church in a long time. Maybe some of you walked in nervous this morning, and I came right down over here and I sat down. About two minutes later, somebody came up and tapped me on the shoulder and said, hey, you’re in my seat. Can you move now? I say that jokingly, but that actually happened. I actually had somebody say, could you move you’re in my seat? I won’t name any names. I did. I moved.
But on my way out of church that morning, I made a connection with the preacher who kind of pulled me aside and said, hey, it’s great to have you here
Is there anything I can be praying for you?
Is there anything I can help you with?
And that started a relationship. Started a relationship that started my journey back to Jesus Christ. It doesn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t like the water into wine. Jesus didn’t just snap his fingers, and I was healed, and I was fixed. It took some time. After I’d been here for a little while, I came right up here, and I stood right about here, and I gave my testimony to the Church, and I asked for prayers, and I rededicated my life to Jesus.
Now, from the outside, I probably didn’t look any different, but what was inside was transformed. I was able to put away those mistakes that I had been making, and I was able to walk away from that life that I had been living. My physical appearance wasn’t any different. Now, my behavior was for sure. But much like the pots, it’s what’s inside that gets transformed. There’s only one person that can do that:
- And it’s not me
- It’s not the elders of our Church
- It’s not the Deacons of our Church
- It’s not the song leaders of our Church
- It’s Jesus Christ
But just like we see in our story today, there are some key factors. There are some key things that need to take place, and that’s what we need:
- To look for Jesus
- To answer Jesus
- To obey Jesus
Verse ten says, everyone, brings out the choice wine first and the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink. But you have saved the best for last, or you have saved the best for now.
See, just like that wine when Jesus makes something, he makes it even better. I chose this image for a reason because this is exactly what happens when you are truly transformed by Jesus, you are new. You are no longer the old self. You are no longer the old person. You are new in Christ. And I thank God every day for that. I thank God every day that I’m not that person that I was. Because I’ll be honest with you, you guys probably wouldn’t like me very much. But see, Jesus came back into my life and he transformed my life. And now he’s using me to help transform other people s lives. See, Jesus made me so much better than I ever could have been on my own. I hate to think where I would be today. If he hadn’t sent Lizzie into my life and we hadn’t found this Church. I don’t know where I would be, but I can guarantee you I wouldn’t be right here talking to you about Jesus. See, Jesus transformed me, and he can transform you, and he can transform your coworkers, and he can transform your neighbors, and he can even transform those people you just can’t stand.
But we have to let him, and we have to invite him in. We finish up our story. It says, What Jesus did in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory and his disciples believed in Him. Put yourself in the shoes of the disciples really quick. These first four followers of Jesus, what do you think they were thinking? Now, keep in mind, fast forward a couple of years, and Jesus has done these 20 or 30 times.
The Apostles were probably just going par for the course he does this kind of stuff. But imagine this very first time your friend invites you to a wedding. Hey, let’s go to the wedding. And then turns water into wine. Imagine what they must have been thinking. And I hope that as you and I read this story this morning, and I hope that as you and I try and process these lessons that we can learn this morning, we are still in awe of the one, true, and living God.
- Are you still in awe today?
- Are you still in awe of Jesus?
I guess not
- I hope that we’re all still in awe of Jesus because guess what?
The same Jesus that did this is the same Jesus that loves you today. And guess what? The miracles of Jesus can still take place today. We’ve seen it happen. We’ve seen it happen right here in this Church. We’ve seen people that said doctors say there’s nothing we can do. This is it. It’s over. And Jesus says, no, not yet. We’ve seen people who are given zero chance be fully recovered by the power of Jesus Christ because he can and will do miracles in your life if you allow Him to transform you so quickly.
The lessons that we learned from today
- Turn to Jesus, not away from Jesus
- Jesus is the one we should obey, without question
- He changes things by His will
- He alone can save us from our sins
- He gives us hope
When bad things happen in your life, when troubles come, because they will right? We’re told in the Bible, that troubles are going to be there. Hard times are going to be there turn to him and not away from him. See, that was the mistake I made. When my life got tough, I turned away from Jesus instead of turning to Jesus. And I lost about eight years of my life because of it. Jesus is the one we should obey without question. And again, that comes from the word of God.
- The miracles of Jesus changes things by his will in this miracle
- Jesus didn’t physically do anything
- He didn’t physically pour the water
- He didn’t physically crush the grapes
- He simply by his will changed water into wine
- He alone can save us from our sin
The best part about it is that we have hope. We have hope that this is not the end. We have hope that this is not where our story stops but we have eternity to spend in the most amazing place that you and I can imagine and experience the miracles of Jesus. See, Jesus has the power to change things by his will if we will simply obey him.
Maybe you’ve never had a chance to obey the gospel
Maybe you’ve never had a chance to be transformed by the love and the power of Jesus Christ
You have an opportunity to do that this morning. In just a moment, I’m going to invite Skeeter to come back up. I’m going to invite our elders to come down to the front
You have an opportunity:
- To be baptized
- To have your past life removed
- To have your past sins taken away
- To arise in newness of life
- To truly just like the pots were being transformed on the inside
and start experiencing the miracles of Jesus in your new walk
Or maybe like me
- You grew up a Christian
- You were a Christian your whole life
- You just went off the rails as I did
Maybe today is that day that you want to say,
- Jesus, please win me back
- Please take me back
- We invite you to come forward
- We would love to talk to you
- We would love to pray for you
- We would love to help you in any way we can
as we stand together and as we sing.
Jesus is at the center of it all from beginning to the end it will always be its always about the miracles of Jesus. Nothing else matters nothing in this world will do Jesus, you’re the center. Everything revolves around you, Jesus.