Updated: Oct 10, 2022
The New Testament - New Wine and The Mission of Christ
Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.
So quick recap from last week - God has sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth to rescue us.
We don't serve a God who is so far removed from our difficulties and pain, emotions and joy. We serve a God who knows this first-hand through His Son, Jesus.
So yes, it's a miracle Jesus came and Jesus died for our sins, but dear friend, oh dear friend... Jesus lived!
And now, Jesus is thirty years old and it is time for Him to begin His ministry on earth.
Going forward, people were astonished because He taught with such authority. Not just as one who knew the Scripture but breathed them, was the fulfillment of them - the living, breathing Word of God.
His ministry is filled with many, many miracles. Truly, as John puts it,
Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the whole world could not contain the books that would be written. - John 21:25
He gives blind their sight, He feeds five thousand, He heals lepers, He raises a friend from the dead. Time and again, we see Him step towards those society and culture deem unworthy. Truly, we see He came for all.
It's beautiful in every way, and goodness, we could talk all of about the miracles of Jesus, but today, I want to focus on the first miracle of His ministry, because again, it was very, very intentional. THIS had to be the first.
While reading the scroll like we talked about last week was His mission statement in words, THIS first miracle was His mission statement in action.
After calling His disciples, Jesus and His disciples are at a wedding in a town called Cana. But there's one little problem... The wine runs out. Mary, knowing Jesus is able to do the impossible, comes to her Son and, as a mother does, she tells Him to do something in as few words as possible, "They have no wine." (I have to believe she gave him that implied look, too. You know the one that says, "Do something about it...")
Jesus tells her His time has not yet come and she turns to the servants helping with the wedding and says, "Do whatever he tells you."
Hey, when Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
I kid but only because I so love the natural Mother-Son relationship we see between them. Jesus was REAL. He was human. He had a mother who knew Him and raised Him and, because of their intimate bond, she could ask things of Him others wouldn't. All you Momma's boys know what I'm talkin' about!
Seeing six stone water jars (very large - each holding twenty or thirty gallons), Jesus instructs the servants to fill each one to the brim with water and then draw some out and take to the master of the feast.
Not knowing his wine was water Jesus had turned to wine, the master of the feast calls for the bridegroom and can't help himself - the wine is so delicious, he says, "Usually people serve the best wine first and save the cheap stuff for the end, but you have saved the best for last!"
So why was this important as the first miracle? How was this His mission statement in action?
Well, first, the wine is significant. Jesus is using wine to point to the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah. Jeremiah had foretold:
...they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord— the grain, the new wine... - Jeremiah 31:12
A wedding is a time of rejoicing and this was new wine Jesus provided. Once more, Amos also foretold:
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when... New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills, and I will bring my people Israel back from exile... They will plant vineyards and drink their wine... I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God. - Amos 9:13-15
By Jesus performing His first miracle at a wedding, He is pointing to the covenant God made with His people. In the same way a husband gives his life for his wife, Jesus is the bridegroom and gave His life for His bride, the church - us.
Because many were trying to arrest and kill Him before His appointed time, He taught through parables. These were stories based on the practices of the ancient culture. Basically, He talked about sheep, because His audience knew about sheep. He'd talk about pearls of great value because... yep! His audience knew about this.
Within each parable is a deeper meaning. Not everyone who heard understood what Jesus was teaching. They'd hear only the surface-level, but the truth about the kingdom of God was much deeper, held within in the layers of the story.
Later in His ministry, Jesus is asked why the Pharisees (the conservative religious leaders) fast but His disciples do not. Jesus explains how the guests of the bridegroom mourn not when the bridegroom is with them but when he is gone. This is when they will fast, pointing to the truth in Ecclesiastes that there is a time for everything. The Jewish culture had linked fasting to mourning and saw a wedding as a time of celebration.
Jesus goes on to teach using an example of wineskins. In their culture, they would use animal skins to hold liquid. Fermented drinks, like wine, would expand, and the old wineskin, having already been stretched to its limit, would tear if new wine was held inside.
Knowing this, Jesus explains how
"...they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” - Matthew 9:17
Jesus is teaching them that God is doing something new. He came to preserve us! To save us from death and give us eternal life. To experience this, we must be made new and be born again into new life with Him.
The new wine He is speaking of is the gift of the Holy Spirit and if we are to be able to hold this gift within us, we must put off our old, sinful selves and put on the righteousness of Christ. We are to follow His ways.
While we better understand why Jesus came, I encourage you to join me this week and spend some time reading more about the life of Jesus - both the miracles He performed and the parables He taught.
We'll chat soon!
May we find strength in the Word of God. May our joy for reading scripture grow as we intentionally choose to set aside time to spend reading it each day. May our peace overflow as the Word of God reads us and changes us from the inside out. Then, we will know rest this world can't give.
Remember how we said 5 minutes a day can change your day, your life and even your eternity? Well, here's what I'll be reading this week. I really hope you'll join me!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
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