The Joy of the Lord

December 31, 2018

John 2:1-11

God is so often misrepresented. When Jesus came, this was happening in the extreme. The religious leaders, intent on their own agenda, were burdening people with guilt and condemnation, making God out to be angry with them. But that is not at all the picture of God that Jesus revealed.

In Jesus’ day and culture, a wedding could last a week. As my friend Jon Courson writes, “It was sort of a family reunion, a wedding shower, a bachelor party, a wedding, and a honeymoon all rolled into one” (Jon Courson’s Application Commentary). At the wedding that Jesus and His disciples attended in Cana, the hosts ran out of wine. This would have been extremely embarrassing, even disgraceful, in Middle Eastern culture. The bridegroom was in a quandary.

The First Miracle

When Mary noticed this, she said to Jesus, “They have no wine” (John 2:3). Mary knew what very few did: her Son was the Messiah. Jesus told His mother, “My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). But Mary evidently sensed that Jesus was going to do something. She told the servants standing nearby, “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5).

Jesus looked at six large stone water pots and told the servants to fill them with water and then to take some of the contents to the master of ceremonies. They did so, and the master of ceremonies, surprised, told the bridegroom, “You have kept the good wine until now!” (John 2:10).

His Divine Nature

John refers to this first miracle of Jesus as a sign. Jesus’ purpose in using signs was to take people beyond the miracle itself and to show them something behind it—and this is what Jesus did here.

First—and we’ll see this throughout the Gospel of John—Jesus revealed His divine nature. In creating something from nothing, He did something that only God could. This pointed to His true nature: the Messiah of Israel.

God Wants To Bless People

Jesus also showed that God wants to bless people’s lives. The religious leaders were hypocrites: the Sadducees were in collusion with the Romans and only wanted money, and the Pharisees were self-righteous legalists. The leaders gave people the impression that God was anxious to judge them because of their weaknesses and failures and sins. In providing wine for the wedding party, Jesus demonstrated God’s desire to impart joy to people. God wants to keep us from destruction, yes, but not from good things. Jesus came to give us abundant life (see John 10:10). Whenever Jesus comes into a situation or a fellowship or a family or a life, He brings joy and blessing and peace.

God Uses the Ordinary

Finally, Jesus demonstrated that God uses ordinary objects to do extraordinary things. Until the moment that Jesus pointed to those stone water pots and said, “Fill them with water,” it’s likely that nobody looked twice at them. There they sat, empty and ill-esteemed, having nothing to do with the décor or function of the festival. But when Jesus made use of them, suddenly what had been totally insignificant became the vehicle through which blessing came.

You might be like those water pots. You might think, Nobody knows I exist. I come to church every week but sit on the sidelines, overlooked. The Lord sees you. And at the opportune moment—you never know when—He will suddenly say, “Fill that pot right there.”

Filled with the Word of God

As ordinary people like you and me are filled up with the water of the Word of God, it brims over from our lives, and God transforms it into the wine of joy. At the given moment in God’s sovereign plan, the wine of God’s joy and of His Holy Spirit will overflow. From there it will spread and touch the lives of many.

If you feel sad or lonely or overlooked, fill yourself with the Word of God. Let it overflow your life and run over the brim. Then watch and see what happens. The Spirit of God and the joy of the Lord will fill you in a fresh way, and He will overflow from you into the lives of others.