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A Journey through the book of Genesiswith Willow Creek Community Church

Read John

DAY 2 // THE BEST IN ABUNDANCE

Willow Creek Community Church

 

“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.”

~ JOHN 2:10

 

LISTEN


COMMENTARY

John 2:1-11 records a story about how Jesus helped a friend overcome a social blunder by turning water into wine at a wedding. This miracle is the first of seven “signs” recorded in the book of John that Jesus uses to reveal His glory (John 2:11). Through this miracle, Jesus shows that He is more than just a normal man, He is the Son of God.

Not only this, a number of interesting details in the story suggest that Jesus had a further message He wanted to teach. First, we are told that the context of this miracle is a wedding and that the result of this miracle is wine. Wine and weddings are familiar images from everyday life, but it’s worth noting that in the Bible, these images are often symbolic of abundance and of the last days (Amos 9:13; Revelation 19:7-9). We are also told that Jesus performed this miracle after having “six stone water jars . . . used for ceremonial washing” filled to the brim (John 2:6-7). The number seven is symbolic of wholeness or perfection in the Bible, and we see this used often in the book of John. The number six here gives the sense that there is something imperfect about these jars. This seems significant because these jars were originally designed to restore people to spiritual wholeness through ceremonial washing with the water they contained.

Finally, it’s worth noting that these jars needed to be filled, which implies that they were depleted. This physical description may symbolize a spiritual reality. These jars lacked the power to bring lasting wholeness to people.

Read together, these details may suggest that this miracle was not only intended to put Jesus’ power on display. This first sign was also intended to show that He has the ability to fill what has been emptied and depleted. Jesus provided superior and overflowing wine when it had run dry, and He conveyed that He could fulfill and complete what was inadequate in religious traditions. Jesus’ point is that we may look to many different sources to meet our deepest needs, but He alone can meet our spiritual needs in a lasting way. He offers what is best for us, and He offers it in abundance.


SCRIPTURE

JOHN 1:35–2:25

JOHN’S DISCIPLES FOLLOW JESUS

35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”

They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” 39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.

Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).

JESUS CALLS PHILIP AND NATHANAEL

43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.

47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”

48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”

50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”

JESUS CHANGES WATER INTO WINE

1 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, 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.

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.”

11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.

JESUS CLEARS THE TEMPLE COURTS

13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.


REFLECTION

1. John the Baptist’s purpose in ministry was to prepare the way for Jesus, including preparing Jesus’ first disciples. These disciples were excited and eager to learn from Jesus (John 1:37-38). What is it that you hope to learn from Jesus today? How are you positioning your life to hear from Him?

2. In John 2:23-25, Jesus discerned that the faith of some believers was superficial. He knew that it is human nature to go along with the crowd when everyone else is on board too! It’s easy to live out our faith at church or with our Christian friends, but it’s hard to do in places where it isn’t popular to be a Christ-follower. Where do you struggle to live out your faith? What steps might you need to take to live more boldly?