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  • Writer's pictureLou Hernández

SERIES: STRETCHED BY THE MIRACULOUS -WATER INTO WINE - John 2:1-11 - July 23, 2023

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

MESSAGE BY PASTOR DANIEL PARK FROM

BETHANY BAPTIST IN RICHMOND, BC.

Belief or faith is not something you just “do.”

  • It takes effort, to be warmed up into it, that is, stretched.

That’s where miracles come in.

  • Jesus’ miracles are not just meant to WOW us into believing.

  • Not even to produce faith or belief - because then the miracles become the end

    • And we end up chasing miracles endlessly.

John 20:30-31

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


Miracles are signs.

  • Show progress and direction

  • Force us to slow down

  • Help us assess, evaluate and answer the questions we have: Where am I? How am I doing? Where am I going?

  • The signs are never the objective, but help us to our destination:

    • So that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name.

    • so that you may continue to believe

In Christ, God meets and walks with us through the everyday water moments and even times of drought.

  • And God leads and orchestrates us into the wine moments.

  • Not just any wine, but NEW, miraculous wine.

My prayer is that we will be stretched to believe in Jesus as the Saviour who helps us have a loving relationship with God.

  • For us to be stretched in our belief in Jesus to embrace the miraculous life God desires for us.

  1. Mary

John 2

1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.

Few things to take note of:

  • In John 1:43, we read that Jesus goes to Galilee 2 days before the wedding where He calls Phillip to follow Him

1. “On the third day”

“On the 3rd day”, maybe a coincidence and in this passage does not have too much bearing

.But if you know anything about Jesus, “On the 3rd day” is a loaded phrase and idea

.In fact, this short time of waiting before a miracle happens is a low-key, but persistent thing that we will see a few times in our new series going through the miracles of Jesus in the Book of John.

.It also sounds like Mary, the mother of Jesus has a vested interest in the wedding

.Mary was already at the wedding, possibly helping

.Later takes it upon herself to help solve the problem when they run out of wine by taking the matter to Jesus.

.-Bringing us to the main crux of today’s passage In Mary, we see prayer and the traditional expectation and view of God

  • When you have a problem, take it to the Lord in prayer

  • Mary asking Jesus for help with the wine takes us back to Lord’s Prayer,

    • Where we are taught to pray for our daily bread - the food we need for the day ahead

  • Almost automatic in expectation

  • Absolutely correct, especially for Mary who knows WHO Jesus is

  • She knows and had known through an angel and being the vessel of a miracle

  • But not everyone is as fortunate as Mary

Sometimes we don’t realize the breadth of what is possible with God beyond what WE think and imagine

  • And so we limit God in our lives

  • We decide when to go to God when we decide we need Him for something

  • We ask God to do whatever we tell Him

In verses 4-5, we read this interesting interaction between Mary and Jesus.

Mary: “They have no more wine.”

Jesus: “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”

Mary: “Do whatever he tells you.” - to the servants.

Jesus’ reply to Mary probably requires a bit of explanation.

  • It’s confusing and looking at the verse in 4 different versions will further illustrate this:

    • ESV: “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”

    • NLT: “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

    • KJV: “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.”

    • NKJV: “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

Generally, what I have found in my studies since seminary is that the KJV is the best literal translation while still sounding good

  • Besides the thees and thous of old English

When Jesus calls Mary “Woman,” he’s being formal, not rude or impersonal - as the NLT expresses well.

And then the next phrase, I think the NKJV draws out the meaning the best

  • “What does your concern have to do with Me?”

    • Meaning, “How does the lack of wine at this wedding concern me?”

    • Not that Jesus doesn’t care…

  • But because “My hour has not yet come.”

    • The “hour” refers to what Jesus will achieve on the cross

    • The purpose for which He came to the world.

Jesus turns what could be a trivial request into something more.

  • Trivial like praying for our daily bread - our next meal.

  • Jesus embraces Mary’s request to help with a very earthly o worldly matter and works it to reveal His glory that leads people to save faith.

  • Which is exactly what John is getting at with the 7 miraculous signs he highlights

  • And this new sermon series is all about.

I think Jesus’ question to Mary is a good question to be asked when we are praying for a miracle or for God to intervene in some way.

  • because I think it can reveal the true motivator and object of our prayers and expectations.

  • The miracle, or the miracle worker?

What do we REALLY think about Jesus and what He can do

  • This may sound weird, but are you a Christian by personal choice or brain-washing?

  • Brainwashed with the best of intentions by the best and most loving people in our lives

  • Still, possibly a faith that is un-stretched and untested.

Or you might be completely on the sideline - with no skin in the game as they say.

You may not have personally experienced miracles - though I believe our rational minds often minimize things we do not understand to be coincidences or luck.

  • But you know and have heard people talk about miracles they have seen and experienced

I can tell you one now.

I was conceived when my mother was so ill she wasn’t supposed to be able to bear a child. On top of that, I was born so prematurely that the doctors did not think I would be able to live, and told my mother to prepare herself. While I was in an incubator a pastor from our church at the time came and prayed over me. And maybe that gave my mum courage, but she demanded that she be allowed to hold her baby at least once before he dies and to release me to her since they have no idea and were just waiting. Praise God I didn’t die and stand here before you as a miracle!

I used to think there is a wrong or bad way to pray - that will make it meaningless

  • And there kind of is

  • James 4:3 says “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”

  • Still, it doesn’t say, “Don’t ask.”

  • God decides whether He answers or not, or how.

  • Every prayer IS answered: Yes, no, not yet.

If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.

  • So ask God in Jesus's name

  • And HE will work it in ways more than we can think or imagine

We can learn from Mary’s attitude: Do whatever Jesus tells us.

  • This will set us up to receive and experience the power of God in our lives

2. Servants


John 2

6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom

You probably heard that Asian cultures are honour-shame based

  • As an Asian myself, the simplest way I can put it is that people work hard to convey and maintain a “good reputation” for themselves and their families.

  • Weddings are perfect to illustrate this:

    • In Korea, people would sometimes ask “famous” pastors to officiate their weddings

    • Families with means will pay for and book celebrities to speak or perform at their weddings

I’ve counselled a few inter-cultural and racial couples for pre-marital counselling and the biggest thing I stress to the Westerner is that in Korea, the wedding is not primarily ABOUT the bride and groom

  • The wedding is not actually FOR the bride and groom

  • The wedding is for the families

So looking good is important - sometimes the most important thing


For an Asian wedding to run out of food in the middle of the wedding would be disastrous for the families involved

You would never hear the end of it:

  • Why did you even think to get married when you can’t afford to put on a wedding

  • How are you going to manage a household, have kids… etc…

  • ONE mistake or misfortune defines your entire life in the eyes of people.

So the situation at the wedding in Cana is NOT trivial!

  • The honour-shame culture even extended to the servants and slaves as well

  • For better or worse.

I have heard people talk positively about the obedience of the servants at the wedding in Cana and how promptly they acted

But I have a different take.

  • Weren’t they just doing exactly as they should have?

  • Nothing more, nothing less

  • And They had the inside scoop on what and how it happened but lacked further response beyond what they were TOLD to do

  • It did not affect them in any way that we are aware of.

I wouldn't call this obedience, but more like an obligation

  • Or habit, requirement

Which unfortunately is how a lot of our youth who grow up in the church feel about the church and spirituality.

  • How unfortunate and sad that being able to know God the Creator who loves us could be like a chore.

  • That it becomes a chore!

Or people think of God as a religion - something to believe in because we need a crutch to help us go through life.

  • “Jesus is the religion that YOU need.”

  • Treating Jesus as someone we go to a get something we need.

As amazing as miracles are, people easily discount them by focusing on the result - the thing that happened.

  • But what John is trying to emphasize to us is that miracles are only revelations.

  • Revelations of God working in our world and lives through Jesus

Jesus’ miracles show that He is not just the figurehead of a religion or a very powerful man.

  • Jesus is the presence of God in the world

  • He came to transform what we do religiously and out of habit.

  • To refocus us onto God who created us to have an everlasting relationship with Him.

Jesus also wants to transform us through a relationship with Him.

  • This is what experiencing God really means.

  • The closer we are to God, the more we become like Him - as He intended all along.

  • That’s what the stone water jars represent

The stone water jars were used for regular ceremonial washing for purification.

  • Being “clean” was very important to Jews because it was like being worthy and closer to God.

  • The jars had to be stone because the stone is considered pure and cannot be made ceremonially unclean.

  • These stone jars that served a boring and static function are now miraculously used to bring joy and celebration

  • The jars themselves couldn’t do much except what they’ve always done - hold water.

  • But touched by Jesus, it holds and pours out the wine.

  • Not just any old wine, but NEW WINE

After reading or hearing about the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine, it might be easy to simply respond by saying,

  • “I wonder what else He could do!”

  • Water into beer? Margarita? Whiskey? Gold?

  • To this, Jesus would ask, “My good man, or dear woman, what or how does that concern have to do with Me? I do not “PERFORM” miracles!

  • I came to help you have a relationship with GOD in everlasting life

  • I came to give you a miraculous life.

Jesus came so that we would be new, perfect vessels to hold new wine.

  1. Disciples

The master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

I started watching “The Chosen,” a recent adaptation of the life of Jesus. And I love how the show tries to fill in, between the lines of the Gospels to help build the world and time of Jesus.

  • It does a lot to help us understand and place ourselves “there.”

  • I wanted to show you a short clip of the first few followers of Jesus chatting at the wedding in Cana.

Have you ever wondered how you may have responded to Jesus if you are around during Jesus’ time?

  • Would you have been one of His followers?

  • Or like one of the Pharisees?

The Israelites have been waiting for the Messiah for ages but most of them missed Him completely.

  • They had an IDEA of what He would be like that they believed in.

  • And that contributed to them missing the signs.

  • It’s ironic that throughout the Gospels, the Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign multiple times to prove His identity,

    • WHILE Jesus is going around miraculously healing people and driving out demons.

EVERYONE believes something about Jesus

  • Whether they believe IN Him or not

  • And even for professing Christians, it’s easy to believe wrongly

  • Which is why it is important we continually fill ourselves with the Truth of Scripture.

There are 2 kinds of believing in:

  • One is the, “I believe in you!” When one is a spectator on the sideline.

    • It doesn’t require you to do anything, really.

  • Another is what John is desiring for everyone - when you are a participant and burdened with the truth of what you believe in.

    • This requires some work on people’s part - not work you have to do or achieve,

    • But a kind of cost

    • Dietrich Bonhoeffer called it the Cost of Discipleship.

“Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.


Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, and the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly. After all, it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: "ye were bought at a price," and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

The cost is life, for life.

  • But they are not equal.

  • Temporal life on earth for eternal life in heaven.

  • Life of the Son of God for yours and mine.

It’s very proper that one of Jesus’ first revelations of His glory and identity is at a wedding

  • Because that is how the people of Israel expected the heaven or coming of the Messiah would be like.

  • A huge banquet celebration.

A life in celebration is the promise and destination for those who follow the signs and finds the Way and the Truth.


When you hear and read about the blind receiving their sight and the lame walking, lepers cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised back to life, and the poor have good news preached to them.

  • When it happens to you now,

  • What is your response?

  • Does your curiosity end at the acts themselves, like the servants at the wedding?

    • “Phew, that was close, that baby almost died!” What a lucky baby and mum!

  • I’m asking you, like the disciple John, to take an extra step and consider the cause behind the miracles.

  • And see the signs pointing you to Jesus, the Messiah.

Jesus's Mother received Him at the wedding

of Cana (Series The Chosen)





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