Johns Gospel: Missing the Messiah
Reading through John’s gospel, you can easily be forgiven for simply reading it as a series of unrelated stories and accounts. An introduction of who Jesus is, the introduction of his ministry on Earth, and now a celebration at a local wedding. But John’s gospel account is anything but that. What you will begin to see while you meditate on it, is that just below the surface, within the subtext, there are more layers.
For years Christians have fiercely debated that the very nature of humanity isn’t simply “survival of the fittest”, and that our lives aren’t only “eat, sleep and repeat”. But how do you emphasise the joyousness and the fullness of life in relationship with the Father, to those who haven’t experienced it themselves?
John’s audience would be intimately familiar with the legalistic ceremonial cleaning rituals, as well as the significance of water being central to life and health. The ancient stories in their bones of their liberation from Egypt, where Yahweh turned the water in the Nile to blood would certainly not have been lost on them either. Remarkably, Jesus highlights the danger and futility within “ritual” itself by showing us that ritual is pointless unless it leads to “knowing”, and that central to our humanity is something more joyous than simply “existing”. How many of us are caught focusing on the ritual without seeing the truth?
Jesus turns water into wine to show us that life is a celebration – and that it is here for us to have now, and given in abundance. Find out, as Lead Pastor Stuart Starr brings us this new message from John 2, why humanity can’t thrive on bread and water alone, but by having abundance in Christ.
7:1 Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders, 4 and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) 5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, (ESV)
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. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
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 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. (ESV)