February 25

Since the Gospel of John was written as an apologetic, let me briefly state that the secular world has attacked Christianity in the area of our Canon (rule) of Scripture. The Canon is the 66 Old and New Testament books that were evaluated against strict criteria to ensure they belonged in the compilation known as the Bible. Books like the Epistle of James were debated intensely due to doctrinal questions. The goal of the church councils was to be as careful and detailed as possible, to seek God’s guidance, and to not just accept erroneous writings as Scripture.

For a nice exposé on this topic, check out: https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/canon.cfm

Now, keeping with this apologetic theme, you will notice that some churches and many secular sources try to claim that there are missing books, or that Constantine chose the current Canon and kept out “legitimate” Scriptures, such as the Gospel of Thomas (e.g. The DaVinci Codebook and movie presented this “fact” to the masses and influenced the beliefs of many). But when you read many of these spurious accounts of Jesus’ life, you see Him doing all sorts of bizarre miracles and activities. You can easily see why they were not counted as Scripture.

I mention this all for an important reason: You can have full assurance that the 66 books of our Bible are complete, that God is not providing us new revelation right now, that there is no missing revelation from His holy Scriptures, and that these illegitimate attacks from outside sources are just that—illegitimate. One of the ways we know this is right there in our passage this week:

  • John 2:11 This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.

Turning water into wine is His first miracle. Besides John telling us that, just think what kind of circus Nazareth would have been if Jesus was a wonder boy miracle worker as a child! Yet, Jesus remained incognito for about 30 of His years on earth and only now in Chapter 2 begins to use miracles to substantiate His preaching ministry and to validate Who He is.

  1. A concern for many church researchers and pastors nowadays is the scores of people abandoning church, many of these even having grown up in church. There is a strong appeal to Eastern religions for a Gnostic-like higher spirituality that is drawing some away. For others there is the allure of secular atheism since it removes many of the moral restraints that God places on believers. Still, others have had such weak, shallow grounding in the Word that when things go bad in life, they give up hope since God didn’t give them health, wealth, prosperity, etc.
    1. Think of how John’s emphasis on proving Jesus is the Messiah at the wedding in Cana helps strengthen your faith and walk with Christ: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. Break down the story and think:
      1. Who created the world and everything in it? _______________________________________________________
      2. Who changed the water into wine? _______________________________________________________
  • Who then has power over each detail over your life, not letting anything escape His attention, not surprised when bad things occur, working each moment for His glory and your sanctification and growth? ___________________________________________________________
  1. And, Who holds the eternal future of your soul in His hand, promising an eternal home, judgment on the lost yet blessings on the redeemed? ___________________________________________________________
  2. Thus, Who infinitely loves and cares for you? ___________________________________________________________
  1. Do you fully trust God’s holy, infallible, inerrant, authoritative and complete Word? (be honest with yourself here as I know some people have doubts) ___________________________________________________________
    1. Ask God to reveal Himself now to you through His Word, and to build up your faith.
    2. Keep reading it. If 30 chapters is too much right now, then try 20. Listen to it on CD or online. Take in as much as possible as only God’s Word holds the Words of Life, Peace, Joy, Comfort, Encouragement, Conviction, and Love!
  2. We’ve talked in the past about the Fundamentals of the faith. Now, there is a severe difference between modern-day “Fundamentalism” amongst Baptists and the original Fundamentalism of 100 years ago (we won’t go into that here, but just be aware that today’s “Fundamentalism” is often cultish and fraught with theological errors). However, the Five Fundamentals of 100 years ago emphasized an area that secularized liberal “Christianity” loved to attack: Miracles!
    1. The virgin birth, Jesus walking on water and healing people, raising Lazarus from the dead as well as His own resurrection of from the dead, are various miracles in the Bible. A miracle is God-produced which is why it cannot be explained.
      1. Are there miracles in the Bible you have difficultly accepting? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. The doctrine of salvation is the supreme miracle of mankind:
      1. We, like the wedding party of John 2, are thirsty (cf. John 4:13-14; 7:37; Isaiah 55:1; and Revelation 22:17).
      2. But, in our lost condition we are empty waterpots (II. Corinthians 4:7; II. Timothy 2:20-21).
  • Water is a picture of the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26; John 15:3). Thus, we need to be filled with God’s Word so that Christ will perform the miracle of salvation.
  1. We are changed by the power of the Word, just as Christ changed water into wine. In Acts 8:26-40, Philip filled the Ethiopian up with God’s Word and he was converted that day and left rejoicing.
  2. Jesus arrived in Cana on the third day. Later He would rise from the dead on the third day to conquer death so that we might experience eternal life (see II. Corinthians 5:17).
  3. And, Jesus’ miracle here was the “beginning of miracles” during His ministry. Your salvation and mine are the “beginning of miracles” for each of us, for God continues to perform miracles in our lives to bring Him glory.
  1. Reflect now on the miracle of your salvation and note here how God accomplished it: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. What other miracles has He performed in your life? They may not appear dramatic, but each day we experience His grace which is the greatest miracle of all. So, think of some of the ways He has blessed you by working miracles in your daily life: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

As We Gather at Your Table Hymn by Carl Daw

  1. As we gather at your table, and we listen

to your word, help us know, O God, your presence;

let our hearts and minds be stirred. Nourish us with

sacred story till we claim it as our own;

teach us through this holy banquet

how to make Love’s vict’ry known.

 

  1. Turn our worship into witness in the sacrament

of life; send us forth to love and serve you,

bringing peace where there is strife. Give us, Christ, your

great compassion to forgive as you forgave;

may we still behold your image

in the world you died to save.

 

  1. Gracious Spirit, help us summon other guests to

share the feast where triumphant Love will welcome

those who had been last and least. There no more will

envy blind us nor will pride our peace destroy,

as we join with saints and angels

to repeat the sounding joy.