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Jesus Unfiltered - Believe
When life gets really hard, because of choices you've made, or circumstances in which you find yourself, wouldn't it be great to know you've got the source of all wisdom and strength right there with you? That's what Jesus promised you could have. That's what He longs to do for you. Knowing the real Jesus is the most important relationship you will ever have. Chip Ingram reveals, from Scripture, who Jesus really is and how you can have this relationship - beginning today and for forever!More from this series
We all have a filter or a mental picture of Jesus that we have gotten through life, and even when we read the Bible, when we hear a message, it goes through this mental filter.
If you look on the front of your notes, I want to give you a little quiz. And I want to examine, maybe a filter that you and I may have and so, here’s the question, and just your first answer, don’t spiritualize this, I am going to go through a few questions I put together…
I want you to ask and answer: Which is the easiest for you to picture? You’re just trying to mentally picture something in your mind. Which is easier to picture about Jesus? Number one: Jesus praying or Jesus partying? Jesus looking holy or Jesus laughing loudly? Jesus sipping a cup of tea or Jesus drinking a glass of wine? Jesus frowning at your mistake with His arms crossed or Jesus smiling at you with understanding after you just made a mistake? Jesus calm and reserved or Jesus in an outburst of anger?
Of these so far, which are easiest for you to picture in your mind? Finally, Jesus keeping the peace – a religious leader, or Jesus causing a riot – a radical revolutionary?
See, I am going to suggest without even knowing you, just in the culture that we live in, most of us, with the exception of a few of you, we would go down through and say, the thing you said first, I could picture in my mind pretty easily. Him belly laughing? Him really enjoying a glass of wine? Him at a party going, “Hey! I got the next dance!” Right? He did! He did!
He was a radical revolutionary! He started His ministry, as we have already heard at a humongous party. He laughed loudly. He was funny. He was great to be around. Was He calm? Was He holy? Was He all the rest? Yeah.
Here is the deal – the question on the bottom – could it be that our filters are blinding us to the real Jesus of the Bible? Could it be that you just have unconsciously thought about Him in such a way, just like those people unconsciously thought about me – I’ve got news, I’m not that tall, I’m not bald. And I am older. But that’s me! And I’ve got news for you. Jesus laughed deeply.
Jesus celebrated life. Jesus was a radical revolutionary. Jesus was strong and bold and courageous. And in a moment of outburst of righteous anger, was violent.
And that’s not the Jesus who we have in the little picture books. So we are going to discover the unfiltered Jesus in John chapter 2. And to do that, we are going to do a little review. Because part of my journey, remember? I long for us to go through the gospel of John, I long for you to see Jesus for who He is, this authorized biography, but I want you to learn to do this on your own.
Now, three questions you ask, do you remember this? When you’re going to study the Bible, you always ask three questions: What does it say? What does it mean? And what does it mean to me? Do you remember that?
And so, what I would like to do, let’s just start and ask this question: What does John chapter 2, and then write the word, say? What does it say? Just what actually does it say? The context is chapter 1 ended after we heard about His preexistence and His deity, He recruits five disciples.
So as chapter 2 opens up, Jesus has just started His ministry, He has recruited five of His disciples, and He is traveling, and they are following along with Him.
As you read the entire chapter, you would see there are two very specific sections. Section one is Jesus with His five disciples go to a wedding feast, and we will learn about it, and a miracle happens and it’s the first miracle.
Section two, He goes to Jerusalem to the Passover where there is first a wedding, then there is a whipping. He takes some cords together and He drives out moneychangers, He turns over tables, He is livid with what is happening there.
And so, what I want us to do is I want to, remember? If you’re going to do observations, you want to read through it quickly first. And all we want to do is just get an overview together.
“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana in Galilee. And the mother of Jesus was there and Jesus was invited to the wedding with His disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever He tells you.’ Now, there were six stone jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, holding about twenty or thirty gallons each.
“Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water;’ and they filled them to the brim. And He said to them, ‘Now draw out some and take it to the master of the feast.’ So they took it out and when the master of the feast tasted the water now that had become wine, and he didn’t know where it came from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew, the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first and when people have drunk freely, then they serve the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ This, the first of His signs,” literally, miraculous signs, “Jesus did at Cana of Galilee and manifested His glory,” and something happened to the disciples, “and His disciples believed in Him.”
And then there is a little segue, “After this, He went down to Capernaum,” we will learn it became His headquarters, “with His mother and His brothers and His disciples and they stayed there for a few days.”
Scene number two. “The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple He found those who were there selling oxen and sheep and pigeons and moneychangers were sitting there. And making a whip out of cords, He drove them all out of the Temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers and He overturned their tables and He told those who sold the pigeons, ‘Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of trade!’ His disciples remembered what was written:” actually, it’s Psalm 69:9, “‘Zeal for Your house will consume You.’
“So the Jews said to Him, ‘What sign do You show us for these doings?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, in three days I will raise it up.’ And the Jews said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and You will raise it up in three days?’ But He was speaking about the temple of His body. When, therefore, He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this and they believed,” notice, “the Scriptures and the word that Jesus had spoken.”
Now, after He clears the Temple, notice there is a little sidelight… He hung around. “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in His name when they saw,” literally, “the signs,” or, “miraculous signs that He was doing. But Jesus on His part did not entrust Himself to them, because He knew the people and He needed no one to bear witness about Him, for He Himself knew what was in man.”
Have you got the overview? And so, once you do the overview, then the next thing you want to do, what does it say? Observation. So let me just go through and quickly make some observations that you, with a legal pad; or I, with a legal pad and an open Bible – I mean, this isn’t rocket science. It’s not something spiritual. Just, What does it actually say? So let’s look and see what it says.
What we learned in the wedding section is a host runs out of wine. Jesus’ mother requests help. Jesus instructs the servants. The water supernaturally turns to wine. Only the disciples and the servants are aware of the miracle. The miracle is Jesus’ very first miracle and it’s called a “sign.” We’ll learn a little bit later there are four different words for a “miracle.” One is a sign, another is a wonder. There are two other Greek words.
And they all have a different emphasis. They are saying something supernatural happened, but as we will learn a little bit later, this supernatural thing happens, but it’s not just to turn the water into the wine. It is a pointer, it is a sign, it is communicating a deeper spiritual truth.
The disciples see Jesus in a new light, and they believe. Now, we know – what? Remember the context. We found the Messiah! So they believe intellectually. They talk with Him. He tells them some things. There are five of them and they are walking with Him.
So they believe at one level, and now they have seen a miracle. Now they are believing at yet a deeper level as they are beginning to see His power as well as His words.
Scene number two. What can we observe? In the whipping, Jesus goes to the Passover in Jerusalem. By the way, every adult male nineteen years and older who lived within fifteen miles of Jerusalem was required to attend. Jesus drives out the animals and the moneychangers, Jesus calls the Temple His Father’s house.
His authority is challenged by the Pharisees and the religious leaders, Jesus performs many miracles, many people believe on His name, and Jesus knows men’s hearts.
All I want you to see, if you are going to get the unfiltered Jesus, the real Jesus, not the Jesus that you have created in your mind, not the Jesus that you have heard someone teach or talk about, not the Jesus in a book, not the Jesus in a novel, not the Jesus of your church background. But the Jesus that is unfiltered, the God that came to earth and lived as a little baby and lived a perfect life, who was born of a virgin, who died upon a cross, rose from the dead, who is living and sitting at the right hand of the Father and who will come again and who lived on the earth and came – what did we learn?
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And that He came to His own, but those who were His own rejected Him. But to as many as received Him, He gives the right to become the children of God.”
And now in John we have the real story of the real Jesus. Who He really is, why He really came, and now what does that mean to you?
So step one is you just say, “What does it say?” But you can’t stop there. The second question you need to ask is: What does chapter 2 mean? We are talking about interpretation. What does it really mean?
Well, when you want to know what something means, you need to start asking questions of the passage. Because, remember, there were two boxes we talked about. First century, John is writing to a group of people, what did it mean to them on that day when he wrote it and the scrolls were sent to all the churches in 90 A.D.?
And then a little bit later we are going to ask ourselves, Okay, great, we need to fully understand what it meant. The author’s intent. And then, what are the timeless principles – what does it mean to us?
And so here are some questions that I began, I had a few more as I was studying. But here are just some questions that if you’re going to understand about the wedding, here are some questions, probably, we should address.
Why did Jesus launch His movement here?
The second question is: What are we to make of the conversation with His mother?
Third question would be: What significance is there in these six stone jars? What were they used for? Why does the author tell us there are six of them?
Four: What underlying spiritual implications are we to grasp?
And then, finally: How did this miracle position or launch His ministry with the disciples?
Notice as you look at the passage here. It says, “On the third day there is a wedding.” Let me give you a picture of what a wedding was like. It was the most joyous occasion, especially in a village. Most villages were pretty poor.
A wedding could last anywhere from one or two days to seven days. The way it would happen is they would have a year-long betrothal period. It was a legal betrothal period that was actually as important as the wedding itself.
After a year, the husband, during that year time, he would prepare a place, women were living with their family, under their father’s life and all the rest. And so when the actual day came, then they would take the longest route with torches in the evening and they would walk all the way through the village so everyone could come.
So this huge feast is coming. They would do all the legal documents and then they would have seven days and instead of going on a honeymoon, they literally hung around, especially if it was a big wedding, for seven days. And everyone would bring oil and wine, all the children would get nuts. And it was just like a huge, big party for seven days.
When you read the passage carefully, it says, “Jesus was invited to the wedding.” The word “invite” is singular. Okay? Jesus was invited.
Have you ever invited someone to a party and they come with five of their friends? Right? This is what happened. “We are going to run out of drinks, we’re going to run out of chips, we’re going to run out of food, what are we going to do? What are we going to do?”
And Mary, probably is either related or a very, very close friend. And in Eastern culture, there is nothing more humiliating or embarrassing than not to be able to offer hospitality. In fact, lavish hospitality. And so running out of wine is not like, “Oh, someone run down to the Seven-Eleven or the mini mart and get some…” No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Everyone was to bring wine and bring oil. Now Jesus comes with five friends, He is coming near the end, and they are out of stuff. And Mary says, “Oh man, this is a crisis,” because when you run out, the bride and the bridegroom would suffer humiliation and shame in front of the whole village. So it’s a big issue.
Notice the text said, “Woman.” Actually, it wasn’t impolite at all. When He says, “Woman,” the NIV, it says, “Dear woman,” because they want to give you this sense, it was a kind expression of respect. It’s an idiomatic expression, “What does this have to do with me?” It’s not harsh. Literally, I wrote down, The literal rendering would be something that goes like this: “Your concern and my concern are not the same thing. My hour has not yet come.”
He will use that same phrase five more times in the book. And then toward the end of the book, remember when He prays? “Father, My hour has come.” Jesus wants us to know, from the very beginning, there is a very clear path and a very clear purpose for His life.
His mother clearly knows who He is from day one. She knows now, here is the rabbi, He now has a following. “Fix this problem.” Her concern is wine and embarrassment. He said, “We are on different pages. My concern, I’m going to launch a movement, I am going to do My thing My way to fulfill My agenda.” And so she kind of, “Whatever He says.”
And so, He says to them, “The six water jars.” They are out of sight, you might wonder, cultural context. If you came to this party, you would have sandals and your feet would be dusty and dirty. These six are big jars, about thirty gallons each. Twenty to thirty gallons.
And they would wash their feet with them. And then later, before you would eat, you would ceremonially wash your hands and then in between each course, you would wash your hands again. And it was about Jewish purification. It wasn’t about germs. They didn’t know about germs.
It was about, This is what you do to be holy. There are six jars. Okay? Now, some of you are going to start, it’s going to connect. Seven is a word of perfection in Judaism. Six is a word of unfinished. You know, six, six, six. All those numbers. It’s the number of man.
The jars are used for what? External religious rites of that which is unfinished. The water miraculously turns into wine. Who does He reveal it to? Servants and disciples. The master of the ceremonies were near the end. Now get this. This is really good. It’s going to make some of you uncomfortable, but others very, very happy.
If a glass is a half a pint and we go with the low equation, He turns a hundred and fifty gallons into wine. That’s two thousand four hundred glasses of a half pint of the very best wine.
This party is going to go on. It’s lavish! What is the underlying, what is He saying? “I’m going to take that which is used for washing off, that people think make them holy because of what they do on the outside and I’m going to lavishly, graciously give them something on the inside,” and when you take wine in, joy and wine were synonymous. The rabbis would say, “If there is no wine, there is no celebration, there is no life.”
And it was the picture of prosperity, of joy, and of gladness.