90 Days with Jesus, Day 7: John 2:1-11: Something (One) Better

John 2:1-11

1On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4″Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.” 5His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. 8Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9and 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 10and 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.” 11This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

When I was in college, I took a semester long class on the book of Acts. As part of the semester’s requirements, I had to produce 10 sermon outlines from the book of Acts. Recently, the church secretary was sorting through some of my files and one day, when she wasn’t looking, I snuck a couple of them out of the pile. One of the files I took out contained some old term papers I had written, all 4.0’s I might add, and also those old outlines that I produced for Acts class. My outlines were really bad and I think my professor was being generous when he marked a couple of them with 4’s. One of the 4’s that I received was on Acts 3:1-10. I wrote a pretty good outline, I thought at the time. The points were well made. I followed the flow of the text in the chapter. I thought I had done well until I saw, to the left of the 4.0, my professor’s rather lengthy paragraph written in stunning, glaring, red ink. He wrote:

I’m not sure our asking in prayer is really parallel to the lame man asking for money and receiving something better, but you have done a good job of expanding on a slightly shaky foundation.

Again, a generous 4.0 was given. I didn’t deserve the 4.0. I don’t suppose there are too many college sophomores who ever deserve 4.0’s—especially those sophomores who are learning how to ‘rightly divide the word of God.’ Strange though how after all these years it is the first part of his paragraph that stands out most in my mind. Even without the paper I remembered what he wrote: “I’m not sure our asking in prayer is really parallel to the lame man asking for money and receiving something better…” It’s that ‘something better’ that the author of the book of Hebrews argues, over and over again, that we find in Jesus Christ. It is this ‘something better’ that John illustrates by telling us the story of Jesus turning water into the best wine. It is no accident that Jesus chose six stone water jars that the Jews used for ‘ceremonial washing’ to complete his work. It is no accident that the wine was ‘the best wine’. It was no accident that this wine was ‘saved until after the guests had had too much to drink.’ It was no coincidence that after this sign Jesus errected that pointed to his glory that his disciples ‘put their faith in him.’ “The servants, Jesus’ mother, and his disciples knew, but the text mentions only the disciples as those in whom the sign accomplished its purpose: they ‘believed in him.’”—Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, 94

I’d like to take time to say about a million things about this particular episode from the life of Jesus, but I stop short because that ‘something better’ keeps sticking in my head. I cannot get it out of my head, my heart, my eyes, my ears. It’s ringing around in my ears, bouncing on the walls of my skull. Jesus is the ‘something better.’ When that lame man was healed by Peter the ‘something better’ he received was Jesus. That wine that the steward took to the master of the banquet served as a metaphor that something better was at hand, something better than the rules & ceremonial washings of the Jews. It was something generous—filled to the brim! It was something abundant—six jars holding 20 to 30 gallons each! The most prophetic line in the text: “You have saved the best till now,” uttered by some wine steward at a wedding banquet. Ironic. It was something better, not the cold, hard, letter of law; but the warm, human, compassionate Jesus.

The book of Hebrews fills out the picture for us. All you have to do is read through the short letter to see how the author continually points out to the reader that Jesus is the something better that the Scripture hints at over and over again. Here’s the list (complete, I believe) of the something better in Hebrews: “Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case—things that accompany salvation” (Hebrews 6:9); “The former regulation is set side because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God” (Hebrews 7:19); “Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant” (Hebrews 7:22) (See also 8:6, 9:23, 10:34, 11:16, 35, 40, 12:24). The author of Hebrews is convinced that in Jesus everything else takes a distant second seat.

However, I must complain. I think the Christians have, by and large, settled for something far less than the something better. I think Christians have been sold down the river by preachers offering health and riches and cars and televisions and satisfaction with so much of life here on earth instead of preaching, simply, that in Jesus there is something better. Where is the holy dissatisfaction with this earth? Where is the longing and groaning for a better resurrection in Christ? Where is the despising of flesh and the longing for Christ? Where are the fervent prayers for Christ to hasten his return? Where is the conviction that Christ is Better and the living out of such a conviction? And those who have rejected Christ out of hand are missing out too, but I don’t have time to document their misery. It’s bad enough documenting the misery of the church.

Jesus is not just something better. He is Someone Better. I can’t get that out of my head. Of all that there is, Jesus is Better. Why isn’t the church convinced of this?

I hope your 7th Day of 90 with Jesus is blessed by your reading of His Word.

jerry

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