July 1, 2018
Last week we kicked off this new series where Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” We're going to spend the next few weeks talking about who is Jesus. Last Sunday we talked about how Peter answered, “You're the Messiah. You're the anointed one. You're the one that we've been waiting on.” Today we want to look at, not the God side of Jesus, but the humanity side of Jesus. The beautiful thing about our God is that He's a God who empathizes with us. He's a God who walks into our humanity and says, “I'm going to live this out, and I'm going to live it out perfectly, so that you can be healed and so that you can be whole.” We talked about the gospel last week and exactly what that is, but today we're going to look at John, chapter two.
If you want to open up your Bibles to John 2, we’re going to camp out there for a little bit this morning. Have you guys ever had just one of those life defining moments? You know what I'm talking about? Like those moments you just went, “Wow, everything changed in that moment.” Am I the only one that's ever had a life defining moment? This is crowd participation time. So, have you ever had a life defining moment? Oh, you have? Good! Okay, let's talk about that for a minute.
I can think of several. I remember the first one was back in 1991. I was working as a pool boy at an apartment complex… bad idea, parents. It was a college apartment complex, but I was far from the Lord. I was miserable. We lived in Texas and I wanted to be away from my parents. I wanted to be away from everything. This school in Atlanta had basically said I could go there for free my freshman year, but I had no intentions of going there. I'd never even seen it. I remember my car was broken down and my Dad had picked me up from work one day and I said, “Hey, you think you could still get me in that school?” He told me a few years later, he almost drove off the road when I told him that. It was Atlanta Christian College. Little did I know that that was a life defining moment for me where everything would change. I ran from the Lord for several years and about three years into school, the Lord got a hold on me on a dorm room bed. Several of my friends introduced me to Jesus, and for the first time, I surrendered.
It was a life defining moment. Five years into college, I went to a soccer game. Yes, that's correct. I said five years into college, I told you it took me three years before I met the Lord. So I kind of blew a year or two there. Don't judge me, but… five years in college? It was the fall semester of my senior year, fifth year, whatever you call that. I had gone to a soccer game. I was the assistant coach, I'd used up all my eligibility and had gone to a game at Johnson Bible College in Knoxville and I met this incredibly gorgeous woman. To be fair, I met two incredibly gorgeous women, but once I realized which one liked me back, then it was love at first sight at that point. It was! It was and again, don't judge me, man. I've grown a lot.
Natasha and I started dating and I literally knew I was going to marry her six weeks into it. We were engaged a few months later. We were married… an incredibly life defining moment. We had been on birth control for awhile, but a few years later we thought that we weren't going to be able to have biological kids of our own. We were, “that's cool, we'll adopt.” Natasha was adopted and we thought that's what we’ll do. One day we were coming home from the holidays in Charlotte where her parents lived, and I remember she had been feeling bad. We thought she'd eaten something bad. We got to Douglasville and we pulled off at a Kroger. She said, "Hey, I think you ought to run into Kroger and get a pregnancy test.” I thought, Nah, we don’t need that. I remember thinking, There's no way. We got back to the apartment. We lived downtown. Natasha came out and said, “I'm pregnant.” We were like, what? Aidan ruined our Hawaii trip. It was a life defining moment. A few years later, it was Micah that came along. It’s just those moments that change you.
I remember we had this girl in our youth group. She was a terror, man. She was that kid that you just didn't want to be in your youth group. If I'm being honest, I was thinking, “Why are you coming here? You roll your eyes at me every time I talk.” She was made to come there. But honestly, soon we started building a relationship with this girl. Kay-Kay came to spend the night once, when she needed a place to stay because her parents were in prison. She never left, and so now she’s my daughter. That was a life defining moment about eight or nine years ago, something like that.
You know a couple of years later, we adopted our boys, Roger and Elias from Nicaragua. Yeah, that’s them back there. Woohoo! They're the camera guys back there. So give it up for the brothers. If any of you guys follow any of the Nicaraguan siblings on social media, then you know that filming is their thing. So they have found their calling to be the camera guys. I told him, “Make me look good today,” but they can't edit on the fly unfortunately. But man, those life defining moments!
Honestly, City Station has just been an incredibly life defining moment, for us as a church, for me as a leader, and as a pastor. That's what John is about, too. It is literally three days into Jesus’ ministry and this life defining moment happens where we see Jesus' humanity. So, I'm going to pray and then we're going to get into John chapter two, together.
God, thank you for loving us. Thank you for your Word. God, I thank you that your Word is alive, that your Word is active, that it is sharper than a two edged sword. God, we come before you this morning, just opening up your Word together as broken people desperately wanting to know who you are, and what you want to do in our lives and how you want to guide us, and how you want to direct us. God, I pray that you would just get me out of the way. Lord, you know my words mean nothing without your Spirit, and so God, we just invite your Spirit here to speak to us. I know there are people here this morning that don't know the Gospel. They don't understand the Good News of Jesus Christ and that He was crucified and is now alive, and the life that He can give us. My prayer would be that maybe those folks will be drawn to you by your Spirit today. For those of us who are following you, who do know the Gospel and who are walking in your grace, God, I pray that we are encouraged this morning. I pray that we’re convicted this morning where we need conviction. God, I pray ultimately that you would just do work in us as only your Spirit can this morning. Again, thank you for loving us. Speak to us now, in Jesus name. Amen.
I love the gospel of John. I touched on John a little bit last week and Peter. Jesus had his inner circle of friends. What I love about the gospel of John is that it's very much a relational type Gospel, which comes from John, honestly, being one of Jesus's best friends. He's kind of in that inner three. John would even tell you… it’s funny, you guys know what John calls himself as he writes about himself and the gospel of John. He calls himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
You know Peter got this cool nickname, which means “the rock” because Jesus came in and said, “You’re not Simon Peter, but the Rock.” So at some point sitting around a campfire, Jesus may have said to John, “Hey, I love you,” and John thought, “Okay, that’s mine.” So he hangs onto that. John is my favorite gospel because you really see the humanity of Jesus. The other gospels focus a lot on Jesus' teachings and on His sermon. Matthew shares the Sermon on the Mount, and it’s a couple of chapters of this incredible sermon. But John talks a lot about Jesus' interaction with people, how He treated people, how He spoke with people, and how He loved people.
So in John chapter two, Jesus is literally three days into his ministry and it's an incredible story here. We get to see firsthand the humanity of Jesus. So I'm going to read through John 2:1-11, and then we'll see what God wants to teach us this morning. John 2 beginning with verse one, “The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Canaan in Galilee and Jesus and his mother were there. Jesus and his disciples were invited to the celebration, but the wine supply began run out." Can't have a wedding without wine! “So during the festivities, Jesus' mother told Him they have no more wine. ‘So, dear woman, that's not my problem,’ Jesus replied.” This is a side note. I encourage you… don't call your mother “woman.” It doesn't work real well in today's society, right? But I mean, in all seriousness, that was a term of endearment then. But yeah, it doesn't translate quite the same today.
“‘Dear woman, that's not our problem.’ Jesus replied, ‘My time has not yet come,’ but his mother told the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ So standing nearby were six stone water jars used for Jewish ceremonial washing and each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. So Jesus told the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water,’ and when the jars had been filled, he said, ‘Now, dip some out and take it to the master of ceremonies.’ So the servants followed his instructions and when the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from, though, of course the servants did, he called the bridegroom over, and he said, ‘A host always serves the best wine first. And then when everyone's had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine.’” I don't condone this, but some of you guys know exactly what he's talking about from back in the day, right? The expensive stuff, then the cheap stuff. “So then when everyone had had a lot to drink, he brings out a less expensive wine, but you've kept the best.’ This miraculous sign at Canaan in Galilee was the first time that Jesus revealed His glory and His disciples believed in Him. Now, after the wedding, he went to Capernaum for a few days with his mother and his brothers and his disciples.”
Now, I think it's important in the book of John that we understand why in the world John recorded the stories that he records, so flip fast forward just a little bit to John 20. You get all the way to the end of John's Gospel. In John 2:30-31, John is concerned about the humanity and the relationships and the love of Jesus that He had with humanity. In John 20:30-31, right at the end, he says, “The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book, but these are written so that you may continue to…” What? “to believe that Jesus is the Messiah.” All right, let's do it. Let's say that again. He said, “These are written…” I'm writing this book so that you'll what? Believe! Believe what? (Audience: Gospel) All right. That's what we talked about last week. John says, “I believe that He's the anointed one,” but he says, that's not the only reason it's written. He said, “Believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God, and that by believing in him, you will have…” What? Somebody help me out. You'll have what? (Life) By the power of your name? No, by whose name? (Jesus.) So John said, “Listen, I'm writing all these stories and I'm talking about Jesus and who He is and how He acted. He is saying, I’m writing this book for two reasons. Number one is so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and number two, so that you would have life. By what? The power of His name. So I want you to know that He's the Messiah and then by His name, by the power of His name, you can have life. And that's it. That's it! So we get to John 2 and he opens up and he tells this story.
The third day, we're literally three days into Jesus's public ministry, three days into his ministry and we already got problems happening. It says there was a wedding celebration in the village of Canaan in Galilee and Jesus’ mother was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. And what happens in verse three? The wine supply runs out. So Jesus shows up. He begins his ministry and we’ve got problems. We’ve got problems, man. I going to tell you straight up. Christian, Southern Hills’ family. Hear me. When you do what Jesus wants you to do, when you say, God, I'm all in, I promise you, problems are coming. Bob, wherever you are this morning, that decision that you made in that baptistry; April, that decision that you made in that baptistry; Tyler Clotfelter, I promise you that the enemy is not happy about those baptisms in Southern Hills Church. Man, I need you guys to hear with everything in your brain that when you choose to go all in, when you choose to accept what we talked about last week and say that I understand that the only place that I can find life is not by the power of my name, but by the power of Jesus’ name, and I'm going to lay down my rights, lay down my name, give up my identity so that Christ can live, problems will come! I'm going to crucify Shannon so that Christ can live in me. I'm going to surrender who I am so that Christ can have control, so that Christ can have power. I promise you with all my heart, there's an enemy who is not happy and I promise you, problems are coming.
Southern Hills family, you guys need to hear me. There is an enemy that is not happy about what has taken place in this room this morning. There’s an enemy that is not happy about what took place last week and tomorrow and the next day and the next day. There are some of you in this room who are right there on the verge of saying, “You know what? This is scary for me, but I'm in. I've been holding on by a thread, but I'm in. I'm ready to dive in.” You need to understand that he is going to come at you so hard. Why in the world would we do that? Because Jesus came. Jesus came. Remember John 10:10. The same reason that John said He's here, that you might have life. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I've come that you might have life and have it abundantly, that you might have life and have it to the full.” He says, “You need to understand this world.” This life is not about this world.
First service, Eric Dotson baptized his son Connor, whose mom passed away from cancer five months ago. I told Conner sitting back there this morning, that his mom would do it all over again if she knew that this was going to drive your father and you to the Lord. She would go through everything that she went through all over again. You need to understand, we serve a God who says, “I'm not here to take your pain away. I'm here to be with you in the midst of your pain. I'm not here to make you comfortable. I'm here to grab your hand and walk with you, to be your strength, to be your life, to be your identity in the midst of your discomfort.” That’s it, Church. I'm telling you, you need to understand that as you lay down your life so that Christ can live, you will experience a peace that passes all understanding, a joy beyond all comprehension, but life will not be easy. Life will be redefined and what life was before is not what life is now and that life is sweet.
So there's a problem at the wedding. The wine supply ran out. Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” Jesus says, “Dear woman, that's not our problem.” He's probably thinking My time hasn't come yet. Jesus is saying, “This is not what life is about.” As matter of fact, he says at least three more times in the gospels, “My time hasn't come yet.” One of those times was with the religious leaders when Jesus was saying who he was in the Temple. The religious leaders rally up and pull everybody together. They're going to lead him out to stone him, but then they just part ways and let him walk through. Why? Because he says, “My time hasn't come yet.” He had one purpose and his purpose was to live a perfect life, to die a perfect death and arise from the dead so that we could have life and we could have it to the full. We lay down our lives so that Christ can live in us.
So now, Jesus says, “Woman, my time hasn't come yet. This isn't our problem yet.” But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” That's good advice. When Jesus tells you to do something, you should be ready. Write this down, do it. I, I’ve got be honest, man. One of my pet peeves is when people tell me they’ve got to pray about something when it's already right here in the Bible. Please don’t hear me wrong. I'm not saying don't pray. Trust me. I believe in the power of prayer. I'm not saying prayers aren’t important, but when you're living with your girlfriend and you're saying, “I need to pray about if we're supposed to get married, or move out,” I'm going to say, “Well, it's right here.” Actually, there's no need to pray. Do it. When you're a slave to an addiction and you add, “I need to pray about that.” You can pray for God's strength, but the reality is God doesn't want you walking in that. That's not his desire for you. That's not life, that's not the abundant life nor life to the full.
What you need to be praying about is being fathers and husbands. If you need to love your wife the way Christ loved the Church, I’ve got the answer for you. In Ephesians, Paul tells us, “Husbands, love your wife the way Christ loved the Church.” Jesus died for her. He gave His life for her! We’ve got husbands sitting out here going, but you don't know my wife. I don’t have to. I don't give a rip what your wife did. What I know is scripture says, “Love your wife the way Christ loved the Church!” Christ gave His all for me when I didn't deserve it. Even in my rebellion, even in my stubbornness, even in my addiction, even in my sin, even in my pornography, I laid it all down. Let me just go down the list, right? Scripture tells me that even while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me! Husbands, lay down your rights. Why? Because that's the gospel. See, the Gospel is “you have no rights.” Lay down your rights. Why? Because now you're living for Christ and Christ loved his wife, his bride, the way Christ loved the Church. Husbands, that's who we're called to be. Wives are called to be the same. Let me just go down the list. I’m telling you, you need to pray about it and He's given us His Word. I believe it is inspired by God. I believe it's true. I believe it's active. It's alive and I believe when we speak His Word, when we teach His Word, I believe powerful things happen and it can happen in your marriage. It can happen in the way you parent. It can happen in your workplace. Teenagers, it can happen in your school. Teenagers don't tell me in the fall, you need to pray about whether you need to go sit with that kid or be a friend. I'll tell you, Jesus loves the lonely, the outcast. You don't need to pray about it. Do it. That's who Christ is and that's what He's called you to be, because He's alive in you,
So Jesus’ mother told the servants standing nearby and six stone water jars used for Jewish ceremonial washing were filled with water. This is super important, guys. You need to understand what's taking place right here with these jars that were here for Jewish ceremonial washing. In other words, these jars were for when you were entering into a holy thing like a wedding or a holy day. These jars were meant to make you clean. You see what Jesus is doing here?
Matter of fact, a couple of chapters over, Jesus is actually talking about this bread and this drink and he says, “I am the bread of life. My blood is the true drink.” As a matter of fact, what Jesus is saying is that's all ceremonies are, just ceremonies. The coming to church, the trying to act right, the trying to do right like that. But the veil is torn. You guys don't even know it yet, but that veil is torn and the Messiah is here and I alone am what makes you clean. Jesus says, “Not your righteousness so that you can boast, but my blood and my blood alone, my sacrifice and my sacrifice alone."
Jesus tells the servants, “Fill the jars with water and when the jars have been filled,” he said, “dip some out and take it to the master of the ceremonies.” The servants followed his instructions and the master of the ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it came from. But the servants knew. He called the bridegroom over and said, “A host always serves the best wine first and then when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine, but,” He continued, “you've kept the best until now!” You've kept the best until now. Check out who got the credit right here in this story. Who got the credit? (Audience: the bridegroom) Jesus did for this bridegroom what he couldn't do for himself, and what I love about our humble Jesus is that as we talked about last week, He didn't consider Himself equal to God, but made Himself a servant. He gave the bridegroom the credit. He allowed him to receive the accolades.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “Christ became sin so that He might become the righteousness of God.” This is the gospel. Jesus came and He did what I couldn't do for myself. He didn't just take my sin away. I mean, you need to understand that we will use that Sunday School language but it doesn't do it justice. He didn't just take my sin away. He didn't just forgive me. He BECAME sin. He took my addictions. He took my insecurities. He took my rage. He took my idolatry. Insert yours here. He took it and He became that. Why? So that you could become righteous. The scripture teaches that I am the righteousness of God. Some of you are sitting here this morning and you feel dirty. You feel ugly, you feel naked, you feel ashamed, and you need to understand that if you are a child of the most high God, if you have accepted His grace, if you have believed the Gospel and believed His name and received His mercy, you need to understand that you are righteous and what's that mean? It means you have been made right and when God the Father looks at you, He sees perfection. I mean when He looks at me, He sees perfection. Not because of anything I've done, but what Christ did in His righteousness has been credited to me. He allows me to get the credit. He took my punishment. He took my shame. He took my guilt.
So this miraculous sign at Canaan in Galilee was the first time that Jesus revealed His glory to His disciples. What's it say? Believe Him. Go back to John 20:31. Why did John write this? So we would know who Jesus is, the Messiah, and that by believing in His name we would have what? Life. Life abundantly. Jesus talks about life to the full. I don't know about you, but this story already gives me life, but I want to go back real quickly here at the beginning because there's something about the humanity of Jesus that I think we miss here. They show up three days into His ministry. There's this party going on and we get to verse three, and the wine supplies run out and Jesus' mother comes to him and says, “We've got a problem. There's no more wine.” Listen to what Jesus says. He says, “It's not our problem. My time has not yet come.” I believe with all my heart that in this moment Jesus understood how this moment would change everything and what it was going to lead to as matter of fact.
Philip Yancey says it this way. If you're a reader, I encourage you to read this book. Great book, The Jesus I Never Knew, and he says this in his book. He says, “A clock would start ticking in that moment that wouldn't stop until Calvary.” Jesus understood in this moment as He was about to perform this miracle, that the countdown clock would begin. He knew where it was headed. I believe in this moment, He knew, just like He did in the prayer He prayed in the garden. Remember that prayer that He prayed right before the soldiers came to arrest him. He prayed and He said, “Lord, I know what's getting ready to come. Father, I know what's getting ready to happen and I don't want to endure this. I don't want to take Shannon’s sin. I don't want to become Shannon's lust. I don't want to become Shannon's idolatry. I don't want to become his insecurities, less die a criminal's death on a cross. He was terrified and He prayed, said, “Lord, if there's any other way, Father, if there's any other way, please take this cup from me. Yet, not my will, Father, but yours be done.” And you know what He did. He did it and He became sin so that I could live and I believe that in this moment.
He knew that the countdown clock was starting and He was scared. I know He was scared just like He was scared in the garden. His mom did what moms do, right? Notice, she doesn't even really answer Him. He says, “Listen, my time hasn't come yet, and she goes, “Okay, sweetie. Guys, whatever He's about to tell you to do, you better do it.” And Jesus is like, “Mom, I told you I know where this leads. I know how this ends.” I’ve got to tell you guys, when I wake up at 4:00 AM in the morning on Saturday nights and I can't go back to sleep because of insecurities racing through my head, it gives me comfort to know that Jesus is fully human, fully man, and fully God and that He understands my pain. He understands my fears. He understands my insecurities. He understands my discomfort. He understands cancer. He understands. When friends turn on you, He understands feeling like, oh, this is scary. I know where this heads. I don't want to do this. He understands all of that. I mean there is something powerful and encouraging to me to know that the God of the universe gets me, that He empathizes with me because He's walked through it. He feels my pain. He feels my suffering. He understands what it means to be human too. He was perfectly human so that I can lay down my insecurity, so that I can lay down my list, so that I could lay down my pride so that I could lay down my family so that I could lay down, insert whatever here, and allow Christ to live in me. That gives me life, Church!
So a couple of questions really quickly to wrap up and I encourage you, write these down. Go home, talk to your wife about it, your kids. Whatever you need to do. Here's a couple of questions I want to leave you with. Where is God telling you, much like Mary was telling Jesus, now it's time? Go for it. Where is God telling you to get moving? Some of you dads, if I can just be honest, you know, and you've known for a long time where you're dropping the ball with your kids and how you're pointing them in the wrong direction or not. You just are stubborn and you refuse to surrender because it's scary and you think you're not good enough. You think you can't measure up. You think, I'm not wired this way. Well, I’m telling you, Christ and His grace is sufficient and trust me, if anybody was unworthy to speak with any kind of authority on how to do things right, it's me, but I am a just a testament of who God is, and who Jesus is, and how His grace can overcome and be sufficient.
So where's God calling you to move moms, wives, then in the workplace? What's He calling you to do specifically? Some of you know as I'm saying it right now, you know exactly where it is. You know where He's calling you to step out specifically? What can you do this week to be purposeful like John, like Jesus? What can you do this week to be purposeful? Maybe you need to go home, have a conversation with your spouse. Is there somebody in the workplace tomorrow that you need to go to and say, “I need to ask for your forgiveness and here's how I'm going to do things differently.” Maybe it's rearranging your schedule. I don't know what that thing is in your life, but how can you be purposeful this week? Because I believe with all my heart, if we don't do things on purpose, it will never happen. You don't “on accident.” When you surrender, you say, “Here I am. Take me.”
What can you do to be purposeful this week? Makes you imagine what could happen if we as individuals, if we as a church, lived life on purpose. If we purposefully chose to get up every morning and say, “Lord, not my will, but yours. God, I know you understand my fears and my shortcomings and my failures because you've walked it out. So God, not by my strength, but your strength. God walk me through this. By your grace, by your mercy.”
Some of you guys today purposefully need to step out of your chairs. You need to come walk over here. You need to talk with somebody. You need to be prayed for. Maybe somebody today needs to surrender their life to Christ for the first time. I mean, if that's you, we're going to sing in a minute. I'll be over there. Some other folks will be over here in this corner and would love to talk with you, or pray with you. Maybe you just need somebody to grab your hand and walk through life for a season. We’ve got people that would love to do that with you and just say, “Hey, we're brothers and sisters. Let's go to the Word. Let's walk this out. Let's find this life that Jesus promises.”
I don't know what it is for you, but my prayer is that as we sing and as we move forward and as we leave these doors today, that you would live life on purpose and understand who He is and what He wants to do in you in the life that He wants to give.
God, thank you for your grace. Thank you for your mercy. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you that even though we don't deserve it, even while we were still sinners, you came and you died so that we could have life and we could have it to the full. God, help us to lay down our lives and understand that the only way we find life is by losing ours. God, thank you for identifying with us. Thank you for empathizing with us. Thank you for loving us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.