Miracles 1- What are You Wining About?

Given that we as a Church are somewhat in a holding pattern, I wanted to encourage all of us as the transformation of our new building continues, slower than we want.

In the last few months we have seen God perform several major miracles.  It started when we found a new church property literally hidden away for us, at an extremely good price, well under every other premises in Nambour. We placed an even lower price and it was accepted, but we needed to sell this property. Up steps Lily House, who through a miracle contact had a single donation of $700,000, enough to buy this premises from us and freeing us to buy in at Nambour. The owners tried to raise the price $75,000, but we stood firm and secured the original price, and are currently using that $75k to renovate and make the property safe.

 

Miracle after miracle, and we have seen it repeated throughout the entire church, with people getting properties and great miracles of provision and healing . If you want to to see miracles, you’re in the right place!

 

So thought it would be great Josh and I to preach through some of Jesus’ miracles.

 

IT’S A MIRACLE WE STILL BELIEVE IN MIRACLES

 

Some might argue against miracles. Some Christians believe that once we got the full Bible, miracles ceased to be necessary. Well I beg to differ, I see them as absolutely necessary in my life. Nowhere in scripture does it suggest that God’s Word and God’s miracles are mutually exclusive. The fact is, they frequently go together, and you and I can and indeed should have both, in every increasing quantities!

 

Jesus performed miracles while on earth, and He also wants us to experience the same miraculous way of living. He said,

 

John 14:12-13 (ESV)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

 

Noticed that. We believe miracles are for us, but their prime purpose is to glorify God! So, at this time when we are seeing miracle after miracle, I want to do a series on the miracles of Jesus, and I want to see these and even greater miracles happening in the life of this church, and above all I want them to glorify God, don’t you?

 

STOP YOUR WHINING! AND LET’S LOOK AT JESUS’ FIRST MIRACLE

 

John 2:1-11 (ESV)

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also 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 water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.

 

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 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.”

 

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

 

So this is the first recorded miracle Jesus performed, turning water into wine. I remember talking to Glen our old bikie friend who use to drag a cross around town. One day the coppers pulled up beside him, and one young officer held a water bottle out, and said, excuse me mate, could you please turn this into wine.

 

Why wine, and why choose a wedding for your first miracle?

 

WHY A WEDDING?

 

Jesus, You could have made more press by raising the dead! If you’d have started with feeding 5,000 you might have had a better fan club. This wedding we as a small town affair, probably lasted up to a week, and it wasn’t the royal wedding. Megan Markel was nowhere to be seen.

 

Only John records this miracle.  The book of John is the odd one out of the gospels, and it records less miracles, but contains more theology.

 

Jesus would certainly have a special message here for His people, Israel. In the Old Testament, the nation is pictured as “married” to God and unfaithful to her marriage covenant.

 

So to start your miracle career at a wedding held special significance for the Jews.  The wine ran out, and all Israel had left were six empty water-pots! These pots likely held water for religious, external washings, but they could provide nothing for internal cleansing and nothing for joy. In this miracle Jesus was making a spiritual statement, that God had been silent for 4 centuries since Malachi, the wine had run out, and they were left with empty pots of religion and ritualism.

 

This is a poignant commentary on the bankruptcy of Judaism and the arrival of Jesus. The new wine is abundantly superior to the old. But moreover, the Jewish religion, that which contained the old wine, was empty, lifeless.

 

And remember, this was easy for God… God turns water into wine every year. Rain falls, the earth sucks it up, vines stuck it out of the earth and produce grapes which produces wine.  Happens all the time. Just not like this! So let’s have a closer look at the miracle itself. Sometimes you can find a natural explanation for a miracle, but the timing means it’s still a miracle.

 

Many people miss the magic of the miracle by arguing about whether the wine was alcoholic or not. Make your own mind up on that, but remember Wine is a symbol of the Holy Spirit,

 

Ephesians 5:18 (ESV)

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

 

NOT ABOUT LIFE AND DEATH, IT WAS ABOUT JOY AND BLESSING

 

This miracle was not a desperate life and death situation it was about joy and blessing. It was saving the reputation of the host. It was about simple, real, day to day stuff, and it shows me that Jesus cares about us, even the little things.

 

John 2:11 (ESV)

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

 

The Word signs here is SEMEION, which means a miraculous act to affirm or authenticate someone. The usual term for miracle in Scripture is DYNAMIS, from which we get dynamite, the explosive power of God. This miracle wasn’t about explosion or power, it was authenticating Jesus as the Son of God, and blessing people.

 

Sometimes we hear of incredible miracles, like the $700k for Lily House, like our new building, like someone being healed of cancer. These are big, significant miracles, they are huge and they are awesome but don’t be mistaken and think that’s all God is about.

 

We think, When we run out of options and all is lost, pray for a miracle.  But what this recorded miracle suggests to me is that many of God’s miracles are simple, down to earth, and just your Father blessing you… No other reason. God just delights in blessing you.

 

I remember God clearly asking me where I wanted to play, as a younger, up and coming Christian muso. I wrote a list of 10 big churches, then gave it to God and forgot it. There was no reason for God to miraculously make any of these happen, but 1 year to the day of my writing the list I walked onto stage at Hillsong in Sydney to complete the list. God just abundantly, lavishly blessed me.

 

We take the big things to God, but Jesus changing water into wine tells me that I can trust God for small miracles, and that He just delights to bless us.

 

So what does this passage teach us about miracles?

 

1.       MIRACLES HAPPEN WHEN WE UNDERSTAND HE CARES ABOUT EVERY DAY NEEDS

 

Jesus did not come to give us information; he came to give us a transformation. He changes things. He has a way of taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. He did not come to bring new ideas; he came to make new people. The water did not just appear to be wine; it was transformed into wine — the best of wine at that.

 

If you have a need, that makes room for Jesus to come in with miracles of love, good for you. If you have no need, Christ doesn’t need to do a miracle. It is good sometimes to run short that we may be driven to the Lord by our necessity, for he will more than supply it.

 

If our needs stand before us like huge empty water pots, or if our souls are as full of grief like those same pots were filled with water, Jesus can, by his sweet will and in His timing, turn all the water into wine—the sighing into singing. The pain into praise.

 

We should be glad to be weak so the power of God may rest on us. We should rejoice in our needs, because when we have needs we can pray and believe for, and see, miracles.

 

Miracles happen when we understand that God wants to bless us, care for us, provide for us, prosper us, not harm us. This miracle happened simply because they invited Jesus to the wedding. If you invite Jesus into your life, trust me, miracles just seem to happen!

 

John 2:2 (ESV)

Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.

 

I challenge you today to invite Jesus into your life. You believers as well, start inviting Him into ever little facet of your life, and see if He doesn’t start bringing minor and major miracles to pass.

 

2.       MIRACLES HAPPEN WHEN WE SEE OPPORTUNITIES NOT JUST NEEDS

 

John 2:3 (ESV)

When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”

 

So often, when we look at our circumstances, all we see is need. Maybe we pray for some relief, but it’s so hard to focus on Christ when all we see is need. Like Peter walking on water, we step out of the boat but start to sink when we take our eyes of the Lord and focus on the circumstances distract us.

 

I remember being very discouraged in Lily House some years ago. Fiona and I wanted to shut it down. There was no money. I had a random meeting with a guy I had never met before.  We were about to close it, and this lovely guy asked if he could give a little towards the ministry… And he wrote a cheque for Lily House for $10,000.

 

Listen, your ordeal is the Lord’s opportunity. Your disappointment, change the first letter, and it becomes His appointment. If you are facing need right now,  take it to Jesus, and believe for a miracle.

 

3.       MIRACLES HAPPEN WHEN WE ASK GOD IN FAITH, but THEN LET HIM DECIDE

 

Notice what Mary told the servants…

 

John 2:5 (ESV)

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

 

Mary brought a need to Jesus, and she did so not knowing what He might do, but knowing by faith that He had an answer.

 

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

 

So talk to Him, ask God, ask Him and trust Him. Don’t dictate how He needs to do it to perform up to your expectations. Ask and trust Him, even if it’s not the way you want it. If you want to see miracles, trust and obey God. When you live for Him, when you put Him first, God blesses you again and again…

 

Matthew 6:33 (ESV)

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 

I asked God that He would open the way for us to buy a church property in Nambour. We thought it was the Clark Centre until God shut the door. I was disappointed, but I never gave up trusting Him. This property is far superior! God knows better, so ask, then trust and obey, for there’s no other way!

 

4.       MIRACLES HAPPEN WHEN WE DO AS HE TELLS US (However weird)

 

John 2:7-8 (ESV)

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.

 

Fill the religious jars that are only used for washing. Weird, but they did it. Then draw some out, you’re kidding aren’t you Jesus? We wash feet and stuff in this. They did it. Then the miraculous happened. Before God does the supernatural, we have to do the natural, even if it seems strange.

 

George Muller started orphanages in Victorian England, win Bristol. One day they had no bread or milk for breakfast. Listen to this…

 

The long dining room was set for breakfast but without food. Miller prayed, “Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.” There was a knock at the door; it was the baker, unable to sleep because he was sure the Lord wanted him to bake bread for Müller. “Children,” Müller said, ”we not only have bread, but fresh bread.” Almost immediately they heard a second knock. It was the milkman; the milk cart had broken down outside the orphanage, and he offered the milk to the children, completing their meal.

 

If you are praying for rain, take an umbrella. Live in obedience, and trust God to make things happen, even if they are unlikely. Miracles, by definition, are unlikely.

 

5.       MIRACLES HAPPEN WHEN WE UNDERSTAND HE GIVES ABUNDANTLY

 

Philippians 4:19 (ESV)

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

 

We often quote it, but my experience is He often goes far beyond just my needs.

 

I don’t believe that God only meets our most desperate needs. At this wedding, it wasn’t life or death, in the scope of this it wasn’t even that important to most people that wine was provided.

 

And Jesus could have given them just enough to keep the party going. But this miracles illustrates that God is into abundance, super abundance! Not just average wine, but the best of the best. Not just a case or two to get by, but 120 gallons of fine wine!

 

Ephesians 3:20 (ESV)

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

 

Miracles are often about God not just meeting a need, but exceedingly abundantly blessing His children.

 

Fiona and I recently were looking for 2 dining chairs to match our current 6. We didn’t need them, we just wanted them, so went to Fantastic Furniture. In a corner were the exact chairs, the last 2, discontinued and a run out. They were half price, and not flat packed, already made up. We didn’t need them, but God gave us abundantly, and at half price.

 

THE RESULT OF THIS MIRACLE

 

So back to the water into wine miracle. What were the results, given that it occurred in a private wedding?

 

John 2:11 (ESV)

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

 

God still performs miracles, if we ask Him, and if we trust Him. We need to believe in Him and not dictate how He should move, but trust Him, even if it seems weird to do so. We need faith, but not a lot of faith.

 

Luke 17:6 (ESV)

And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

 

It’s not about you drumming up faith. Take your small amount of faith and put it in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. My faith is often so small, but I am reaching the point where I am expecting miracles. The effect is accumulative.

 

This miracle did something for Jesus’ disciples. It revealed the glory of Jesus, and it gave them a stronger foundation for their faith. The cumulative effect of miracle after miracle strengthens our faith.

 

That’s why God does loads of little miracles all the time. If you have eyes to see them. He is blessing us, building our faith. But even more, miracles bring glory to God.

 

I remember telling the realestate agent we were buying the new church through about the miracle God provided for Lily House to buy this. He said, wow, that’s amazing. I replied, it’s not just amazing, it is God. He couldn’t  deny that!

 

This water into wine miracle shows me that God is interested in even the smallest details of our lives, and that He wants to perform miracles for us. We just need to ask, and trust and obey. And when He provides miraculously, He does so super abundantly.

 

So today, do you need a miracle today? Big or small, needed or just desired, you can trust God to, according to His wisdom and will, provide the miracles, or not if He chooses. I’m seeing miracles every day, a few big, most small, all of them building my faith, but our God is a God of miracles. He’s a way maker, a miracle worker!

 

Psalms 105:5 (ESV)

Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered,

Image by Dirk Wohlrabe from Pixabay

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