They Did Not Break His Legs
THEY DID NOT BREAK HIS LEGS
John 19: 31—37
When you think of the crucifixion of Christ the first thing that probably pops into your mind is the suffering.
- His crucifixion was horrible.
- The ridicule and mockery, the physical pain, and the hatred and jealousy would be excruciating; only to be made worse by the denial and betrayal of those who were supposed to have loved Him.
- His crucifixion was truly horrible; and so when we think of the crucifixion of Christ the suffering is probably the first thing that comes to mind.
But there is so much more to the cross other than just the suffering, the cruelty and the dying.
And what I want to do is show you just a part of the crucifixion that the people in the day the crucifixion took place apparently did not comprehend.
- And it is something that many of us may not see and understand today.
- And yet, it is something that should give us a tremendous amount of hope and assurance or in some instances it will perhaps be a warning.
Look at the passage that was read again and notice starting in verse 32.
32 The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him; 33 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs;
Now, as far as I know this is the only mention in the gospel accounts of the fact that they did not break Jesus’ legs.
- In verse 31 we are told it is the “day of preparation” for the Sabbath.
- And because they didn’t want any bodies left on the cross on the Sabbath day…what they would do is they would come along and check those who had been crucified.
- And if they were not dead, they would break their legs.
And according to some scholars, the reason they would break their legs is because what the people who were crucified could do is push up with their legs which enabled them to catch their breath…and to relieve the discomfort some.
- But by breaking their legs they couldn’t do that.
That may be true, but one thing is for sure, by breaking their legs that increased the injury and often sent the body into deeper shock.
- And thereby, hastened the individual’s death.
So, they were checking each one who had been crucified and if they were still alive, they were breaking their legs…but when they came to Jesus…He was already dead…and so they didn’t break His legs.
But there is something more significant to the fact that they didn’t break His legs than just the fact that He was already dead.
- Look at verse 36: For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of Him shall be broken.”
The fact that they didn’t break His legs or His bones is a fulfillment of Scripture.
- And the fact that they don’t break His legs…tells us something.
- What is it?
Well, look at Psalm 34: 20.
- This is the verse that John in John 19 applies to Christ; that John says is “fulfilled in Christ.”. Look what it says. It says:
20 He keeps all his bones; Not one of them is broken.
- So what does this tell us about Christ? And about the crucifixion.
Well, look at the context of these words starting in verse 19:
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But the LORD delivers him out of them all. 20 He keeps all his bones; Not one of them is broken.
- The bones in this passage belong to the one who is “righteous in the sight of God” and that is what John is saying about Christ.
- Those people in John 19 who crucified Christ wanted everyone to believe that they were crucifying a common criminal…a traitor.
- And worse than that they wanted people to think He was a blasphemer…a sinner of the worst kind.
But John says, “That is not at all that He was. The fact that they didn’t break His bones is God’s way of declaring Him as being “innocent” or “righteous.”
But there is more. Look at verse 21: Evil shall slay the wicked; And those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD redeems the soul of His servants; And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.
The fact that Jesus’ legs were not broken declared Him as righteous and those who crucified Him as wicked!
When word came to them that they didn’t have to break Jesus’ legs that should have said something to them!
- It should have said, “Oh, no, you just crucified God’s righteous One.!”
- “And because you did, you are condemned and doomed to die by your own wickedness.”
- This should have alarmed them….and made them realize their error.
- But sadly…it didn’t.
Look at this. In Acts 2 starting in verse 22, the apostle Peter tells these very same people what they did…and who it was they had crucified.
- And in verse 37 it says that “the people were pierced to the heart and cried out “What shall we do?”
- And Peter tells them in verse 38 to “Repent, and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
- And verse 41 says that there were “added that day about 3000 souls “ that were saved.
- And we think, “Wow, 3000 in one day.”
- But, when you consider the whole of Jerusalem…
- And all those who were there the day He was crucified….3000 doesn’t seem to be very many.
Listen, most of the people still refused to acknowledge their sin.
- And most of them still refused to repent.
- And most of them refused to recognize Jesus as Lord and Messiah.
- And most of them refused to be baptized.
- And as a result, their own wickedness would destroy them.
And that begs us to ask the question today…what about you/I?
- Are you/I still refusing to acknowledge our sin?
- Are you/I still refusing to repent?
- Are you/I still refusing to name Jesus as Lord and Messiah.
- Are you/I still refusing to be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins.
- Are you/I still condemned by our own wickedness and subject to be destroyed?
This whole thing took place so that you may be saved.
- For your sake, do not deny its purpose.
But there is more behind the fact that they did not “break his legs.”
- Look at Exodus chapter 12.
By the time you get to chapter 12 here, God has already tried 9 times to get Pharaoh to let His people go.
- And 9 times Pharaoh refused.
- So God would send one more, very strong message to Pharaoh.
- Chapter 11:4 tells us that “about midnight, the Lord would go into all the midst of Egypt, and all the first born in the land of Egypt would die.”
- Whether it was the first born of Pharaoh, or the first born of the slave girl, or the first born of the cattle, all would die.
But God would make provision for His people to escape this plague of death.
- In chapter 12 God speaks to Moses…and He tells Moses to tell the people that on the 10th of the month they are to each take a lamb for themselves…each household…and keep it.
- And it was to be an unblemished lamb…God didn’t want their rejects.
- God was worthy of their best.
It was to be a male lamb…symbolic of strength.
- And it was to be a lamb, a year old…symbolic of life and vigor.
And on the 14th day of the month, all the people together, every household together, was to kill their lamb just at twilight.
- And they were to take some of the blood of the lamb and put it on the two door posts and on the lintel of their houses.
- And then they were to roast the lamb with fire and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, that same night.
- Leaving none left over.
And I want you to notice now verse 46:
“It is to be eaten in a single house; your are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside the house, nor are you to break any bone of it.”
Now, if they obeyed these instructions look at what would happen; vs. 13.
“And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
This was their only way of escape!
- If they didn’t put the blood of this lamb on the door posts and lintels of their houses…then there would be no “passing over” of death…and the first born of the house would die.
- And, if they didn’t prepare the lamb as they were supposed to…and eat of it as they were supposed too…there would be no deliverance from bondage.
This “Passover Lamb” was God’s will, and it was their only way of escape from death and bondage.
- And it was their only hope for life and a new beginning!
Now, none of this would have any bearing on us if it were not for these words found in 1 Cor. 5: 7 where Paul says that “Christ is our Passover.”
- When Paul makes this statement, do you know what that makes Christ?
- It makes Christ’s death the will of God…and it makes Christ our only escape from death and the bondage of sin.
You see, back in Exodus, the Israelites weren’t allowed to have altars to offer up sacrifices on.
- So when they put the “blood of the Passover lamb” on the door posts and the lintels of their houses… they turned them into altars.
- And when they put the blood of that lamb up on the door posts and the lintel…that indicated that an atonement for sin was being made…since you always sprinkled blood on the horns of the altar when atoning for sin.
And because Paul says that Christ is our Passover…and His blood was shed on the cross…that makes the cross an altar.
- And that makes Christ an atonement sacrifice for sin to anyone who partakes of Him.
And that is another reason why His legs were not broken!
- To remind us…to confirm to us that He is OUR PASSOVER LAMB.
Now, once again, there are two sides to this.
- For those of you who have come to Christ…and who have been washed by His blood at baptism…the fact that He is God’s righteous One and Our Passover Lamb…will hopefully encourage you to remain faithful to Him…even unto death.
- Your faith is not misplaced…and no matter what might come…or befall your physical body…you grow in your commitment and remain devoted to Him.
But now, here is the other side of the picture.
- When they crucified Him in John 17…the people at that time didn’t see or comprehend who He was.
- When they came and “did not break His bones”, the people still did not see who He was.
- Even though they had been told by the prophets of old…they denied who He was and rejected Him.
- Years later, even after Christ was raised from the tomb…and ascended into heaven…and even after the apostles once again told the people that Jesus was the Passover Lamb…they still rejected Him and denied Him.
- Consequently, they would be destroyed…because deliverance is found only for those who have received atonement by the Passover Lamb.
And the question is: What about you?
- His blood was shed on the altar on a hill called Golgatha…to atone for your sins.
- It is only through Him that you can escape the condemnation of your sins.
- It is only through Him that you can be delivered from the eternal punishment of your soul.
- And it is only through Him that you can have a new beginning.
- People for centuries, in spite of who He is, have rejected Him.
- The question, for some of you this morning is, will you.
- When the Lord comes in judgment, will you die in your sins.
- Or will you let the blood of the Lamb wash away your sins and give you eternal life?
Four Reasons To Follow Jesus
FOUR REASONS TO FOLLOW JESUS
Look again at verses 35-37: Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
- Let me ask you this: Why did these two disciples follow Jesus?
- Basically these are the first two converts to Christ…the first of millions that would follow Christ and I wonder why?
And let me tell you they did more than just follow Jesus.
- These guys will suffer with Him…and they will suffer for Him…and they will preach about Him…and teach about Him…and eventually they will die for Him.
- And they won’t get rich…and they won’t be powerful…
- They didn’t just follow Jesus…they were totally and completely committed to Jesus!
- And my question is: Why would they do that?
- And that may be your question too: Why should you totally commit yourself to Jesus? Why should you put Jesus over everything else? Why should you sacrifice…endure hardships…preach and teach Jesus…and eventually die for Him?
- Why would you do that?
Perhaps for the same reasons these two disciples did.
- Let’s look at this and the reasons to follow Jesus.
- Look at verse 35 again.
Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
- The first reason these disciples followed Jesus was because they were told to.
- Look at it, the verse says they were disciples of John.
- John for several months has been preaching and teaching and saying, “He’s coming! Get ready, He is on His way!”
- And now, here in this verse John says, “Here He is…this is the One…this is Him.”
- And they follow Him…in part because they were told too.
But wait a minute…people will tell you to do a lot of things!
- Some people will tell you to follow this person and others will tell you to follow another.
- Some will tell you to follow Mohammed…others will tell you to follow Buddha.
- Just because someone tells you to do something doesn’t mean that’s what you should do!
Well, John wasn’t just someone…look back up in verse 19.
- These people in verse 19 ask John, “Who are you?”
- And John says, “Well, I am not the Christ.”
- And he says, “I am not Elijah.”
- And he says, “I am not the prophet that Moses said was coming in Deut. 18.”
But look at who he does say he is: “I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’
- But don’t stop there…notice the little statement at the end of the verse: …as Isaiah the prophet said.”
- Do you understand what John is saying?
- He is saying, “The prophets spoke of me…and not just the prophets…but Isaiah!
- “Isaiah…700 years before said that “I am the one, who came to prepare the way of the Lord who was coming.”
- John is saying, “I am God’s messenger!”
And one of the reasons these two disciples followed after Jesus is because they were told to…but not just because they were told to…but because of who told them.
- And that is why we need to follow Jesus…and why we need to be committed to Him…because John…God’s messenger…one that was foretold of 2700 years ago by God’s prophet…tells us we need to.
- Right here in this verse…John tells us to.
Look at the second reason we need to follow Jesus is found at the end of verse 36. John says, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
- This is the most sensible and compelling reason for anyone to follow Jesus.
- He is the “Lamb of God!”
But He isn’t just the “Lamb of God.” Look back at verse 29.
- He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
- These people understood what John meant by this.
- This statement spoke of atonement for sin…forgiveness.
- They themselves had many times taken a lamb to have it offered up to atone for their sins.
- They knew that lamb was paying the price for their sins.
- Sins were offensive to God…they made separation between them and the source of eternal life.
- Sin made one subject to the judgment…to condemnation.
- They understood the significance of a “lamb taking away sins.”
- If sins are taken away there is no condemnation…there is no hell.
But what was really significant here is they weren’t offering up the lamb…God was!
- This was God’s Lamb…God was doing this for them!
- And the thing that was really significant is this “Lamb of God” would “take away the sins of the world”…this would be a one time…once and for all sacrifice!
- They wouldn’t have to offer up any more sacrifices.
- How could they not follow this act of love from God?
- This would be well worthy the sacrifices they and hardship they would have to endure.
And the same is true for us.
- The main reason we need to follow Jesus is because He and only He can take away our sins and deliver us from hell.
- How could we possibly reject this act of God’s love for us?
- Here is the source of heaven and eternal life…no wonder they were committed to Him…and that is the reason why we need to be committed to Him as well.
There is a third reason why we should follow Jesus…look at verse 37.
And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 38 And Jesus turned, and beheld them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?”
- Notice what they called Him…Rabbi…Teacher…a master teacher.
- They came to Jesus to learn…to be taught…to benefit from His knowledge.
And notice what they say, “Where are you staying?”
- They want to get better acquainted with Him.
- We do the same thing…we meet someone and we ask, “Where do you live?”
- The reason we do that is so we can know more about them…so we might stop in an visit some time.
These two disciples wanted to know more about Jesus…what He was like…what He taught.
- They wanted more than what they could get in a brief meeting.
And that is the reason why we need to follow Him too.
- There is no one greater that we can learn from.
- He gives us a perspective into things that no one else can give…a perspective that will help us stand when others are overcome by fear, confusion, and doubt.
- He helps us to see what is real and eternal rather than what is temporary.
- He teaches us those things that are moral, right, and sound…teachings that will give us real joy, happiness, peace and security.
- He teaches us about children, people, heaven and hell, marriage, business, courage, honor, love, patience, unity, salvation and all sorts of things.
- We can learn from men but men’s insights are limited to their opinions, their biases and preferences.
- Jesus helps us see the whole picture.
And it isn’t enough to take a turn with Jesus now and then.
- A lot of people only want to know Jesus at a distance…and only when it is convenient.
- But anyone will tell you that you can’t know the teacher or learn the lessons if you only attend class once in a while.
If we really want to see things as they really are…we need to follow Jesus.
Then one more reason why we need to follow Jesus…look at verse 39:
He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” They came therefore and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
- Notice where they stayed?
- Nice wasn’t it?
- The best carpet…clean…fresh…new furniture…really nice wasn’t it?
- The fact of the matter is we aren’t told where they stayed…we aren’t told about the accommodations…
- And apparently these two disciples didn’t care…because any place is nice…and accommodating …and comfortable as long as Christ is there with you.
- And that is the last reason these two disciples followed Christ: the blessing, the comfort, and the peace and joy that comes from being with Christ…no matter where you are.
It may not have been the best accommodations…they may have gone to a stable…perhaps to a storeroom…
- Maybe to a poor man’s house…or a modest home…
- May have even gone out under the branches of a grape arbor…we don’t know.
- But wherever they were…it was more than enough to just be with Jesus.
- Uncomfortable didn’t matter if Jesus was there.
- Cold didn’t matter if Jesus was there.
- Dirt floor didn’t matter if Jesus was there.
- Prison…didn’t matter if Jesus was there.
- Shipwreck…didn’t matter if Jesus was there.
- Storm…didn’t matter if Jesus was there.
- Death…didn’t matter if Jesus was there.
- These two disciples were so well pleased with what they found in Jesus that they stayed with Him all that day.
These two disciples followed Jesus because of the blessing…the comfort…the peace and that joy that came from being with Him…and that is the reason we need to follow Him too.
They followed Jesus because they were told too by John.
- They followed Jesus because He was the Lamb of God.
- They followed Jesus to learn…to commune with Him.
- The followed Jesus because of the comfort, hope, peace and joy of being with Him.
Have you been following Jesus?
- Are you keeping Him at a distance?
- Have you been following someone else?
Will you repent?
- Thinking about following Jesus?
- Jesus will accept you?
- Will you come?
Can You Prove Who You Are
CAN YOU PROVE WHO YOU ARE?
John 5: 18-24
Here in this passage that we just read the sharks are circling.
- Jesus has been healing people on the Sabbath day…
- He has been publicly telling the people that He is the Son of God…
- And his enemies…and critics are so angry and resentful that they want to kill him.
- In fact, for all intents and purposes, they have already tried and convicted Him in their court of human reasoning as being a blasphemer and a heretic…and they don’t really want to hear anything more from Him…all they want is for him to die.
But Jesus still tries to get them to understand…and to change their minds.
- That is the way Jesus is.
- Jesus desires that no man should perish…He wants all men to come to a knowledge of the truth…and so in spite of their having already decided that He should die…Jesus tries to get them to change their mind…just as He tries to get some today to change their minds.
And so beginning in verse 19, Jesus answers His critics…He makes His case…and He gives them more evidence…and more reasons why they should believe that He is who He claims to be.
- And nowhere in all of scripture will you find it more clearly stated by Jesus that He is who He claims to be, than He states it here.
So, let’s begin by looking again at Jesus’ claims.
In verses 19-23, seven times, Jesus says that He is the “Son of God.”
- In verse 21 Jesus says that “He is the giver of life and that He gives life to whomever He wishes.”
- In verse 24 He says that “He gives eternal life to those who hear His words and believes in the Father who sent Him.”
- And in verse 27 Jesus says that “the Father has given Him the authority to execute judgment over all mankind.”
And so what you have here is Jesus, trying to get these men who have already passed judgment on Him, who have already decided that He should die…to change their minds by making these powerful claims: “I am the Son of God; I am the giver of life, “I am the eternal judge.”
Well, you can only imagine what must have been going on in the minds of His critics and enemies?
- They are only more incensed and agitated by what He is saying.
- “Who does He think He is to make claims like this?”
Well, Jesus continues to try. Look at verse 31: “If I alone bear witness of Myself, My testimony is not true.”
- It is as though Jesus is saying, “I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that anyone can make these kinds of claims. Just making the claims doesn’t make it true. Well, you are right. Just making these claims doesn’t prove anything.”
So look at what He does starting in verse 32. Jesus says: “There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the testimony which He bears of Me is true.”
- Jesus’ claims of being the Son of God, of being the giver of life, of being the eternal judge weren’t just something He claimed…
- There were other’s who verified His claims and now He is going to call forth His witnesses.
Look at His first witness found in verses 33-35…it is John the Baptist. Jesus says: “You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.”
- And notice verse 35: “He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.”
Jesus is saying to His Jewish critics, “You went out and heard John preach. And you heard John say that someone was coming after him…one who was greater than he was…someone whose sandals he wasn’t even worthy to tie.”
- “And you heard John say that he was not the Christ…and you guys rejoiced at the news of the coming Christ or the Messiah.”
- “You recognized John as a prophet of God.”
- “And he told you I was the One who was to come.”
- And so what Jesus is telling them is if you don’t want to believe Him…will they believe John?
But then Jesus has another witness to testify to or confirm His claims of being the Christ. Look at verse 36.
But the witness which I have is greater than that of John;
- In other words, “If you are having a problem believing what John has said, I have another witness for you.” Look at what it is:
- …for the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
“You Jewish leaders, if you don’t want to believe what I have said, and if you don’t want to believe what John said, just think about My works.”
- “Remember back in Cana of Galilee…at the wedding feast…how I turned the water into wine.”
- “And what about here in Jerusalem…the man over by the pool of Bethesda who had been lame for 38 years…you saw how I made that man well.”
- “And in Capernaum, a man came and he was a royal official, and he told us about his son, and I healed his son.”
- “Have you ever seen anyone do things like that before?”
- “If you won’t believe what I say, and if you won’t believe what John said about Me, will you believe the works that I have done?”
But Jesus keeps going…trying to get these people to believe. Look at His next witness found in verse 37:
“And the Father who sent Me, He has borne witness of Me.”
- Some of these Jewish leaders had heard it or at least had heard about it.
- The day that Jesus was baptized, when He came up out of the water, the Spirit descends on Him…and a voice from heaven says, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
And Jesus keeps going in verse 39 and on through verses 45 and 46…and He says, “If you will not believe what I say, and you will not believe what John said about Me, and if you will not believe the works that I do, and if you will not believe the Father when He called Me His Son, will you believe the scriptures and the things that Moses wrote?”
- Look at verse 39: “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me.”
- And look at verse 46: “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me.”
Jesus tells these Jewish leaders, “You know the scriptures…you read them…you know what Moses said…and what Isaiah said about Me…and Jeremiah…and you know how they talked about My birth, and my suffering, and my ministry, and my death…and my resurrection…”
- “If you won’t believe what I tell you, and you won’t believe what John has told you, and if you won’t believe the works that I have done, and if you won’t believe what the Father has said, will you believe the scriptures and what Moses wrote?”
Jesus made these claims: “I am the Son of God, I am the giver of life, I am the judge.”
- And He calls up all these witnesses…and He asks these Jews the same question he asks all of us:
“If you won’t believe Jesus Himself when He claims to be the Son of God, the giver of life, and the eternal judge…will you believe what these witnesses say?”
- Will you believe what John said, what Jesus’ works say, what God Himself says, or what the scriptures and Moses say?”
- “Are you that hard hearted…or do you think all these witnesses are all liars too?”
In our court system today it is a dangerous thing to refuse to believe the evidence and witnesses.
- It is even more dangerous to reject them in this situation.
- Look at what Jesus says in verse 24:
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
- Don’t reject the evidence…instead, come to the right verdict…and pass out of death into life.
Now, there is another question that I want to ask in reference to what has taken place here.
- What I want to know is, CAN YOU/I PROVE WHO WE CLAIM TO BE?
- Jesus made His claims…and He supported His claims with obvious evidence and witnesses…
- And today, we claim to be followers of Christ…we claim to be Christians…we claim to be “the church.”
- Can you…can I…prove that we are who we claim to be?
I read in Eph. 3: 10 that those of us who claim to be “the church” or who claim to be Christians that we are to take God’s wisdom that has been summed up in Christ to a world that needs Christ.
- And I read in Matthew 28: 18-20 that those of us who claim to be disciples…that we are to go “and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit”…
- And what I am wondering is, based on that criteria, could you prove by your actions that you are who you claim you are?
- Would anyone stand up and say, “He taught me about Jesus?”
And I read in 1 John 1: 7 that those of us who claim to be Christians are to “walk in the light as He Himself is in the light”…
- And I am told in 1 John 3 that “the one who practices sin is of the devil”…and I am wondering, what would the evidence say about you? And what would it say about me?
- Would my actions…would my walk prove that I really am a Christian like I claim to be?
- Would anyone stand up and say, “This guy is walking in the light” or would I have more witness step up and say, “He is practicing sin?”
And what about Eph. 5: 3-5…where Paul is talking to Christians and he says:
But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints; 4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
And I read that…and that is the way that Christians are supposed to be…
- And that is what you/I claim to be…and I wonder, “Can we prove our claim?”
- Can you and I bring witnesses…bring people who will say, “I’ve heard him talk many times…and he has never used coarse joking…or foul language…and he has never used the Lord’s name in vain.”
- Can you…can I build a case that proves who we claim to be?
Then I read in John 13: 35 that “all men will know we are disciples of Jesus by the way we love one another.”
- And I read that we are to encourage one another…and that we are to be kind to one another.
- And that we are to help the weak…and that we are not to gossip about each other…and be mean to one another.
- In fact, as disciples of Christ and members of His church, we are to reach out to those who are in need…and love them and forgive them…and we are to admonish the unruly…and be patient with all men.
- And here we are, we claim to be God’s people…and I wonder, if this is the criteria…is there enough evidence to convict us of being what we say we are?
- Are there people who can come and testify…and build a case on our behalf?
And I read in Acts 20:7 that the followers of Christ were “gathered on the first day of the week” and I wonder, does your attendance in the assemblies…and my attendance in the assemblies prove that we are who we claim to be?
- Will coming “once in a while” or just a few times each year be evidence enough to convict you of being a follower of Christ?
One more, Philippians 4: 4…the apostle Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice.”
- Christians are to be a people who have a special joy…even in the worst of circumstances.
- And the reason they have this special joy is because they realize that their heavenly Father is bigger than their problems…and He will use all things for the good of those who love Him.
- And what I wonder is, can we prove by our disposition that we are the people we claim to be?
- Are there people who can come and say, “I know that person and he always seems to be filled with joy”?
Are we the people that we claim to be…and more than that…can we prove it?
- Does the evidence confirm…do other people confirm that we are who we say we are?
In closing, there are two things I want you to take home with you.
- One, JESUS IS WHO HE CLAIMED TO BE.
- He is the Son of God…He is the giver of eternal life…and He is the eternal judge.
- He said it…all the evidence confirms it…and so to do all the witnesses.
- Don’t deny His claims, the evidence, or the witnesses…because if you do then you will be denying the salvation that is available only through Him…and their will be no eternal rest for your soul.
And then the second thing I want you to take home with you is this:
- Some day, every one of us will stand before the eternal judge and His judgment will be a righteous one…in other words…we will not fool Him…there will be no mistakes.
- And what I want you to understand is this…if you claim to be a child of God…but there is no evidence in this life that you are….if there are no witnesses in this life that can verify your claim…
- If the scriptures do not confirm your claims…
- Then it is very doubtful that the righteous judge…will judge you to be a child of God either.
The Miracle At Cana
THE MIRACLE AT CANA
John wrote this gospel after all the other gospels had been written and his purpose for writing was to try, once again, to convince people that Jesus was truly the Son of God.
- In fact, John tells us that in John 20:30-31. He says: Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
So, what John does in this book is he gives us a collection of supporting proofs that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Some of those proofs are verbal proofs; or the inspired words of John himself; the testimony of John the Baptizer; and you have the words of some of the Old Testament prophets; and then you have the verbal testimony of Andrew, Peter, and Philip.
So John gives us verbal testimony confirming that Christ is the Son of God but he also gives us physical signs or miracles. In this gospel he gives us 8 miracles that confirm who Jesus is and the first one is found here in chapter 2.
- This miracle in chapter 2 marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and remember the purpose of these signs or miracles is to get people to believe that Jesus is the Christ, and that by believing you may have life in His name.
- And that is my purpose in this lesson today; to reassure you that your faith in Christ is not misplaced; there are many things going on in our world and in our culture that can shake your faith; but I hope that what Jesus does here in these 11 verses will encourage you to stay faithful to Christ no matter what happens.
So, let’s look at this first miracle; let’s begin with the PARTY.
- This isn’t just a party; this is a party that exceeds all other parties; this is a wedding!
- About a year before this there would be a betrothal; and engagement; a legal, binding, covenantal contract that could only be broken by divorce.
- And during that betrothal period the husband to be would be preparing a place for his bride; He would build a house or add an extension to his father’s house; it would be his responsibility to get everything ready.
- And when everything was ready and the house was built; and the house was furnished; and all preparations were made and he had demonstrated that he had what it took to care for bride and to provide for her, the wedding would take place.
And the bridegroom would have the full responsibility for the cost of the wedding.
- It was a great celebration because he had been working hard for a year; and she had been waiting and preparing for this.
- This is the most important event in their lives; not only is it important to the couple getting married; but this will be a time of great celebration for everyone in this small community of Cana!
- Everything about this wedding will be carefully planned; and a wedding celebration might last for days.
- And people would come from the outlying areas; family and friends would all come to this celebration.
Now, look at vs. 2 tells us that Jesus was “invited.”
- I am afraid that not many “invite” Jesus to be at their wedding anymore; if they did perhaps fewer weddings would end in divorce.
But Jesus was “invited” to this wedding and the fact that Jesus attended this wedding and the fact that He performed His first miracle at a wedding emphasizes the sanctity of marriage.
- Weddings matter; Public covenant matters; the ceremony matters; it always has.
- And that means that the marriage covenant is not to be entered into lightly and once entered into it is to be honored and maintained.
In fact, any society that honors marriage; any society that elevates marriage; any society that honors a life-long commitment made and kept between a man and woman, and who rear children in the bond of love; that society will prosper; it will be secure; it will know peace.
- On the other hand, any society that fails to honor marriage as a covenant for life between a man and a women; any society that diminishes marriage; that society is corrupt; is doomed to chaos, turmoil, evil and judgment; and immorality will abound.
- When marriage is not honored as a lifetime commitment the fabric of society is shredded.
- Our Lord honored marriage by attending and doing His first miracle at a wedding.
So, Jesus attends this wedding; and His mother is there and that is no surprise because Mary had lived in Nazareth for several years; and Nazareth is only about 9 miles away and they would have known the people just up the road; possible related to some of them.
So, this wedding celebration is in full swing; everyone is having a wonderful time; but then there is a PROBLEM. In vs. 3 the “wine runs out.”
- And when the wine runs out that is a major catastrophe; this is a colossal, social embarrassment because if there was anything that the bridegroom had spent a year trying to prove is that he could provide for his bride.
- He had to build her a house; he had to prove he could take care of her; her father was handing her over to him; and now this happens; maybe the bridegroom can’t plan; maybe he can’t take care of her; this was a major embarrassment to her family as well as to his.
Now, what about the wine? I think it is interesting that a lot of people do not even see the miracle that takes place; they don’t even see Jesus as the Son of God; what they see in this event is justification to drink! To imbibe alcohol.
- In the world that these people lived in wine was made from all kinds of fruit; mostly grapes.
- And yes, the wine and the juice of any of the fruits that was used was subject to fermentation because there was no refrigeration; so, everything fermented and developed alcohol.
- And they drank a lot of “wine” because drinking water was dangerous because water was not purified; but to drink fermented wine was also dangerous because you could get drunk and that was a sin; and you didn’t want to get sick and you didn’t want to sin so they diluted the wine with water; usually 3 parts water to one part wine; and they did that so they could drink water because it had been purified by the alcohol in the fermented wine; and they could drink the wine because it had been diluted and would not make them drunk.
- So, this “wine” would have been prepared in the normal fashion.
- And besides, the distillation process that is used to make todays alcoholic beverages didn’t exist until 1000 years after this event.
- This “wine” was nothing like what people drink today.
So, they run out of wine at this wedding celebration and that is a catastrophic embarrassment; and in vs. 3 Mary says to Jesus, “They have no wine.”
- Now, why did Mary say this to Jesus? Did she think He would perform a miracle? Was she telling Him to perform a miracle? I don’t think so because as far as we know He had never performed a miracle before this.
- She why does Mary say this.
Well think about it this way. Jesus is somewhere around 30 years old and up to this time if Mary ever had a problem who do you think she turned to?
- He never had a bad idea in His life; He never had a wrong solution to a problem; He never led her a step in the wrong direction; He had a perfect solution to every dilemma.
- He was the most wise, intelligent person that had ever lived or ever will live on earth.
- He was compassionate; kind; loving; He cared about people; He knew the problem; who else would she turn to?
- So, I don’t think she asks for a miracle. I think she simply says to Him, “They have no wine.”
And look at vs. 4 how Jesus responds. Jesus says, “Woman…”
- Why not “mother?” Some say that Jesus is being harsh; rebuking Mary.
- But this is the same word He uses in John 19 from the cross when He says, “Woman, behold your son” and He handed her over to John.
- This isn’t a harsh response; but it isn’t intimate either.
- Why does He call her “woman?”
Because He is telling her that their relationship has changed; He is telling her that they don’t have the same relationship that they have had up until now; It’s over.
- In fact, look at what He says next: “What do I have to do with you?”
She is no longer in a position to act as an authority in His life; she is no longer in a position to tell Him what to do; to make suggestions to Him.
This would be a big change because He has probably done everything she has ever asked Him to do; He did those things out of love; but now she could no longer demand anything of Him; He was to be about His Father’s business.
- And He gave her a preview of this when He was 12 years old when He was in the temple talking to the Jewish officials.
- And here, at this wedding celebration His Father’s business began and His mother’s business ended.
- From here on He was saying, “I don’t do your business; I do My Father’s business.”
- What Jesus is doing is He is distancing Himself from the mother/son relationship that has existed for 30 years; and now she is no longer dealing with her son; but with the Son of God.
- He further confirms a difference in His relationship with Mary in Matthew 12:46.
By the way, what Jesus does here refutes the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching of asking Mary to plead with Jesus for the things you desire because Jesus cannot refuse Mary; Mary is not in a position of authority over Jesus.
Then Jesus says in vs. 4, “My hour has not come.”
- This is the first time we see this statement; but it will be used again several times; and what this is, is a statement that in its fullness looks at the cross, the hour of His death and resurrection.
- And what Jesus is saying to Mary is, “Our relationship is different now because now I am on a divine schedule that has been set by God; that will culminate in My death and everything leads to that; every event, every issue, every circumstance is leading to that final hour.”
And with that Mary bows out and she says to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”
And with that Jesus takes care of the problem. Look at vs. 6: Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each.
- This water is not for drinking because you didn’t drink water unless it was mixed with a purifier; this water is for purification; for washing their hands; for washing the utensils; for plates; for pans and pots; in Mark 7:3-4 you find that the Jews washed everything.
- This water is for cleansing.
Now, vs. 7: Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.
- If these pots weren’t “filled to the brim” somebody would just say that He added wine to the water.
- But if the water goes all the way to the brim, there’s no room left; that is His point.
You now have people who are completely disinterested parties who are now going to give testimony to this miracle; they don’t have any stake in this issue; they are not trying to prove anything about Jesus one way or another.
Now verse 8: And He (Jesus) said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter.” And they took it to him.
Now, vs. 9: And when the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew) the headwaiter called the bridegroom; 10 and said to Him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when men have drunk freely, then that which is poorer, you have kept the good wine until now.”
- All of this is so understated! Where is the miracle? This is massive!
- How do you get wine? You get it from grapes? Grapes come from a vine. How do you get vines? You get them from seeds.
- How do you get seeds? From other vines.
- How do you make them grow? Sunlight; water; dirt.
- How do you get the wine? Crush, strain.
But in this instance, there are no grapes; no vines; no seeds; no sunlight; no earth; there is no crushing or straining; there is nothing but pots of water.
- Jesus created this wine out of nothing! This is a pretty dramatic deal!
And you have these people who are completely disinterested eyewitnesses of that has just taken place; and they could have come back and said, “This is a lie. It didn’t happen!”; but they didn’t.
- And it became apparent right away this was the best wine ever; because the headwaiter calls the groom right away because he thinks the groom is responsible for this.
So you have this testimony of a creative miracle coming from the mouth of people who have no stake in trying to prove anything about Jesus.
- And verse 11 gives us the final word on all of this: This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
- And that brings us back to John’s purpose for writing this gospel: These things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing have eternal life in His name.”
Now, let me separate you all in three groups. You will be in one of these three groups.
In vs. 11 it says that “His disciples believed in Him.” That is group number one.
Look at John 12:37: Though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him.” This is group number 2.
And then there is group number 3. In John 12:42: Nevertheless, many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue, 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
Everyone of us is in one of these three groups; We either believe; or we don’t believe; or we are not willing to pay the price to trust in Christ.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023