9/23/10

John 2:23-25 - The Heart and Mind of Belief

John 2:23–25 (ESV) — 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Some very interesting questions are raised in these verses.
(1) What does it mean they “believed in his name”?
• (2) Why did Jesus “not entrust himself to them”?
• (3) What does it mean that “he himself knew what was in man”?

The answers to these questions will teach us about the very composition and nature of belief.
• And will serve as an introduction to our text next week dealing with being born again.

We will deal with the 3rd question first.

1) WHAT IS IN MAN?

John 2:25 (ESV) — 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

Given the context of belief and the coming discussion on the need to be born again, John is undoubtedly referring to the immaterial aspect of man’s nature and not his liver or femur bone (the material).

And when we speak of the immaterial part of man we are talking about:
• The “seat and center of human life” – Zodhiates.
• The “seat of feelings, desires and passions” – TDNT.
• The “seat of thought and understanding” – TDNT.
• The “seat of the will” – TDNT.


So what was it that Jesus knew was “in” man?
What was in the seat?

As usual, there is no need for speculation because Scripture makes it clear:
• Mark 7:21–23 (ESV) — 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
• Psalm 53:1–3 (ESV) — 1 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. 2 God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. 3 They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
• Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV) — 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

What Jesus saw in man was total depravity.
• From the heart to the mind to the body there is nothing but deceit, corruption and no understanding.
• And these things “come from within” to defile the person in which they reside.
• There was not even an island of righteousness somewhere in the midst of the depravity.
• In other words, the seat was occupied with sin and all its fruit (sinful actions).

POI – The fact that Jesus can see what is “in” man is one more indicator that He is God.
Remember, in John 1:48, Jesus demonstrated His divinity to Nathanael by telling Nathanael what was “in” him.


Now, from these verses, we also get an important picture of how the “in” of man works.
• This is important because we need to get a handle on the “inner” workings of man to answer our 1st and 2nd questions above.
    o (1) What does it mean they “believed in his name”?
    o (2) Why did Jesus “not entrust himself to them”?
• In other words, we need to, in effect, understand of what the seat is made.

The “in” of man – a seat of heart and mind:
POI - I think it would only confuse the issue of the heart and mind to debate whether they reside in a soul which is different from the spirit (trichotomous view) or whether they reside in the soul which is the same as the spirit (dichotomous view).
• “In fact, we should not slip into the mistake of thinking that certain activities (such as thinking, feeling, or deciding things) are done by only one part of us. Rather these activities are done by the whole person” – Wayne Grudem.


What is the seat?

We will refer back to our text from Mark and Psalms above.
• (1) Jesus’ own words confirm that the “within” of a man (man’s seat), is the heart and “evil thoughts” (Mark 7:21-23).
    o And since thoughts are “a design of the mind”, we can conclude that out of the heart also come the evil “designs of the mind” (Zodhiates).
    o Therefore the “within” (the seat) is at least the heart and mind.
    o This also shows us the close relationship of the corrupt heart of a man, and his mind – they are parts of the same seat.
        * Therefore if the heart is deceitful, the mind is deceitful.
        * And a corrupt heart leads to a mind that has an understanding deficit (Psalm 53:1-3).
• (2) The body of man participates or bears the fruit of the “evil things” that “come from within” (Mark 7:21-23) the heart and mind (the seat).
    o Remember what Grudem says, the evil things are “done by the whole person”.

So the immaterial seat of man is made up essentially of (2) things; his heart and mind.
THE HEART - Matthew 13:15 (ESV) — 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’
THE MIND - Romans 8:5–7 (ESV) — 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

So now we are equipped to answer our first two questions.
• (1) What does it mean they “believed in his name”?
• (2) Why did Jesus “not entrust himself to them”?



The hover of the hummingbird:
• A hummingbird was designed to retrieve its food by hovering.
    o A man was designed to find salvation in Jesus by believing.
• A hummingbird requires two motions to hover (see video); the wings must flap up and down (the heart motion) and back and forth (the mind motion).
    o A man is required to trust Christ with the two things in order to believe in Jesus - his heart and mind.
• If a hummingbird doesn’t fly with both motions, he doesn’t hover.
    o If a man doesn’t believe with both the heart and mind, he doesn’t have saving belief.

This analogy provides us the answers to the first (2) questions.

So when John tells us in verse 24 that “Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them”:
• He is literally telling us that Jesus did not believe (pisteuo) in them.
    o This raises a very interesting take on the Gospel…does Jesus believe in you?
• And we learned that He didn’t believe in them because he knew they were still wicked.
    o Jesus could see their hearts (seats) were still occupied by themselves, not Him.

So when John tells us in verse 23 that “many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing”:
• We now understand that they were like a hummingbird trying to hover by flying with only one motion.
    o This is impossible.
• They certainly believed in their minds that Jesus was who he said he was, but they had not believed in their hearts.
• They had not “entrusted” Jesus to their heart (seat).
    o This is why D.A. Carson paraphrases John 2:23-24, “the people trusted in his name, but he did not entrust himself to them.
• So a belief based only in knowledge is not saving belief at all, just like the hummingbird can’t hover with only one motion.
    o James 2:19 (ESV) — 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

Paul describes this “unbelieving belief” as follows:
• Romans 1:21 (ESV) — 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    o Notice that what they knew with respect to God (no matter how right) ultimately becomes corrupt (as we also learned from above) by a foolish heart.

The above heart/mind dynamic is why Wayne Grudem makes the following observations about salvation:
• For clarity’s sake, Grudem argues that the mind’s relationship with belief is both an intellectual assent and an emotional approval.
• And he says of this assent and approval:
    o “The approval of the facts of the Gospel…does not add up to true saving faith. That comes when I make a decision of my will to depend on, or put my trust in, Christ as my Savior. This personal decision to place my trust in Christ is something done with my heart, the central faculty of my entire being that makes commitments for me as a whole person.
    o So the people in our text today only gave Jesus their intellectual assent and emotional approval not their hearts.
    o BTW - an implication of this dynamic is that there can be a counterfeit repentance fueled by assent and emotional approval not by the heart.

This heart/mind dynamic sheds light on the following observations of Paul:
• Romans 10:9 (ESV) — 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
• Romans 10:10 (ESV) — 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
    o Notice that here we have further confirmation of what we learned earlier.
    o We learned that a deceitful heart produces like thoughts and actions, well here we conversely see that from a saved heart come saved actions and “designs of the mind”!
    o In other words, REPENTANCE (confession) comes from a saved, believing heart.
    o 1 John 2:29 (ESV) — 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.
    o 1 John 3:9 (ESV) — 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.

Lesson For Us:
We have seen that it takes two “flying motions” to have saving faith.
• A trusting of the heart AND of the mind (intellect and emotions).

But the heart is the “central faculty” of belief.
• And as the heart goes, so goes the mind – but not the other way around.
    o The flow of saving belief is “heart to mind” not “mind to heart”.
• This is very important because it explains why there can both be:
    o An unbelieving belief
    o And a saved heart with a doubting mind.

An “unbelieving belief” describes the men in our verses today.
• They believed in Christ’s signs and wonders but did not having saving belief.
• John 12:37 (ESV) — 37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him,

And, “a saved heart with a doubting mind” can be demonstrated in the following examples:
• John 1:50 (ESV) — 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”
• Mark 16:14 (ESV) — 14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.
• John 20:8 (ESV) — 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;
• John 20:29 (ESV) — 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
    o It must be said that the doubt of a believer does not prevent him from “flying (being saved)”, but it prevents him from “hovering” and so impacts the quality of his or her spiritual life.

And finally, how does a depraved heart get off the seat, make way for Jesus, and hover in the first place?
• How does belief/trust in Christ originate in the heart?
• Jesus puts it like this:
    o John 10:25–27 (ESV) — 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
    o It appears that being part of the flock is necessitated before saving belief is even possible.
    o Luke puts it like this, Acts 13:48 (ESV) — 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

This is what we will deal with next week.

John 2:13–22 – A Temple Renovation

John 2:13–22 (ESV) — 13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.


1) THE FIRST FLOOR IS THE TEMPLE

John 2:13–14 (ESV) — 13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.

The first floor was built around Temple life in Jerusalem.
• And in our text today, John 2:14, John is referring us to the hieron which denotes the area surrounding the temple, particularly the outer courts, not the temple proper.

Among other things, life on the first floor consisted of animal sacrifice:
• In John 2:14, we see the presence of merchants who sold animal’s for sacrifice.
• This practice was firmly established and rooted in the OT.
• Numbers 28:16–23 (ESV) — 16 “On the fourteenth day of the first month is the LORD’s Passover…19 but offer a food offering, a burnt offering to the LORD: two bulls from the herd, one ram, and seven male lambs a year old; see that they are without blemish; 20 also their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil; three tenths of an ephah shall you offer for a bull, and two tenths for a ram; 21 a tenth shall you offer for each of the seven lambs; 22 also one male goat for a sin offering, to make atonement for you. 23 You shall offer these besides the burnt offering of the morning, which is for a regular burnt offering.

And it consisted of financial sacrifice:
• In John 2:14, the money-changers’ job was to exchange Greek and Roman money for the Jewish half-shekel.
• The half shekel was the annual tribute of each Jew to the Temple.
    o Exodus 30:13 (ESV) — 13 Each one who is numbered in the census shall give this: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as an offering to the LORD.

The money exchange services and the availability of animals for sacrifice were “especially for worshippers coming from a distance, it was a convenience and a service to be able to purchase them on site instead of having to bring them from afar” – D.A. Carson.
• At the period of time our text takes place, the money-changers and the selling of animals for sacrifice were in the outer court (hieron) of the Temple.
• This was apparently a recent development and it was done for convenience.
• Prior to this, all this necessary Temple business was conducted outside of the Temple.

So this was the scene as it presented itself to Jesus when He entered the hieron.
• And as we are about to see, it was a scene that Jesus, with His ministry officially underway, had a serious problem with.


Jesus Enters the First Floor:
• I don’t know about you, but I am mighty comfortable in the first floor of my house.
• I have my favorite chair and Lisa has her favorite couch.
• We have the rooms arranged just the way we want them.
• We have the frig stocked with all the things we like to eat and drink.

All that the Jews had ever known and liked about their “1st floor” was about to radically change.

John 2:15–16 (ESV) — 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”

Apparently, Jesus’ didn’t like what had become of the 1st floor of His house:
• “Instead of solemn dignity and the murmur of prayer, there is the bellowing of cattle and the bleating of sheep. Instead of brokenness and contrition, holy adoration and prolonged petition, there is noisy commerce…Jesus ‘demonstration in the temple’ was ‘an attack on the whole of the financial arrangements for the sacrificial system’, and thus an enormous threat to the priestly authorities” – D.A. Carson.

It’s at this point that the disciples make a connection with Jesus’ actions and the OT.

John 2:17 (ESV) — 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
• This OT text comes from the Psalms.
    o Psalm 69:9 (ESV) — 9 For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
• “Jesus’ cleansing of the temple testifies to his concern for pure worship, a right relationship with God at the place supremely designated to serve as the focal point of the relationship between God and man” – D.A. Carson.

POI - The zeal of Jesus for the purity of the Temple was clearly evident to the disciples, but “the manner by which Jesus will be consumed” was, as we will see, not understood at this time by the disciples.

But for now, we come to the stairway (I use this as a purposeful allusion to our Jacob’s Ladder lesson a few weeks ago) to the 2nd floor; a new floor.
• And I think it is prudent that it was Scripture (Psalm 69:9) that leads us to this stairway to the 2nd floor!
• For it was Jesus’ fulfillment of this zeal that brought us to one of the ultimate questions we all must ask about Jesus.
The question is simply, “On whose authority does Jesus operate”?

John 2:18 (ESV) — 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
• Apparently, these Jews were representatives of the Sanhedrin or temple authorities.
• As such, it would have been their duty to question Jesus on His actions in the Temple.
• They wanted to know on what authority He had cleared the Temple.
• It is also interesting that they did not have Him arrested right away.

Scripture brought us to the stairs, but it was Jesus words that take us to the 2nd floor itself.
• We see His words, an answer to the Jews’ question about authority, in verse 19.



2) THE SECOND FLOOR IS JESUS

John 2:19–21 (ESV) — 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
POI – John’s Gospel is telling us that this scene took place 46 years from when the Temple rebuild began.
• We know from a number of sources that Herod began to rebuild the Temple about 20-18 B.C.
• So if the numbers don’t add up, we have a problem.
• But as is always the case, the inerrancy of the Bible is left intact.
• 46 years after from 20-18 B.C. is about 27-29 A.D which is exactly where we need to be.

So back to our point; as we learned last week, Jesus speaks on many levels and here is no different.
• We need to see what Jesus may have meant both by “destroy this temple” and “I will raise it up”.
• And as expected, there are a couple of levels to be found – remember, Jesus is Deep.

His answer seems to speak to the following 2 levels (from John Piper):
• (1) He seemed to telling the Jews that the corruption of the Temple has destroyed it.
    o “Destroy this temple” as in you guys are, have, and will destroy it by your own actions.
    o And of course, literally it would fall under the wrath of God and be destroyed by the Romans around A.D. 70.
• (2) On a deeper level of destruction, He seems to be saying that the “same materialistic deadness to spiritual reality that destroys this temple will destroy me. Just like you kill worship in the temple with your consumerism and materialism, you will kill me. I and my Father are one. If you destroy his house, you destroy me. If you treasure money more than my Father, you will treasure my destruction—and buy it with 30 pieces of silver” – John Piper.
    o The Jews will reject Jesus as Messiah and crucify Him, in part because He pointed out this corruption of the “first floor”.

And what about the meaning behind His statement, “I will raise it up”?

The answer to this question is also revealed in 2 levels and the 2nd deeper level brings us to the new, 2nd Floor established by God Himself in Christ Jesus:
• (1) Jesus is declaring that He does in fact have the authority.
    o John 10:17–18 (ESV) — 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
    o So on whose authority has Jesus “cleared” the temple and on whose will He raise it up? His own.
• (2) Jesus has symbolically foreshadowed that He will replace the old Temple (the 1st floor) and “become the new ‘place’ where everyone may meet God and fellowship with God” – John Piper.
    o D.A. Carson puts it like this, “His death as the ultimate sacrificial Lamb would render the Jerusalem temple obsolete; and His resurrection as the triumphant Lord would lay the foundation for a new, spiritual temple in its place—namely, the church.

Interestingly, the Jews have no idea what he is talking about on either level and sadly throughout Jesus ministry, most of them never did.
• And John readily admits that the disciples had no idea of the 2nd deeper level we just discussed.
• John 10:22 (ESV) — 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
    o This is why we say He foreshadowed this deeper truth, because it was a truth that was not fully known until His resurrection.
    o Not fully known, because in a sense, it was not even fully possible until Jesus death on the cross.

Lesson for Us:
Do we recognize the authority of Jesus Christ?
Do we accept His authority and invitation to live life on the 2nd floor or do we continue to live life on the 1st floor?
• A life based on works and obligations instead of faith and obedience.

Even as a believer, what are some ways we continue to live on the first floor; our floor – the one we knew before coming to Christ and so the one we might find familiar and alluring?

John 2:5-11 – Jesus’ First Miracle Part II

John 2:5–11 (ESV) — 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 9 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 10 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.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

1) JESUS IS DEEP


We have briefly discussed in the last two classes whether we read too much into Jesus words and actions.
Did Jesus really say all that we believe he did in just a few verses?
To help us figure this out, we need to back track just a bit.
• Last week we discussed both why Jesus would have “stiff armed” his mother and why then did He proceed to solve the wine problem anyway.

We need to make a couple of more points on each of these issues.
• And in the process we will both cover the remainder of our verses, but also find that Jesus actually validates our observations about the meaning behind His interactions with Mary and our efforts to look for a deeper meaning behind His actions and words.

With respect to the “stiff arm”:
• Last week we saw that Jesus created a distance between He and Mary because, “everything, even family ties, had to be subordinated to his divine mission. She could no longer view him as other mothers viewed their sons; she must no longer be allowed the prerogatives of motherhood…he, like every other person, must come to him as to the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Neither she nor anyone else dare presume to approach him on an ‘inside track’—a lesson even Peter had to learn” – D.A. Carson.

What is the evidence we have that Mary was presuming upon her relationship with Jesus?
• (1) Mary would have clearly had some expectations about Jesus given her miraculous pregnancy and the words the angel Gabriel spoke to her.
    o Luke 1:28–33 (ESV) — 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
• (2) We know that by asking Jesus for help she figured he might do something.
• (3) She also would have certainly noticed, as we said last week, that Jesus showed up with 5 or 6 strangers.
• (4) And finally, her words in verse 5 convey that, even given Jesus’ rebuke of her, she still knew he would do something.
    o John 2:5 (ESV) — 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
• It can be said then, that given her inside knowledge, she was presuming upon her relationship with Jesus.


And so to demonstrate that we are not over reading the text with respect the reason Jesus gave Mary the “stiff arm”, we can look to Jesus’ words in Mark.
• Mark 3:31–35 (ESV) — 31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
    o In this text, Jesus actually confirms that, with the advent of His Messianic ministry, His relationship with His family has in fact changed dramatically!
    o So Jesus own words provide confirmation of our reading of Jesus response to His mother in John.

Now, with respect to why he went ahead and solved the wine problem even after the rebuke, last week we said:
• (1) It seems possible that Mary was asking Jesus to do something divine or to reveal Himself in some way.
• (2) Jesus was aware of a deeper symbolism in play with the wedding and the wine.
• (3) This event was one of many of Jesus that pointed to and “anticipated the glorification of Jesus on the cross” – D.A. Carson.
• (4) Jesus saw it as an opportunity to reveal Himself as the Messianic Bridegroom to His mother and disciples.
• (5) Jesus chose to “act out a parable” for the benefit of His disciples and mother:
    o So according to John Piper, it as if Jesus is saying, “I will take the purification rituals of Israel and replace them with a decisively new way of purification—namely, with my blood…I will give you an acted out parable of my death and what it will mean.

And, again, to demonstrate that we were not over reading the text, we look to Jesus.
But first, we need to ask for whose benefit the wine miracle was done?
• (1) Clearly, it was for his mother and to assist her catering responsibilities.
• (2) And obviously the wedding party and their guests benefited.
o John 2:10 (ESV) — 10 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.”
• (3) However, as we look at verse 11, we see who benefited on a deeper, spiritual level.
    o John 2:11 (ESV) — 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
• So John’s own words make a distinction between Jesus words and actions physical impact (the wedding party) and their spiritual impact (Mary, the disciples and possibly the servants).

So now we can look at Jesus’ own words.
• We will see that Jesus own words demonstrate that he often would do something that had a deeper spiritual impact and meaning specifically for the benefit of His disciples just as we say He did in our text from John.
• Or to put another way, Jesus would do things to purposely deepen the faith of His disciples.

(1) Jesus cursed the fig tree:
• Mark 11:12–14 (ESV) — 12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
• Mark 11:20–25 (ESV) — 20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

(2) Jesus walked on water:
• Matthew 14:22–33 (ESV) — 22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

(3) Jesus calmed a storm:
• Matthew 8:23–27 (ESV) — 23 And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25 And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

(4) Jesus landed the big catch:
• Luke 5:5–11 (ESV) — 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” 9 For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” 11 And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.

So I think we can conclude without hesitation that Jesus orchestrated His actions and words to operate not only on a physical level but on a deeper spiritual level.
• And it is clear that he did this on purpose and for the benefit of His disciples.
• As John said, John 20:30 (ESV) — 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;

How can we be sure that His actions and words had a deeper spiritual impact?
• In our text today we see this impact in verse 11.
    o John 2:11 (ESV) — 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
• And in our (4) examples we see it in the following declarations:
    o “Truly you are the Son of God”
    o “What sort of man is this”
    o “Depart from me for I am a sinful man O Lord”

So have we read too much into Jesus’ words and actions?
• It seems to me we absolutely have not.
• And, “Actually, the word that is translated as “miracles” in this verse is the word “signs,” and in John a sign is always something that points to a reality greater than itself. Or, to use another word, we could say that the miracles are also, in addition to being literal events, symbolic” – James Boice.
• So we should be asking ourselves, “Jesus words and actions are symbolic of what?


Now, one final consideration:
What does it mean that the disciples believed?
    o Hadn’t they already believed?
• According to the AYBD the use of “believed” in our text (and elsewhere) is “distinctive”.
• The “use of piste├║ein with eis…has the new and strong sense of “believing in” and arises in the context of the church’s mission. Another fairly common sense of piste├║ein is “to entrust or commit oneself”.
• So in this since, one could have already believed in Jesus as Savior by faith and yet still also believe or commit oneself to Him anew every day.
    o Or, as John MacArthur describes this distinctive form of belief; the disciples experienced a “confirmation of [their prior] faith”.

Lesson for Us:
Jesus did not waste His words or actions.
• When he did something He intended it to have not only the obvious impact, but to bring home a deeper spiritual truth.
• This is made clear by His own words, the words of John, and the words of His disciples.

Encountering the truths and miracles of Scripture should have an impact on our lives.
• This is why John says, John 20:31 (ESV) — 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
    o If you are an unbeliever and have a seeking heart, you gain a capacity and leading to faith.
    o If you are a believer you gain further confirmation of your faith.

Have you ever had any encounter (just for you) with Scripture or witnessed any events that led you to say to yourself, “Yes, I do believe in Jesus or God or the truth of the Bible or the work of the Holy Spirit, etc.?

9/6/10

John 2:1-4 – Jesus’ First Miracle Part I

John 2:1–4 (ESV) — 1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”


1) JESUS REBUKES HIS MOTHER

John 2:3–5 (ESV) — 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

A wedding crisis:
• Given the presence of Jesus and His mother, it is probable that the wedding was for a relative or family friend.
• It is also reasonable to assume that Mary had some role in the catering of the wedding given her interest in the wine.
• A wedding celebration could last as long as a week, so a great deal of food and drink were necessitated.
• To run out would have been shameful and an embarrassment.
• It was in this context that Mary approached Jesus, her son, and told him, “They have no wine”.
• Now we don’t know if Mary knew what Jesus was capable of, but we do know as her firstborn she would have naturally looked to Him for help (she was probably a widow at this time).
    o Yet because we are told by John that this is the first sign/miracle of Jesus it is likely that Mary was not expecting a miracle.
    o Interestingly, in the uninspired Gospel of Thomas, a weird story is told of the toddler Jesus.
    o We are told that he was playing by the river on the Sabbath and was making clay pigeons.
    o Someone told Joseph of Jesus’ activity and he came to Jesus to find out what was going on.
    o Jesus essentially turned the pigeons into real birds and said what pigeons (Curiously, I have run into this story twice this week).

Jesus’ “stiff-arm” response in verse 4:
• Jesus said to His mother, “Woman, what does this have to do with me?
    o Or “Why do you involve me”.
    o Or even better, “You have no claims on me”.
Is His response as harsh as it sounds?
• Woman, “though thoroughly courteous, is not normally an endearing term, nor the form of address preferred by a son addressing a much-loved mother” – D.A. Carson.
• There really is no English equivalent, but what comes closest is Ma’am.
• And when coupled with “what does this have to do with me”, Jesus is definitely giving Mary the “stiff arm” in the words of John Piper.

How can we be sure that this was a “stiff arm”?

Let’s take a look at the only other 5 instances where the phrase “have to do with me/us” shows up in the NT.
• Matthew 8:29 (ESV) — 29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
    o This is a demon’s response after Jesus had just calmed the sea and wind.
• Mark 1:24 (ESV) — 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”
    o This is a demon’s response after Jesus demonstrated his authority at Capernaum.
• Mark 5:7 (ESV) — 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”
     o This is a demon’s response after seeing Jesus and falling down before Jesus.
• Luke 4:34 (ESV) — 34 “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”
    o As before, this is a demon’s response after Jesus had demonstrated His authority in Galilee.
• Luke 8:28 (ESV) — 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.”
    o This is a demon’s response after Jesus had commanded it to come out of a man.

As can be seen, every other case the phrase “have to do with me/us” is used in the NT, it is spoken by demons to Jesus when he has or is about evict them from their human host.
• In other words, this phrase is said to Jesus when he “intrudes in their domain and starts to exert power where they were in control” – John Piper.
• And it is in this way that Jesus uses the phrase with His mother Mary.
    o She was attempting to exert an authority over Jesus that, for some reason, Jesus felt was not her place to do at this moment.
• So, whatever else it did, Jesus’ response to Mary, at the very least, created distance between Jesus and His mother.

But why did Jesus see a need to create this distance?
• The wedding feast is, John tells us, where Jesus first reveals His glory through signs and wonders so that “we may know” He is the Messiah; His divine mission.
• And given this, Jesus saw a need to create this distance because, “everything, even family ties, had to be subordinated to his divine mission. She could no longer view him as other mothers viewed their sons; she must no longer be allowed the prerogatives of motherhood…he, like every other person, must come to him as to the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Neither she nor anyone else dare presume to approach him on an ‘inside track’—a lesson even Peter had to learn” – D.A. Carson.
• Another way to put it is, “faith over family” – John Piper.
    o Most interestingly, Carson speculates that this encounter with Jesus could also be seen as part of the fulfillment of Luke 2:35.
    o Luke 2:35 (ESV) — 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

But what about the rest of His response; it seems to make no sense at all?
• He tells Mary, “My hour has not yet come.”
• BTW - This will not be the only time Jesus makes this claim in John’s Gospel:
    o John 7:30 (ESV) — 30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.
    o John 8:20 (ESV) — 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
    o And he does eventually affirm His time has come.
    o John 12:23–24 (ESV) — 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
• Mary was simply looking for a way to avoid a shameful event (running out of wine) and yet this phrase of Jesus seems to indicate so much more was going on or at stake.
• He had already rebuffed her and now He in effect tells her, “The time for the purification of sin through my death, resurrection and exaltation to glory is not yet upon us”.
Want does this have to do with anything Mary was talking about?
• Plus, when we consider that Jesus went ahead and took care of the wine problem anyway, it becomes even stranger.


The answer to our question can be found in the following possibilities:
• (1) It seems possible that Mary was asking Jesus to do something divine or reveal Himself.
    o And as James Boice points out, Mary surely noticed that Jesus showed up with 5 or 6 strangers and so probably had an idea that something was up.
    o So she may have been thinking, “now is the time to declare yourself openly”.
• (2) Jesus was aware of a deeper symbolism in play with the wedding and the wine.
    o He knew that, “The prophets characterized the messianic age as a time when wine would flow liberally” (Amos 9:13-14; Je. 31:12; Ho. 14:7) – D.A Carson.
    o He knew of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messianic Banquet, as follows:
    o Isaiah 25:6–9 (ESV) — 6 On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. 7 And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.
    o And He himself, in Matthew 22, Jesus tells the Parable of the Wedding Feast.
    o So if He was, “treating the developing circumstances as an acted parable, Jesus is entirely correct to say that the hour of great wine, the hour of his glorification, has not yet come” – D.A. Carson.
• (3) This event was one of many of Jesus that pointed to and “anticipated the glorification of Jesus on the cross” – D.A. Carson.
    o And in verse 11, we see that the disciples got a glimpse of this future glory.
• (4) Jesus saw it as an opportunity to reveal Himself as the Messianic Bridegroom to His mother and disciples.
    o Just as John the Baptist called Jesus in John 3:29-30.
    o Therefore he will provide all the “wine” needed for the Messianic Banquet mentioned earlier.
• (5) Jesus chose to “act out a parable” for the benefit of His disciples and mother:
    o He asked the servants to use “rites of purification jars” or “ceremonial washing jars” in verse 6.
    o So according to John Piper, it as if Jesus is saying, “I will take the purification rituals of Israel and replace them with a decisively new way of purification—namely, with my blood…I will give you an acted out parable of my death and what it will mean.
    o Purification comes only through Jesus Christ not religion.