(Chp 17) It's Jesus Time!May 5, 2008, More from this speaker 更多关于此讲员: Rev. Wong Siow Hwee (John 2:1-12) For more of this sermon series 更多关于此讲道系列: The Jesus Creed
Preached at a Bilingual (Mandarin-English, Sunday) service
Sermon based on Chapter 17 of Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed
Passage: John 2:1-12
Since today’s passage is about the miracle of turning water to wine, I think it is appropriate to start with a sharing about beer commercials. “During the 1950s and 1960s, the average Joes thought that all beers were made from basically the same stuff, undergoing essentially the same brewing processes and costing almost the same. The only distinction was the taste. So you can imagine all the advertising guys focused on the importance of flavour. Naturally, “how good the beer tasted” formed the foundation of all creative advertisements for virtually all the beers.
Miller Beer changed all that in January 1971. Beer distributors from around the country attended the Miller Brewing Co.’s national sales meeting at Boca Raton, FL. The highlight was Miller’s launch of a nationwide advertising campaign revolving around the new slogan, “If you’ve got the time, we’ve got the beer.” With this slogan and the advertising campaign, a new lease of life was given to the stale beer advertising scene. This slogan was later further shortened to the simple phrase “It’s miller time.”
The new advertisements still depicted tough and rugged macho guys drinking Miller Beer. The difference was these guys were drinking not because they enjoyed its delicate balance of flavors, they were drinking because they deserved a great beer after a hard day's work. In essence, it’s Miller Time. For the first time in the past 20 years, beer advertising focused on the beer-drinking moment and not the beer. Beer drinkers took notice and many switched to Miller.”
Why was the advertisement so successful? It’s because as human beings, we all understand the simple truth that not all time is created equal. Sure, the exact seconds and minutes and hours are a constant, but different times are experienced differently. If you are in a rush, every second feels like an hour; and when you are having a good time, every day just flashes by. Miller Beer was trying to tell buyers that there is a special time called “miller time”. In fact, we Singaporeans know that Tiger Beer later also copied their idea. “What time is it? It’s Tiger time.” Whether it is Miller time or Tiger time, it states a simple concept that time has different meaning and value at different moments. It all depends on what is happening at that time. Today, I’m going to introduce a new phrase that I hope will catch on in our lives. It’s Jesus time. There are 3 things that I wish to share about Jesus time.
Point 1: It is a sign
When the wine was gone at the wedding, and Mary approached Jesus about the problem, Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.” If we read on, we will see that Jesus time is a very crucial concept in the gospel.
John 4: 21 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
John 5: 25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. 28 "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice
Jesus will bring about true worship and salvation when it is time. True worship and salvation naturally speaks about time in heaven. The fulfillment of Jesus time will happen in eternity, and as believers that is our hope and longing. But we are not left alone in blind hope and empty longing. And that is what today’s passage is about. John stated clearly that this was the first of Jesus’ miraculous signs. The turning of water to wine is a sign. And this is the first point I wish to make. Jesus time is a sign. There are 2 questions we need to answer. What does the sign points towards? The sign points towards Jesus, and all that Jesus will accomplish. The sign points towards being saved by Jesus and worshiping in eternity. The second question is how does the sign do that? John, by the way he arranged his narratives, gave us an answer.
John arranged the wedding at Cana to follow the encounter between Jesus and Nathaniel. In the earlier encounter, Jesus revealed something supernatural to Nathaniel and Nathaniel then professed Jesus as the Son of God. Then Jesus replied:
John 1: 50 Jesus said, "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." 51 He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
The imagery of heaven opening and the angels of God ascending and descending is an allusion to the story in Genesis 28:10ff, about a stairway linking heaven to earth. What it means is a moment in time when God’s world and the human world meet. So it is of great importance that the wedding in Cana follows this declaration of Jesus to Nathaniel. What is promised to Nathaniel happens 3 days later. It tells us that what happened at the wedding, the miracle, is that moment. A moment when God’s world and the human world meet. It is a moment in which we could catch a glimpse of heaven opening, and God at work on earth. The turning of water to wine is a sign. It is a sign because it shows us such a moment. And when we witness this moment of heaven on earth, we are pointed towards Jesus, and how Jesus will eventually bring heaven to us. Jesus time is a sign. It shows a moment of God's world, and we are pointed toward Jesus. What is such a moment like? That is the second point about Jesus time. Jesus time is when the glory is revealed.
Point 2: It revealed his glory
Actually, I found out about the advertising campaign of Miller Beer rather coincidentally. I was actually researching on another famous Miller time that I know of. And that Miller time is about Reggie Miller. Reggie Miller is now a retired professional basketball player. Miller spent the entirety of his 18-year NBA career with the Indiana Pacers. Miller was known for his precision three-point field goal shooting, especially in clutch situations. This means in a win or lose throw situation, he often makes the shot. He holds the NBA record for career three-pointers made (2,560). Back in the 90s, I loved to watch Miller play if I had the chance. Why? Because when it is Miller time, he will score from any place. He can turn a game around, and win it just like that.
To speak about this man, we have to speak about a very special Miller time. “The game, for all intent and purpose, was over. The New York Knicks had a 105-99 lead with 18.7 seconds left in Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals against their hated rivals, Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers. There was chuckling in the Madison Square Garden stands, as well as on the Knicks' bench. Thoughts turned to Game 2 because Game 1 was over. So it seemed.
In what many sports writers consider the most spectacular nine-second, game-ending scoring run in history, Reggie Miller hit a 3-point shot with 16.4 seconds left, immediately stole the ensuing inbound pass and quickly dashed out to the 3-point line and drained another three to tie the game at 105 with 13.3 seconds left.
After Miller's second 3-pointer, the Knicks' John Starks was fouled on the ensuing possession, but he shockingly missed both free throws. The Knicks' nightmare appeared to end when the rebound of the second miss was grabbed by Knicks center Patrick Ewing, but he promptly missed a 10-footer. Then Miller, of all people, grabbed the rebound and was fouled, leaving the Knicks and Madison Square Garden in stunned disbelief.
Then he made two free throws with 7.5 seconds left, giving Indiana the lead, 107-105. The game was soon over setting off a wild Pacers' celebration.”
From a hopeless situation to a win. From giving up to a play for victory. It was a time of glory. And this is the parallel I am trying to draw between what Miller did to what Jesus did in Cana. In those days, a wedding without wine was a total killjoy, a mood killer. It is like a birthday party without cake and the company of friends. “Without wine the wedding falls flat; the joy vaporizes. Without joy, the wedding is not a wedding.” But Jesus transformed the entire hopeless situation. There were 3 things that made this miracle truly special. Firstly, it was a transformation from disappointment to joy. Secondly, it was a transformation from emptiness to abundance. Thirdly, it was a transformation from helplessness to confidence. And all these transformations took place because Jesus was there. When there is Jesus, there is Jesus time.
In doing what he did, John tells us that Jesus revealed his glory. John in his prologue has already declared Jesus to be fully manifesting God. We can only imagine how glorious the miracle of water to wine was. It is the glory of God's manifestation. Have you asked why Jesus asked for the jars to be filled with water? Jesus could have simply changed the empty jars to be filled with wine instantly. I believe Jesus did it so that it is spectacular, so that there is no doubt as to the miraculous nature of the event. I can fill an empty cup with wine by pouring in new wine. But only Jesus can turn what is water into wine. The master of banquet’s comment on the quality of the wine was extremely important. By then the wedding feast had gone on for a while, it was impossible that choice good wine, if not the best wine, was still left, because that usually was what is served first. All these are intentional indicators for the eye-witnesses, that what is performed was a true miracle. More than a hundred gallons of choice wine , that’s 500-800 liters, in an instant. It’s Jesus time. The entire situation was transformed because of Jesus. We were given a glimpse into what it is like in heaven. It's Jesus time because the glory of Jesus is revealed.
So the first thing about Jesus time is that it is a sign to point us towards Jesus and all that he will accomplish. The second thing about Jesus time is that it is a manifestation of his glory. Why did Jesus do it? Why show us a sign? Why did Jesus reveal his glory? It was for the faith of his followers. The third point about Jesus time is that it is for the disciples' faith. It is for our faith.
Point 3: It is for faith
What's so remarkable about Miller's astonishing eight-point, nine-second sequence is the moment after the steal of the inbound pass. "What shocked me was that Reggie had the presence of mind to not take a quick two-point shot and instead took one dribble and got back behind the 3-point line to shoot a three," Larry Brown, the ex-Pacers coach, would say years later.
Just why did Miller pass up the easy two and instead dribble out past the 3-point stripe to launch another three? Miller would smile and say, "I wanted to drive a stake through their heart."
He did just that.
Jesus did just that as well with his miracle. He drove a stake into the hearts of his disciples, driving home the message of who he was. And the disciples put their faith in him. This is the objective of Jesus time. The evidence of the transformation is so overwhelming, we know that Jesus is the one we are all waiting for. The one who will fulfill what God has intended for mankind.
It is important to note that faith is not blind. It is not irrational. But faith is always a leap because it is not complete until what is promised is fulfilled. Yet, it is a leap of faith that is based on a legitimate reason. There is a proper impetus to propel the faith. And that has to be more than Jesus' claim alone. It also has to be experienced in Jesus time. Jesus' disciples saw in the miraculous abundance of good wine a sign of God's presence among them. They recognised the revelation of God and it was Jesus who made it happen. What happened shattered the boundaries of the conventional world, and indicated to them the possibility that it was God who was doing all these, and also in future. Jesus time has brought about faith in them. And based on what they experienced, they saw the sign, they saw the glory, and they put their faith in Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, we all need Jesus time. The Christian walk is sometimes a difficult journey beset with doubts and uncertainties. But Jesus is unwilling that we should have to walk it alone, with our own efforts. In his grace, he has given us Jesus time. Jesus time is the times of miracles that happen in our life. They are temporal indicators, signs, that point us toward Jesus, and the eternity that is promised. In revealing his glory, we capture a glimpse of the power of transformation, a moment of heaven on earth. Let us then put our faith in Jesus, and our hopeless situation will become a time for joy. For miracles to happen, we need to let Jesus be in control. Even Mary learned not to instruct but to submit and the servants to obey and “do whatever he tells you”. Just like passing the ball to Reggie Miller, Jesus takes control of the situation. Time has now been changed. It's Jesus time.
Jesus Creed, pg 163
John 2:1–12 (Listen)
2:1 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.” 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.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days.