June 14, 2019
When Jesus came into the world as God in flesh and the Messiah, He performed a lot of miracles to prove who He was and that the things He was saying were true. The first miracle that Jesus performed was done in secret, but set the tone for His work as the Messiah. Jesus turned water into wine. The magnitude in the miracle isn’t seen in just that He changed water into wine, but the manner in which He did it, and the purpose for using that method. The Gospel of John testifies that Jesus transformed a great deal of water into “good wine.” In the Jewish tradition, “good wine” refers to the wine that is made naturally by the weight of the top grapes, crushing the bottom grapes by gravity. This naturally extracted juice is considered “good wine” because it doesn’t require the need of people to crush. It’s as pure of juice as you can get. When Jesus turned the water to wine, He transformed an extremely large amount of water into this pure substance immediately! Consider the time it takes to fill a wine vat with enough grapes that the bottom ones are crushed by the weight of the top. How much wine would you get out of the grapes being crushed in such a manner? Jesus transformed six whole water pots in less than a second!
Why did Jesus do this work? Was the wedding feast He was at that important? If Jesus’ motives are always spiritual, what spiritual significance did Jesus show? If Jesus’ miracles were meant to validate, not just His identity as God in flesh, but also the Messiah of Israel, how did this work of “transformation” prove who Jesus was? When the Father gave the New Covenant to Israel, He explained the basis of His works all along. God the Father explained that the depraved human heart that naturally denies Him and seeks to rebel against Him, is like stone. This is why, even though God told us what is right, we as people cannot do it. We are “hard-hearted” to change. God used the term “stiff-necked” to describe the same quality of self-righteous stubbornness. The essence of God’s New Covenant promises deals with God’s ability to “transform” the condition of our hearts. He promised to take our hearts of stone, and make them hearts of flesh – pliable and moldable into a form of righteousness equal to His own.
After Jesus transformed the water into wine, He spoke to a Pharisee named Nicodemus and explained that the only way to enter into the kingdom of God is to be “born again” of the Spirit of God. This was a reference to the New Covenant promises of God. The work that God does to change a depraved human heart is like a person being born new. The Apostle Paul referred to this spiritual transformation as being made into a “new creation.” Though we might look the same outwardly, the effects of the New Covenant promises of God cause God’s people to be totally new from within! Paul wrote that all people are born like vessels fitted for destruction. We come out of womb like bags intended to pick up dog waste. They are made for a purpose that is offensive and intended to be discarded. However, God’s New Covenant promises assure God’s people that, though we are vessels fitted for destruction, we will be “transformed” into vessels of God’s own righteousness! Thus, in order for Jesus to validate Himself as the Son of God and Messiah, He had to prove Himself able to perform this sort of miraculous transformation. This is what Jesus proved when He made water into wine: He showed that He can miraculously change the ordinary and undesirable into something of supreme value and goodness in a moments time!
Though Jesus proved His ability to “transform” and spiritually regenerate in a fascinating miracle, God has been proving His ability to do this since the beginning through creation. When God addressed Job in Job 38:25-30, He reminded Job about the power and wisdom that He has to use one form in various ways according to His sovereign purposes. God pointed to the various forms of water on the earth to prove His point. God asked Job, “Who has divided a channel for the overflow of water?” The manner in which waters rise and recede isn’t accidental. When God created the heavens and the earth, He divided the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth. He proved His ability to form and control water to a degree that is unfathomable, FAR beyond human capacity! However, God continues to show His wisdom, power, and authority to use waters in various ways according to His superior purposes. The manner in which God uses water in the world proves His ability and wisdom to take one form and use it for purposes that are good for life – proving His ability concerning His New Covenant promises.
Consider the banks of the Nile River. Certain regions in Egypt are dependent on the flooding of the Nile. Though floods are often destructive, the regular flooding of the Nile is the means by which life is able to exist in the middle of the Egyptian desert. However, if the flooding of the Nile didn’t also recede, how could the region be equipped for human life? God divided channels to transport water from one place to another, allowing water to move, soak, and disperse so that the overflows can be controlled for fruitful purposes. If these channels didn’t exist, flooding waters would have no place to travel, no way to recede, and the flooding circumstances would be destructive. God created channels to show that He could use destructive waters for fruitful purposes. Could Job do such a thing? Could Job use the difficulties of his suffering to produce fruit by his own efforts? Job’s ability as a vessel fitted for destruction was so limited, that he pleaded with God to die so as to escape the pain of his human weakness. Our destruction remains destruction until God provides a way for the destructive qualities of our lives to recede, thereby producing fruit by His miraculous providence.
God also reminded Job about the miracle of rainfall. God reminded Job of a simple fundamental truth about rain. It rains everywhere; even where there are no people. If rain is helpful to produce fruit and vegetation to sustain life, why does God cause it to rain where people don’t dwell? Consider the jungles of South America. Many of those places are uninhabited by people, yet are some of the most rained-upon regions in the whole world. Science has shown this to be a critical factor to human life all over earth, not because of the vegetation that is consumed, but because of the oxygen that is produced from the vegetation in those areas. If it only rained where people lived, there might not be enough vegetation to provide oxygen to sustain life anywhere. Consider the wisdom of God to do this. It might seem like a waste of resources to pour so much rain in an area that is so unpopulated. God knew. God takes one of the most valuable resources on our planet, and dumps it all across wastelands where there is no human life. If not for God’s wisdom and ability to do so, the planet could not survive as we know it. God took what seemed wasteful and makes it life-giving. Again, God does this every day to prove His ability to fulfill His New Covenant promises.
Think about the different forms of water on this earth. God reminded Job that water doesn’t exist on this planet in one form. Water exists in a liquid, gaseous, and solid state, all over the planet. Each form is essential to the well-being of our world. Yet, does rain have a father that can train up new rain in the proper way? Does water have a teacher that shows it how to become dew or ice? Sure, the temperature of the planet in various areas determines the form that water will come in, but how did the world know that its current pattern is the right one? Fools who dismiss the existence, wisdom, sovereignty, and providential care of God try to speculate that these things happened accidentally over hundreds of millions of years. The Bible makes it plain and clear that God is the cause. He is wise and powerful to take one substance and use it in various ways according to His purposes. God’s manipulation of water in various forms proves to be both constructive and destructive. God’s formation of water in various forms is overall helpful to life. These fundamental truths of our planet were done in such a way to prove that God is able and willing to fulfill His New Covenant promises, which were ultimately fulfilled by the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.
The New Covenant requires God to take vessels fitted for destruction and use them for righteous and good purposes that produce eternal life. Can anyone but God take the corrupt and make it incorrupt? Does anyone know how to take decay and make it life-giving? Who has the power to bring life out of death except for God? God can use one form to accomplish many things all over the world, and these things show that God intends for good, even though it doesn’t always seem that way. God can take rains that flood to destroy one community, but also bring life to another.
Likewise, God can take one person who used to be an instrument of evil and conform them to the image of His Son by the power of His Spirit, producing fruit that encourages eternal life. God poured out His Spirit in all places, including those less desirable. According to 1 Corinthians Chapter 1, God poured out His Spirit to those who are unwise, ordinary, unqualified, and even despised in the world, just like He did for those who are intelligent, rich, and influential. Yet, it is those who are foolish, meek, and base that God chiefly uses as His instruments. God poured out the water of life in areas that are considered “desolate waste” by the world; but if not for God’s outpouring in these areas, the world would not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The ministry of Jesus was centered in the ghettos of Galilee not the metropolis of Jerusalem. The message of the Gospel was entrusted to twelve plain men, not the refined scholars and religious men of the day. The opportunity to breathe and receive eternal life came from God’s wisdom to pour out in the wilderness.
Finally, God is able to use water in various ways and various forms all over the world. The manner of God’s work through “Christians” is diverse. The body of Christ is consistent in the sense that all of God’s people have been born again by His Spirit because of faith that He gives in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Still, the manner in which that faith is expressed is different throughout the world. God is able to pour out the water that gives life, and then use it in various ways to accomplish His eternal purposes. The body of Christ is diverse. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is manifested in various ways all over. Nevertheless, the original substance of the Holy Spirit is constant. Faith is always the catalyst. Humility is always the vessel. And yet, God is able to transform vessels fitted for destruction and use them in a variety of good ways according to His purposes, for His glory.
God has been proving His wisdom and ability through the basic mechanisms and principles of creation since the beginning. These aren’t things that we normally consider, which is why God brought these things to Job’s attention when seeking to humble His self-righteous servant. It is easy to forget about the magnitude of God’s wisdom. It is easy to downplay the power of God’s strength. It is too simple to forget God’s chief aim to transform our hearts for His purposes, which are rooted in eternity. Though God’s New Covenant is based on His promise to “transform” our hearts and conform us to His image, we can’t forget that His image is eternal and holy. This means that our transformation process will require purification by eradication. The praises of God aren’t to be celebrated with bitter and ordinary water, but the finest and most valuable wine. The transformation of water to wine in real life requires the removal of sin, corruption, decay, and flesh. This mortal body cannot inherit immortal blessings. Thus, we must all through many trials inherit the kingdom of God. Job complained about this process and was greatly humbled for his errors. God lovingly reminded Job that, when we despise the manner of God’s work and question His purposes, we question God’s wisdom and doubt His power, all the while despising His promises. God has been proving Himself as supremely in control of all things for the purpose of producing good results for a LONG time. If we don’t question the rains, the form they come in, or the purposes they achieve, why should we question the God who authored such a remarkable world that we live in? The one He has awaiting us is FAR better!