"When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine…. [he] called the bridegroom and said to him, '....you have kept the good wine until now.'"--John 2:9-10
One of the joy-giving truths that we learn from Jesus’ first miracle (turning water into wine) recorded in John 2:1-11 is that in Christ the best is still to come.
Listen to 16th century London Pastor John Gill comment on this passage:
The Gospel, which may be compared to wine for its purity, pleasant taste, and generous effects, in reviving drooping spirits, refreshing weary persons and comforting distressed minds, as also for its antiquity, was published before the coming of Christ, in the times of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets, but in a lower and weaker way; at sundry times, here a little, and there a little, by piecemeals, as it were; and in divers manners [Heb. 1:1], by promises, prophecies, types, shadows, and sacrifices; and was attended with much darkness and bondage: but under the Gospel dispensation, which is compared to a marriage feast, it is more fully dispensed, more clearly published, and more freely ministered. The whole of it is delivered, and with open face beheld; and saints are made free by it; it is set in the strongest and clearest light; the best wine is reserved till now; God has provided some better thing for us, Heb. 11:40. And so with respect to the future state of the saints, their best things are kept for them till last. They have many good things now; as the Gospel, Gospel ordinances, the blessings and promises of grace, the love of God shed abroad in their hearts, the presence of God, and communion with Christ, at least at times; all which are better than wine: but then there is an alloy to these; they are lowered by other things, as the corruptions of the heart, the temptations of Satan, the hidings of God’s face, and a variety of afflictions; but they shall have their good and best things hereafter, and drink new wine in Christ’s Father’s kingdom, without any thing to lower and weaken it. They will have full joys, and never fading pleasures, and shall be without sin and sorrow; no more deserted, nor afflicted, and shall be out of the reach of Satan’s temptations, and with Christ for evermore. Happy are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb! (John Gill, An Exposition of the Gospel According to John (Newport Commentary Series, Particular Baptist Press, Springfield, MO, 2003), 60)
Even now by faith in Jesus, we know and experience the blessings of God; our hearts are forgiven, free, and full. But one day at the marriage supper of the Lamb we will share the experience of the master of the feast: “You have saved the best for last!”
“Keep on” weary Christian. “Stay true” tempted Brother. “Rejoice” tested Sister. The best is yet to come. In great love and joyful anticipation your Bridegroom is saving the best for last!
“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’--for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”--Revelation 19:6-9
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims his handiwork.
Day to Day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”--Ps 19:1-2
Yesterday, I was reading George Marsden’s biography on Jonathan Edwards and was delighted by a passage that Marsden quotes from Edward’s work called “Miscellany no. 108” taken from The Works of Jonathan Edwards. It was so good that I wanted to share it with you:
When we are delighted with flowery meadows and gentle breezes of wind, we may consider that we only see the emanations of the sweet benevolence of Jesus Christ; when we behold the fragrant rose and lily, we see his love and purity. So the green trees and fields, and singing of birds, are the emanations of his infinite joy and benignity; the easiness and naturalness of trees and vines [are] shadows of his infinite beauty and loveliness; the crystal rivers and murmuring streams have the footsteps of his sweet grace and bounty….That beauteous light with which the world is filled in a clear day is a lively shadow of his spotless holiness and happiness, and delight in communicating himself. (George M. Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (New Haven & London, Yale University Press, 2003), 100)
God spoke the creation into being (Gen 1; Jn 1:1-3), and the creation speaks the glory of God. I hope this summer you are able to take time to be outside and hear creation speak. To those who have ears to hear, Christ the Word of God communicates his glories! So let us look and listen; wonder and worship!
“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens….O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”--Ps 8:1,9
In John 1:19-51 we encounter three witnesses of the Lord Jesus: John the Baptist, Andrew, and Philip. These three combine their voices to declare that Jesus is the Christ. They have different backgrounds, personalities, and responsibilities, but each one faithfully testifies to Jesus; together they form a portrait of bearing witness to Jesus in this world.
John the Baptist’s witness (Jn 1:19-36) is public and pointed, and bears the marks of a God-given call and authority much like what the Church’s corporate witness should be. God has given the keys of the kingdom to local churches to “bind” and “loose.” Churches are to publicly and pointedly proclaim to their communities who Jesus is and what he has done. With God-given authority they are to call men and women, boys and girls to repentance and faith declaring that salvation is found in no other name than the name of Jesus.
Andrew’s and Philip’s witness is personal and relational (Jn 1:41-42, 45-46). Andrew shares Christ with his brother Simon (Peter). Philip goes and tells his friend Nathanael that they have found the Promised One. Both are examples of the privilege and responsibility we have to personally bear witness to Jesus.
Chances are that most of us (except as a Church) aren’t called to a public platform like John the Baptist and that’s okay! God loves to use the private witness of individual Christians. D.A. Carson writes, “[Andrew]....became the first in a long line of successors who have discovered that the most common and effective Christian testimony is the private witness of friend to friend, brother to brother….That has been the foundational principle of truly Christian expansion ever since: new followers of Jesus bear witness of him to others, who in turn become disciples and repeat the process.” You and I matter! Our faithful testimony to Jesus is a powerful tool in the hands of the Redeemer.
So, as a local Church and as individual believers, let us joyfully and faithfully be His witnesses!
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.