New Wine for New Wineskins March 2012

By , February 29, 2012 5:52 pm

JesusHistoryOurDestinyLogoJesus’ History Is Our Destiny (Part 2)

Jesus – the Son of Man

John 20: 30 – 31

30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

As we said in Part One it is easy for the church to slide into a position where it has become nothing more than a monument or memorial to a historical Jesus or a previous move of the Holy Spirit that has been consigned to history.  Or even worse the church can become a promoter of a new and reconfigured culturally relevant Jesus that is based loosely upon someone’s faulty understanding of the historical Jesus.

Remember – the New Covenant clearly reveals to us that Jesus’ history is our destiny!  Apart from Jesus, Paul is the person whose life and ministry is recorded in the greatest detail in the New Covenant.  And what do we see in Paul’s life and ministry?  Basically, it is a continuation of Jesus’ life and ministry – preaching, teaching, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead!  Scripture is clear!  As Jesus is so are we in this world….

And so we are taking a trip through the Gospel of John that will help us to not only see Jesus’ history but also discover our destiny!

John 2

In John Chapter Two we are introduced to Jesus the Son of Man!

Scripture says that Jesus is the second and last Adam!

1 Corinthians 15: 45 – 49

45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

You have no doubt heard it said that Jesus was fully God and fully man and that is absolutely right.  However, it is important to recognise that everything that Jesus did on the earth he did not as God the Son but as the Son of God – as a man anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10: 38). If we don’t grasp that then we will never fulfil our destiny because we will think that Jesus had some advantage over us in regards to what he was able to do, even though he clearly said that we would do the same works that he did.

As we saw last time we are all now sons of God.  Jesus is the only one who started out as God the Son but he stripped himself of all the privileges of being God in order to come into the earth as a man and as the Son of God.  Jesus is the Son of God but he is also the Son of Man!

Verses 1 – 12

1 The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. 3 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.” 4 “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”  5 But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” When the jars had been filled, 8 he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions. 9 When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. 10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” 11 This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him. 12 After the wedding he went to Capernaum for a few days with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples.

Jesus was as human as you and I.  For thirty years he grew up in relative obscurity even though he never sinned even once. Take note!  A sinless life is not sufficient to reveal the glory of God! The only person – apart from his heavenly Father – who seems to have been watching and taking note of his sinless life was his earthly mother.  She of course knew the identity of his real Father and so she was watching and waiting for him to enter into the fullness of the ministry that he had come to accomplish.  When Jesus was baptised and the Holy Spirit came upon him and he began to attract followers his mother knew instinctively that the time was fast approaching when Jesus’ public ministry would begin in earnest.

It is almost as though she felt – like all good mothers – that her son needed a little bit of a kick-start to get his ministry rolling!  She knew that God was with him and that whatever he said would be supernaturally confirmed just like had happened in her own life when she had said to the LORD, “Let it be to me according to your word”.

We need to understand that there are people who have been watching our lives since we were born again.  If we have been faithfully living life in the Spirit and acting and reacting in line with our new identity – speaking the word of God as an answer to every circumstance that we face and testifying of God’s goodness and faithfulness in our lives then there is going to come a time when someone is going to say about each of us, “Do whatever he tells you!” We need to be ready for that because it might be in relation to something that you would never have considered otherwise!  I have seen this many times!

Jesus was under authority at a natural level as well as at a spiritual level.  He had honour and respect for his mother.  At her request he went into action and redeemed the problem.  Jesus also cared about what people cared about!  He invites us to come to him and learn from him and to cast all of our cares and anxieties upon him because he cares for us!

We need to take hold of four things concerning Jesus the Son of Man that must be applied in our own lives if Jesus’ history is going to be our destiny!

1.    Jesus was not so heavenly-minded that he was no earthly good

Some folks are so super-spiritual they never get involved in anything practical!  Jesus responded to people’s needs whether the needs were spiritual or practical.  The awesome thing is that his assistance was always supernatural and it had no natural limitations!  And it was always the best!

The people needed wine and so he provided wine.  I don’t believe that Jesus wanted these people at the wedding to have more opportunity to get drunker than they already were but he was moved by his mother’s faith and the fact that it would be the newly-married couple that would have been left embarrassed if the wine had run out before the end of the feast.  What people did with the wine after it was provided was their personal responsibility and not his.  I certainly don’t believe that Jesus performed this miracle in order to give Christians an excuse for over-indulging in alcohol whenever they feel like it!

The super-spiritual among us like to control people and make their decisions for them regarding what is good for them and what is not.  I don’t like to think what I would have said if I was asked to do something about someone’s dwindling supply of booze!  I would probably have said, “Praise the Lord that the booze is all gone!”

One time when I was going through a particularly religious phase in my life I was asked to deliver a bag of shopping to someone’s house.  Included in the shopping was a pack of cigarettes which was actually what the person waiting for the delivery was really desperate for. I said I was happy to take the shopping apart from the cigarettes because I didn’t believe in delivering death to someone.  Do you think I made any converts out of my stand?  Of course not!  They just thought I was some kind of religious pharisee fruitcake!  Some time after this happened and following some remedial work by the Holy Spirit someone phoned me and asked me if I could do them a big favour!  They asked me to bring them a pack of cigarettes!  And this time I didn’t just have to deliver them – I had to pay for them!  I went through all kinds of histrionics in the shop trying to communicate the fact that they were not for personal use!

2.    There is no substitute for the glory

Through this first miracle Jesus’ glory began to be revealed!  The foundation of the church is laid by the word but the house is built by the glory!   We were never supposed to have the word without  the glory!  The letters in the New Covenant weren’t written to churches like the majority of churches that exist today who spend all their time on  hermeneutical, homiletical, and exegetical dissection and exposition of these letters.   These letters were written to churches that were living in the glory – experiencing the glory of God on a daily basis – in order to bring direction and correction that would enable them to navigate their way through the glory and maintain the glory!  The glory of God is often manifested supernaturally in the most practical ways but super-spirituality can blind us to the opportunities that exist every day to bring supernatural assistance to people and allow them to encounter the God who cares about where they are at long before they show up in church!

God’s power is supernatural – not super-spiritual!  If Jesus’ history is to be our destiny then we must minister supernaturally!  The glory is revealed in the miraculous and only in the miraculous!  The whole earth is full of the glory but it is accessed by faith in the miraculous!  People are not looking for interference – they are looking for help! They need supernatural intervention!  They don’t need someone who can suss them out – they need someone who can help them out!  Jesus said that he would send another Helper and so the Holy Spirit has come to supernaturally help people!  He has come to supernaturally save, heal and deliver people!

People must see Jesus’ glory revealed – they must experience an encounter with the living God!  An intellectual response to a reasoned argument – no matter how fervently or passionately it is delivered – is not sufficient to bring people into the fullness of God’s plan and purpose for their lives!  Listen!

Acts 18: 24 – 26

“Apollos was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.”

The church is full of good and godly men and women like Apollos but when you find their converts you discover what Paul discovered at Ephesus – they are often lacking the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in their lives!

Verses 13 – 22

13 It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. 14 In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. 15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. 16 Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” 17 Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.” 18 But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.” 19 “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 “What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” 21 But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.

3.    Jesus was not so earthly-minded that he was no heavenly good

Jesus was not only submitted to natural authority – he had spiritual authority!  And he was passionate about the church fulfilling its purpose!

The Passion is how Jesus’ suffering and death are often described.  And so, in this context to be passionate in the kingdom would involve a willingness to be seen as a wrong-doer in order to restore what is right!  Jesus demonstrated his passion for God’s house by clearing out the merchandisers and declaring that what was supposed to be a house of prayer and blessing had instead become a den of thieves and robbers!

If we were to clear out the merchandisers from the modern church how much of that with which we have become familiar would remain?  It is worth asking ourselves if we were ever given a green light to charge for our goods and services?  We are told to give and it will be given to us – not charge and it will be given to us!  We are told to freely give of what we have freely received!  Any reward is then left to the discretion of the recipient although they are exhorted in Scripture to freely give materially to those who have freely blessed them spiritually.  I am not saying that no ministry should ever charge for materials that they produce, but personally I have decided that any ministry that I visit online that doesn’t make enough information freely available on its website to enable someone who stumbles upon it to be made aware of the fullness of everything that God has freely provided for them in Christ is not worth a second visit.  Also, should people who haven’t got the financial resources to pay be excluded from receiving what ultimately has been freely given?  I don’t think so.

The tragedy is that the church is often seen as nothing more than another business corporation or charitable organisation seeking to solicit money from people for services rendered.

If Jesus’ history is to become our destiny then we must never put a price on anything related to ministry.  The church is supposed to be more focused on producing prophets than profits! God has given us the power to get wealth – but not from trading his power for wealth!  Jesus always had more than enough of everything he needed to fulfil the ministry that the Father had given him but there is not one mention of him soliciting money from anyone!  People gave to and supported his ministry out of gratitude and thankfulness.

When I visit church or ministry websites where there is nothing on offer except at a price I have decided that I don’t need to hear their message no matter how good it might be.  As I have already said, I don’t have a problem with people charging for certain materials as long as those who can’t afford to pay or who don’t want to pay can hear all that they need to hear of their message at no cost!

It is time for Jesus’ history to become our destiny!

Verses 23 – 25

23 Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. 24 But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature. 25 No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like.

4.    Jesus was the servant of all but owned by none!

Jesus refused celebrity status because he knew that the same people who promote you and lift you up will abandon you and pull you down if the wind changes!  People who promote you want to own a slice of you and make your decisions for you and tell you who you can talk to and who you can’t talk to or where you can go and where you can’t go!  Scripture is clear that it is better to trust in the Lord than to put our confidence in men.  Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for their carnality in promoting one minister over another when all ministers were simply instruments of God through whom they had believed!

Since the cult of celebrity has encroached upon the church the real power of God has been greatly diminished and the evidence of the glory of God is much lacking even though we can still put on a good show!

The temptation will always be there to try and gain fame and fortune through ministry but if Jesus’ history is going to be our destiny then we need to follow his example as the Son of Man and resist the fragile applause of men so that we can remain focused and faithful to the call of God to come and learn from him.  Remember – Jesus had to resist the temptation presented to him by the devil regarding all the kingdoms of the world that would be his if he simply diverted his worship!  The only true worship is full-on worship of God from the heart and anything else is received by the devil as worship directed towards him!

The most awesome thing is that there is now a man in heaven at the right hand of the Father who is our advocate and who knows exactly what it is like to live in this fallen, sinful world in the frailty of human flesh.  In the same way as he is sympathetic towards us in our weakness we should be of the same attitude towards those around us who are struggling with their own stuff.

We must never be so heavenly-minded that we are no earthly good or so earthly-minded that we are no heavenly good, we must never accept any substitute for the glory, and we must be the servants of all and yet owned by none!

We may now be the sons of God but we are also the sons of men and so we should always be willing to identify with our fellow men and women in their battles and struggles – reaching out to them in compassion with the supernatural power of God that is made available to us as the sons of God and will always enable us to bring to others the very best that God has!

That is what Jesus did and that is what we are here to do!  We were never meant to become comfortable in the pews like the supporters of a football team who are never anything more than spectators and never get involved in the action!  Every one of us needs to know that we can change the world – that we are called and gifted to affect and to impact the culture around us with kingdom culture that is always relevant to meet the needs of those who are struggling under the curse of sin, sickness, and oppression!

Our Father in heaven – that’s real community!  Your kingdom come – that’s relevant culture!  Your will be done – that’s radical creativity!  Jesus said that the gates of hell would not be able to hold out against the church!  The church is supposed to be advancing the kingdom of God!  Taking back the land in every sphere of life!

Remember, Jesus got kicked out of his local church the very first time he stood up to preach the gospel of the kingdom!

And guess what?  Jesus’ history is our destiny!

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