Signs of the Kingdom

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Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding.

Jesus’ mother Mary was helping see that things were taken care of under the master of the banquet.

Mary became concerned when during the multi-day event, the wine ran out.

That would have been a huge embarrassment and could be seen as a possible sign that the marriage would not last.
People might even leave the wedding celebration early.
Weddings are complicated and something can easily go wrong.

Mary went to Jesus expecting his help.

Maybe she was expecting miracles from her miracle child.
Mary seems to have trusted Jesus’ judgement and resourcefulness to help the situation.

Jesus questioned his mother’s intent.

“Why do you involve me?” was used as either a mild or stern rebuke.
Jesus was still her son, who loved and cared for her.

Why would he say this?

Mary is not the Yenta (busybody mother) trying to control the situation.

Jesus would not have set the agenda for his public ministry.

God has different timing for his work of ministry. It was yet, “not his time.”
But, Jesus did get involved.
The wedding guests had more than enough of the best wine (>100 gallons).

If this was one of Jesus’ great miracles, why does it seem like barely anyone noticed him?

This is not about Jesus’ approval of weddings, or a public spectacle that made him famous.

This was a sign to be discerned by those who followed him.

We often mistake an exhibition for the work, or the work for an exhibition.

In the 1800s, Paintings were usually Portraits of people Commissioned by the upper classes
Rarely would you find paintings of common people, unless they were part of a portrait’s scenery
Most people wanted realistic looking paintings of their loved ones or respectable people

Van Gogh’s The Potato Eaters

Van Gogh painted what has been described as “honest, unidealized rural life” in this painting.
The painting was criticized broadly, was never featured in an exhibition, and hung unsold in his younger brother’s apartment in Paris.
Van Gogh was often criticized as being an amateur, and his paintings as, “strange, intense and feverish.”
Van Gogh suffered crippling depression, hallucinations, and ultimately committed suicide in despair.
When viewing impressionistic paintings such as Van Gogh’s, it is about the impression left upon a person when they have seen a work of art, rather than whether it is a realistic portrayal.

The purpose of this painting was to give us the impression of rural life at the time, not the exhibition.

Jesus exhibited power given to him by the Father, but not to gain public attention for himself.

Jesus’ time for public ministry had not yet come.

Jesus had spent his life submitting completely to his Father’s will.

Being a respectful son, honoring his parents.
Biding time until his baptism.
Journeying into the wilderness to be tempted.
Calling his disciples, one by one.
Even the end of Jesus’ ministry would be defined solely by the Father’s will.

Mary did not receive Jesus’ words harshly, instead, she instructed others to do as he says.

The jars used for ritual washing before the feast were considered untaintable.
They were hewn from stone, not clay, which could be stained or easily broken.
Jesus transformed the dirty water left in these large jars into the best, new wine.

The Sign of the water transformed into new wine is a sign for those who believed in God’s coming Messiah.

Jesus came into the world to make all things new for the glory of God.
Like the dirty water in the jars, we are cleansed and filled with new wine of God’s Holy Spirit.

Manifestation of Spiritual Gifts can also be seen as new wine of the Spirit:

A Word of Wisdom (of the Spirit)
A Word of Knowledge (not known naturally)
Faith for the Miraculous
Miraculous Healing/Deliverance
Miraculous/Dynamic Power
Prophesy/Utterance from God
Distinguishing/Discerning spirits
Ecstatic/Inspired Speech (Speaking in Tongues)
Interpreting Ecstatic/Inspired Speech

These are given to us for God’s glory, not ours.

The Corinthian church got it wrong: they praised those with exciting gifts as being “spiritual”

Everyone who is born of God is Spiritual, and manifests some Spiritual Gift.

They are given so that others might come to know the same God that has transformed our lives and has been working to transform the whole world since Jesus came.
When we deny the Gifts we receive from God, we show that we think that we know best what we need.

We are all given gifts for the benefit of all who would believe in Jesus Christ.

If we open our hearts in humble acceptance, to receive all that God would give us, we will do more than we ever knew was possible.

Vincent Van Gogh described his painting as “the best thing [he] ever did.”

Today, Van Gogh’s The Potato Eaters is being exhibited in Amsterdam.

Now, most of Van Gogh’s art is described as impressionistic, and involving bright, vibrant colors that make each piece seem lively.
Today, each of Van Gogh’s paintings are worth at least $20 million.

The New Wine that Jesus made was the best wine, and probably would have been worth very much.

In the same way, the New Wine of the Spirit at work in us, through the giving of Spiritual Gifts is of great worth.

They are of benefit to the Body of Christ, and they are of benefit for those yet to come to Christ.
When the Signs of the Spirit are seen some may view them as strange and may even be against them, while others will be drawn in and convinced of God’s goodness.

It is not for us to determine which Gifts are Greater, or who get to benefit from the Gifts of the Spirit.

It is our obedience to Christ, sharing the Gifts with all others, so that they might believe and draw closer to God.

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