What Good Is An Empty Vessel?

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John 2:1 ESV
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
John’s introduction of Jesus, in the book of John, has occurred less than a week ago.
John 2:2–3 ESV
Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
The wedding would have been a community party. Everyone was invited, and everyone would have been provided for in every way.
Wine was important, and to not have enough would have been a social disgrace. This would have never been forgotten, and if it had, it would have been remembered in the community for the rest of their lives. This is why Mary is so urgent.
John 2:4–5 ESV
And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Jesus isn’t resentful of his mother, when he says,”Mother”. That reply was actually cordial, acceptable. But he does point something out. First, he was actually no longer under her control. And secondly, he was operating on a different timetable than Mary now- he had a different agenda.
At this early time, he is pointing out his timetable is centered around “his time”. “His time” was a specific moment in time now. Remember that in JOhn 17:1, Jesus says, “Father the hour has come. Glorify your son that your Son may glorify you.” It is this time that now and for the rest of the gospel will dictate Jesus’ actions. His reply to his mother simply establishes he has a new agenda, a new schedule, different from hers and different from the worlds.
John 2:6–7 ESV
Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.
These six stone jars would hold about 20 gallons each. It was meant for handwashing. This would be 120 gallons of water. If made into wine, it would supply about two thousand four-ounce glasses, and the custom was to dilute it with three parts water to one part wine. this would have lasted for several days.
John 2:8–10 ESV
And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 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 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.”
The head waiter was surprised. He found the high quality of the wine to be the surprise, because typically a poorer quality wine would have been served at this time because the guests would have been dulled by this point.
John 2:11 ESV
This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
The purpose of Jesus/ miracle: not sure.
The message of the miracle: Jesus changes, Jesus converts, Jesus always changes people for the better.
This happened in relative obscurity. When it happened, few knew it happened, how it happened, but they knew it did happen.
And it worked, because it says following this miracle, “his disciples believed in him.”
But the big question today is, what is the purpose of this miracle- this first miracle?
John tells us that the miracles of Jesus were recorded so that we would believe in Jesus. Okay, but why did Jesus DO the miracles that He did? Why was this first miracle performed?
As much as you may have an answer for this question, understand that only God (Jesus) knows the answer to this question. And to know the answer, you would have to know God. And I think that is precisely the answer to our question and here is why: Look at John 1.26
John 1:26 ESV
John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know,
This wedding feast is a picture of the nation of Israel. The wine was gone, the supply was empty, yet their Messiah stood right in front of them and could help at any moment.
The waterpots for handwashing- that was ceremonial handwashing, cleansing. but all the ceremonies in the world could not help a spiritually bankrupt people. The people had no hope and no joy. All of their external ceremonies would do nothing to fill their empty vessels.
And Jesus’ reply to Mary’s question tells the tale, “What have I to do with thee?” What did the Messiah have to do with their external ceremonial religious activity in the first place? the answer was nothing.
What do we know?

Without Jesus, Everyone Is Thirsty

You can drink from any cup you choose, but eventually the satisfaction runs out. They will not satisfy eternally. Eventually, something new has to fill that cup.
Remember what Jesus said in John 4.13-14 The woman at the well is drawing water, and Jesus asks for a drink. In the course of the conversation Jesus cuts to the chase...
John 4:13–14 ESV
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
At a Jewish celebration in John 7:37, Jesus stands and said that he was available to fill not only the cup, but the deepest thirst.
John 7:37 ESV
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
One of the keys to knowing and understanding the life and ministry of Jesus is to recognize that he is available for all of the cups that have run dry, that have no longer the ability to satisfy… Look at Isaiah 55.1
Isaiah 55:1 ESV
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
The key is to come to him and let him meet that need, fill that cup, quench that thirst.

Without Jesus, Every Pot Is Empty

The ceremonies of the people of Jesus day left them thirsty. Yes, the wedding ran out of wine- but it is a picture of the spiritual lives of the people of Jesus’ day. And similarly, it is a picture of the spiritual lives of our day.
Religious lives without Jesus are empty lives. Spiritual lives with Jesus are full and overflowing. Which are you?
Does every circumstance lead you to negativity? Does every trial lead you to defeat? Is every difficult situation a reason for defeat and to quit?
Suits with no bodies serve no purpose. Similarly, saints with no spirit are no saints. Pots without wine are ceremonial, tasteless, empty, and worthless. But the same pots filled with the wine of the spirit become vessels of honor to a God who longs to fill them.
Notice what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4.7
2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
But you must ask the question, what was in Paul’s jar? listen to what he says in its context.
2 Corinthians 4:7–12 ESV
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
And so, there’s a question;
Are you empty? Seriously. Are you empty?
What are you full of?
Look at 2 Timothy 2.20-21
2 Timothy 2:20–21 ESV
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
I believe Christ is telling us, in this story, that even the seemingly outwardly religious seemingly spiritual life may look right on the outside- but be devoid of anything on the inside.
And that empty cup has no business teaching sunday school, bible school, or math for that matter. That empty cup has no business making decisions for the church or raising children to be good moral people.
And I can hear all of the good people arguing that they aren’t as bad as someone else. And Jesus says T/hat empty cup actuallynot only has no business doing anything because it is not filled with the right thing to do the best thing.
Because no matter what it’s full of, it’s empty.
Jesus has the pots filled with water.

Without Jesus, Religion is Worthless

The waterpots were filled with water by the servants before the celebration began. The entire community would have to wash their hands. But that water was for ceremonial handwashing. And eventually, the waters would do one of two things: they would get muddy or they would become empty. And you wouldn’t think of drinking it.
It had no spiritual value.
Only Jesus can bring life to an empty vessel.
Look at Ephesians 5.26
Ephesians 5:26 ESV
that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
or, look at John 15.3
John 15:3 ESV
Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
It is the word of God that must fill the cup. It’s Jesus.
Days, weeks, months,years, decades of empty religious life will fail you when you need help most.
It is the word of God that fills the cup. What you put in is what you will get out.
It is not my job to save anyone. It is my job to fill the vessels with the right stuff- the word of God. And the word of God will do its own work in the vessel that is open, available, and willing.

Without Jesus, Religion Is Dry

It takes the filling of the Lord to bring life to religion.
Just read Acts 8.26-40
Acts 8:26–40 ESV
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.” And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

Without Jesus, The Third Day Never Comes

Facebook post by Kristen Allatzas. “Kristen Allatzas is drinking coffee with Mark Allatzas at Jeremiah’s Coffeehouse in Marietta, Ohio.”
The word “Jeremiah” caught my attention. You all know why, right?
No, not because it’s a book of the Bible! Because of Three Dog Night.
Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was agood friend of mine.....etc.,
That reaction is what should happen to us when we read the first verse of this chapter.
Note how this chapter plays out. Or rather, how it begins. Look at John 2.1 one more time.
John 2:1 ESV
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
The third day. Hmmm.
Does God want to remind us of a third day? I think so. One that matters, one that really really matters a lot.
It was the third day when Jesus rose from the dead.
The first miracle of Jesus actually points to the greatest, most significant, most memorable miracle of Jesus— the resurrection.
Because actually, the first miracle Jesus performed in scripture parallels the first miracle he wants to do in you and in me.
Bottom Line:

The First Miracle of Jesus is the Last Miracle You’ll Ever Need.

Just as Jesus made the water into wine, he takes emptiness and commonness of the sin in us and converts it. In the miracle of salvation. He makes unclean vessels clean again, He fills empty vessels, He makes us not only better than we were but the best we can be.
Because the first miracle in us is salvation. The gift of forgiveness, the gift of new life in Christ, the gift of being what God meant for us to be in the first place.
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