Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bethany Bullet - March 13, 2012

John 2:7-22

Jesus has just worked another water wonder. This time He turned the water into wine.

S It didn’t heal a body (but it kept intact a reputation)…

S It neither calmed at His voice stirring many a question nor held up under His weight leading to a grand demonstration…

S It simply aided in a joyous celebration.

Now the water was just water, nothing special in it or from its source, but that which held it – now that is something else entirely. Jesus performed the miracle of turning water into wine while the water was being held in jars used for ceremonial cleansing and ritual purification.

Of course, the people living at the time of Jesus didn’t call the Old Testament, the Old Testament; they called it the Bible. It was what they had. So for them, the ceremonial commands declared that there were certain actions, situations, and conditions that could render one unclean. Therefore, making them unable to join in the company of God’s people and perhaps un-presentable to God. These ceremonial commands are fulfilled in Christ and unnecessary for the church today; for example, when was the last time you put a pair of doves in the offering plate? Yet for the people in John’s account, it was part and parcel to their life of faith.

The solution to said action, situation, and condition was a ritual purification via ceremonial washing.

Other than Jesus and His disciples, John doesn’t tell us who else is on the guest list of the reception in question. I can assure you that…

Ø Had they been the guys who were upset that Jesus’ disciples ate with unwashed hands (yes, those guys) or

Ø Had they been those people who were distraught that Jesus would heal during a service on the Sabbath (yes, those people);

Ø Had any or all of these been in attendance at this reception and if they had known that the water wonder Jesus worked, was worked with water held in such a container…They would have been furious!

Jars intended to contain water for making one holy being used to hold wine intended to make people happy, well…that frivolous act would have roused their fury. Who are those people? They are the religious ones!

Actually, perhaps we ought not to use the word religious – but the word, religiosity. These people were in church (temple) on every holiday and in synagogue every Saturday. These people we are talking about are the church folk of Jesus’ world; those who worshiped, studied, served, and gave (the core of any congregation in Jerusalem, so to speak). They were (and still are), the kind of people that a congregation needs (they are us).

Yet, somehow their perspective (and for them) the WHAT’s of worship had superseded the WHO of worship. For them, the HOW one acted was elevated above the WHO one was to act for. For them, the WHEN one came to church and the WHAT they offered took priority over the WHY they had come in the first place.

In the temple of Jerusalem religiosity had run amuck. Everything was about the operation of the church structure, not the invocations of the churched attendees, let alone the glorification of the churches Master.

The implications of this text are hopefully obvious to us.

ü When style becomes more important than substance…

ü When letter becomes more important than spirit…

ü When structure is alleviated over attendee and Master…

ü When conformity, continuity, or policy are raised above ministry…

We religious folk have allowed ourselves to be mastered by religiosity.

Good is the News that Jesus is a refuge for the religious; for in the safe haven of Christ we find all we need to regain our proper perspective. The Lord Himself comes to turn over our religiosity. Once again, Jesus claims His proper place – front & center, one & only, AND heart & soul of His people’s hope, faith, and lives.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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