1. In His time
2. Better than what came before
3. For His glory


ESV Study Bible – Study notes on the Gospel According to John
Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament – The Gospel According to John – Andreas Kostenburger
Pillar New Testament Commentary Series – The Gospel According to John – DA Carson

Sermon Transcript


One of my favorite parts of parenting is living through our children’s different phases. We’ve loved living through the crawling phase, the doll phase, the train phase, and the airplane phase with them. One of the more interesting phases that our son went through is the Titanic phase. I kid you not, for at least a year, our son was obsessed with the ship itself, the circumstances that led to the crash, all the research that has been done since, and, of course, the iceberg. Thanks to my inquisitive son, I’ve forgotten more about icebergs than I ever thought I’d learn. What I do remember about icebergs is that they’re massive and that 90% of their mass is below the water surface. The image of an iceberg will be of great help in understanding The Gospel of John, and Jesus himself.

In our passage this morning, Jesus takes old water and turns it into new, greater wine. Like an iceberg, there is what is obviously on the surface of our passage, and then there is what is beneath the surface that doesn’t immediately meet the eye, and what is beneath the surface is massive. Let’s set the scene so that we can get our eyes on both parts of the iceberg. Above the waterline is a wedding, a problem, a request, and a sign. Jesus, his newly minted disciples, and his mother are attending a wedding, probably of a close friend or family member, which explains Mary’s knowledge of the problem. The problem is that near the end of the wedding week, the wine ran out. In Jesus’ day, running out of wine at a wedding was a major social faux pas and would have brought considerable shame on the groom, who was both expected and legally obligated to provide the wedding guests with ample wine for seven days. It’s a major problem that leads to Mary’s statement, which is really a request: “They have no wine!” And in the first sign that manifests his glory to his disciples, Jesus turned the old water into new wine. That’s the part of the iceberg that is visible. But beneath the surface we see that Jesus isn’t just making new wine, he’s making all things new. You see, at the wedding, the water was being used for Jewish purification rituals, codified in the Old Testament. And many scholars agree that the old water signifies the old covenant; God’s relationship with Israel that was established through Moses with the Ten Commandments. But wine, on the other hand, was associated throughout the Old Testament with the joy and celebration of the new, joyful age of the Christ, which Jesus ushered in. The wine represents the new relationship between humanity and God through Jesus. Jesus came not just to make new wine. Jesus came to make all things new.

Right from the outset, I want to invite you to begin taking what’s beneath the iceberg personally. Where do you need Jesus to do something altogether new in your life? What have you been praying for, longing for, and waiting for Jesus to do? What new thing are you longing for Jesus to do in your marriage, at your job, in your school, in a difficult relationship, among your family, or in your season of suffering? And what are you going to do while you wait on Him? Whatever it is and wherever it is the big idea of our passage today is: Trust in Jesus, he’s making all things new. How do we trust him? 1. Ask rightly 2. Rejoice 3. Believe in him .


Ask! What new thing are you hoping, praying, longing that Jesus will do in you, in your life, or in the lives of those you love? Here is what you need to know: Jesus makes all things new in his time, not ours. And Mary serves as a wonderful example for how to ask Jesus to make something new. The wine ran out. Mary wants wine. Mary goes straight to Jesus. Most of us make intermediate stops. Not Mary. She goes straight to Jesus and says, “They have no wine!” Mary has a problem, she knows that her son is the kind of man who solves problems for her, she goes straight to her son and asks. We too should go straight to the Son and ask. They have no wine. Jesus I need you to do something new. Interestingly, Jesus responds to his mother with a mild rebuke.

She doesn’t ask rightly! John 2:4 – And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” It’s good that Mary went straight to Jesus, but her timing and approach are apparently a bit off. It’s not Jesus’ hour. In the Gospel of John, Jesus’ hour refers to the moment at which God is fully glorified in Jesus, the hour of his death and resurrection. It’s not time for his glory to fully manifested. Mary tries to approach Jesus like any other mother approaches a son, from a position of authority. But now that Jesus has embarked on his ministry, his only guide and authority is now his Heavenly Father. It must have been so difficult for Mary to learn that she couldn’t simply come to Jesus with her agenda, act as though she was in authority over him, and ask him to do things on her timetable. It’s a hard lesson for us to learn too. Jesus gently rebukes Mary, as if to tell her, “I will make all things new in my time, not yours. Mother, let me adjust your perspective so that you begin to see your life in terms of serving my agenda, rather than seeing my life in terms of serving your agenda.” I need that adjustment. How kind and direct our Savior is. Mary clearly received the gentle rebuke well.

Ask rightly! John 2:5 – His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” It’s her way of saying the same words Jesus would cry the night before his crucifixion, “not my will but yours be done.” Jesus’ half-brother James tells us that we do not have because we do not ask, we ask and do not receive because we ask wrongly, to spend it on our passions (James 4:2-3). In his book, A Praying Life, Paul Miller has a helpful illustration for asking Jesus rightly (Please include the graphic on the screen):

Illustration: Paul Fuller adoption

REJOICE (2:6-10)

The wine is gone, Jesus decides to get involved, and he turns the water into wine. And the wine is better than the wine that came before . Jesus makes new wine that is better than what came before, and the head caterer is astonished and full of joy.

Our Lord’s presence at the wedding should cause us to rejoice in creation. 1 Timothy 4:4-5 – For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. Thank God for great food and good drink in moderation. Have parties, laugh hard, enjoy your work, cherish your church and family because you know the God who made it all. The 19th century Anglican Bishop, J.C. Ryle commented on this passage by saying, “Our Lord, in the passage before us, approves both the feast and the use of wine. True religion was never meant to make men melancholy. On the contrary, it was intended to increase real joy and happiness among men…[the Christians] has no right to hand over innocent recreations and family gatherings to the devil and the world…It is a real misfortune to Christianity when a Christian cannot smile.”

But we are only seeing the visible part of the iceberg. It’s the water jars that help us see below the surface. The water was used to wash, purify, and make people clean, according to the Old Testament. The water represents the old order of Jewish law and custom, given by God through Moses in the Old Testament. But Jesus has come to replace all of that with something altogether new and altogether better. As we read in the opening to John’s Gospel, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Jesus came to bring an altogether new and better way for sinners to be made pure and welcomed to God, not through customs, but through faith in him. And the prophetic writings of the Old Testament, the coming of the Messiah, or Christ, was described as a time when wine would flow freely and God’s people, not just the head caterer, would rejoice. Amos 9:13-15 – “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.14 I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.15 I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,” says the LORD your God. In Jewish thought, wine is a symbol of newness, joy, and celebration because the old age with its laws and customs have passed away and the new age of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness has dawned in Jesus Christ, and it’s better than what came before.

What’s new? (Tom Schreiner)
1. New heart – everyone
2. New forgiveness – no more sacrifices
3. New king – dies for us
4. New family – Jews and Gentiles

So what? Rejoice!

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the knowing the One who made everything, we know the One who makes all things new. We don’t just rejoice in creation, we rejoice in the one who makes all things new. This joy *in the Lord* sustains us when the wine runs out. Habakkuk 3:17-18 – Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. What new thing are you longing for Jesus to do? Because you’re living in the age of the Messiah, the age of new wine, you can rejoice in the waiting.


The wedding narrative ends in verse 10, but John tells us the true significance of the scene in John 2:11 – This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. Jesus turning water into wine is his first sign, which puts Jesus’ glory on display for those who have the eyes of faith to see his true glory. What new thing are you longing for Jesus to do in you, your life, and in the world around you? Trust Jesus, he is making all things new. See his power and see his glory in this sign and trust him. You may feel that you’re in a hopeless situation, but our Jesus turns hopeless situations into new wine that is better than what came before. Trust him, he’s making all things new. Ask him for what you’re longing for because he’s making all things new. Rejoice while you wait because very soon all things will be made new and we’ll be welcomed to an eternal wedding supper. Read Revelation 19:6-9; 21:1-4. Trust him, wait with joy, all for his glory.