We start today our new series 'My Life - His Way' - practical living as a Jesus follower in the 21st century. The series will cover some difficult topics which are contemporary issues. Yet we will do that in a context, and that context will be faith in Jesus.
We do it in that context because Jesus was Word made flesh, where God meets humanity. In Jesus we see what God is like and we also see what it is to be fully human. So (aided by Scripture) we look to Him as we consider the difficult questions.
We begin our series with John's account of Jesus as a way of setting the context for ourselves. Our faith is not about us doing 'nice living', it isn't even us trying to be moral in an otherwise bad world. Rather it is how we follow Jesus and point others to follow Him too. This gives us our key question:
Key Qn: [IN] Do we come together for Jesus to be the focus?
Challenge: Pray for kingdom sign to be seen in your everyday activity
John writes his account intentionally, and deliberately chooses seven episodes that serve as signs that point to Jesus being God among us. For John they are 7 big pointers that declare this is the person to believe in and base your whole life on. These signs show Kingdom, healing (granting of life and restoring livelihood), provision, command over the created order, restoring sight and raising the dead: a comprehensive package!
In the first sign it is almost as if Jesus just happened to be there, i.e. in the randomness of life! Jesus' mother seems to know, but Jesus almost seems disinterested. Yet he does instruct the staff, and they do draw off water that they have put into the urns. It is served to the master who is surprised to taste the best wine. Note the vast quantities implied - estimates suggest over 750 bottles of wine! This is a sign of abundance, and hints that the best is yet to come. In other words it is a sign of the Kingdom of God - party time, incredibly better than anything we might imagine now!
Note the context is a wedding. This is significant: Kingdom is about joining us (in fact all creation) back to God. Wedding imagery is taken up by the early Christians, with Jesus-followers (the church) being described as the 'bride of Christ', come together with the close relationship with God. Note we can also flip it round: we know that humankind images God in some way. So when man and woman come together in marriage it shows difference coming together to make something better, giving us a clue of God's desire to be united forever with His creation. This is the physical united with the spiritual, the temporary with the eternal, the created with the uncreated.
In other words big concepts are being alluded to. It is stuff of magnificence, beyond our normal understanding. The word John chooses for this kind of thing is 'glory'. In 2:11 he writes 'this is the first sign through which he revealed his glory'. In other words the first sign through which he revealed all His goodness and proclaimed who He is.
When we become followers of Jesus it is way more than simply trying to fix a code for living. Our lives become all about Him and His Kingdom - we want to see aspects of His Kingdom all around us (hence our vision phrase 'we want to see Kingdom Life'). In other words we too become pointers to His glory! In the everyday and even randomness of life we want to see echoes of that Kingdom abundance, the sense of the best wine served.
Hence the challenge set above. When we go into the office or everyday situation, and meet someone hurting, let us be hinting at that best wine: let us be pointing to Jesus, His Kingdom and His glory. All this can happen as we draw alongside people and pray for them in His Name.
John's gospel has seven signs written up. John knew there were more, and concludes in chapter 21 by supposing that if they were all written there would not be enough room for all the books. I think he was making a prophetic statement, for he knew that the signs would continue through the followers of Jesus. If each of us live our lives His way, then we too can be Kingdom signs, and the things we do can also be signs that point to the Kingdom glory of Jesus.
Let us be that people, a people who by our lives and actions point to Jesus and His glory!