Jesus Is the Joy-Bringer That Can Transform Our Disappointments - Part 2
When Jesus came from Heaven to live on earth for 33 1/2 years, He brought the life and reign of the kingdom of heaven with Him. One of the obvious and most appealing dimensions of life in the kingdom of heaven is joy. So the first sign miracle Jesus performed was to demonstrate that life in the Kingdom of God is about a marriage feast of life and joy. In this third article, we see that:
When Jesus Takes Charge He Brings Transformation to Our Deficiencies
In the miracle of turning water into wine, Jesus takes something not so great and turns it into something very wonderful. He takes that which is the cause of drudgery and makes it the source of great delight. The Old Testament Law required various kinds of washings. All of these were to demonstrate to the Israelites how deeply sinful and unclean they were, and thus how unfit to enter into God’s presence. These washings were drudgery, yet the Israelites were to do them in obedience to God’s law. As time passed, legalistic Judaism added even more washings, making Judaism a laborious religion. Jesus took this ceremonial cleansing water and made it into wine. Jesus took that which was a pain and made it into a pleasure. Jesus took that which Jews would have found unfit to drink and made of it the best wine that has ever passed the lips of man.
The world that Jesus brings with Him (the kingdom of heaven) has started to work backwards toward the fall, reversing the curse. Jesus takes the curse out of work. Jesus wants us to see that meeting needs, healing and helping people was only a treating of the effects, but in the revelation that He was bringing concerning the kingdom of God, the cause would be dealt with.
My friend, Dudley Hall, observes how Jesus' miracle at the wedding feast has cosmic implications: “This kingdom of heaven that Jesus brought with Him would eventually rectify everything sin had confused. God’s kingdom would be comprised of people who were not sin-conscious, but empowered to love the hate out of the world. Conscious of the new world they are living in, they would live in victory. Sin could not defile them. Disease could not define them. Demons could not bind them. Death could not scare them.
"Jesus rules over a new order of things. He wants a people on earth who infuse the ordinary with a heavenly flavor. We transform suffering into a vehicle for grace. We face death and walk through its valley with the fearless confidence that it rules no more. Our goal is His glory. Our mission is missionary. Our vision is one majestic family of the redeemed worshipping and working together with a sure hope that we shall see victory. Our strategy is service to God by loving to the point of sacrifice. Our treasure is the truth that when embraced sets any prisoner free.”
When Jesus is Invited to Preside, and not just Reside, what He Touches Produces Real Joy
John 2:5, “His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Twice we meet Jesus’ mother in the gospel of John, here in chapter two and the other being at the foot of the cross in chapter 19. This is significant because of the strange remark Jesus made in verse John 2:4, "...My hour or time hasn’t come yet." This remark looks on, through many other references to his ‘hour’, until at last, the time does come, and the glory is revealed fully, as he dies on the cross. That event, for John, is the ultimate moment when heaven and earth meet. That is when it takes a Spirit-birthed faith to see the glory hidden in the shame: the kingdom present and reigning from a cross, even when it looks as if the kingdom and its King is defeated and doomed; and the creative Word of God present as a weak, dying human being.
Wine comes from the fermenting of crushed grapes. The wine that Jesus provides came from His crushed body and shed blood on the cross. The kingdom is a spiritual yeast that permeates existing structures -- eventually changing the structures to be sure, but meanwhile suffusing all with the light, joy, righteousness, and peace of which the kingdom of God consists. Even catacombs can ring with praise, and cathedrals can become empty shells, silent as tombs. The restoration is not complete when we have rebuilt the shattered walls of the dance hall: we must begin to dance. To talk of the kingdom as something to be “built” is indeed of limited usefulness. The point is not merely to remodel the living room; the point is to live. The kingdom is not the living room; it is not so much the structure as the life -- new life, joy, and peace -- a feasting in the presence of the Lord who is Spirit. The kingdom is not so much something to be built, but something to be tasted, something to be celebrated, and something to be enjoyed and then passed on to others and others! Psalm 104:15, “And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, And bread which strengthens man's heart.
Ecclesiastes 9:7, “Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works.”
Acts 2:11-13, “Cretans and Arabs; we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "Whatever could this mean?" Others mocking said, "They are full of new wine."
Joy -- enjoyment of God -- not frivolity or silliness, but deep-seated gladness in God, is the mark of the kingdom, the ministry of the kingdom, and the final manifestation of the kingdom. Where Jesus commenced His earthly ministry, at a wedding feast by helping the server out of a mess, He concludes at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb where He is the Server! Drink deeply and daily of the new wine of life in the kingdom of God and God will be glorified because He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in HIM!!