Sunday, 7 June 2015

God's Nature: Only the Best

I've been heavily into John's Gospel for the last few weeks, refreshing and revitalising as I feel a dry spell in my heart coming on and need to soak in God. I generally like to spend time in John for this because there's so much in that Gospel to soak up.

In Chapter 1 we see the description of Jesus and His incarnation being recognised by John the Baptist.

At the start of Chapter 2, John moves into a mundane situation. An everyday occurrence. In this case it's a family wedding. Jesus, his family and disciples are invited guests. It seems the groom has made an error of judgement at this party. Either more people arrived than he expected or he underestimated their capacity for wine consumption. In either scenario we are left to hear from Mary that the wine is finished.

In a 21st Century environment this is an inconvenience easily resolved by going to Tesco, Wal-mart or whichever the nearest wine retailer is to top up supplies. In 1st Century Cana this was not an option. Mary calls on Jesus to help the groom and his family from avoiding the humiliation of the situation.

Although His time is not come, Jesus defers to His mother's wishes, honouring her as His mother. He spots six jars which will hold around 30 gallons each (150 litres +/-). That's 180 gallons of water. 900 litres. almost a thousand standard bottles of wine to be produced.

Jesse Duplantis says often in the messages I've heard of his "God's not enough - He's too much!"

Such is the case here. Instructing the servants to fill the jars, Jesus turns 900 liters of water into 900 liters of the finest wine. Not just any wine, but the best. God doesn't deal in inferior goods. Only the best is good enough - and He will raise the bar where He wants.

The steward calls the groom over and comments on the wine.
“Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” (John 2:10 NIV)
 The Best.

No cheap plonk or table wine for Jesus. Only the absolute best will do. This is a representation of God, after all.

A thousand standard bottles of the finest wine are given freely. He's too much.

This shows us the nature of Jesus, and the nature of God Himself.

Later, Jesus says "Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner." (John 5:19) So we hear from Jesus Himself that He only does what God does.
Only what God does.

1000 bottles of choice wine. The very best.

The inference? God only gives the best.

Look at your life. Look at what is going on in it.

If you're anything like me, there's problems. I get problems with my health. For six weeks I've had chronic nausea and vomiting because my Medical Insurance forced me to change diabetic medication based on cost, not clinical results. As a result I'm seriously ill physically right now - it may or may not get better with time, but this is where I am right now. My wife has been sick for several years, facing a terminal illness in fact. Our finances went down the pan and we live on financial gifts from our family having sold our home, car and business to raise money for medical treatment for her.

Problems abound.

But not once have I said that God has placed these in my life to teach me something.

That's not God's nature. Not the God Jesus demonstrated. I challenge anyone reading this to find a reference in the entire New Testament where Jesus caused illness or poverty to come into someone's life as a blessing. One reference showing Him turn someone away saying they needed to learn from what they were going through.

I've left churches for suggesting that. If you have a God who does that, you worship the Devil. These things are listed as curses in the Old Testament. They don't become Blessings in the New Covenant.

God's gifts are the BEST.

Satan will try to prevent us from receiving them - often with a lot of success because wrong but well-meaning teachers have told us that these things are sent to teach us. They base this on one quote from Paul's letter to Romans
 "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." (Romans 5:3-4)
The concept that these tribulations and problems issue from God to build our character, hope and perseverance levels has been popular for decades. It's convenient. It removes responsibility on the suffering individual to get up and fight the real source of the pain being endured. It prevents us from fighting with the sword of the Word of God to counter the effect of this suffering in our life.

Jesus cared about the humiliation the groom at Cana would suffer if there was no more wine. He cared so much He produced far more than they could possibly need.

He did it again at the feeding of the 5000, turning a packed lunch into a feast for 5000 men plus their families. There could have been up to 20,000 people there that day, and there were 12 baskets of food left over. God's too much.


And again.

This behaviour of Jesus, so simple we can miss the significance of it, is a siren letting the World know it's creator is here. Telling Creation that second-best is no longer good enough for God's Children.

All through 1000 bottles of wine.

God's character is revealed in all His Glory in six simple stone jars and 180 gallons of water.

He gives the best and only the best, no matter where you are in the feast. In spite of all that has gone before, all our own best efforts mean nothing. God surpasses our best intentions in less than a heartbeat.

That man dying of cancer. The girl with HIV. The boy born blind. The bankrupt father trying to make a home for his family. They can all call on God through Jesus and expect the best. Healing. Restoration. Provision into abundance.

Look at Jesus's actions. He healed the sick. He raised the dead. Yes, He condemned the love of money preventing people from receiving Him, but we also see men like Nicodemus - wealthy men - being welcomed into His family. Zaccheus surrendered his love of money and exchanged it for a love of God. Nowhere does it say he walked away penniless. Poverty is not God's Best. Abundance is.
1000 bottles of wine. Abundant provision.

God's nature is to give freely to His family. And by accepting Christ we are His children. His Family,

yet we settle for less than the best because we don't recognise the immense significance of small examples in the Scripture.

Abraham believed God and received wealth so great he was asked to leave nations because his household was bigger than the nation. Solomon asked for wisdom and received not only that, but wealth unsurpassed in the history of mankind.

And we think that the God who would do that in the Old Testament will withhold in the New.

We fail to grasp the simplicity of God's nature. Yes, He is complex on some levels, but His generosity is demonstrated over and over again in the Bible. Why do we not see it?

Read the wedding story in John 2 again, and look at God's nature to give.

And if that's not enough to convince you He only gives the Best, read chapter 3 as well.

He gave Himself for our salvation. Why would He refuse our daily needs?

His character shown in the Bible demonstrates clearly that He won't.

Don't believe anyone who says otherwise.

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