Friday, February 02, 2018
Fullness and Joy
Fullness is a term used in very significant ways throughout John's Gospel. It is not so emphasised in the other gospels and it is distinctive of John's Gospel commencing in the prologue.
14 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him and exclaimed, "This was the one of whom I said, 'The one coming after me ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.' ") 16 Indeed, we have all received grace upon grace from his fullness, 17 for the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
This theme is highlighted in John 10:7 Jesus said again, "Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn't listen to them. 9 I am the gate. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.
John 7 37 On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him." 39 He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
Is fullness an esoteric experience where the Christian walks around with a $20 smile on his face? Or is there something deeper here?
1 On the third day a wedding took place in Cana of Galilee. Jesus's mother was there, and 2 Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding as well. 3 When the wine ran out, Jesus's mother told him, "They don't have any wine." 4 "What does that have to do with you and me, woman? " Jesus asked. "My hour has not yet come." 5 "Do whatever he tells you," his mother told the servants. 6 Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained twenty or thirty gallons. 7 "Fill the jars with water," Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he said to them, "Now draw some out and take it to the headwaiter." And they did. 9 When the headwaiter tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it came from — though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom 10 and told him, "Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are drunk, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now." 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. 12 After this, he went down to Capernaum, together with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples, and they stayed there only a few days.
Weddings are a good time for all. There is always a large feast. In the middle east, wine was very important. Every wedding was very, very well prepared. Notice the location of Cana, about 2 or 3 hours walk from Nazareth, another village of similar size to Nazareth. In fact, to avoid inter marriage, it was probably the village that Cana-ites and Nazarenes would find their marriage partners. And so, everyone was probably somehow related in these two villages. How could you avoid having grand uncle Jethro with his inability to hold his wine. Everyone would be there. Sadly, being small villagers, not everyone was wealthy, in fact many weren't too flush. The kids had probably saved up for years to pay for their wedding. And of all things, these poor people, the wine ran out. They had diluted as much as was possible 1/3rd wine 2/3rd water. But even this had run out.
"Modern man is experiencing a shortage of time and a shortage of meaning." David Zach, "Futurist"
This miracle begins with some empty pots. The wine had failed at the wedding feast. All that they had prepared ha come to nothing.
This reminds us of Modern man's dissatisfaction with dissatisfaction.
People have a deep longing for belonging—resenting loneliness.
People have a deep longing for a sense of significance—resenting abuse.
People have a deep longing, an expectation of fullness—resenting deprivation.
This quest for meaning is a search for identity, a search for meaning and purpose. The world cannot give that. No religion or philosophy of humanity's invention can give that sense of identity and meaning and purpose that is fruitful and flourishing and full.
People ask Who am I? A search for identity.
Society tells you you are just a number. A tax file number.
Science tells you you are a naked ape. Just a meaningless compilation of atoms.
Both capitalism and communism tell you you are just a unit of productivity, a part of a network to make someone else rich.
People ask Why am I? There is a longing, A search for meaning.
Are you just an accident? Or is there a higher purpose for your life?
Are you just a coincidental assembly of atoms? Or is there a design in your life and a design for your life?
People ask Where am I? There is a longing, A search for integration.
Do I belong somewhere? Do I really matter?
Joy is not found in riches: Jay Gould "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth." Amazon's owner Jeff Brezos richest man on earth, yet his employees are regularly found crying at their desks. Bezos has long had a reputation for being unusually stingy, even for a multibillionaire.
Andrew Carnegie : "millionaires seldom smile and never laugh."
Joy is not found in pleasures, Robert Burns : "Pleasures are as poppies spread: You seize the flower the bloom is shed."
Joy is not found in Power Alexander the Great wept because there were no more worlds to conquer. Svetlana Stalin after defecting to the USA "I believe that the conqueror himself was not happy at all. On the contrary there was a complete loneliness, unhappiness, disappointment and suspicion all around him.
These are the deep questions that make life meaningless and depressing. Where can you find hope? Where can you find purpose? Where can you find meaning and a love that can bring meaningfulness to life? The emptiness of the human heart is an aching void. Nothing can fill that void. No human relationship can fill that void. Except One!
The wine had failed at the wedding feast and our Lord had come in at the nick of time, when the bridegroom was fearful of being made ashamed. That need was a great blessing. If there had been sufficient wine for the feast, Jesus had not worked this miracle and they had never tasted this purest and best of wine! It is a blessed need which makes room for Jesus to come in with miracles of love. It is good to see our emptiness and to feel the aching void, so that we may be driven to the Lord by our necessity, for He will more than supply it. He alone can give fullness of life. If you have no need, Christ will not come to you. But if you feel your real need, His hands shall be stretched out to you. If your needs stand before you like huge empty water pots, or if your soul is as full of grief as those same pots were filled with water up to the brim, Jesus can, by His sweet will, turn all the water into wine; He can turn the sighing into singing!
And the time had come. John 7: 6 Jesus told them, "My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it does hate me because I testify about it — that its works are evil. 8 Go up to the festival yourselves. I'm not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come." 30 Then they tried to seize him. Yet no one laid a hand on him because his hour had not yet come.
John 8: 19 Then they asked him, "Where is your Father?" "You know neither me nor my Father," Jesus answered. "If you knew me, you would also know my Father." 20 He spoke these words by the treasury, while teaching in the temple. But no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.
John 12:23,27, 23 Jesus replied to them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. 25 The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me. Where I am, there my servant also will be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. 27 "Now my soul is troubled. What should I say — Father, save me from this hour? But that is why I came to this hour.
John 13:1. 1 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world to the Father.
John 16:32 31 Jesus responded to them, "Do you now believe? 32 Indeed, an hour is coming, and has come, when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
John 17: 1 Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you gave him authority over all flesh, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him. 3 This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent — Jesus Christ.
The hour had come! This was the hour that the glory of the Lord Jesus would be revealed. This was the hour that purpose and meaning and joy and fullness of life would be revealed. This was the hour for God's purposes. Purpose and meaning and fullness are linked. God's Purpose.. I have good news for you. God's purpose is not bad for you. God's purpose is not mediocre for you. God's purpose for your life is going to be filled with joy. "Come we that love the Lord…We're marching upward to Zion, The beautiful city of God. The sorrows of the mind. Be banished from the place; Religion never was designed. Religion never was designed, To make our pleasures less, To make our pleasures less. Refrain. Let those refuse to sing, Who never knew our God.."
The first miracle was prophetic. At a wedding our Lord begins His signs. To a marriage feast He invites us now. At a glorious marriage supper all will end. The story of our Bible ends like all well-told tales, with; they were married and lived happy ever afterwards; for proof read the Book of the Revelation. Our Lord will come to celebrate a wedding between Himself and His church and all the wine they will drink at that high festival will be of His own providing and all the joy and bliss will be of His own giving! He is the sun of heaven's day! He is the glory of the glorified! He will take care that throughout the millennial age, yes, and throughout eternity, the joy of His chosen shall never fail but they shall joy in God and in Himself without measure and without bound. Our Lord began with this special miracle as if to show us that He had come here to transform and transfigure all things; to fulfill the law and its types; putting into it substance and reality. He began with this special miracle to take man and lift him up from a fallen creature into a heaven-born son and heir! Jesus has come to rid this planet of her mists and to array it in garments of glory and beauty. Soon shall we see new heavens and a new earth!
The Time Has Come for A Quantity of Joy.
6 Now six stone water jars had been set there for Jewish purification. Each contained twenty or thirty gallons. 7 "Fill the jars with water," Jesus told them. So they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he said to them, "Now draw some out and take it to the headwaiter." And they did. 9 When the headwaiter tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it came from — though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom 10 and told him, "Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are drunk, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now."
John 6: 35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. … 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
Fullness is Found In Jesus' Sacrificial love
John 10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 14 "I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep.
I remember once being confronted by a dour deacon "I don't like you!" "Why don't you like me Elwyn?"
"You are too happy! You use jokes in your sermons and everyone laughs. Everyone likes you. I don't like you."
I thanked Elwyn for the compliment and sent him home, and I was rejoicing.
Fullness is Found in Satisfying Love
John 6: 35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.
Called John 10:3 He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice.
Chosen John 10:14 "I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep.
Fullness is Found in Secure Love
John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one."
Romans 5:1, 9 8:1, 37-39
Vance Havner put it "The average Sunday morning congregation appears as if it has gathered to mourn a defeat rather than celebrate a victory. Too many seem to be enduring their salvation instead of enjoying it. We need to remind ourselves that we have not been called to a funeral, but a feast."
Alwyn and Cec Williams, Song leaders: "Will you please stand sir and lead us in a frown?"
The Time Has Come for A Quality of Joy. V.10
8 Then he said to them, "Now draw some out and take it to the headwaiter." And they did. 9 When the headwaiter tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it came from — though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom 10 and told him, "Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are drunk, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now."
The Fine wine. The Best wine. Someth9ing better than anything else. It's a quality of joy.
Fullness is Found in Self-forgetful Love
John 12 : 24 Truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. 25 The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me. Where I am, there my servant also will be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Fullness is Found in Serving Love
John 13:1 Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 Now when it was time for supper, the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, Simon Iscariot's son, to betray him. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into his hands, that he had come from God, and that he was going back to God. 4 So he got up from supper, laid aside his outer clothing, took a towel, and tied it around himself. 5 Next, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet and to dry them with the towel tied around him.
This Fullness is Found in Certified Love "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory." "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth."
He manifested forth His glory. Jesus revealed His own glory as God and man. During all those former years it had been veiled. He had been a boy obedient at home, a young man industrious as a carpenter at Nazareth; then His glory was a spring shut up, a fountain sealed; but now it began to flow forth in the ruddy stream of this great miracle! He manifested His glory by operating beyond the power of nature. Nature does not in an instant turn water into wine; if this is done it must be by the direct hand of the Lord. But by what power could water be taken from an earthen vessel and be transmuted into wine while being carried to the table? None but God Himself could do this and as Jesus did it, He therein displayed His Godhead. By doing this He showed that He had all power on earth. He can do as He wills and by His one act of creation, or transformation, He makes manifest the glory of His power.
"Jesus Christ is the source—the only source—of meaning in life. He provides the only satisfactory explanation for why we're here and where we're going. Because of this good news, the final heartbeat for the Christian is not the mysterious conclusion to a meaningless existence. It is, rather, the grand beginning to a life that will never end. That same Lord is waiting to embrace and forgive anyone who comes to Him in humility and repentance. He is calling your name. His promise of eternal life offers the only hope for humanity. If you have never met this Jesus," I hope you will meet Him today. ― James C. Dobson,
Fullness is Found in Certain Love "And His disciples believed on Him."
How did John know that the disciples believed on Him? Why, because he was one of them, and he himself believed on Him. This one miracle proves the power to work every miracle. If Christ can turn water into wine by His will, He can do anything and everything. If Jesus has once exercised a power beyond nature, we may readily believe that He can do it again; there is no limit to His power; He is God and with God all things are possible. Thus, the first miracle rightly confirmed their faith.
It showed them, also, that from now on they need never be anxious. Will you that read your Greek Testament notice the expression here? Is it said, "His disciples believed Him"? No. Is it "Believed in him"? No. "Believed on him"? Yes. It is so in our version, but into would be more correct. The Greek is, "eis"; His disciples believed into Him. "Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you." They believed right into Jesus. It is one thing to believe in Him and another thing to believe Him; it is a restful thing to believe on Him, but it is best of all to believe right into Him so that your very personality is swallowed up in Christ and you feel the bliss of living, loving, lasting union with Him!
435 — Blessed Be His Name
1 I bless the Christ of God; I rest on love divine;
And with unfaltering lip and heart, I call this Saviour mine.
2 His cross dispels each doubt; I bury in his tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear, Each lingering shade of gloom.
3 I praise the God of grace; I trust his truth and might;
He calls me his, I call him mine, My God, my joy, my light.
4 In him is only good, In me is only ill;
My ill but draws his goodness forth, And me he loveth still.
5 'Tis he who saveth me, And freely pardon gives;
I love because he loveth me, I live because he lives.
6 My life with him is hid, My death has pass'd away,
My clouds have melted into light, My midnight into day.
Horatius Bonar, 1863.