John 2: 1-11
I think it is very interesting, dear brethren, that we have this occasion of a marriage recorded for us in the Scriptures. It is turned into a sign. I think it would mean that it is intended to have a spiritual significance. It is a very encouraging thing that there was this marriage where the Lord Jesus and His disciples were present. We are very happy to be here with our brother and sister today to share with them in their joy, their natural joy. It is right that it should be so since marriage is a divine institution. They have had to do with the Lord Jesus for themselves, each of them separately. Our brother has had to do with the Lord Jesus, and our sister has had to do with the Lord Jesus. Now, as set together, they have further opportunities of having to do with Him. The great benefit of marriage in the Lord is that it can be taken up in relation to Him and in relation to His interests.
Now, as things proceeded here, it began with the natural, and the natural link is very important because it is a divine arrangement; and it is intended that it should work out as a matter of love and joy in the relationship. However, it came to light that there was something deficient; and things may not always be plain sailing. There may be a time when some deficiency occurs, some lack, and it is a great matter when that happens to know where to turn, to turn to the Lord Jesus. He had the answer here. That is a very simple thing to say, but it is a very real matter to be able to turn to Someone that we know, Someone we can trust, Someone who has the answer to whatever the problem may be. So He had the answer here, and He used what was there at that time to provide the answer. There were these six stone water-vessels. Now, they were vessels for purification, and that is like what believers are to be, available to work out this great matter of moral purification. So the Lord indicates what to do with these; “Fill the water-vessels with water”, He says. I think for us it is really a pointer to the application of the death of Christ being experienced morally in believers in such a way that there is some transformation brought about. The vessels were filled to the brim; there was no room for anything else. They are like persons so affected by the death of Christ that the Lord can say, “Draw out now”; draw out from these vessels. Then what comes out is the word of the feast-master, “thou hast kept the good wine till now”.
I think it indicates something beyond just the enjoyment of the natural relationship. We think of the natural first, and then the spiritual; and I think it is leading on to the enjoyment of spiritual family relationships. Now, that is a very important thing. Along with the marriage and the enjoyment of natural relationships, there should be an entrance into the enjoyment of spiritual family relationships. I think the Lord is indicating that. It is not just enough to rely on the natural relationships alone, but the Lord would have us come into the enjoyment of spiritual family relationships. You might say, ’Where is that?’ Well, it is in the family of God. It is in a wider family than the natural: the divine family, composed of persons who have been taken up through divine grace and have part in this wonderful family that is being formed at the present time.
Well, it says, “This beginning of signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory”. It is a wonderful thing to have some manifestation of the glory of Christ, and I think where you can find that taking place is in the divine family. That is why it is so important that we should enjoy these family relationships, and make way for some manifestation of the glory of Christ. We sang a verse in the house this morning -
There Christ, the centre of the throng,
Shall in His glory shine,
But not an eye those hosts among
But sees His glory Thine.
That is very fine. Where would that be but in the divine family? It is a great matter to enjoy not only these natural relationships but also enjoy spiritual family relationships and to be conscious of something of the glory of Christ coming in. That is what will hold us, dear brethren, the glory of Christ. That will hold us eternally and it is enough to hold us for our time down here.
Now, we are going to miss our sister, but we are happy that she is going to be with brethren in another locality; they will have the blessing of having her there. One of the things that has impressed me about our sister is her attendance at the meetings, attendance, you might say, in the divine family. I would just seek to encourage all the young brothers and sisters to attend the meetings and enjoy their spiritual links in the divine family. John has a special place in the Lord’s mind in this regard. The Lord says of him, “If I will that he abide until I come ...”, John 21: 22. John has to do with our education for the divine family and John’s writings have a particular place in that regard.
Dear brethren, I just commend the word to our brother and sister, and to us all for our blessing, for the Lord’s name’s sake.
17th July 2010