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THE REMEDY: Religion Renewed

Please open your Bible and read; John 2:1-11

What’s the significance of Jesus’ miracle of turning water to wine? It’s easy to understand His healing miracles and multiplying bread and fishes to feed the multitudes. But why water to wine?

Was Jesus just showing off? I don’t think so. Let’s carefully consider the details of what happened at that famous wedding in Cana. The problem: The wedding guests are out of wine. (Clearly the party is getting late!) Jesus’ mother tells him about this (which would have been quite embarrassing to the wedding party) and he decides to do something about it.

Verse 6 carefully notes the type of jars Jesus instructed the servants to fill with water: “six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing“. Why is this important? Even though there would’ve been plenty of empty wine containers around he could have used Jesus instead instructed them to use the jars which were specifically intended for Jewish religious cleansing rituals! Imagine the indignity of the Jewish leaders: He’s desecrated their sacred jars! He had done nothing morally wrong or against God’s word, but he had, on purpose, offended their self-righteous religious traditions.

There’s other important messages that we could draw from Jesus’ water to wine miracle, but an important one is this: Jesus came to offer us not just new life, but life “to the full” (John 10:10). Jesus was never about religion for the sake of religion, and never wanted us to be constrained by trite ritual and dreary religious routine.

If your spiritual life seems trite and dreary lately, it could be time to re-read the gospels keeping an eye out for the scandal of Jesus’ ministry. We often miss the scandal because we’re so used to hearing it! You might also examine your church to identify the traditions that are honoring to God and inspiring to God’s people … and on the other hand any traditions that are merely legalistic religious jars, just begging to be emptied out and filled with fantastic new wine!

Question: Are there religious traditions in your life (or church) that have become mere rituals, and need to be renewed for the glory of God?

By Darren Hewer

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