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Bible Study: Sept. 3, 2017
NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.
Bible Passage: John 2:1-11
Discussion Questions: Who or what do we rely on rather than Jesus? Why do we think those people or things can meet our needs better than He can? Why is adjusting our plans sometimes so hard for us? When have you stubbornly decided to stick with your idea of doing something instead of submitting to another idea? How did that turn out for you?
Food for Thought:
Hope is hard to come by in our society today. We constantly confront pain and agony, chaos and confusion. Finding true peace or faith is difficult. People have no passion. And nothing is worth your passion unless you have Christ. If you have Christ, you have hope.
In John 2:1-11, we discover a need expressed, a solution sought, and a sign given as Jesus and His disciples took a break from the demands of His work. They were at a wedding in Cana, a Galilean town not far from Jesus' home in Nazareth when the wine for the celebration ran out. Running out of wine at such a celebration was a "big deal" in first-century Jewish life. It would have been seen as poor hospitality on the part of the host.
Jesus' mother, Mary, was also in attendance at the wedding and immediately sprang into action. She knew Jesus was their only hope in the moment and that He alone could solve the problem. Mary demonstrated measures of both faith and hope in approaching Jesus. Her example is worth following for us today. Not only can Jesus meet any need in our lives, but He also wants us to come to Him with our problems and challenges. He loves us and longs for us to ask for His help.
Jesus had to balance His mother's request with His Father's plan. While His mother's authority would not have necessarily extended to a public gathering, He recognized the sincerity of her need. His reference to "my hour has not yet come" (v. 4) was a reminder that every endeavor He undertook reflected who He was and why He had come. It was, first and foremost, a statement about His relationship with His Father, not with any member of His earthly family. His hour was still in the future. He would glorify the Father through honoring Mary's request, but the ultimate act of glorifying God would come on the cross and through the empty tomb. With that understanding made clear, Mary recognized Jesus' willingness to honor her request and meet the need at hand.
Jesus went straight to work providing an answer to Mary's request (vv. 7-8). He instructed servants to fill six large jars to the brim with water. By doing so, any doubt about the source of the miracle about to occur was removed. There was no possibility that some wine was added to the water. Instead, Jesus changed every drop of water in the jars to wine. He had done what no one expected. He had transformed the water into wine –– and not just any wine but a quality of wine that surpassed the original.
John pointed out that this was Jesus' first "sign" or miracle. He used the term in his Gospel to describe more than just a miracle. To him a sign was a supernatural work that identified Jesus as the Messiah. By changing the water into wine, Jesus displayed His glory and revealed His identity in a way He had not done previously (see John 1:14). This miracle also convinced His disciples to believe in Him. When Jesus provides hope today, He glorifies Himself and gives people the opportunity to respond to Him in belief.
You probably don't need water turned into wine, but you certainly have at least one area of your life where you could really use God to move. This lesson should spark hope in you. It should remind you that Jesus loves you and wants to do incredible things in your life. Take every difficult situation to Him in prayer and trust Him with the results. That's what hope is all about. You have that hope. Hang onto it, and share it with someone else this week.
We live in a real world with real hurts. Many people have experienced financial setbacks. Others have suffered the grief of losing a child, spouse or other loved one. Some are in the midst of major health issues. Still others may feel their spouses don't understand them, or the friends they thought they could count on the most let them down. Pain is real and ignoring it will not make it vanish magically. The pain is still there. There are Christians who pretend that things are fine when in fact they are hurting. But doing so could actually hurt their witness to others.
In a shifting cultural context, it's more important than ever before that people connect, grow, serve, and go in their Christian life. YOU is committed to doing just that by providing a complete Bible study experience for small groups and classes. Every session is written through an urban and multicultural lens that provides relevant, engaging, and applicable studies that not only encourage and equip people, but also motivate them to mission. This flexible, non-dated all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals, and teaching plans, as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional online teaching resources, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.