Setting the Sail
Pastor Rod Thompson
Midland SDA Church
February 17, 2018
I want to start off this morning by giving you a lesson in aerodynamics.† This is going to be a very basic lesson, and by the way, I am not an engineer.† So if there are any engineerís in the audience please donít focus in on whether or not I get it exactly right, because all Iím trying to do is give a little bit of background so that we can apply it to a spiritual lesson.†
I donít know if you have ever noticed before but airplane wings have a very particular shape to them.† Typically they are tear drop shaped along a horizontal axis.† Which means they are thicker in the front then they are in the back.† And there is a reason for that.† Because as the plane moves forward through the air the front of the wing forces the air to go either above or beneath the wing.† But because there is a hump on the top of the wing the air that goes over the wing has to travel farther than the air that goes beneath the wing.† Therefore the air above the wing has to speed up and travel faster than the air beneath the wing.† This causes something amazing to happen.† The faster air on the top of the wing causes a lifting pressure which causes the plane to lift off of the ground.† In other words lift is the result of unequal air pressure on one side vs the other.† Then when you tilt the wing up it causes even more lift.†
If you have ever stuck you hand out the window of the car while driving down the road you can experiment with this and see it in action.† Because when you angle your hand up, what happens?† It causes your arm to go up doesnít it?
The same principle is at work with a sail boat.† An airplane wing has lower pressure on the top side of the wing and higher pressure on the bottom causing it to lift or to be drawn upward.†
A sail has lower air pressure on the front (leeward) side and more pressure on the rear (windward) side.† This causes two things to happen.† The low pressure in the front pulls or draws the boat forward lifting the boat and causing it to lean.
Now I have really simplified whatís going on here.† It is a lot more complicated than that and it involves Newtonís law of opposite forces, Bernoulliís principle of lift and mathematical formulaís.† But here is my point.† When you look at a sail boat mast what do you see?† You see this curved shape to the sail and you assume that the wind is pushing the boat, donít you?† But itís not!† Itís the difference in air pressure from the front to the back pulling or drawing the boat through the water.† So in reality the boat is being pulled or drawn through the water and the plane is being pulled or drawn upward.
Now for you technical experts, if I have miss stated this in any way please forgive me and donít focus on how it actually works, just know that what Iím trying to point out is that it is not a pushing action but a pulling action.† The plain and the boat are being drawn forward and up.
You have your bibles open to John.† In chapter 1 we have the genealogy of Jesus as the eternal God, John the Baptist calling Him the Lamb of God and Jesus calling His first disciples.† What we donít see here in Johnís account of the gospel is John the Baptist baptizing Jesus and Jesus being drawn into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit where He is tempted, by the devil, for 40 days and then Jesus returning and calling Peter, John, Andrew, Philip and Nathanael to follow Him.† If you go to the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke all three of them talk about the baptism and the wilderness experience but John doesnít talk about, he skips right over it.
But then in John chapter 2 John gives us a story that the other 3 gospels donít give us.† It is the story of the wedding in Galilee.†
Now let me see if I can put things into the proper order here.
At about the age of 30 Jesus leaves the town of Galilee and goes out into the wilderness where John the Baptist is preaching at the Jordon River.† Jesus goes to John and John baptizes Him.† ††Jesus comes up out of the water and Matthew 3:16 tells us that the heavens opened, the Spirit of God descended and alighted upon Him (Jesus).† And suddenly a voice came from Heaven, saying this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.† Then Jesus was led (drawn) by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where He is tempted for 40 days.
Then in John 1 we see that the Jews sent the priests and the Levites out to the wilderness to ask John the Baptist who he is.† John testifies that he is not the Christ but He (Christ) is coming.† Thatís the first day.† The first day of what?† The first day of Jesus public ministry.†
The 40 days of temptation are over and now Jesus returns to the Jordon River where John is still there preaching and baptizing.
Then in John 1:29 it says that the next day (day 2 of Jesus ministry as the anointed one) That John sees Jesus coming toward him and John says (essentially) here comes the Messiah.† Then (that same day John 1:35) Jesus goes and calls John, Andrew and Peter to follow Him.
Read vs 43
The following day is the third day.† Jesus calls Philip and Nathanael to follow Him.† So on the third day Jesus, Peter, John, Andrew, Nathanael, & Philip all head to Galilee.
Read John 2: 1-8
By now you are probably saying Pastor, what does this story of the wedding at Cana have to do with anything, and what does it have to do with aerodynamics?††† Well, Iím glad you asked!
First of all let me say that everything that God does has a purpose.†
I donít know about you but I have often looked at this story of the wedding in Cana of Galilee and I have asked myself, why is this story in the Bible?† It doesnít seem to be important to any of the gospel writers except John.† Well of Course John was an eye witness of these events, and of course we know that vs 11 tells us
ďThis beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee manifested His glory, and the disciples believed in Him.Ē
So, certainly there is some value to this story if for no other reason than this.† But brothers and sisters, I think there is more to it than that.† We need to look a little deeper, we need to think a little harder.† We need to see why God thought that this story was so important that He inspired John to put it in there.
First of all I want you to notice that Jesus did not begin His ministry by some great work before the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem.† At a household gathering in a little Galilean village His power is put forth to add to the joy of a wedding feast.
He left Galilee and His mother approximately 50 days earlier.† Now He sees His mother for the first time since His baptism and the struggle with Satan in the wilderness.† She hasnít seen Him for two months, but now at this marriage feast she meets, the same tender, dutiful son.† But He is not the same.† His countenance has changed.† It bears the traces of His conflict in the wilderness, and a new expression of dignity and power which gives evidence of His heavenly mission.
She has heard of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit at His Baptism, She is stirred by the mission of John the Baptist.† She remembers the prophecy given at his birth.† She is reminded of the angelís announcement to herself of Jesus birth and how He would be the Messiah.† She has heard about His mysterious disappearance after His baptism.† She is reminded of His unselfish life.† She hears the reports from His disciples of all that has happened and how they believe He is the one who they were looking for.†
And who can blame her if (perhaps) there was a holy joy mingled with a trace of motherly pride.† As she saw the many glances bent upon Jesus, she longed to have Him prove to the company that He was really the honored of God.† She hoped for an opportunity for Him to work a miracle before them.†
And sure enough an opportunity presents itself.† As a relative of the wedding party Mary had assisted in the arrangements, but it was now discovered that the supply of wine had failed.† This discovery would have brought much perplexity and regret.† It would have been seen as a lack of hospitality.†
So she goes to Jesus and says, ďthey have no wine.Ē†
I need to pause here for a moment and remind you that when it says wine we cannot automatically presume that this is talking about alcoholic drink.† The bible indicates that there is both new and old wine.† Both fermented and unfermented drink.† The new wine is that which is freshly squeezed from the grape and old is that which has gone through the fermentation process.† The Bible is very clear that God does not approve of the old wine.
Proverbs 20: 1†††††††††††† Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
Isaiah 65:8††††††††† ††††††††† As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, do not destroy it
God is not going to contradict Himself.† So we have to believe that the wine that Jesus supplied at the wedding feast is the pure juice of the grape.
Satan tempts men to indulge in drink that beclouds the reason and benumbs spiritual perceptions, but Jesus teaches us to bring the lower nature into subjection.† His whole life is an example of self-denial.† In order to break the power of appetite, He suffered in our behalf the severest test that any human could endure.†
It was Christ that directed that John the Baptist should drink neither wine nor strong drink.† It was He who enjoined similar abstinence upon the wife of Manoah.† And He pronounced a curse upon the man who should put the bottle to his neighborís lips.† Jesus did not contradict His own teaching.† The unfermented wine that He provided was to be a wholesome and refreshing drink.
So Mary had come to Jesus and said, they have no wine.† And notice Jesusí answer.†† (vs 4)† ďWoman, what does your concern have to do with me?† My hour has not yet come.Ē
This answer, abrupt as was, expresses no coldness or disrespect.† The Saviors form of address to His mother is in accordance with Oriental custom.†
Every act of Christís life was in harmony with the precept that He Himself had given in
Exodus 20:12†††††††††††††† Honor your father and mother
But you see there was danger that Mary was regarding her relationship to Jesus as giving her a special claim upon Him, and right, to some degree, to direct Him in His mission.†
For 30 years He had been a loving and obedient son, and His love was unchanged.† But now He must be about His Fatherís business.† As Son of the Most High, and Savior of the world, no earthly ties can be allowed to keep Him from His mission, or influence His conduct.
This lesson is for us also.† The claims of God must have priority over the ties of human relationships.† No earthly attraction should turn our feet from following the will of God.†
The only hope of redemption for our fallen race is in Christ.† Mary could find salvation only through the Lamb of God.† Her connection with Jesus gave her no special advantage over any other human soul.† This indication is found in Jesus words, My hour has not yet come.
These words point to the fact that every act of His life on earth was fulfilment of the plan that had existed from the foundations of the world.† He was guided step by step by the Father.
In saying to Mary that His hour had not yet come He was replying to her unspoken thought Ė to the expectation she cherished along with so many others, that He would reveal Himself as the Messiah, and take the throne of Israel.† But the time for that had not yet come.†
But though Mary did not have a right conception of His mission, she trusted Him implicitly.† To this faith, Jesus responded.† It was to honor Maryís trust, and to strengthen the faith of His disciples, that this first miracle was performed.
Mary was not thrown off balance by His words, instead she goes to the servants and says, ďWhatever He says to you, do it.Ē
Well, you know the story, there were six water pots of stone that held between 20 and 30 gallons.† Jesus told them to fill them up with water.† And they did as He said.† They filled them right to the top
As there was immediate need, He said to them, ďdraw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.Ē
Now some of you might be saying Pastor, this is great, but I still canít make the connection.† Well letís see if we can unpack it.
In the Desire of Ages p. 73 it says this.
ďThe gift of Christ to the marriage feast was a symbol.† The water represented baptism into His death; the wine, the shedding of His blood for the sins of the world.† The water to fill the jars was brought by human hands, but the word of Christ alone could impart to it life giving virtue. ď
What Jesus is doing here in this miracle at the wedding of Cana is He is giving us a picture of the plan of salvation.
Do you remember when Jesus was talking to Nicodemus in John 3?†
John 3:8††† ďThe wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.† So is everyone born of the Spirit?Ē
What was Jesus talking about?† The Holy Spirit, right?† Here we see that the wind is a symbol of the Holy Spirit
When you are sitting in a sail boat, the wind is available, but you have to put the sail up in order to take advantage of it right?
In other words you have to set the sail
Philosophy of sailing Ė the better you are at setting the sail the more the boat is drawn along (opposite of pushed along)
When the sail is set correct the boat will lean and even the hull will draw you along
Now letís let the symbols of the sailboat help us to understand something
The Hull of the boat is the church, the sail is you, and the wind is the Holy Spirit.† When you are setting in the church nothing is going to happen until you set yourself in a position so that you can be filled with the Holy Spirit.† When that happens you will be drawn along.†† (not pushed)
Now letís go back to the story of the wedding at Cana and look at the symbology
There is a wedding feast, there are 5 Disciples, 6 water pots and water that is turned to wine and then it is drawn out
The wedding feast is the marriage supper of the lamb.† You are invited to come to it.† You are offered eternal life.† The 5 Disciples represent the church which is the vehicle that God has designed by which we can get there, the 6 water pots represent you and me.† The Apostle Paul says in
2 Corinthians 4:7 ††††††† that we are earthen vessels
Isaiah 64:8†††††††††††††††††† You are our Father; We are the clay, and you are the potter
The water represents your baptism into Christ and the wine is the blood of Christ shed for you.† When you are filled with the knowledge of Christ and His atoning sacrifice for you, you are brought to a place where you recognize the depth of your depravity and need for a Savior and this creates a vacuum.
And one of two things happens.† You either set the sail or you donít.† If you set the sail you will be drawn along by the Holy Spirit.† If you donít then you can set in the church your whole life and never reach your destination.
And the better you are at setting the sail, the faster you will go.
So the real question is Ė how do we set the sail?
Do I come to God rigid and consider Him an equal or do I come in humble submission?
Mary came to Jesus with the thought of having some claim on Him as to their relationship, but she left the conversation with humility and faith.
The Hebrew word which is translated into English as humble means a lowering Ė In other words I Ďve got to get in the right position (set the sail) so that God can move me.† And the better we are at getting in the right position (Humbling ourselves) the more that God can move us.
Brothers and sisters, do you want to get better at setting the sail?† Spiritual life is in the church, we need to be in the church.† We need to humble ourselves which is how we set the sail and allow God to draw us out.
Is that the desire of your heart?