New Wine for a New Man
The Wedding at Cana - Jackson Snyder, May 26, July 5, 2005
With Applications from the Gospel of Thomas
Preaching Version 2

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“A real marriage is when two people are working.
When he is asleep she must be awake.
When she is asleep he must be awake.”  - Maurice Nicoll


An invisible man marries an invisible woman.
The kids were nothing to look at either. – Eric Thiele

No man for any considerable period of time can wear one face to himself
and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered
as to which may be the truth.  – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.

 Ho, every one who’s thirsty, come to the waters,
Even if you have no money; come and drink;
Yes, come, buy wine without money!  Isaiah 55:1. 

 

Sneads Version John 2:1 And on the third day there came to be a wedding in Cana of the Galilee: and the mother of the Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples were called out to the wedding. 3 And falling short of wine, Jesus’ mother says to him, “They have no wine!” 4 And Jesus says to her, “What is that to me and to you, woman?  My hour is not yet come.” 5 His mother says to the servants, “Whatever he tells you – anything – you do!”
   6 And standing there in that place were six stone water-crocks left from the cleansing of the Jews, each containing above two or three metětas. 7 Jesus tells them, “Fill the water-crocks of water,” and they filled them to the top. 8 And he says to them, “Draw up now and carry to the ‘ruler-of-three-couches’,” and so they carried.
   9 But when the ruler-of-three-couches tasted the water having become wine, and did not know from whence it is (howbeit those servants having drawn water knew), the ruler-of-three-couches calls the groom 10 and says to him, “Every man sets out the good wine first, and when they have become drunken, the worse.  You have kept the good wine until now!”
   11 This Jesus did in Cana of the Galilee – the beginning of the signs – and made visible his radiance, and his students believed in him.

 

Psalm 4, UMH 741

 

Revelation 19:5. Then a voice came from the throne; it said, “Praise our Elohim, you servants of his and those who fear him, small and great alike.” 

   6. And I heard what seemed to be the voices of a huge crowd, like the sound of the ocean or the great roar of thunder, answering, “Alleluia! The reign of Yahweh our Elohim Almighty has begun; 7. let us be glad and joyful and give glory to Yahweh, because this is the time for the marriage of the Lamb. 8. His bride is ready, and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen, because her linen is made of the good deeds of the saints.”

   9. The angel said, “Write this, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb,’” and he added, “These words of Yahweh are true.”

   10. Then I knelt at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “Never do that: I am your fellow-servant and the fellow-servant of all your brothers who have in themselves the witness of Yahshua. Yahweh alone you must worship.” The witness of Yahshua is the spirit of prophecy.

 

Couple Married 80 Years Tell Their Secret

   Percy and Florence Arrowsmith of England have a long and happy marriage with their 80th wedding anniversary June 1 (2005).  Florence is 100. Percy’s 105.  They still live on their own and celebrated at home with a party.  What’s the secret to their success?  Florence reported, “We still love one another; that’s the most important part.  You must never go to sleep bad friends.”  Then Florence added, “I like sherry at lunch time and whisky at night, and I’m looking forward very much to my party.”

   Meanwhile Percy said his secret to a long marriage can be summed up in two words: “Yes, dear.”

 

PRAYER:  O YAH, there are many around the drinking trough but nothing in the cistern.  Lead us to the New Wine so that we can become the New Man.  Show us how to make the two one, the inside like the outside the outside like the inside, the above like the below, the male and the female as one, fashioning eyes in place of an eye, hands in place of a hand, feet in place of a foot, and a new likeness in place of the old likeness, so we might enter with newness into your kingdom. (From The Gospel of Thomas 74 & 22)

 

Seeking Integration?

   Unlike the Arrowsmiths, most simply don’t have what it takes to stay married eight years, much less eighty.  Why?  People share the fate of Humpty Dumpty, that unfortunate egg who fell off the wall and broke into a zillion pieces. 

   Like Humpty, we all seek the reassembly of broken-off pieces to form oneness.  Most remain cracked-up; but some find the cure –that force greater than all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.  With heavenly help, a few have put their Humpty together again. 

   Our Heavenly Father desires that we regain unity in Him.  His image and likeness compliment our uniqueness and are essential for life eternal.  If the healing force of his person is allowed to make headway within, our broken pieces slowly migrate back to center – through all the days of our lives – unto sanctification, unification, even perfection.

   O, won’t we appropriate his life force and become beautiful inside, then make the outside like the inside?  We must if we’re to become the eternal bride of our coming King.  Wholeness and unity – a sacred covenant of service and fellowship – leads unto everlasting life in the Beulahland. 

   You ladies made beautiful brides in former days; and you men, if you’ll follow, may become Daughters of Zion: the brides of eternity.  All may be One, and One all.

 

Unity Prayer

   Yahshua’s most fervent prayer was for unity among those he loved.  He prayed,

John 17:11,22 I’m no longer in the world, but they’re in the world while I’m coming to you.

   Yahshua prayed for unity in the last days of his earthly form.  By that time, he’d achieved integration – body, mind, soul, spirit, father, son – all one.  That which had been broken by rejection, reclaimed: that which had been lost to disappointment, found: that which had been worn down by circumstances out of his control, restored.  In the garden, Yahshua was, in fact, of this world but no longer in this world. 

   His perfection was the result of years of devotion – study, prayer, faith, obedience, good works, warfare – and unity with his Father and ours.  He’d successfully run the gauntlet of human existence.  What was left of the MAN was but a mere shadow of that dear boy who taught rabbis on stone steps years before.  His mind and spirit were well on their way to cosmic dimensions of space and time – those lofty lands from which he’d come. 

   Yet his concern was friend-ward.  His students must remain behind in this world (like us): disintegrated, fractured, persecuted, torn by family, ill at ease with the mission, unsure of their assignments, divorced from their source.

   These men and women of dust may still have been consumed by assaults upon the five senses, stone-hearted on the subjects of spirituality and true religion, unconcerned for self-improvement, uncaring of what the Almighty wanted to further teach them about themselves and about Himself – too disintegrated to be One with each other much less One with the Heavenly.  

   Yet these same broken earthlings would be called apostles in due time.

 

In Your Name

   Yahshua prayed:

Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 

How could these – in whom the most important mission in the history was entrusted – be kept “in the name” of the Father if they didn’t know it?  if nobody taught them?  if Yahshua had offered some generic substitute instead, as Jews and Christians now do? 

   I’ve shared the Father’s name with you for a scriptural reason, my friends!  so that you too may become One in the name of the Father.  Yet some have already rejected the third commandment as “a Jewish law” (Exodus 20:7) or some filthy rag nailed to a stake.

   Only those, says the Savior, who are kept in my Father’s name might resume my Father’s mission, for such “are my brothers and sisters and mothers.”  I might add, “spouses.”  Yahshua prayed:

“To the ones who keep my commandments, Father, have I given your name.  Keep them in your name so that they may be One as we are One.” 

We’d best remember this prayer if we want our families to be made whole; indeed, if we want to live at all in such desperate times of prophetic fulfillment.

 

The Struggle

   We often celebrate Yahshua’s victory over the torture stake, but seldom consider how he had to STRUGGLE with his unique identity, battle warring factions within himself, combat the devil in the howling deserts, while keeping his heart in tune and his course set aright.  Yahshua wasn’t born the New Man; like we who’re BECOMING, he too had TO BECOME.  Then he had to OVERCOME. 

   The mark to which he aimed he made clear by commanding that we aim there too.  He says, “Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).  If we’re to hit the mark, we must, like him, be One in the Father’s name. 

   Yet Yahshua spoke not of perfectionism, but perfection; fullness; completion.  What sets us Methodists apart from the generic brand-name down the road is Christian Perfection[1]: that we aim to become whole, complete and perfect – in Him; and we work out our salvation with fear and trembling[2] until we become One.

   Likewise, Yahshua’s struggle had to be resolved before he could manifest any sign of his divinity.  SuperSonship wasn’t a “done deal”; neither was Yahshua the product of careful genetic engineering.   Certainly, he had far worse struggles than we, because he came from so high to so low.  Yet he’d not allow circumstances, poverty or powerlessness to deter him from overcoming and becoming the sign to Israel and the world.  That sign?  The New Wine; the New Man[3]. 

   Ninety-eight-point-three percent simply cover their Old Man in some rag or scrap of napkin – or smother it with drugs, work or emotionalism; but the SON chose to deal with his old STUFF.  His inner healing took many years – for, though he never broke a Law, he was, from the first, wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities[4]; he still suffers to make intercession for us.[5] 

  That’s why Yahshua didn’t make his debut until age thirty – so much anger, hurt and helplessness to beat – such wretched, heavy burdens to overcome – in order to find the Father’s bosom and share the Father’s feelings – to have compassion enough to give his life as a ransom for our Old Man and allow us to replace him with the New.

 

Signs of the New Man

   The Gospel of John is all about Signs of the New Man; the changing of water to wine is only the First of Seven.  At the wedding, Yahshua heard the voice of his Father through the voice of his mother, “They have no wine.”  But he’s hesitant to distribute New Wine before its time.  But once the servants fill the crocks, it’s too late to say NO – too late to take it back.  He had to make his taste evident then and there, demonstrate the power of oneness, and become that to which the miraculous sign pointed.[6]  There was to be no more hiding.  He was ready.  His hour to show forth his Oneness in the name of the Father had come.

Psalms 34:8.  O taste and see that Yahweh is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

 

The Delusions of Introverts

   On the World Wide Web, I offer a survey that measures how one sees one’s self in social situations, and another that shows how one really is.  Quite often, there’s a significant difference in the way a person perceives herself and how she really acts.  The difference between the two indicates a level of self-deception, intentional or otherwise. 

   Like the Phantom of the Opera, some construct MASKS to hide their scars from themselves and others.  Many who choose to see themselves as outgoing, caring, loving and self-controlled are actually reserved, self-centered, isolated, out-of-control – sometimes just plain mean – behind the mask. 

   Did you know that wretched people can convince themselves, and some others, that they’re wonderful?  Some can even persuade themselves that their unloving acts are in the common interest or the L-ord’s will.  They can only hide so long; under pressure, masks fall – then that rotten thing needing conversion is exposed – that “inner victim” the Father has seen all along.  Heavenly radiance strikes the ugly wound.  Let the healing begin! 

   Otherwise, some really fine people are convinced they’re rotten to the core.  This is such a sad situation.  Some are so abused by the devil and betrayal that their sweetness, charity and love just can’t get through the scabby thing. 

   Unmasking and healing the wound underneath – that is, reintegrating – requires a major power to work a surgical miracle – a mask-ectomy, you might say.

 

Naked in the Mirror

   One famous psychologist suggests an easier method of reintegrating.  Set up a full-length mirror.  Take off your clothes and look at yourself for thirty minutes.  Tell each attachment how beautiful it is and how great all the attachments appear as one!  If you’ll do this every day, you’ll start loving yourself the way you are.  When that develops, bring someone else to the mirror and show ‘em your stuff.  Let me know how it works for you!

   Allen Funt was right – “It’s hard to look at yourself as other people do.”[7]  But the fact is, to become ONE with Him, we must expose our stuff to the mirror of HIS compassion and holiness.  The image therein will usually say, “Repent; the Kingdom’s near.” “Keep my commandments!”  “Love as I’ve loved you.”  “Be one in my Father’s name.”  “Greater love hath no man…”  Finally, the “Imitation of Christ” will whisper compassionately, “Little girl, to you I say, arise.”

 

Yahshua the Ripper

   Also consider how the Great Physician sometimes performs radical mask-ectomies – with the razor of truth.  He shames the young ruler, “You love your money more than me.”  He riles the Pharisees, “You’re painted graves full of rot.” He annihilates Simon’s false self, “You’ll deny me three times.”  He unmasks Martha’s neurosis, “You’re a compulsive, trouble-making controller.”  He makes quick work of the little dictator, “Get thee behind me!”  To the government official, “You wouldn’t have any power if my Father hadn’t given you!”  Yet these acts of honest ripping served to set each aright.  As a result, some became completed and perfected.  What sort of scalpel might he use on you, I wonder?

   Yahshua puts devils on public exhibit so that those he loves might never again need to hide in filthy rags.  This is the meaning of one of Yahshua’s hardest sayings:

Thomas 37 His disciples said, “When will we see you as you are?” Jesus said, “When you shamelessly take off your clothes and stomp them like kids, then you’ll see the Living One, and you’ll fear no more.”

   His disciples did lose their clothes before the mirror of his love, knowing that circumcision of the heart requires standing naked before him – even rags must be ripped away.  If we want our healings, if we want to be in unity, then we must be willing to sober up, humble down, repent of sinrecognize the value of NEW WINE[8] - and become the NEW MAN.

 

Listerine the Cure for the Fractured Self

   Sarasota, 1999 - George was a NEW MAN with a heart of compassion.  One day, he and I decided to catch the trolley to the Gulf.  Walking to the stop, we followed a wretch dressed in rags.  He ducked into a Dollar store.  George wanted to see what he’d buy.  The fellow soon came out, sat at a bench, took a bottle of Listerine from his sack, cranked off the cap, and slurped it down.

   George felt sorry.  “Could I give him some money?” I said, “He’ll spend your money on Listerine.”  George said, “At least, he should taste good wine instead of that.  I have five dollars – is that enough?”  I said, “I’ll lend you five.  But you’ll have to escort him into that wine shop across the street and stay until he buys, or he’ll get more Listerine.”

   George went to the fellow on the bench.  They walked together toward the shop.  At the roadside, the fellow continued on by himself to the shop.  When George returned, I said, “You should have walked him in!”  George said, “Man, he stunk too bad!  Besides, he’s going in right now! Look!”  George had tears in his eyes as the wretch looked back at him.

   We reached the stop, but we’d missed the trolley.  Back to work we went.  I said, “George, you did a good deed.  It was worth missing the trolley.” 

   When we got back to the Dollar store, there was that fellow back on the bench.  “Let’s see what he bought!” cried George.  Beside the fellow were eight bottles of Listerine in a plastic sack, a ninth bottle in his hand and two empties on the sidewalk.  He hoisted a bottle into the air as a Listerine toast to honor George, his benefactor, as we passed by.  Cheers!

   This poor addict wasn’t interested in quality, only quantity.  Listerine is 25% alcohol.  He never intended to try the New Wine much less become the New Man.  The world and the devil had brought him into entire disintegration.  He was too far gone for anything but a miracle of Atonement.  {pause}

   On the brighter side, he probably had the freshest breath in Sarasota County – masking the stench inside.[9]

 

 All Are Drunk

Thomas 28 - Jesus said: I stood in the midst of the world.  I found them all drunk; not one was thirsty, and my soul was afflicted for humanity; for they’re blind in heart, and can’t see that they came empty into the world, and will leave the world empty still.  When they’ve thrown off their wine, they’ll repent. 

To desire the NEW WINE is the first step in becoming the NEW MAN.  The steward of the feast – i.e. the ruler of three couches – tastes the NEW WINE not knowing from whence it came, and soon becomes a NEW MAN.  He can’t keep his mouth shut about the dazzling ambiance of this previously unknown vintage. 

   He cries to all the wedding guests, “Look what kind of a host we have!  He’s saved the best wine for last!  ¿Do you think this is a Halloween party?  Tear off all those silly masks!  Come and tell us what you think of this bridegroom and his NEW WINE!  Is he not the NEW MAN we’ve all been looking for?  Is he not the Master of our Vineyard?  Call all your friends: there’re 160 gallons here – and refrigerators won’t be invented for another eighteen hundred and eighty-six years! 

 

The Last Invitation

   The New Testament ends with an invitation.  “COME to the Marriage Banquet of the Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world.”  Friends, this is the only wedding invitation that counts, because the guests will comprise of NEW MEN AND WOMEN only.  “Blessed are those who are called to the wedding supper of the Lamb,” cries the angel of Yahweh.  There’s only one requirement.  Dress properly.  Strip off filthy rags and don the white linen of covenant, “for the white linen is the righteousness of the saints,” says the Angel.

   Did you hear about that woman from the paper mill.  She was vile and wicked.  Some NEW MAN showed her up in the mirror of Yahweh’s love.  She wasn’t a pretty sight.  But when she became a bride, she testified, “I was like the rags[10] that go into the mill – all torn and filthy – coming out as new, white paper.  That’s what Jesus did for me!”[11]  Yes, he ripped off the MASK and she became integrated, whole, converted, perfected – and happy.

   Consider the words of a new evangelist: “I prayed the L-RD: L-RD, You said, ‘Knock and the door shall be opened, and sir, I have the faith to believe it!’  In an instant the Master made me so happy that I couldn’t express it; I shouted for joy!  I preached Him with my whole heart.”  Now that kind of assurance only comes with having nothing left to hide.  Both the evangelist and the woman at the mill had exchanged the old for the new.  Man and woman became NEW MEN, shouting for joy, and NEW BRIDES, crying for happiness.[12]  

  My friend, why don’t you change your clothes and change your man – and come.  The festivities will be unlike any you’ve seen before – all will be new and new forever.  For you’ll be not only an invited guest on that great day, but a beautiful bride as well.  Amhn.



[1] Christian Perfection – see Wesley’s sermons 40 & 76.

[2] Philippians 2:12.

[3]  See The New Man by psychologist Maurice Nicoll.

[4]  Many of his congregation members were as mean as poisonous snakes – and he called them vipers to their faces – and it hurt him to have to tell the truth and show them just ignorant and messed up and wrong they were.  Only a few would see themselves as broken pieces and reform and convert and integrate.  The majority wanted to see him dead rather than themselves healed.

[5]  Intercession: Hebrews 7:25.

[6]  I have a web ministry from which I counsel people all over the world about the place they fit in the economy of the Beloved Son – about their gifts and graces and places.  In the last four years, I’ve learned that many, many of those who haven’t been able to find their place have been hindered by the way church people have treated them – CHURCH PEOPLE.  So many pilgrims have tasted that new wine only to be drugged by the dregs when they try to find more of it in a church building.  Some that went in fairly whole have come out splintered and broken by those who call themselves “The Body of Christ.”  Now, for many struggling pilgrims that have been led to my websites, finding integration – ONENESS – HEALING – and finding it soon – isn’t just a matter of interest, or hobby, or volunteerism – but a life or death struggle.

[7]   I discovered my MASK in a paper mirror – a psychological profile.  I was very shocked to see myself naked.  I’d been very self-deceived.  I couldn’t understand how anyone might dislike me – such an outgoing, bubbly, optimistic, friendly guy.  Then the truth was revealed –I wasn’t this outgoing, bubbly, optimistic, friendly guy at all!  Just the opposite.  Having seen it, it took a long time to accept.  As Mrs. Covan observed, “You’re really not a people person, are you?”  I wanted to be the false, I saw myself as the false, but embracing the truth was a giant step toward integration. 

[8]  The Mask: On occasion, that fragmented soul tears off old rags and moves toward becoming the New Man – he’s been drunk on fantasies, but now recognizes and rejoices in the New Wine.  Most of the time, though, he ignores the truth and continues to project the “old man,” who provides the false identity he’s so used to.

   Sometimes the false self is called THE MASK – that’s the old man who’s the front man.  But the mask is only a deception covering the broken man.  This is why Yahshua called his religious adversaries hypocrites.  This word refers to stage actors who, at that time, wore masks to portray their characters.  The real stood behind the paint.  The real BECOMES the paint.

   When a person is a drunken hypocrite, the word of truth is seldom heeded.  Guests who remain at the banquet long past the hour of return so they can drink free get to the point in that they don’t care what they pour down their throats, as long as it intoxicates.  The drunk gets to the point that he can no longer tell what he’s drinking; he doesn’t care.  He’s in a downward-swirling vortex of self-deception and disunity.  Whatever can MASK his messed-up mind is most welcome. 

[9] An Apostle is Born: The wedding guests in Cana were also drunk on cheap swill.  They were completely disintegrated; in consuming, totally consumed; with false faces fortified and self-deception discarded.  But here’s the catch: the Ruler of the Three Couches – the banquet manager – tasted the superior vintage.  He didn’t know its source; he only knew it was BETTER.

   Symbolically, Yahshua is also the groom – all the drunks in the chamber are his brides, for better or worse – for the chamber is the world.  The “Ruler of Three Couches” is his FUTURE APOSTLE, any potential leader of the Messianic Movement who acknowledges the tastelessness and inferiority of the old “spirits,” and becomes enthralled by the bouquet and ambiance of the New Wine.  “Everyone else,” he says, “serves the good first.  When everyone’s drunk, he brings out the new, minty Scope.  By that time, folks are too Listerated to know the difference.  But you’ve saved the best for last!”  This ruler catered lots of wedding, but none so extravagant – with the best yet to come!

[10]  rags – Isaiah 64:6,8. We have all been like unclean things and our upright deeds like filthy rags. We wither, all of us, like leaves, and all our misdeeds carry us off like the wind. And yet, Yahweh, you are our Father; we the clay and you our potter, all of us are the work of your hands.

[11]  Aquilla Webb, One Thousand Evangelistic Illustrations, George H. Doran Co., 1921, pp. 264-5.

[12] Ibid., 264.

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