The first miracle of Jesus was to turn water into wine at a wedding. It might not be the most impressive display to start his earthly ministry, but the significance of his actions was a bold announcement of something new. What is it that Jesus was offering then, and now?Read More
Hello Blue Oaks….my name is Craig. In August of this year I was hired to be the Student Pastor. I get to hang out with our Middle School and High School Students…I know Lisa Harrington always says she has the best job…..but clearly she has never had mine. If you see me at church please come up and introduce yourself. I’m bad with names so maybe introduce yourself a couple times.
This video is being posted on December 26….I don’t’ know what your day after christmas is like….hopefully it is a day of Relaxation. We decided to have church today be a virtual service so that you can find a bit of this rest with your family…..
I wonder if I would have had time to watch this….when I was growing up. Every year as a kid December 26 was a busy busy day. You see, my mom would always pack up every single Christmas decoration….the day after christmas. It all came down.
You see my brother’s birthday is December 29th….so my parents wanted the decorations to be special to his birthday….none of “this is your Christmas/Birthday present”
Christmas was over on the 26th…. Thanks a lot Jeffrey.
With the closing of Christmas and the start of a new year just around the corner….It is time for all those top 10 lists to be posted…. Top 10 moments of 2021…..the top 10 songs of the year….biggest news stories. And so on…
This last week of the year is a lot of looking back….but also a lot of looking ahead. New year’s resolutions….what changes do you want to see in your life….how long will the resolutions last? I’m considering a resolution of doing 100 push ups a day. Ask me at church on January 2nd if I have given up on that resolution yet. (spoiler alert….I probably will have)
Something Old….coming to an end….The promise of something new…that is what this message is about.
This scripture today is a very very very famous story. It is a story about THE FIRST miracle of Jesus. And since it is my first time getting to teach here…i figured what better place to start than his first miracle.
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.
He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink;
but you have saved the best till now.” What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
I have to be honest….When I was new to my faith….I used to be very underwhelmed by this story. REALLY??? That is his first miracle? I guess that just goes to show you how amazing Jesus is. He does the unexpected. Because I know that if I was God…and I was about to start my earthly ministry and I just called my first disciples and I wanted to show them who I was…I might just go for something a little more….Grand.
Imagine if all the disciples created a betting pool as to what they thought Jesus’ first miracle would be…..and they would have to be like…. “OK…who had Jesus transforming 180 gallons of water into wine from old stone ceremonial washing jars??? Anybody …. NO??? Alright moving on the next bet….who is going to be the greatest disciple? Place your bets!
Growing up dreaming about the messiah coming….How big did they make him out to be? When the messiah comes….he is going to destroy the Romans….he’s going to be 8 ft tall….They may have expected the messiah to say….… you see that mountain….watch this….instead he goes for something far more subtle.
Instead…He was at a wedding feast in his hometown? John makes sure we know that it was the third day. And there is some debate by what this means….was it the third day of the week? Was it the third day of his ministry? Was it the third day of the year? Was it the third day of the wedding? It is kind of unclear….how do you read this? What makes the most sense to you?
For me…I believe that it was the third day of the week (Our Tuesday) because most weddings at this time happened on a Tuesday. Seems kind of strange to us. Why TUESDAY? Because in the Creation story in Genesis 1….the third day was the only day that got a double blessing. What I mean by that is….it is the only day of creation that god said “It Was Good” TWICE! So the thought was …. what better day to start off a life together than one with a double blessing.
PUT YOURSELF INTO THE STORY… WE are at this wedding…..the whole town would have been there. Mary, Jesus, and his disciples. IT WAS A PARTY….FOOD … WINE…. DANCING…celebrating a new life lived together.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARTY… Mary comes up to Jesus and says they have no more wine. You may already know that this was a HUGE deal for the family. . It was a shameful thing to run out of wine. We probably don’t FULLY grasp the HUGENESS of this problem because we don’t really live in a SHAME/HONOR culture. But this family ran the risk of being shamed. FOR YEARS!
The role of Mary in this story is one of the most interesting to me. Coming out of Christmas…you may have noticed that a LOT of the Christmas narrative revolves around her courage to say yes to God and bear the burden of raising the messiah. This was no easy task.
This surrender must have cost her in so many ways: physically, financially, emotionally…. But I’d argue that it probably cost her most SOCIALLY.
This WEDDING was in her hometown. These were her people. Now put yourself in the shoes of one of these people from Cana….and for about 30 years, you have heard this story of a girl from your town who got pregnant when she was a teenager. YET…She claimed she was a virgin. She claimed that God is the father. And maybe she told you about the angel telling her that he was going to be the messiah.
IF YOU HEARD ANY OF THIS …. You would probably be like me and think “surrrrre” Oh bless your heart…. of course that makes sense. Can you imagine the things said about her and Jesus? Talk about SCANDALOUS! Talk about SHAME and DISHONOR
We don’t know a lot about Jesus as a kid….but now we see him as an adult … this must have been an exciting moment for Mary….he was out calling his disciples…..he was starting his ministry….all those years of difficulty must have been …. Leading up to this MOMENT. FINALLY…VINDICATION
Would you have been able to contain your excitement if you were Mary?
So Mary coming up to Jesus and saying….you know….they have no more wine…..wink wink… I see you have some disciples….maybe now is a good time to show everyone that made fun of us …. who you are?
Woman….why do you involve me? Jesus interrupts her….it is as if Jesus knew what Mary was thinking….what she was about to ask or was subliminally asking. Why do you involve me in your agenda? That’s just how I read it.
It is important to know that the word “woman” was not used as a demeaning word. He’s not saying it like a misogynistic man saying “woman….” that is not what Jesus would ever say to Mary. But it is not a good term….it is stern. You may know all too well when someone says your name in a STERN way…..oh…this is different.
Jesus says…My hour has not yet come. So what does that mean? “My hour” became a phrase Jesus said throughout his ministry and it was always referring to his death. Jesus came to die. That is what is so beautiful and tragic about the christmas story…that he came as a helpless baby…. And his purpose was to die.
JESUS KNEW THIS purpose….he knew that this was his path. I wonder if at this moment in a wedding filled with empty cups…. That Jesus knew that one day he would be asking God If at all possible to have a full cup pass from him”
My hour has not yet come…..It is though Jesus is looking past the wedding festivities….looking past the shame and embarrassment of not having enough wine. Looking past their physical and social needs….to their greatest spiritual need. The RESTORATION that could only happen through His Death.
Mary was focused on the empty wine bottles and Jesus was focused on the empty tomb.
Jesus knew what he came to do……
Whatever he said to Mary…..whatever look was on his face… I believe it caused her to have a change of heart in what she was asking for….because you see a total surrender….and an encouragement to the other servants….do whatever he tells you.
THIS IS THE MOMENT where I want my life to be lived….A TOTAL SURRENDER TO WHAT JESUS WOULD HAVE FOR ME….
The Text tells us that … Nearby….stood six stone water jars….the kind used for ceremonial washing.
I love how John says they were nearby…..they weren’t THERE….but they were close….there were nearby…..but kind of out of sight out of mind. Why?
Think about what these jars represented….sure they were used for ceremonial washing….when you would use them….you would be clean…but that process in and of itself must have been brutal. Imagine having to deal with the fact you were maybe unclean all the time….and the fear and shame that went along with that. Never really knowing where you stand with God. How would you feel about these Jars?
You know….it kind of reminds me of the hand sanitizer stations. Bear with me here… I remember when covid just started back in 1998 (at least that’s how long it has felt like it has been going on) how often did you sanitize your hands….how often did you wash? How long did you wash? What kind of soap did you use….all of these new rituals became part of our lives. WHY?
FEAR….Everything you touched potentially had covid on it….were you ever clean enough…were you ever confident that you were safe.
You touched a door knob….dont’ touch your face….because then your face would become unclean too….and everything you touched after would become unclean. EVERYTHING NEEDED TO BE SANITIZED.
How did you feel when you saw a sanitizer station? Maybe a little “oh good….” like “I may as well….just in case i touched covid” Its something unknown….something unseen. FEAR
I imagine that is how they must have seen THESE JARS. EXCEPT X1000 All the laws in the old testament….maybe you broke one. Maybe you had a bad thought…maybe …. Fill in the blank of all the possible ways you could have been unclean.
Your eternity and relationship with God…was dependent on your perfection. Hindsight we see that nobody could be perfect….so God had instituted a sacrificial system. You sinned….sacrifice an animal….it was a lot. And on top of that there were rituals you would perform to wash and cleanse yourself. But like your new year’s resolution….how long did that cleansing last?
I don’t know if I sinned…but just in case….i better wash. I might be ok….but just in case. That turmoil of not knowing where you stand with God….it had to be soul crushing. And these washing bins were a representation of that sacrificial System. FEAR. AM I ENOUGH
So….Why would you put them in a place of celebration?
You wouldn’t want to remind your guests that they needed to be cleansed. This was a party…this was a celebration. Not time for something somber.
Here is where the brilliance of what Jesus was about to do….it was THROUGH this old system….that he was announcing something new.
HE was about to:
Transform this water of shame and uncertainty into…
To wine of Joy and assurance.
In this culture….they didn’t have a whole section of a store devoted to purified water. Water wasn’t always the best/safest to drink. They didn’t have the kind of filters and purification systems we have today. ..But wine on the other hand…could be enjoyed without fear….so wine…became synonymous with JOY. Because you could drink it and worry about getting sick.
When you shared a glass of wine with someone…you were inviting them to drink free of fear…you were inviting them into sharing your joy. And when you drank someone’s wine…you were supposed to feel joy.
Jesus tells the servants…..go to those jars that were nearby….fill them up with water…..
Now Draw some out….and take it to the master of the banquet…. You heard the story….he was blown away by the taste….and astonished that usually they wait until the guests have had a little too much…and bring out the cheap stuff….
That declaration of the Master of ceremonies….is an invitation to us: YOU GOTTA TRY THIS!!!
Jesus knows what is good.
Jesus knows what will satisfy you.
(JESUS CAME TO FILL What is empty…. And when i say FILL….i mean FILL
It is easy to read this story and not think about the amount of wine that Jesus made. I did some math. 6 jars…. 20-30 gallons each. That’s between 120-180 GALLONS OF WINE.
Jesus instantly made the equivalent of 600-900 bottles of wine.
What does that look like visually….For those of you who shop at Costco….next time you walk past a pallet of wine at eye level….it is 1.5 of those. Like that.
I believe The sheer volume of wine must say something…..out of the old …. Comes an abundance of new. TOO MUCH WINE. I was trying to see how many people lived in Cana at the time. It is estimated that 400 people lived there according to some archeologists. Well…I called a wedding planner about how much wine you would need for a wedding. She told me that 900 bottles of wine would be enough for 3000 people for a two day wedding. (not counting all the wine they had before they ran out….)
But it is as if Jesus is saying….what i’m offering is so good. Taste and see….and you will find that as you taste….you will only want more….and guess what….there is enough ….there’s more! and when you participate in the joy that i’m offering you…..you won’t be able to remain the same. It will change you. Maybe when you experience this joy….you will be like the disciples in vers 11
V. 11 says that this was the first SIGN through which he revealed his glory and the disciples believed. THEY BELIEVED! Don’t you want to believe too?
It is interesting to point out…His ministry begins and ends with a wedding feast…..but it would come at great cost to him. This new thing he was about to do….would cost him everything.
Taste and see
It is easy sometimes to lose this joy….Sometimes the old system creeps back in. Where our experience of God becomes a burden or a ritual.
We all have a story….we know what it is like … we have all been burnt out by our endless pursuits for purification….. If i just do this….if i could just be more…then I could be enough….then i’ll be ok. Maybe we are carrying that sanitizer station with us everywhere….constantly trying to make ourselves enough.
Jesus comes in and shatters that idea….he was offering you a life free of the burden of being perfect.
Maybe like this story we have put God…NEARBY….out of sight out of mind….like…we didn’t abandon our faith….it is still nearby if we want it… It is still important…but just nearby. Full confession: I’m so thankful for the ability to watch church online. But during the pandemic….It felt that my faith was nearby. I would tune in…even when churches opened back up…I was hesitant to go because it was just easier to stay home in my pajamas.
Then….the first sunday visiting church in person since March of 2020….honestly felt like I walked into a room and Jesus dropped off 180 gallons of Joy. He is offering too much for me. It was as if I needed the whole community to help me with it. To sing in a community. To be welcomed with a smile and a hug. To be in community. It honestly felt like God filled up my empty jars again in a way that I couldn’t begin to describe.
I don’t know what your faith experience during the pandemic has been…… maybe like me you long to come back in person and find community again. Consider this your wedding invitation….Come experience the wedding party and experience this new thing that Jesus is offering…. Together. And maybe….just maybe. Like those first disciples… You too will be filled with belief.
Lets wrap it up….
What does this story mean for you and me? Think about how this miracle happened. What Grand spectacle was there? Nothing. It was nothing that everyone hasn’t done a hundred times.
Mary pointed out a need. Asked Jesus for help. (what if we had the audacity to ask Jesus for big things)
The Servants filled the jars … AN ORDINARY task…How many times had they drawn water for their own ceremonial washing?? What if we did the ordinary?
The Servants took the water to the MC
Mary Asked….the servants served….JESUS does the supernatural from the ordinary.
Sometimes we as Christians find ourselves waiting for the supernatural before we truly believe. This first miracle tells us that out of the ordinary….Jesus does the EXTRAORDINARY.
I have had several conversations with people that said they won’t believe in God until THEY see a sign. What if the sign they were waiting for came about from us … Telling Jesus a need you see, surrendering to whatever he wants, serving him in an ordinary way….and maybe he will do something supernatural with it. He’s done it before.
Jesus’ first miracle was to bring a community together at a wedding feast and offer them the best tasting joy imaginable…. I bet he had to get sentimental knowing that his last miracle would be to bring every community together for a wedding feast. I can hear him saying.
Don’t you see what I’m offering you?
Come taste and see
AND BELIEVE! (IT IS A DOUBLE BLESSING…. You get the joy….you get the belief)
The last thing i’ll say is this.
HIS FIRST MIRACLE was ON THE THIRD DAY at a wedding… 3 years later…his most climactic miracle happened on another “3rd day”. After he was killed and buried in a tomb….… Jesus rose from the dead on the third day….where He put to death all the sin, shame, guilt and fear that separates you from his father…
This is the NEW thing that Jesus came to do. This is the NEW thing Jesus came to offer you!
Come taste and see
Blue Oaks Church