Summary: God does not provide just enough, God provides the best.
Depending on God for Material Needs
We begin today with a new year. This is the first Sunday in 2009. As many of you will probably do, I have decided to sit down and decide financially what we can afford to do. Christmas bills have to be paid; property taxes have to be paid. It seems that lots of bills have to be paid in January.
Just as families have to look at how to pay for the bills, we are introduced to a couple who have to pay for something else – a wedding.
SLIDES 2 and 3
SHOW PICTURES OF THE WEDDING IN GERMANY
More specifically, the groom has run out of wine. First, let me say something about this. The groom was expected to make the wedding a big event. They held a party, and lots of food and wine would be served. This was the custom of the culture. The problem here is that he ran out. Either he did not plan for so many people, or the people who came drank too much. In both cases, the groom was really in trouble. It looks bad when the guests walk away and start to talk about the groom not providing enough food and drink for the wedding.
Weddings are supposed to be about celebrations and feasting. But in this case, the party had just started and then he ran out of the good stuff.
So in comes Jesus the Bartender. Jesus actually takes the water and turns it into wine. I wanted to think about some other bartenders and see if they matched up to Jesus.
SLIDE 4 – Famous Bartenders
Isaac from “Love Boat”
Sam from “Cheers”
Moe from “Simpsons”
So let’s address the alcohol issue up front here:
The issue in this passage is not about drinking alcohol. The Bible only prohibits the misuse of alcohol. As a matter of fact, Jesus turns over 180 gallons of water into wine in this miracle. This is enough alcohol to get them plastered. But they had already drunk wine up until now. So, if this really was about alcohol, then Jesus is approving of people getting wasted. He is clearly not doing this.
Because of this little dilemma, some theologians, especially Baptists, want to either change the meanings, or avoid this passage altogether. Some say that only the spoon was wine, but the jars were not made of wine. Some say that the wine was just grape juice, or “celestial juice.”
The problem with alcohol is this: drunkenness. Drinking alcohol is not a problem. Getting drunk and causing problems is a problem. The reason why many Christians try to abstain is because it may cause someone else to have problems with alcohol.
The issue here in this miracle is not about alcohol. The point is that when Jesus provides for our emergency, it is not just enough – it is the best.
SLIDE 5: Thought
THOUGHT: It is not just enough, it is the best.
Jesus does not just give enough, He gives the best.
Does this justify drinking alcohol? Maybe. But it more than proves what Jesus can do in your life.
Jesus did this miracle when the groom was at his end. There was no way out. It would be embarrassing to not have the ability to serve the guests.
Perhaps you and I have been at an embarrassing moment – when we could not provide.
SLIDE 6: Question
Q: – What was an embarrassing moment when you couldn’t provide for others?
Jesus is teaching us here that He can be the source of provision. When He provides, He provides the best.
You and I need this when we are at our wits end. We need to know that when we run out of whatever it is that we have run out of – gas, money, time, energy, food, etc. Jesus provides. When He provides, it is better than you planned.
SLIDE 7: Purification Jars
Notice that the wine was filled into purification jars. Now these jars were very big. Jesus didn’t fill the wine into the water jugs. He used the bathtubs for purification. These were the same jars used to fill the baths when they would purify themselves in the Old Testament. These baths were the “baptisms” they used in the Old Testament.
Jesus is saying, not that you will be baptized with wine. He is saying that I am replacing the need for the purification jars. There is no need for the Old Testament rituals. You just need Me.
As we begin with 2009, we need to ask Jesus to provide for our needs.