Summary: When we have Christ we will never ran out of good wine to serve others. This is one of the lessons that we can learn from the wedding at Cana. But there’s more...
September 13, 1997
Our study this morning is entitled “From Embarrassment To Excellence.” How many of you had some embarrassing moments that until now you can’t forget? Maybe something that happened during your high school days, or college days, or maybe at your work.
Let me share with you something that happened fifteen years ago. I was in my fourth year high school then. And there was this sophomore young lady that my friends were teasing me to befriend and court. So I checked this young lady and I found out that she was okey. By the way, my wife is here and she doesn’t know anything about this until now. So anyway, the following day was a Wednesday, there would be a Mid-Week Prayer Meeting. And the person responsible for that Mid-Week Prayer Meeting was in a rush trying to find participants for the program. He asked me if I would be willing to do the closing prayer. I told him that I don’t like to participate in the program and would prefer being with my friends doing some naughty things. But he insisted. He said that one of the participants, the one who will do the opening prayer is a young lady that my friends were teasing me with. “Well, well,” I said. “Maybe I can do the closing prayer then.” So I accepted his request just to have the chance to get acquainted with this young lady.
Finally, Wednesday evening came. Time for the Mid-Week Prayer meeting to start. After a short prayer, we were on our way to the pulpit. We sung the opening song and the opening prayer was offered. Then the special song and then the sermon. Finally, we sung the closing song, but when I was about to step forward toward the microphone, the speaker came forward ahead of me and, without hesitation, he offered the closing prayer. While he was praying, I could sense that some of my friends at the back of the room were silently laughing. At the same time I was thinking about what other parts in the program that I can do to at least show the people that I did something during the meeting and not just escort this young lady. The speaker finished his prayer, and all I can do is to get out of the building feeling embarrassed. After I got out of the building, my friends, for sure, teased me as hard as they can.
But that embarrassing incident did not stop me from pursuing that young lady. And five years later, we got married. Just last month, we celebrated our tenth year wedding anniversary through God’s blessing.
This morning we will see another story that turned into embarrassment for those who were involved. This story is found in the Gospel of John, chapter 2 and starting from verse 1 to verse 11. Here we see a wedding in progress. The place was Cana, Galilee. Jesus’ mother was invited as well as Jesus himself and his disciples. But while the wedding reception was progressing, while the guests were enjoying the food and the fellowship, it was found that the wine had ran out. Upon learning this situation, Mary walked toward Jesus and his disciples and announced that the wine had ran out. There are several possible reasons that would explain her concern for the lack of wine.
First, the fact that Mary and Jesus and his disciples were invited suggests that this wedding was a wedding of a close friend if not a close relative of Mary and Jesus. If this is the case, Mary’s role in the wedding was that of a matron of honor, and she may have helped with catering the feast. And therefore when the wine ran out, she took it as a matter of personal responsibility. This was an embarrassment not only for the bride and the groom but for her. And the way Jesus answered his mother suggests that Mary wanted Jesus to do something about the situation.
Second, it was a common practice at this time for guests to bring or supply wine for the wedding. Wine supply during the wedding was, therefore, dependent upon the generosity of the guests. Mary’s remark to Jesus in verse 3 may have been by way of rebuke to Him and His disciples for not bringing their fair share. Such situation would put Jesus and his mother in a delicate situation in which Mary was trying to extricate them by encouraging Jesus to use His special power. Whatever the case may be, it is clear that Mary wanted Jesus to do something about the situation.
Jesus in return replied, “Dear woman, why do you involve me? “My time has not yet come.” Jesus’ response seems disrespectful, especially when he calls his mother “woman.” This was not necessarily disrespectful. In the writings of Josephus, a Jewish historian, a much loved wife was called “woman” by her husband. So although Jesus is not disrespectful to his mother, he doesn’t agree with her saying, “My time has not yet come.” We know that Jesus had a timetable for everything that he did. Everything that he did was according to the will and plans of His heavenly Father, not His earthly mother.