Summary: A sermon on the water to wine miracle in Cana. Listening to Mary's instructions to the wait staff at the wedding. A challenge to faithful discipleship.
Hillsborough Reformed Church at Millstone
Jesus turned water into wine. It is one of the best known of his miracles.
In John’s gospel it is the first miracle Jesus performs, and since John puts it first, the church has traditionally regarded it as the very first miracle Jesus did.
John does not call it a miracle. He calls it a sign.
That’s because Jesus was not just a miracle worker who did things to impress people. His miracles had meaning, meaningful miracles, if you will. They are signs.
The miracles of our Lord point to something.
This miracle takes place in a context with which we are all familiar. Everyone has been to a wedding reception. They are delightful, happy fun times. Wedding receptions celebrate love and the start of a new life together of a young woman and man. They are full of promise. People laugh and dance and eat and drink.
Jesus is at this wedding reception. He had been invited, we are told. So had his mother. So had his disciples. Though we don’t know whose wedding it was, we know it was in Cana and the bride or groom or both must have known Jesus and his family and his disciples.
Have you ever struggled with a wedding invitation list?
I recently heard form a friend out of state whose son is getting married. There is room for 150 guests at the reception. The young man told his father and his mother, you can only invite 25 friends and family. We have over a hundred of our friends coming. Mom and dad are not happy. So the give and take, back and forth has been going on about who can come and who can’t
When you are making an invitation list and the space or resources are limited, you certainly don’t invite people you don’t like.
So the fact that Jesus and his disciples were invited means they were liked.
Tells you a lot, doesn’t it?
And then a terribly thing happens. The wine runs out. Ouch! That would be embarrassing. Imagine if you were hosting your daughter’s wedding and you were told by the staff there weren’t enough meals to go around. You’d be mortified – embarrassed, fretting about what to do. What would you do? Send out for pizza?
This is what happened in Cana. (Not sending out for pizza!)
The wine ran out.
Mary told Jesus about the wine shortage. Then she said an amazing thing – she turned to the staff at the wedding and said to them, “Do whatever he tells you to do.”
This may have been one of Mary’s finest moments. What was going through her mind? Why did she tell her son and then expect him to do something about it? Did she expect him to run off to the next town over to the wine shop and get more? I don’t think so. I think Mary knew something was about to happen. She had no way of knowing what, but she had a sense her son could fix this embarrassing problem.
Do whatever he tells you to do.
Jesus saw the jars of water for the Jewish rite of purification – for the ritual hand washing. These were large – 20 – 30 gallons each, so we are talking about well in excess of 100 gallons of water.