Sermons

Summary: GOD HAS A PERFECT TIME FOR EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS PLAN. THE WEDDING IN CANA IS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW JESUS USED A BAD CIRCUMSTANCE TO SHOW HOW GOD CARES FOR HIS PEOPLE.

GOD’S TIMING IS ALWAYS BEST

JOHN 2:1-12

TODAY WE ARE COMPLETING A SERIES LOOKING AT SOME OF THE EARLY EVENTS AND STATEMENTS OF JESUS’ MINISTRY. THIS MORNING WE WILL LOOK AT THE FIRST RECORDED “SIGN” OF JESUS’ POWER WHEN HE TURNED THE WATER INTO WINE AT A MARRIAGE IN CANA OF GALILEE.

WEDDINGS WERE VERY IMPORTANT IN JEWISH CULTURE AT JESUS’ TIME. THE PEOPLE DID NOT HAVE MUCH TO CELEBRATE SO WHEN A WEDDING BANQUET CAME AROUND EVERYONE WOULD ATTEND AND STAY A LONG TIME AT THE PARTY, USUALLY BETWEEN SEVEN AND TEN DAYS.

WEDDINGS HAVE GREAT SYMBOLIC MEANING IS SCRIPTURE.

EPHESIANS 5:31-32:

31 “FOR THIS REASON A MAN WILL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE UNITED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO WILL BECOME ONE FLESH.” E 32 THIS IS A PROFOUND MYSTERY—BUT I AM TALKING ABOUT CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.

THIS MEANS THAT FOR BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIANS, MARRIAGE AND THE LOVE SHOWN BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE, IS THE DRAMATIC EXAMPLE OF THE LOVE SHOWN BETWEEN CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH. CHRIST OFTEN REFERS TO THE CHURCH AS HIS BRIDE.

EPHESIANS 5:25-27:

HUSBANDS, LOVE YOUR WIVES, JUST AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER 26 TO MAKE HER HOLY, CLEANSING HER BY THE WASHING WITH WATER THROUGH THE WORD, 27 AND TO PRESENT HER TO HIMSELF AS A RADIANT CHURCH, WITHOUT STAIN OR WRINKLE OR ANY OTHER BLEMISH, BUT HOLY AND BLAMELESS.

THE APOSTLE JOHN USES HIS BOOK TO SUPPORT THE DIETY OF CHRIST. IN IT HE USES SEVEN “SIGNS” AND “MIRACLES”, IN SUPPORT OF CHRIST’S CLAIM, OF WHICH OUR PASSAGE CONTAINS THE FIRST “SIGN.” JOHN REFERS TO THIS EVENT AS A “SIGN” AS IT IS LESS PERSONAL, AND INVOLVES AN INANIMATE OBJECT. THIS IS THE FIRST SIGN THAT INVOLVES THE PERSONAL ACTION OF JESUS.

THE QUESTION MUST BE ASKED, IF THIS WAS A “SIGN” THEN WHAT WAS IT A SIGN OF? WHY DID JOHN CHOOSE TO USE IT AND PLACE IT AT THE BEGINNING OF HIS BOOK? PERHAPS AS WE CONSIDER THE CONTEXT OF THE PASSAGE WE CAN FIND SOME ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS.

CONTEXT:

SOME GENERAL STATEMENTS SHOULD BE MADE BEFORE WE GET INTO THE SPECIFIC CONTEXT OF THE PASSAGE.

FIRST OF ALL, CHRIST DID NOT PERFORM “SIGNS” OR “MIRACLES” JUST TO MAKE A NAME FOR HIMSELF AND IMPRESS PEOPLE. CHRIST ALWAYS USED HIS MIRACLES TO SET UP HIS TEACHING MINISTRY. THIS “SIGN” WOULD BE USED BY JESUS AS A TOOL TO HELP THE DISCIPLES TO BELIEVE.

SECOND, THERE IS NOTHING SPECIAL ABOUT THIS WEDDING. WE DO NOT EVEN KNOW THE NAME OF THE BRIDE. SOME THEOLOGIANS MAINTAIN THAT THIS FAMILY WAS RELATED TO MARY IN SOME WAY BUT THIS CANNOT BE SUPPORTED WITH EVIDENCE.

NOW LET’S LOOK AT THE TEXT.

CANA IS LOCATED CLOSE TO GALILEE, STRENGTHENING THE POSSIBILITY OF A FAMILY RELATIONSHIP TO JESUS AND MARY. MARY DOES SEEM TO KNOW MORE THAN THE AVERAGE GUEST AS SHE TELLS JESUS THAT THE WINE IS RUNNING LOW.

WE KNOW THAT THIS HAPPENS AFTER JESUS’ BAPTISM AND THE TEMPTATIONS. THE PASSAGE TELLS US “ON THE THIRD DAY”, BUT THE THIRD DAY OF WHAT. THE GRAMMAR WOULD SUGGEST THAT IT IS THE THIRD DAY AFTER THE CALLING OF THE FIRST DISCIPLES MENTIONED IN THE FIRST CHAPTER. THESE DISCIPLES WOULD COME TO THE WEDDING BANQUET WITH JESUS.

THERE ARE SOME WHO BELIEVE THAT JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES WERE LAST MINUTE “ADDITIONAL GUESTS”, AND THAT THIS WAS THE REASON FOR THE SHORTAGE OF WINE. THIS HAS LITTLE SUPPORT AS ONE WOULD HAVE TO ASK THE QUESTION WHY THE INVITATION AT THE LAST MINUTE WAS EXTENDED AT ALL IF THE QUANTITIES WERE THAT TIGHT.

HOW MARY KNEW THE WERE RUNNING OUT OF WINE, IS NOT MADE KNOWN TO US. NOR ARE WE TOLD HOW MARY KNEW THAT JESUS COULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE SITUATION. PERHAPS SHE THOUGHT HE WOULD JUST ARRANGE TO GET MORE WINE AND WAS NOT EXPECTING A SUPERNATURAL “SIGN” AT ALL. WE KNOW FROM HER STATEMENT TO THE SERVANTS, THAT SHE FELT THAT ANYTHING WAS POSSIBLE.

WHY THEN DID MARY TURN TO JESUS TO HELP THIS FAMILY? THE PEOPLE I’VE STUDIED SHARE TWO REASONS:

1. MARY WAS ASKING JESUS TO LEAVE SO AS NOT TO EMBARRASS THE FAMILY.

THIS THEORY DOES NOT HAVE MUCH SUPPORT. EMBARRASSMENT WOULD COME FROM THE OTHER INVITED GUESTS. MOST LIKELY THIS COUPLE WAS POOR AND COULD NOT AFFORD MUCH WINE. TO RUN OUT WOULD BE CONSIDERED A GREAT INSULT TO THE FAMILY, AND THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE. IT WAS LITERALLY CONSIDERED A CRIME TO RUN OUT OF FOOD AND DRINK AT A WEDDING BANQUET. YOU COULD BE OSTRACIZED FROM THE COMMUNITY AND EVEN SUED FOR THIS GREAT MISTAKE IN PREPARATION.

2. SHE WAS ASKING JESUS TO PERFORM A MIRACLE.

THIS IS A BETTER THEORY BUT IT DOES POSE ONE ISSUE. HOW DID MARY KNOW JESUS COULD PERFORM MIRACLES? SHE KNEW HE WAS THE MESSIAH, AND HAD ALL THE EVENTS OF CHRISTMAS TO SUPPORT THIS, BUT HOW DID SHE KNOW THE POWER THAT WAS AT HIS DISPOSAL AS THE MESSIAH. REMEMBER, UP TO THIS POINT JESUS HAD PERFORMED NO “SIGNS” OR “MIRACLES”. HOW DID SHE KNOW?

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