Summary: April 14, 2002 -- Sermon 2 in a series on the Gospel of John. The purpose of the miracle of changing water to wine is to dramatize the glory of Christ, and how the glory of Christ has the power to transform. Jesus changed the water into wine. Jesus can
THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF CHRIST
April 14, 2002
The Rev. Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there,
2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, "They have no more wine."
4 "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied. "My time has not yet come."
5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so,
9 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
10 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."
11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
Ron Beard is a friend of mine. He is a Presbyterian minister in South Carolina. Years ago, he was doing a wedding service when the groom began to grow pale. Actually, the phrase, “white as a sheet” might be more accurate.
The groom began to sway from side to side ever so slightly.
Sweat began dripping – no pouring – off his forehead.
His eyes began to roll back.
And then, just at the right moment, the Reverend Ron Beard reached out his hand and grabbed the groom – with just an instant to spare before the groom fainted.
Without missing a beat, Ron Beard said in his best preacher-voice, “Let us pray. Every head bowed. Every eye closed.”
It wasn’t a good place for a prayer. I think it was somewhere in the middle of the vows, but everyone did what the minister told them to do. They bowed their heads and closed their eyes for what turned out to be a very, very long prayer.
Ron had his hands on this groom’s tuxedo, and he began to pray while trying to shake some life back into the poor young man.
“Oh Lord. Oh Lord. Bless this couple in the name of Jesus.”
With the tremble in his voice everyone thought, “My goodness, this is a deeply spiritual minister.”
Sometime, while the minister was praying for the missionaries in distant Africa, the groom finally woke up. And much to the relief of the congregation, the prayer came to an end and the wedding service continued.
Every wedding has at least one thing that seems to set it apart as different. Most of the time what sets it apart as different is something that goes WRONG in the service.
The Associate Pastor and I will be preaching a series of sermons for the next several weeks on the Gospel of John. Last week, we took a look at chapter 1. Now, as we look at chapter 2, we find Jesus going to a wedding.
The ministry of Jesus hasn’t really started yet. He has been baptized and he has gathered a few disciples around him, but that’s about it.
Jesus is the kind of person who would have loved weddings. He seems to have loved any sort of party. Jesus was not an introvert, shy or reserved. He seems to be energized by being in a crowd of people. We almost always see him with people, and often at a festive gathering. Occasionally, he does isolate himself from others and enters a time of prayer with God, but most of the time, he’s in “the middle of it all.”
Jesus is the kind of person who would love a church picnic like we are having today.
Weddings were, and are, a big deal in the Jewish culture – or any culture. The wedding ceremony would take place late in the evening after a time of feasting. The father of the bride would take his daughter on his arm, and with the wedding party in tow, would parade through the streets of the village so that everyone could come out and congratulate the bride. Finally the wedding party would arrive at the home of the groom. The wedding actually took place in the front door of the groom’s house. It was no short ceremony….no the festivities lasted for days. It was a time of great celebration.