Summary: This message looks at Jesus’ life and how ministered through social engagements.
Our text opens with Jesus and His disciples receiving an invitation to attend a wedding celebration in Cana of Galilee. This event often leaves us scratching our heads. We picture Jesus as being a man on a mission, focused and always serious. We have a very difficult time picturing Him having fun and enjoying Himself. Perhaps the root of these feelings are found in a misconception that many people have; that is the idea that once you become a Christian, Jesus sucks all the fun out of life. Why do we view Jesus as the great cosmic kill-joy or the ultimate party pooper? Could it be because we do not know Jesus well enough to be able to dismiss some of the most common misconceptions? In the first century weddings were a big deal, in fact the celebration often lasted for a week. This was a very joyous occasion and apparently Jesus approved of these festivities because He chose to attend. Today, I want you to begin to see another side of Jesus, a side that enjoyed a good party and liked to have a good time. Today if we aren’t careful we just might find out how to recapture the joy that Jesus wants us to have in life.
I. Was it really a big deal to run out of wine?
A. Weddings in the first century were very significant events.
1. The host would invite as many people as possible, especially people of importance which would include prominent teachers.
2. In fact in a small village like Cana the entire community was usually invited and it was considered an insult to refuse such an invitation.
3. The most prominent people at the wedding celebration would be the bride and groom, the parents and the master of the banquet.
4. The wedding celebration which usually lasted seven days included feasts, processions and dances.
5. The wedding represented a covenant or alliance being formed between the two families, not just a bond between the husband and wife.
6. The families would come together in order to show their loyalty to each other.
B. The wedding feast was to be a sign of the husband’s financial stability.
1. Marriage was not considered to be a sacrament in the first century, it was a civil contract.
2. The new covenant or alliance between the families would be sealed by the exchanging of gifts.
3. The woman brought into the marriage a dowry that represented her fidelity to her husband.
4. The husband would prove through the throwing of a lavish banquet that he had the means to take care his wife and any children they would have.
C. Running out of food or drink was more than just an embarrassment it could be a litigable offense.
1. Running out of wine or food would be considered irresponsible and was clearly viewed as a violation of the unwritten rules of hospitality.
2. Failure to adequately provide for the guests was a social disgrace and would not soon be forgotten. In fact it would be a stigma that the new couple would live with for years.
3. This makes it obvious why Mary considered this to be an emergency situation.
4. Since Mary was one of the first to know that the last jug of wine had been opened reflects that she was in a role of authority for the celebration.
5. This will set the stage for Jesus to respond to a truly heartfelt need.
II. This account teaches us quite a bit about Jesus.
A. Jesus was completely at home attending festive events.
1. John shows in our text that Jesus’ presence at the wedding was intentional.
2. Jesus’ presence at the wedding and His actions indicate His approval of the celebration.
3. In fact one of the major complaints the religious authorities had against Jesus was the fact that He was often found enjoying such times of celebration.
4. The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ’ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.” (Matthew 11:19—NIV)
5. Jesus was accused of spending too much time with the wrong crowd, but He realized that He could never minister to them if He never spent any time with them.
B. Jesus is trustworthy and capable of handling any problem.
1. Mary presents the predicament to Jesus and there is no indication that she is expecting Him to perform a miracle but she obviously believes that He will help find a solution.
2. Perhaps Mary believed that Jesus and His disciples had enough money between them to purchase a cheap case of wine.
3. Although Jesus gives His mother a firm reminder that His priorities are different from hers, He does agree to help and Mary’s trust is shown in her statement to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”