Summary: This is an all age version of my water into wine talk given on the same day to different congregations in different contexts.
Last summer I was hanging on every word of Steve Chalke as he preached at the New Wine Summer Conference. He was talking about Jesus being the one who transforms people and transforms situations; and he was calling the Church to become fully involved in the world as agents of God’s change and transformation. He mentioned the first time he preached on this Bible passage as a young Baptist minister. He worked at a strict traditional Church and knew it wasn’t going too well. Alcohol was a big no-no. Grape juice was used at communion and no church member was allowed to drink alcohol. As his sermon wore on people in the congregation became fidgety. They winced when Steve mentioned wine but he was in full flow. He’d passed the point of no return!
Realising he needed to make his point Steve paused for effect and asked a question that was greeted by stony silence. Steve asked: “And what is this event in the life of Jesus all about? What does it mean?”
No reply came so Steve answered his own question: ‘It means Jesus is saying, “The drinks are on me!”’ Not many people spoke to Steve as they left Church, but one of the Church elders took him aside and pointed out the error in his sermon. Steve replied, “I know where you’re coming from, but surely if Jesus, the Son of God, can produce several rounds of drinks at a wedding so can we?” The Church elder was red in the face but calmly replied: “Steve, you have to remember - when Jesus did this he was very young”!
I don’t think Steve worked at that Church for long.
Was Jesus saying, “The drinks are on me”? We don’t know what he said, but we do know what he did.
First of all, let’s have a quick look at what Jesus did NOT do. He did not do a conjuring trick with chemicals!
(Show video from YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keRD4KH6NQs&feature=fvsr )
NB This is just a fun video. It gets a few laughs and helps get the attention of some teenagers too.
You can’t drink the red liquid or the clear stuff from those glasses – whereas Jesus changed ordinary water into the best wine, and people drank it freely.
Water into wine was a sign of who Jesus was, a sign of what Jesus does, and a sign of what Jesus can do.
At a crucial moment when the wine had run out at the wedding (2:3) Jesus transformed the situation; and we read in the Bible that as a result of what they saw ‘his disciples put their faith in him’ (2:11).
So I’ve been thinking about a few things that we might like Jesus to change and transform in our lives, in our community and in our world.
I’ve also been thinking just as water into wine was a sign to reveal who Jesus was; so we too are called to be signposts that point to Jesus. He wants us to help change the lives of others for the better; to give others the best that we have.
I’ve got my special bag with me today and I thought we could place in the bag a few things that we would like Jesus to change, and a few things that we can change ourselves by giving our very best to others.
1: Let’s start with a picture of a jug of water.
2: A picture of someone who is lonely.
3: A road where neighbours don’t know each other.
4: Someone who is too ill to keep their garden tidy.
The new Wine of the kingdom of God is about change and transformation. It’s about Jesus changing the ordinary situations of life into the very best; and he wants to use in Church as agents of his change.
Who wants to be a Special Agent for Jesus? I do!
Let’s pray, and then we’ll take the pictures out of the bag to see what’s happened:
(Note to the reader, you need a Magician’s Changing Bag to do this, but I always make the point that this is NOT magic, it is just a trick !!!)
1: A picture of the same jug filled with wine.
2: A picture of friends.
3: A road that has become a community.
4: The Church in action
As a Church, what can we do to figuratively change water into wine? What are the situations into which we can say, “The drinks are on us”?