Summary: Miracles happen when we understand that 1.Jesus cares about our everyday needs. 2. Jesus transforms our everyday experiences. 3. Jesus extravagantly provides for our everyday requests.
You have seen the commercials showing someone with a mouth full of cookies, as the question was asked: “Got milk?” Well, the question in the story we have read today was: “Got wine?” And the answer was: “No!” The wine was gone. A miracle was needed to save the family, and the new couple, the ultimate embarrassment of not being able to provide enough for their friends. They would be forever remembered in this small village as the ones who failed to take care of the needs of their guests. The supply of wine was already running low when Jesus and his five new disciples showed up. They had been invited, but it was putting an added strain on the diminishing supply of wine.
The Gospel of John is full of symbolism and allegory. The story opens with the words: “On the third day. . . .” The story here is heavy with allegory in which John may have been alluding to Jesus’ resurrection after three days. John is preparing us for what he is building up to throughout his Gospel: that Jesus Christ would be buried, and on the third day he would show up, having risen from the dead. He would then make preparations for the great wedding feast of the Lamb of God, when he would gather together all who would be his guests into the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ first sign would point to his final sign by which he would show his glory.
After Jesus and his disciples arrive at the wedding, Jesus’ mother approached him and said, “They have no more wine.” Some believe that the bridal family may have been his relatives, or perhaps it was even the wedding of one of his younger sisters. They believe she was not asking for, or expecting, a miracle, but was saying, in effect, “The arrival of you and your disciples has caused a problem. Please send some of them to purchase more wine.” But I believe the more likely scenario is that Jesus’ mother has known all along who he was and what he was capable of. She understands that his public ministry began with his baptism and the calling of the first of his disciples. She expects that he will do something wonderful. And so, even over his reluctance to start his ministry before its time, she tells the servants: “Do whatever he tells you.”
The first point I would like to make regarding this story is that: Miracles happen when we understand that Jesus cares about our everyday needs. Jesus’ mother knows that he cares about people. He cares about all our needs, not just our spiritual needs. He cares about people being unnecessarily embarrassed. He cares about people enjoying themselves. Jesus is the kind of guy you want at your party. He knows how to have a good time. In fact, in the New Testament, we often see him at parties to which he has been invited, and he is always the life of the party. He enjoyed himself so much that his detractors called him a “glutton and drunkard” (Matthew 11:19). No one ever accused Jesus of promoting a dour, rigid, emotion-stifling religion — just the opposite. Wherever Jesus went there was life and joy. He stated that his life mission was, as he said, that his joy might be in us and that our joy might be complete (John 15:11). He has come to bring his joy, and there is joy everywhere in our world. He is the God of irrepressible joy, and he has come to share it. He offers the wine of joy to all those who are thirsty for life — for those who will come and drink. He takes care of our needs both great and small. There is nothing too ordinary to pray about. He is just as concerned about the little problems of your life as he is the big problems. If he was a little god he would be able to take care of only the major things, but since he is the great God he is, he is able to take care of all the things in our lives. He sees every sparrow each time they land on the ground. He keeps track of the number of hairs on your head. He calls the stars by name. He is a great God who is too big not to be concerned about the everyday things of your life.
There was a popular religious movement around the time of the founding of our country called Deism. Deism was opposed to Christianity’s personal idea of God. They believed that God created the world, but that he wound it up like a clock and then left it to attend to other things. But that is a god who is too small to be God. Our God lives and he reigns. He is so personal he promises to live within us if we only ask him. He is so great he is involved in every detail of the ongoing process of life upon the earth. He designs every snowflake. He calls for the storm and then commands it to be still. He whistles to the birds, calling them to their winter home. He holds the world together with his loving and powerful hands. He knows your name and he knows your need. This is the mighty God we serve.