Summary: 6th sermon in a John series
The First Sign: Turning Water into Wine
Have you ever missed a sign? You were looking for some place and you missed the sign. Signs are an important part of our society.
Road signs provide direction. They give information or instructions.
* DMV test—you had better know your signs.
White rectangular signs give information.
Yellow signs give warnings.
Red octagon shaped signs mean stop.
As a driver, you better know your signs.
Signs are also used by virtually every business and restaurant in our culture. One of the keys to a successful business or restaurant is advertisement, and signs play a large part in that venture.
* If I pull into a restaurant that says McDonalds, I want McDonalds and not Burger King. Furthermore, if there is an inspection sign on the wall that has a C, I want to know it. Signs.
Signs are also used for advertising products, places of entertainment, radio stations, television shows, movies, clothing stores, cars, and almost every thing that can be purchased, leased, or borrowed in our society.
Churches even use signs.
Funny church signs—3 mile BC, 2 miles this way. Burnout BC. Hope BC. New Hope BC. Greater New Hope BC. Signs.
People are looking constantly for signs of the end times. The Left Behind series is one of the top-selling novel series of all times. End times preachers warn of the signs of the times. People are searching for religious signs.
A recent BC comic. God give me a sign to know you are there! Wham! A sign drops from the sky.
In our text today, we have what John labels, the first sign. In his gospel, John highlights 7 of these signs in order to fulfill his primary purpose. Do you remember our purpose statement from 20:30-31? “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
In his gospel, John provides signs/markers that encourage the reader to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing on Him, one is granted eternal life. In today’s text, we read about our first sign. Let’s examine the narrative together and then draw some life lessons from the first sign. Read text.
Jesus and his disciples (at least 5 at this point), along with his mother, have been invited to a wedding in Cana of Galilee. And during this midst of this celebration, the wine runs out. Now understand, weddings were a major event in Jesus’ day (not to suggest they are not major events today). Weddings of that time lasted a week or more; therefore, it was necessary to have plenty of food and beverage. To run out of either was a disgrace and embarrassment for the groom and his family and was even grounds for a lawsuit. So when the wine runs out, it is a major catastrophe.
Mary, who seems to have some organizational role in the wedding, does not know what to do about this situation, so she turns to Jesus and says, “They have no wine.” Evidently, Mary believes that Jesus can fix the problem (this may be motherly ambition). There is no indication that Jesus has performed any miracles prior to this event, but for whatever reason, Jesus’ mother believes Jesus can solve the setback. He may be the primary caregiver in the family at this time.
Jesus’ response may appear a bit harsh: “Woman, what does that have to do with me? My hour has not come.”
I do not suggest any of our youth use this response at home with your own mother. Take out the trash. Woman, what does that have to do with me? My hour has not come. Make your bed. Woman… If you do try this, you may discover that your hour has come sooner than you had anticipated.
What is going on here? Is Jesus setting a bad example for how we should treat our parents? Actually, Jesus’ response is not as unkind as it may appear in our English translations. His reference to His mother as “Woman” was a common term in the first century that does not reflect irreverence or disrespect (but neither is it a term of endearment).
And what about his reply, “what does this have to do with me” or “what do you and I have in common,” is this disrespectful? It appears that Jesus’ abrupt response seems to be setting the parameters for his relationship with his mother. For many years, Mary has raised Jesus as her son. But now, Jesus is redefining their relationship. He is establishing distance between them. Why?