Summary: A sermon about allowing God to work miracles in our lives.
“The Hanging ‘However’”
By: Ken Sauer, Pastor of East Ridge United Methodist Church, Chattanooga, TN eastridgeumc.org
A few months ago a friend of mine sent me a video clip from the t-v show “Ellen.”
And the background to this clip is about a lady named Gladdis.
You see, Gladdis got onto the Ellen Show because she wrote a letter to Ellen complaining about where the plants were placed on the set.
Apparently, this letter rather peaked Ellen’s interest in “just who” this Gladdis lady was and what she was up to.
So, during one of her shows, Ellen called Gladdis on the telephone.
And Ellen asked Gladdis, “Have you ever been on t-v before?”
And this is Gladdis’ response: She said, “Well, no.”
And then she said, “But I love Jesus, but I drink a little.”
I’m not sure why she answered that way.
Ellen hadn’t asked her a theological question at all.
“I love Jesus,” she said, “but I drink a little.”
So I started pondering, as most pastors do…
…we have some really deep thoughts about things sometimes, you know…
…and so I started pondering this phrase.
“I love Jesus, but I drink a little.”
And as I began to think about it—it started to dawn on me, “You know there is a lot of truth to this statement for a lot of people—including myself.”
Sometimes, in my own life there’s this “type of thing.”
“I love Jesus, but…”
How about you?
For some it may be, “I love Jesus, but I talk a little too much behind other peoples’ backs.”
Or “I love Jesus, but I use words that hurt people sometimes.”
Maybe it’s, “I love Jesus, but I work at a job and make a little too much money—of which I don’t give back to the church.”
Or, “I love Jesus, but my house is just a little bit too big.”
And it could go on and on and on.
We all have weaknesses in our own lives and oftentimes we allow those weaknesses to keep us from experiencing God’s transforming love and power.
So there is often this, “hanging however” in our faith.
What is your “hanging however?”
I think this evening, as we read the story of the wedding—the text draws us to think about Chapter 1 in which there was this rag-tag group of disciples who Jesus comes to and asks them to follow Him.
And they are just a group of ordinary guys.
And the only thing they know is they have chosen to follow this guy named Jesus Who has shown them a sign.
But really, their lives haven’t changed all that much on the inside yet.
And I wonder if they didn’t sometimes say to themselves, “we want to follow this guy, but we’ve got all this baggage in our lives.”
So the question becomes, “How does Jesus begin to mold and shape this group of disciples to become the people that He will send out to reach the world?”
And the Gospel of John tells us that on the third day…
…meaning after the disciples have chosen to follow Jesus…
…on the third day Jesus does something miraculous that shows God’s glory to those around Him, and it’s at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.
It’s an interesting situation.
They’re at a wedding, and Middle Eastern weddings in the 1st Century, well, they lasted a long time.
They would really party for at least a week.
And at this wedding it just so happens that the host runs out of wine.
And so Mary comes to Jesus and basically says to Jesus, “They’re out of wine.”
To which Jesus responds, basically, “It’s not my problem.”
I mean He’s not the host of the wedding.
And then He says something interesting.
He says, “My time has not yet come.”
Scholars debate all the time about what in the world Jesus is talking about here.
And it’s possible that what Jesus is saying is “Look, there is going to be a day when I completely reveal My glory and My disciples will see it all, but I am not ready yet.”
But here is a fantastic thing about this passage.
Even though Jesus says, “It’s not my time,” Jesus does what His mom asks Him to do.
Jesus is a pretty good Son.
And so, Mary turns to the servants and says, “Do whatever he tells you.”
And Jesus does something very interesting.
Jesus turns to these big jugs that hold water, and Jesus tells the servants to “fill them up with water.”
And by the way, these jugs weren’t just ordinary water jars.
They were used to contain water that would be used during a Jewish purification ceremony.
In other words, they would have been used to kind of tell the Jewish person that “You have been cleansed from your sins…