Summary: Mary was not a sinless saint. She was a meddling mom. But did that make her a bad mother? Or did it make her a better witness for Christ?
OPEN: We opened with a Youtube video entitled “An Open Letter To Moms from Kid President”, a cute presentation by a young boy citing “10 things Every Mom Needs To Know”
(Start fading out about the 2:49 minute mark)
He’s a cute kid isn’t he?
And it’s obvious he loves his mother. But as I watched that video I noticed that he was very clear on one truth: His mom was not a perfect mother.
• “Put down your phone” he says
• “Stop cleaning”
• “Cool it on the meatloaf”
• “Have fun for once”
• “Hug more/ shout less”
This little boy obviously loves and respects his mother, but even he understands that there’s no such thing as a perfect mother.
And that brings us to the story of Mary and Jesus at the wedding. It’s kind of hard to think of a woman who was more honored than Mary was. She was chosen by God to be the mother of the Messiah. And she is an impressive and almost intimidating woman in Scripture. In fact her life is so central to the ministry of Christ that one church even teaches that she never sinned. This particular church believes she NEVER sinned.
(Pause) But she did.
Mary DID sin.
She was chosen by God for a special task… but she was a mortal woman. And when Romans stated that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” – that meant Mary too.
But before we get into that part of Mary’s story we need to understand the scene from our text this morning.
The 2nd chapter of John describes a wedding party.
Now Jewish weddings were far more elaborate than ours are. Our wedding ceremonies may last the better part of the day. But as fancy as American wedding can be… they still don’t match the vibrancy that the Jewish culture invested in this event.
It usually started with a time of feasting. And then late in the evening, the father of the bride would take his daughter on his arm and parade her and the wedding party through the streets of the village so that everyone could come out and congratulate the bride.
Finally the wedding party would arrive at the home of the groom. The wedding actually took place in the front door of the groom’s house.
After the wedding ceremony the wedding party would light torches and parade the bride and groom thru the streets of the town again - always taking the longest route through the village so that as many people as possible could wish them well.
And that’s when the real celebration began. For nearly a week after this, the newlyweds held an open house. And they were treated like royalty. They dressed in fancy clothes and many times actually wore crowns on their heads. And the groom’s family was expected to provide all the refreshments for this week of festivities.
And that’s what this wedding in John 2 was all about… except they ran out of wine
Running out of wine at such a feast was really embarrassing because a good host always made sure there was plenty food and drink available. But they ran out – and now there was a crisis.
(borrowed with some changes from a sermon by Richard Hall on sermoncentral.com)
ILLUS: Now, just so we understand each other here, this was not wine like party-goers today would drink. Back then, drinking wine like folks drink it nowadays would be considered barbaric. Wine was rarely drunk “straight from the bottle”.
According to John MacArthur “In ancient time, wine was usually… mixed with water”. There are numerous references in Greek and Romans literature that speak of wine as being watered down. Sometimes the ratios were anywhere from 2:1 to 20:1 (water to wine ratio).
The Jews had a similar attitude to the Greeks and Romans.
In II Maccabees 15:39 (a Jewish history book written about 200 years before Christ) it says:
“It is harmful to drink wine alone, or again, to drink water alone, while wine mixed with water is sweet and delicious and enhances one’s enjoyment.”
According to MacArthur, “Only barbarians drank (wine) unmixed, and the mixture of wine and water of equal parts (1:1) was called ‘strong drink’ and frowned on.”
Thus, because it was the common custom to water wine down by at least a 2:1 ratio. Most wine that would have been drunk at weddings and other social gatherings would have had an alcoholic content of no higher than 2.2-2.75 %... well below the 3.2 % that is considered necessary today to classify a beverage as alcoholic.
So this wedding feast wasn’t anything like a drunken party. You’d really have to really work at it just to get tipsy.
So, with that out of the way, let’s get back to Mary.