Summary: Jesus is the “Transformer”, and through his abundant grace we are transformed from plain old water into the finest of wine.
Water into Wine
A minister is driving and he’s stopped for speeding. The state trooper smells alcohol on his breath, and sees an empty wine bottle on the floor, and he says, “Sir, have you been drinking?” And the minister says, “Just water.” The trooper says, “Then why do I smell wine?” And the minister looks down at the bottle and says, “My goodness, he’s done it again!”
We’ve all seen those commercials sponsored by the American Dairy Association that picture famous people with a milk mustache. The caption reads, “Got Milk?” Well, it’s a little known fact that that idea originated in the time of Jesus. The Israeli Wine Association had billboards featuring the caption, “Got Wine?” And that was a question that was being asked in this morning’s Scripture reading about a wedding feast.
Weddings are great opportunities for celebration. Of course, as we’ve seen from those video shows and maybe your own experiences, many things can and do go wrong at weddings today.
The best man faints. The organ doesn’t work. A fight breaks out in the pews between the new in-laws. Someone forgets the rings. A priest’s robe catches fire. Someone forgets to prepare the communion elements.
That happened at our wedding. At the time we didn’t realize it. But the minister’s wife was up front as part of a sextet singing during the ceremony. During a prayer we heard someone leave & go down the back stairs. Then during the next prayer we heard someone come back up those same stairs. We found out later what happened.
We work hard to make our wedding day special. But any of you that have planned a wedding know about all the work involved. The bride spends the whole day getting ready; the groom spends 20 minutes. The hall is rented. The minister is ready.
The rehearsal has helped everyone know exactly where to stand. The beautiful cake has been delivered all in one piece. The practice. The preparation. The planning. And something still gets messed up.
Weddings are supposed to be joyful events. Do you remember your wedding day? Of course you do. Was it joyful? Well now, wait, maybe you shouldn’t answer that. Let me ask this, did everything go as planned? They seldom go off without a hitch.
These things may cause us to get red faces but we usually just laugh a bit and move on - because the really important part of a wedding - the love and the promise that make the covenant - is what’s important.
Weddings were, and still are, a big deal in the Jewish culture. The ceremony would take place late in the evening after a time of feasting. The father of the bride would take his daughter on his arm, and with the wedding party in tow, they would parade through the streets of the village, taking the longest route, 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. These festivities lasted for days. It was a time of great celebration.
It was on the third day that Jesus and his new disciples were invited to a wedding. Just as they arrive, tragedy strikes! Three days into this week-long party word comes that they’ve run out of wine! This would have been a terrible faux paus and cause great embarrassment to the family.
The bride would have been getting panicking. I can hear her saying to her mother, “My wedding day is ruined! I’m supposed to be filled with joy. But now this happens! All anyone will remember is that we ran out of wine!”
And for whatever reason, Mary got involved in the wine problem. We don’t know why. Maybe it was the wedding of a relative, or even the wedding of one of the younger sisters of Jesus. We don’t know. But Mary knew what to do. She knew where to go. We can almost hear Mary saying, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll talk to my son — he can fix anything.” Now, we all know mothers like that, don’t we?
So, as Jesus and his disciples get to the wedding, his mother comes up and says, “They have no more wine.” Jesus responds, “Woman, what have I to do with this?” It’s like Jesus goes, “What is this, a cash bar? I’m a guest and I have to provide the wine, too?”
I would strongly suggest that none of you men use this response at home with your mother or wife. Take out the trash. Woman, what does that have to do with me? My hour has not come. Sweep the floor. Woman… I’m warning you, but if you do try this, I will pray for your healing, because you may discover that your hour has come sooner than you had expected.