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Mom Knows Best

May 13, 2018

John 2:1-11

 

Intro: Let’s think about our mom’s for a moment.  

What are some of the amazing things they do/have done for us.  

What are some ways that they manage to push our buttons?

 

Today in the Gospel of John we encounter Mary, mother of Jesus and we may catch her pushing Jesus’ button!  It’s a Mom thing!  It’s what we do!  And, like most things that mothers serve as a catalyst for, this turns out well.

 

Let’s put the story we will read in context.  How many of you have ever planned a wedding?

What are some of the major stressors that go into that planning?

Concern about the guests is huge!  How much food and drink will you need?  Will there be enough?  etc.  

 

And in the village of Cana in Galilee, we visit a wedding at which something has gone awry with the calculations and they have run out of wine.  Let’s read John 2:1-11 and then look at the who, what, when, where, why and how of this story.  READ

 

When - Three days into Jesus’ ministry 

 

Where - Cana of Galilee, a small village

 

Who - Jesus, Mary, at least the six disciples that we know have already been called.              The bride and groom and the wedding coordinator/master of the banquet, 

servants, wedding guests

Mary must have had some sort of responsibility at this wedding, like the aunt you depend on to take care of all the little details so the rest of you can enjoy the day.  So she was aware of the wine situation and had some authority to do something about it.

 

What - We are at a wedding.  A village wedding. There is speculation that it is even one     of the disciple’s wedding.  Maybe John or Nathanael.  Pretty cool.

They run out of wine. Barclay says: “For a Jewish feast wine was essential.  “Without wine,” said the Rabbis, “there is no joy.” It was not that people were drunken, but in the East wine was an essential.  Drunkenness was in fact a great disgrace, and they actually drank their wine in a mixture composed of two parts of wine to three parts of water.  At any time the failure of provisions would have been a problem, for hospitality in the East is a sacred duty; but or the provisions to fail at a wedding would be a terrible humiliation for the bride and the bridegroom.” So this wine issue is a big deal!

 

Now we may think that Jesus’ response to his mother is rude, but in the language used, it was actually more playful and she obviously understood that his answer to her was not a “no” as she prepared the servants to obey whatever he said. Mary must have known, as mothers do, that Jesus could do something and that he would even though he seemed to protest at first.

 

This is a very low key, but big miracle.  I was asking someone who is currently planning a wedding how much wine they would need to order for a guest list of say 120. We calculated 30-50 bottles depending on how generous you wanted to be.  Note the amount of wine Jesus makes.  The full pots held collectively around 180 gallons.  That’s 940 bottles of wine.  Ain’t nobody needs that much wine.

 

Another “what” of this miracle Jesus did here is in the vessels he used.  The six ceremonial jars used for washing were symbols of the old covenant.  The number six is significant to John because it is an imperfect number just as Jesus will come to explain that the old covenant is not perfect.  The old covenant has certainly served its purpose in preparing the way for the New Covenant which is to come in Jesus, but it is secondary.  So Jesus takes these vessels from the old covenant and uses them to make new wine. New wine is a symbol of the new covenant.  

 

And as we think about that wine: 

    • it was better tasting than the first wine that was served, 
    • it was more plentiful than the first wine that was served.  What does this tell us about the covenant Jesus brings? It is better and it is more generous.  And lets not overlook the wine itself that we were reminded of last week as we shared communion together. The new covenant, is sealed by the blood of Jesus that he told his disciples they were to remember in the wine.

 

Why - John is telling this story so that people believe in Jesus. That’s always the point 

of telling stories about Jesus.  For you and me as well. John is sharing this first miracle of Jesus with a group of people for whom wine was really significant.  John’s target audience is in Ephesus, the home of the temple of Dionysius.  Michael Card writes:

“Finally we need to take into account John’s first Ephesian readers.  When they hear of Jesus’ first miracle, their minds would immediately turn to the god Dionysious.  (The Romans called him Bacchus.) On more than one occasion his myth includes stories of Dionysious turning water into wine.  There was a large cult in Ephesus dedicated to Dionysious: his image is even found on the mosaic floor of one of the wealthy homes.  In their minds they must have understood the story as proof that Jesus had power to take back from the pagan world the illusion of its power to transform.  Dionysious was a myth.  Jesus was a flesh and blood man known to John himself, who had witnessed in real life Jesus’ power and glory.” 

 

One reason that John tells this story about Jesus is to separate pagan myth from the truth of God.  Do you think our world needs a little more of that today? Our neighbors need to hear that Jesus is more than a myth or fairytale that a few flakey people believe in.  They need to hear stories, life giving stories, from people who believe in the truth of Jesus.  Who is going to tell those stories?  You.  We, the church of Jesus Christ, are tasked with the sacred responsibility of telling others in a doubting world about the truth of Jesus.

 

Even though this first miracle of Jesus is pretty low key and doesn’t involve the saving of a life, it tells the disciples that they have chosen the right man to follow.  Changing water into wine was a big enough miracle to get the disciples to believe that Jesus was indeed the Messiah who had revealed his glory.

 

How - How do we apply this to our life?

I think here we are invited to assess what we believe to be true about Jesus.  Is he the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the Lord of all that we sing about?  And if we believe that Jesus is these things, how does that impact the living of our lives? 

 

The disciples chose to commit their lives to following him until the day they died and it was not easy.  They were challenged with doubts, fear, Jesus’ death, but they hung in there, most of them being killed for what they believed.  

 

So let’s sit with a few questions: 

    • Do I follow Jesus?
    • Why do I follow Jesus?
    • How do I follow Jesus?

If I were to ask you those two questions today on your way out the door, would you avoid me and go out the other way? Would you tell me you had to really think about it? Or would the answer roll off your tongue? And what answer would I give if you asked me? I triple dog dare us to ask this question of one another today before we leave. Let there be no shame in your answer.  We are all at different places in our faith journey, but maybe it would be a chance to learn from one another - and isn’t that why we have a faith community?