160117 John 2:1-11

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 January 2016 Written by Pastor Pagels

Text: John 2:1-11
Theme: No Matter What You Do, Make Sure To Invite Jesus

More than a few years ago when Johnny Carson (and not Jimmy Fallon) was the host of The Tonight Show, he interviewed an eight year old boy. The young man was invited to appear on the show because he had rescued two friends in a coal mine outside of his hometown in West Virginia.

After Johnny asked the boy a few questions, it became apparent to him and to the audience that the young man was a Christian. So Johnny asked him if he attended Sunday School. When the boy said that he did Johnny inquired, "So what are you learning about in Sunday School?" "Last week," the boy replied, "our lesson was about when Jesus went to a wedding and turned water into wine."

The audience roared, but Johnny tried to keep a straight face. And then the host asked, "And what was the point of that story?" The boy shifted around in his chair uneasily as he struggled to come up with an answer. But then in a moment of discovery his face relaxed and he replied with confidence, "If you are going to have a wedding, make sure you invite Jesus!"

I didn't see that particular episode of The Tonight Show. I actually found the story on the internet, so I can't verify if it is true. But there is a great deal of truth in the words of that young boy. And what he said isn't limited to weddings either. If you are about to take a test, if you are about to take a new job, if you are planning to move across the country or meet your future in-laws, if you are confronted by a great challenge or presented with a great opportunity, it remains good advice for Christians in any and every situation...


I. He has compassion on people in need
II. He has the power to meet every need

The time: shortly after Jesus had called his first followers. The place: Cana, a small town in Galilee, not far from Jesus' hometown of Nazareth. The occasion: a wedding reception (which in those days could last for several days up to a week), and Jesus was in attendance with his mother and his disciples.

The marriage of this unnamed couple was a reason to celebrate...until something threatened to cut the celebration short. We don't know if a lack of funds or a lack of planning was to blame. Mary didn't blame anyone, but she did want Jesus to know that there was a problem. And so she went up to her son and said: "They have no more wine" (3).

They have no more wine. Those words are as clear in Greek as they are in English. What is more difficult to decipher is exactly how Mary said them. Was there panic in her voice when she said, "They have no more wine"? Or was she expressing sympathy for the couple's embarrassment when she said: "They have no more wine"? Or is it possible that Mary's statement sounded more like a request, "They have no more wine"?

Mary wanted Jesus to know about the problem, but she also knew enough about her son to know that he could do something to fix it. Was Mary looking for her son to perform a miracle? Jesus' reply at least allows for that possibility, when he told her: "Dear woman, why do you involve me" (4a)?

Mary was not just a woman. She was Jesus' mother. She played a very special role in the birth of the Messiah, but that did not grant her special access or special privileges when it came to Jesus' ministry. He needed to firmly, yet gently remind Mary that he had come to earth not to grant his mother's every wish, but to carry out his Father's will.

I think sometimes we need that reminder too. God is not an ATM we go to whenever we need to make a withdrawal. God is not some kind of personal genie we can summon to do our bidding. God doesn't exist to make our lives perfectly comfortable or to make all of our problems disappear. The Lord cares about us. Our Savior promises that he will always take care of us, but in his own way and in his own time.

And when Jesus told Mary, "My time has not yet come" (4b), she accepted his words. She held on to those words. Even more, she held out hope for a miracle in those words. That's why she instructed the servants at the banquet to do whatever Jesus says. And when the Lord gave them some very specific instructions, they sprang into action.

First, Jesus told them to fill six large stone jars with water, and they filled them to the brim. Next Jesus instructed the servants to draw out some of the water and take it to the master of the banquet, and they obeyed without hesitation. But when the master of the banquet put the water to his lips, he tasted wine, choice wine, by far the best wine that had been served at the feast.

It was a miracle. It was Jesus' first miracle. This miracle didn't impact thousands of lives like when Jesus fed five thousand with a couple fish and a few loaves of bread. This miracle didn't permanently change a person's life like when Jesus allowed a crippled man to walk or when he restored a blind man's sight. So why did he do it? And why did he start here? Why did the Lord choose to change water into wine?

One reason Jesus performed miracles was simply to show compassion to his fellow human beings. Open up the Bible to any of the four gospels and you will find example after example of Jesus seeing people in need and then acting quickly and decisively to meet those needs. A thousand years before Jesus performed this miracle his ancestor David put it this way: "As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him" (Psalm 103:13). Or to put it another way, Jesus loves people. Jesus cares about all people, and his miracles prove it.

In the final verse of this account John explains that this miracle of Jesus served another purpose, an even greater purpose: "This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him" (11).

Throughout his gospel John consistently identifies the miracles of Jesus as "signs." When he healed an official's son, it was a sign (4:54). When he gave a blind man his sight, the people called it a sign (9:16). When he raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, even Jesus' enemies acknowledged that it was a sign (11:47). These signs anticipated the ultimate sign, the ultimate display of divine power, when John ran to Jesus' tomb on Easter morning and looked inside and found it...empty.

All of these miracles gave the world brief glimpses of Jesus' glory. They revealed that this man was no mere man. Jesus was the promised Messiah, the eternal Son of God, the Savior of the world. And he possesses power, awesome power, the power to reverse sin's curse, the power to destroy the devil's work, the power to remove death's sting forever.

So why did Jesus choose a small wedding reception in a tiny town like Cana to put that power on display? Why didn't he perform his first miracle in a highly populated area like Jerusalem to achieve maximum exposure? Why didn't he make a big splash in a big city that would lead to mass conversions? Because it doesn't work like that. Because God doesn't work like that. Jesus' enemies saw more than a few of Jesus' miracles, but none of those miracles made them believe.

You see, miracles don't make people believe the message. The miracles of Jesus served to confirm his message. And the miracle of changing water into wine made a lasting impact on the handful of people who witnessed it. Mary knew. The servants knew. The disciples knew. They saw his glory. They saw his power. And what they saw with their eyes strengthened the faith in their hearts.

You and I were not there to personally witness this miracle or any of Jesus' miracles, but I pray that the written record of God's saving activity will have the same effect on us. Because the Holy Spirit has worked the miracle of faith in our hearts, we believe. By God's grace we believe that God's Word (and every miracle recorded in that Word) is true. We believe that our sins are forgiven. We believe that our Savior lives. We believe that nothing is impossible with God. And that makes a miraculous act that was performed thousands of years ago into something significant and relevant for whatever is happening in your life today.

If you are in trouble, if you are in danger, whenever you are in need, remember the words of that young boy from West Virginia. Remember how Jesus had compassion on people in need. Be assured that the One who has the power to move mountains will meet your every need. You are never without options. You are never without hope. No matter where you go, no matter what you do, you will always have Jesus. Amen.

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.


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