What Do You Want from Jesus?
2nd Sunday after the Epiphany
What Do You Want from Jesus?
Text: John 2:1-11
It would be a neat party trick, wouldn’t it? You have a large gathering of friends and family at a Christmas party and you run out of drinks. “Jesus, help me! I only have milk!” Shazam! Eggnog on command!
You host a work-social at your house on Cinco De Mayo and you run dry again. “Jesus, help me! I only have a little lime juice!” Shazam! Margaritas in a flash!
You have a sophisticated soiree reading classic poetry and sipping classic wines. Suddenly your cup runneth empty. “Jesus, help me! I only have water!” Shazam! Your cup runneth over. Merlots and Pinots in the blink of an eye!
Hey! This is pretty handy, isn’t it? Let’s see, what else can we do here? “Jesus, help me! I haven’t done laundry in two weeks and I have a mountain in my bedroom.” Shazam! Everything is clean, folded and in the drawers. “Jesus, help me! I have bills to pay. All I have is this piggy bank left.” Shazam! Pennies become Benjamins as a few cents become thousands of dollars. “Oh, and while you are at it Jesus, I need to go shopping. I only have a little bread in the cupboard.” Shazam! Bread turns to dough (the kind you can spend) and a shopping spree follows.
It was awfully handy to have Jesus at that wedding in Cana. (I could have used Jesus at my wedding.) Jesus seems to have been friends with the couple. His mother Mary was familiar enough with the couple that she felt comfortable taking charge of the wine problem.
Running out of wine would have been a huge problem and embarrassment in those days. Wedding celebrations often moved from the bride’s house to the groom’s house where the celebration would have lasted as long as seven days. Wine was a staple of their culture. With fresh water not readily available, they drank wine all the time. To run out when guests were presents, let alone at a wedding celebration, would have been terribly embarrassing.
But why did Mary go up to her son and tell him, “They have no more wine”? Why else would she tell him unless she expected Jesus to do something about it? But they didn’t have Walmart or Publix around the corner. What was Mary expecting Jesus to do about it? It’s almost as if Mary was expecting her son to do something miraculous at this wedding. That almost definitely seems to be Mary’s expectation since Jesus responds, “Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.”
“My time has not yet come.” Why did Mary think that this was Jesus’ time? She knew that her son was conceived of God. She knew how her son hadn’t sinned once for 30-some years. She remembered how her 12-year-old boy had been in the temple teaching the teachers of the law. She remembered what the angel Gabriel told Joseph about the purpose of their son: “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
So why did Mary think that Jesus needed to get involved in this wedding/wine fiasco? He had recently been baptized and anointed as the Christ. He had just picked his first six disciples three days before. Why did she think this was “the time” and what did a shortage of wine have to do with saving people from sins? What did she really want from Jesus?
We will never know what Mary was thinking or what her intentions were. Maybe she had innocent intentions. Maybe misguided. Maybe selfish. We will never know for sure what she wanted from Jesus. But you can answer this question: What Do You Want from Jesus?
Wouldn’t be nice if Jesus made your life just a little bit easier? Wouldn’t it be nice if he could make your job a little less stressful? Wouldn’t it be nice if he could make your car work again? Wouldn’t it be nice if he could put some value back in your house?
Of course, if Jesus made your life just a little bit easier, it would also be nice if Jesus could make your life a lot easier, too. Wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus could make your family get along and take away all your family arguments and problems? Wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus could take away all your health problems? Wouldn’t it be nice if you never had to worry about money ever again?
What Do You Want from Jesus? Well, I want Jesus to show me some of his power. I want Jesus to prove who he is. I want Jesus to help me.
But isn’t it interesting what we think of first when we consider what we want from Jesus? Our minds start wandering off to all the aches and pains we have. We think about the bills on our desk. We think about the problems in our lives. And we think, “Help me, Jesus! Can’t you just take my water and turn it into wine?”
Here’s what I want from Jesus. I want Jesus to help me change the priorities of my life. I want Jesus to help me realize that all these concerns are only worldly concerns, not eternal concerns. I want Jesus to help me see that he allows little bumps along the way, and even the big mountains in my life, only for my good.
Or more importantly, I want Jesus to forgive my selfishness. I want Jesus to forgive my greed. I want Jesus to forgive my worries, my doubts, my fears. I want Jesus to take away all my guilt from the many times I’ve looked to him for the wrong reasons. I want Jesus to change my stony heart of sin to a loving heart of service for him and for others. That’s what I want from Jesus.
See how gracious our God is today. He didn’t really need to help out at the wedding in Cana. It might have been a little embarrassing to run out of wine, but it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Yet Jesus was gracious enough to help, and in a miraculous and overabundant way!
Jesus told the servants to fill six stone jars nearby with water. They were large stone jars that were used for ceremonial washings. They each held 20-30 gallons. The servants must have been a bit confused, except for the fact that Mary told them, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Certainly they were even more confused when Jesus told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” Surely it was embarrassing to run out of wine, but now Jesus wanted them to take hand- and foot-washing water to the wedding planner to taste?
Their confusion changed to astonishment as they found out that the water had changed to wine! Not just any wine, either. Good wine! The custom back then was the same as today: After guests have had a few drinks of the good stuff, then you bring out the cheap stuff because they won’t be able to taste the difference. But this wine tasted even better than the first!
Incredible! How gracious Jesus was! He didn’t need to help them at all, but he did. And he even helped them by providing 120-180 gallons of premium wine!
But then John, who was there at the wedding to see this miracle, finally gives us the insight to understand why this whole event took place. Verse 11: “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.”
Aha! Jesus was certainly kind and gracious to help the bride and groom “save face” and to make sure their joyous celebration could continue. But Jesus was even more gracious to start revealing to people that he was the Son of God and promised Savior. Jesus surely performed this and all the other miracles out of love and compassion for the people. But more importantly, he performed all these miracles to prove he was the Messiah.
Jesus is also this kind and gracious to us. As we come to our God with countless problems and concerns about the little things of life, he hears and answers those prayers. He does provide us with all that we need for food and drink. He does put a roof over our heads. He does shower us with countless blessings, for more than we truly even need.
But also more importantly, Jesus has revealed his glory to us. He has shown us on the pages of Scripture that the one who has the power to change water into wine also has the power to carry all our sins. The one who has the power to carry all our sins also has the power to defeat Satan and die once for all sins of all people. The one who has the power to defeat Satan and die for all sins has the power to take away all sins of all people. The one who has the power to take away all sins of all people has the power to rise triumphantly from the dead. And the one who has the power to rise triumphantly from the dead has the power to raise us from the dead and take us to heaven.
This is how powerful Jesus is. This is how gracious Jesus is. Not only does he help with our smaller problems of life, like changing water into wine. But Jesus also reveals to us that he is powerful enough and gracious enough to be our Savior.
There has been a lot in the news lately about people being exposed as frauds. They aren’t who we thought they were. Maybe you heard about Manti Te’o. The Notre Dame football star and soon to be NFL star told his story often throughout the year. He played inspired football this year, motivated by the death of his grandmother and the death of his girlfriend who died from leukemia. Then this week it comes out that this girl never really died and wasn’t even real. So was Manti Te’o the victim of one of the worst practical jokes ever? Or was he in on it as part of a publicity stunt? No one knows for sure yet.
Even bigger news came from Lance Armstrong. The seven-time Tour de France winner and cycling legend who vehemently denied for years that he took any performance enhancing drugs finally admitted to Oprah this week that he did in fact take PEDs. One of the most respected athletes for his tenacity, his success, and his winning battle against cancer isn’t quite as great as we thought he was.
Manti Te’o. Lance Armstrong. Tiger Woods. It’s hard to believe anyone is who they say they are anymore these days. Except . . .
Except Jesus. Look at the water turned into wine. Look at the healed holes in his hands. Look at the empty tomb. Jesus is exactly who he says he is. He is the Son of God. He is our Savior. He is everything we want and, more importantly, everything we need.
Posted on January 21, 2013, in Church, Sermons and tagged Cana, Church, Galilee, Grace, Jesus, John, John 2, Lance Armstrong, Manti Te'o, Miracles, Oprah, Performance Enhancing Drugs, Power, Sermons, Tiger Woods, Water into Wine, Wedding. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.