Second Sunday after Epiphany – Sunday, January 20, 2019

January 20, 2019  

John 2:1-11

I’m going to confess, it has been fun preaching the past few weeks! Our gospel readings have focused on Jesus and his relationship with his parents—particularly his relationship with Mary. Today we find the two of them together again. Their interactions are almost comical! Yet they illustrate a couple of important points.

The scene is set. Mary and Jesus are attending a wedding in Cana of Galilee.

I wonder—how many single young men attend weddings with their mothers?
Did Jesus and Mary go to the wedding together or did they meet there? We know the disciples were also invited and attended. Did they all travel to the wedding together?

I’m thinking it was a big wedding. Six jars of water turned into wine—(as I said in my young peoples’ message) one scholar estimated six jars of water would be about 175 gallons of wine (Sundays and Seasons, Epiphany 2). Either it was a large wedding or people were drinking a lot!

Anyway—when the wine ran out Mary said to Jesus “They have no wine” (John 2:3). Not “Son, they seem to have run out of wine. Can you do anything about that?” Or, “Jesus, they ran out of wine. You’re the miracle man—I know you can help. Do something!”
Just four words: they have no wine.

And then, son that he was he said “Woman. What concern is that to you and me? My hour has not come” (John 2:4). One commentary I read on this said we might expect to hear Mary say “Don’t use that tone with me, young man” (Sundays and Seasons). Another scholar wrote “Jesus’ words to his mother… sound harsh to the modern ear, but they are neither rude nor hostile. Jesus frequently addresses women with the greeting “Woman.” The use of that form of address to speak to one’s own mother is unusual, however” (The New Interpreter’s Bible vol. -9, p. 536). The scholar then suggests Jesus might have been saying “Why is this my concern?” (TNIB, p. 537). Jesus might as well have been shrugging, saying “So…?”

Then Mary’s response was a classic mom-response: she ignored Jesus! Mary turned to the servants and told them “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5).

Mary knew. Mary knew Jesus was going to do something, either because it was what Jesus knew Mary expected, or because it was what Jesus desired to do. Either way, Mary knew Jesus would solve the problem. She was confident!

And the problem! The problem is so interesting! They didn’t have enough wine at a wedding!
This was the first miracle Jesus performed in the gospel of John! He gave a wedding party wine!
He didn’t heal someone. He didn’t raise someone from the dead. He didn’t rid someone of his or her demons. He turned water into wine, making him the favorite guest at every wedding thereafter!

Commentary in the New Interpreter’s Bible says “It is a miracle of abundance, of extravagance, of transformation and new possibilities” (vol. 9 p. 540).

I wonder—
Do we have as much confidence in Jesus as his mother Mary did?
If not, why not?
We know Jesus loves us. We know Jesus loves the world. We know Jesus died for us and for our sins. We know Jesus promises us the gift of eternal life.
And yet—do we believe Jesus provides all of this abundantly, extravagantly—transforming each and every one of us—transforming the world!!!

Do we have such confidence in his promises that we expect to be transformed by Jesus, that we expect there to be new possibilities around every corner, in every instance, because of Jesus? A scholar wrote:

“The extravagance of Jesus’ act, the superabundance of the wine, suggests   the unlimited gifts that Jesus makes available. Jesus’ ministry begins with an extraordinary act of grace, a first glimpse of the ‘greater things’ to come. This story invites the reader to share in the wonder of the miracle, to enter into the joyous celebration made possible by Jesus’ gift” (NIB, vol. 9, p. 540).

This is the God we worship.
This is the God we celebrate: the God whose love is “this big.”
The God who embraces the world!
The God who has the power to transform every person—
The God who has the power to transform every situation—
The god who has the power to transform every moment—
The God who transforms us and our lives with graceful exuberance.

This IS the God we worship.
This IS the God we celebrate.
Thanks be to God, this IS our God. And we ARE God’s people.