Mark Twain: No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.

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1 The Wedding at Cana Peter Lim Intro: Good morning everyone. Last week I talked about the Lord's supper and we had the renewal of wedding vows. Several people told me they enjoyed hearing all the different stories about the couples. Mark Twain: No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century. Even though some couples were not married that long, there were married many years, and it was evident how their love has grown over the years. And how their experiences, good and bad, had developed a depth to their marriage, where I am sure they love their spouse much more than the day they were first married. It is a miracle how God had brought these couples together and how had worked in their marriage, and in their being wed to each other. Today, we are going to look at a wedding in the bible. And Jesus also did a miracle in that wedding. It is where Jesus changed the water into wine.

2 So this sermon will be a transition from last week to next week when I will be starting a series of sermon on the subject of prayer. This passage is in John 2:1-11. On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus mother said to him, They have no more wine. 4 Woman, why do you involve me? Jesus replied. My hour has not yet come. 5 His mother said to the servants, Do whatever he tells you. 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, Fill the jars with water ; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now. 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

3 John says this is the first of the signs which he did, which revealed Jesus's glory. John's Gospel is structured different than Matt, Mark, or Luke. John's Gospel is built around 7 miracles of Jesus. 1. Water in Wine at Wedding of Cana John 2: Healing the royal official's son in Capernaum in John 4: Healing the paralytic at Bethsada in John 5: Feeding the 5000 in John 6: Jesus' walk on water in John 6: Healing the man born blind in John 9: Raising of Lazarus in John 11:1-45 Now the reason I bring this up is because John called the miracle at the wedding at cana -- "the first sign". We need to understand what a sign is, to understand John's Gospel, and to understand this miracle at this wedding. A sign is a miracle that points to a spiritual truth. So these miracles that John gives us, point to or reveal a spiritual truth about Jesus. This miracle, or sign, at the wedding in Cana, reveals

4 some of the glory of Jesus. What does it reveal? 1. what he brings to us 2. how he brings it to us 3. application to our prayer life 1. what Jesus brings to us Jesus and his disciples were invited to a wedding feast. There, Jesus's mother Mary tells Jesus the wine has run out. Mary was probably a close friend of the bride or groom family. She appeared to be helping with the party, she had the insider's news about the wine running out. It's not that the amount of wine was running low, no, Mary said "there have NO more wine". In those days, the wedding celebration lasted at least several days, often they lasted a whole week. And, for the guests, one of the most important aspects of the celebration was having wine. Of course, you know that, wine helps people to enjoy themselves, to fellowship with others, to have a good time, which the goal of the wedding feast for the guests --- to have a good time. So when Jesus performs the miracle, he is bringing back joy and fellowship and celebration to the guests. He brings new life to the party.

5 So that's was Jesus brings to us --- joy, celebration, and new life. Usually when someone starts something, they want it to start with a bang. like a new magazine, the first issue is a great issue. Or if it is a new business, the opening day has all these special deals. Or if it is a new TV show, the first episode is one of the best ones, it is the pilot episode. In the pilot episode, the main theme or themes of the TV show are introduced. So this is Jesus's inaugreal miracle or sign. And the message of this miracle was so important to Jesus, that he started his public ministry with it. It's true that Jesus came to teach, to heal, to cast out demons, to forgive, to show us how to live, all those important things. But the overarching result of all this, was to bring us JOY. To bring us a celebation. To bring us new life, an abundant life. Again, that's what Jesus came to bring us. Jesus has the water jars filled to the top with water. The passage says each water jar contained gallons. And there were 6 of them. So Jesus made 120 to 150 gallons of wine. wow, that's a lot of wine. And only was it a lot but it was the best wine. The

6 master of the banquet, the one who was overseeing all the details of the wedding, he validated this miracle. He had been involved with many weddings before, he knew wine, and he said it was the best wine. So both the quantity and quality of this new wine tells us something. It reveals the overflowing and abundant life that Jesus brings to us. This does not mean everything in our life will always go smoothly. It does not means that we will never face any problems or struggles. In fact, we definitely will face problems and struggles. Jesus takes ordinary water, and makes it extraordinary wine. Jesus takes our ordinary lives. And thru him, our ordinary lives become extraordinary in the Kingdom of God. So Jesus comes to bring us joy. 2. The second point is: how he bring us this joy? In this passage, there is sort of a strange interaction between Mary and Jesus. When Mary tells Jesus that there is no wine, Jesus replies:

7 "Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not come." hmmm. sort of a strange response, isn't it? When a young, unmarried person goes to a wedding, what is something that often happens? Well, that person may begin to think about his or her own wedding in the future. Who will my wedding be with? What will it be like for me on that special day? Will I even ever have a wedding? What will it be like to have my family and friends celebrating with me? and so on... And so this person may dream about when he will be a groom or when she will be a bride. This is basically what Jesus was doing. He was looking for to the future, to his wedding, but his wedding would not be an earthly wedding. His wedding will be a heavenly one and it would the wedding to end all weddings, it will be far more great, magnificent, amazing, and joyous than any earthly wedding could ever be. And this was foretold in the OT. In the 5th Gospel, the Gospel, the Good News according to Isaiah, the prophet speaks of such a feast. It is a great feast. Isaiah 25:

8 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine the best of meats and the finest of wines. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. 9 In that day they will say, Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation. And at this great feast, this great banquet, Jesus will be the focus of it. In Jesus's culture, the bridegroom was the focus of the wedding. When some people asked Jesus a question about fasting, He replies in Matt 9:16: How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? " Jesus refers to himself as a bridegroom. So Jesus was clearly thinking about something far more than just the earthly wedding feast of this couple before him in Cana. This earthly wedding

9 feast that he was at was just a glimpse of something much greater to come. It's just the tip of the iceberg of something much greater but is still unseen in this life. But Jesus knows something else. Jesus knows that in order for that great heavenly wedding feast to happen, something else must happen first. Before he can drink the cup of joy at the marriage supper of the lamb, he must first drink the cup of suffering. Before he can rejoice at the heavenly banquet, he must endure the suffering of the cross. When Jesus refers to his hour, he is referring to his moment on the cross. Jesus tells Mary "my hour has not yet come" That's repeated in John 7 "Jesus's hour has not yet come" And again in John 8. "his hour had not yet come" Then finally, John 12:23, days before Jesus was to be crucified, Jesus says The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." Jesus is thinking about the cross.

10 To Jesus, this request for wine reminds him of his blood that will be shed on the cross. Just like at the last supper, which we talked about last week, Jesus will used the wine to symbolize his blood, his blood which will be poured out for the forgiveness of sins. This is seen even in the way Jesus performs this miracle. John notes the important details of the water jars that Jesus used. The water jars were the same kind that were used for the ceremonial washing, that was commanded in the OT. The jews would wash their hands and sometimes their whole body, depending on various situations. The Jews did these ceremonial washing before they entered the temple because of their sins. Now the washings did not actually cleanse them from sin, but it was just symbolic. But it pointed to the fact that the people needed to be cleansed from their sins in order to truly worship and know God. Jesus is thinking about the cross So when Mary tells Jesus that the wine has run out, Jesus has this abrupt response "Woman, why to you involve me"? He doesn't call her Mom, mother. But say "woman". He is not being mean or disrespectful to her. But he starting to distance himself from her. Jesus is now

11 beginning his public ministry, and he is pointing out to Mary that his relationship with her is changing. He is not so much her son anymore but now she must also see him as her Lord. He is also distancing himself because again, he is thinking about the cross. Jesus knows he is going to suffer on the cross. He would suffer horribly. He knows the pain that a mother would have to see her son suffer so much. He is preparing Mary, distancing himself, so when the time comes, her pain would not be unbearable. So about the wine, Jesus says Why do you involve me? Jesus is basically saying: Mary, this earthly wine, it will always run out. The joy that this wine brings is just temporary, it can never last. The only wine that last forever, is the cup of eternal joy that I can give only through dying on the cross. This is how Jesus is to bring us his eternal joy, thru the cross. There is another truth here about how we receive this gift of joy. The bridegroom messed up, because he did not plan for enough wine. But no one knows about that, except for Mary and the servants.

12 When master of the banquet tasted the wine, he went to the bridegroom and complimented him. He told the bridegroom, you have saved the best wine until now. The bridegroom does not say anything, he just accepts the compliment from the master of the banquet. Of course Jesus was the one who did the miracle, Jesus was the one responsible for the party not being a failure. He was the one who changed the water into wine. But the bridegroom got all the credit for the best wine. That's how Jesus also brings us this gift of joy. Jesus does it all, and we get the credit for what he has done. In Romans 4, Paul speak about how God's righteousness was credited to Abraham because of Abraham's faith. Then Paul says "The words it was credited to him were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead" We get the blessings because of what Jesus has done.

13 3. Now my 3rd point is about applying this passage to our lives. I want to mention a few things about applying some truths to our prayer life. And this will lead us into more of a focus on prayer for next week. In this passage, Jesus was invited to the wedding. And Mary comes to Jesus when she discovers the wine is finished. We need to always be sure to invite Jesus into our life and into our marriages. That is the starting point. And like Mary, we need to bring our problems to Jesus. This problem with the wine running out, it wasn't a life or death problem. There was no one dying of leprosy or anything like that. It would be an embarrassment for the couple for running out of wine, but that is all. We can bring to Jesus in prayer all the burdens that we have on our heart. Even the things that may seem minor. We can bring those to him. I remember that a friend of mine who had recently become a Christian. She had lost her high school graduation ring when she was camping. So I said to her let's pray. I think she felt a little embarassed about it and a little hesitant to pray for such a trivial thing, but I said, no we should pray. So we and some others prayed for it. A few weeks later she got a

14 package in the mail. Someone had found her ring, contacted her school, and mailed the ring to her. So although it was sort of a minor thing, it was really important to her. Also, she had recently become a Christian, and this really boosted her faith in God. God was able to show himself to her in a way that was very meaningful to her. And when Mary tells Jesus about the wine, she doesn't tell Jesus what to do. When we pray, we need to be careful about telling God what he should do. God may have his own way, a better way, with dealing with the problems we face. But Mary does believe Jesus will do something. She knew Jesus was a special person and God was at work in his life, Mary certainly remembered what the angel had said when Jesus was born. Mary believes so strongly that Jesus will do something that she tells the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them. This reminds me of what Eli told samuel to do. Sherry told me the the women in the Tuesday BS were studying about listening to God and what Eli told Samuel. Samuel was a boy sleeping in the temple and the Lord called him. Samuel when to Eli the priest to ask what is it. Eli said I didn't call you, go back to sleep. This happend again, Eli said go back to sleep. Then one more time. Then Eli told Samuel if he

15 hears the voice again say: Speak for your servant is listening. Samuel did hear the voice again, and was able to hear God's message to him. We should encourage others to hear God's voice. Two important ways that God speaks to us is through prayer and the Scriptures. Not the only ways but important ways. As believers, we should encourage eah other to hear what the Lord says and do what the Lord says. Every believer should have a quiet time with the Lord every day. A time and a place where you spend time reading the Bible and praying. A time of listening what God says to you and talking one-to-one with God. It's important to learn to feed yourself spiritually. Jesus says my sheep hear my voice... and only happens by getting to know the shepherd. I read this quote somewhere: If you can't sleep at night, don't count sheep... instead talk to the Shepherd. Also, Mary doesn't just stand there and wait for Jesus. She continues to go about her business. She knows Jesus will do something in his time. God's timing is not always the same as with our timing. We are pray, we need to have patience in prayer. We should pray for God's solution in God's timing.

16 Lastly, we need to pray with an eternal perspective. Look at the problems we face with eternity in mind and see, live, and pray with that perspective. Jesus was there in the middle the joy of the wedding feast, thinking about the suffering he was to face. As he was sipping the cup of wine, he was thinking of the another cup, the cup of suffering, which he drank for us. We in this life, when we live amidst the problems, pain, and trials in this life, we can sip from the cup of joy, as we look forward to the celebration of the wedding feast. Concl. So Jesus's miracle as the wedding at Cana was a sign, it revealed, as John said, his glory. It revealed: 1. First, what Jesus came to bring --- that is the joyful, abundant life only found in Christ 2. Second, how Jesus brings us this joy --- by suffering for us on the cross and giving us the credit for what he has done 3. Third, it gave some insights how we can apply

17 this passage to our prayer life. As Jesus turned the ordinary water into wine, he calls each one of us to, as it say in psalm 34 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Even when we mess up, we can take refuge in the Lord and taste the wine, taste the joyful life he brings. If you have never tasted of the Lord's joy, come to Jesus this morning and let him give you that eternal life. I am going to close in a word of prayer, and then we will sing our closing song. During our closing song, if you have a question about this joy that Jesus brings, just raise your hand and I will come and pray with you. Or if you just need someone to pray for you about some problem or issue in your life, just raise you hand and I will come and pray for you. Pray: Thank you for dying on the cross for us, so that we can join your wedding feast, not as just guests, but as your honored bride. I pray for anyone here who does not know you as their bridegroom, that they would accept your invitation to the wedding feast. I

18 pray for anyone here who is not experiencing the joyful life that you came to bring, may you fill them, thru your Holy Spirit, with the joy that you have for them.

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