What Do You Do When The Wine Runs Out?
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John 2:1-2:11 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)
Sermon Series: Preching Through John
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Eden Wesleyan Church
PREACHING THROUGH JOHN
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE WINE RUNS OUT?
The first miracle of our Lord took place in a town called, Cana of Galilee. The event was a wedding. Cana was a inconspicuous little town that lay outside of Nazareth. Cana had no social prominence in its day! In fact, biblical scholars took 1800 years before they could figure out just where this town was.
Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus and his disciples had all been invited to the wedding. Because social standing was so important in the Jewish culture of this time, we assume that this was a “peasant” wedding. Otherwise, Mary, being a peasant, would have never been invited.
It’s interesting to note: Jesus ministry, like his birth, began in a small, unimportant town, to common every day folks.
Weddings were, and are, a big deal in the Jewish culture. There is a certain protocol that was to be followed. If the bride were a virgin, the wedding occurred on Wednesday. If the bride a widow, the wedding came on Thursday.
The wedding ceremony would take place late in the evening after a time of feasting. The father of the bride would take his daughter on his arm, and with the wedding party in tow, would parade through the streets of the village so that everyone could come out and congratulate the bride. Finally the wedding party would arrive at the home of the groom. The wedding actually took place in the front door of the grooms house. It was no short ceremony….no the festivities lasted for days. It was a time of great celebration.
After the wedding ceremony the bride and groom walked through the streets accompanied by flaming torches. Their attendants walked with them keeping a canopy over their heads. The wedding party always took the longest route through the village so that as many people as possible could wish them well.
There was no such thing as a honeymoon! No, the couple kept open house for a week. They were treated like royalty. They dressed in fancy clothes and many times actually wore crowns on their heads. Whatever desire they spoke for…they received. Their word was law!
The grooms family was expected to provide all the refreshments for this week of festivities.
That’s where we pick up our scripture: Read John 2:1-11
Suddenly the host discovers that they are running out of wine. They had more guest than they anticipated. It would have been improper for the culture of this time to not have wine. Jews did not get drunk at these celebrations—drunkenness was considered a disgrace. But the host could have actually been sued for a breach of hospitality to his guest.
Evidently they did not have the money to go and purchase more wine. We can assume that Jesus’ mother was a close friend of the groom’s mother and she heard about the problem. Who knows, if these families were close friends it is highly possible that Jesus was a close friend of the groom himself.
Jesus’ mother comes to Jesus and says, “Son, we’ve got a problem here, and we need your help. The groom’s family is running out of wine.”
The fact that Mary came to Jesus with such a problem is a reminder that Jesus is concerned with the everyday things in life that we face.
Jesus answers his mother in what seems like a harsh way. He was not being harsh, he was just simply already focusing on his life and ministry, and had began to detach himself from his family.
John calls this first miracle a sign. Signs are usually placed in places to give us information, or point us in the direction. The miracles of Christ were always meant to reveal to us the glory of God, and point us to who He truly is.
Let’s take a look at what this first sign means for us today.
Notice that first of all…
I. This sign informs us that…The wine can run out.
A. Mary realizes the seriousness of the issue. You can hear it in her words… “They have no wine.”
1. To the Jewish people wine symbolized joy. The Jewish rabbis had a saying, ‘Without wine there is no joy.” At the wedding in Cana their joy had run out!
2. It is a reminder of the emptiness of our life without Christ.
3. This statement by the mother of Jesus goes beyond liquid refreshment at a wedding. It is symbolic of our lives. It is a scary thing when the “wine runs out.”
Illus. If I were to say to you the name, “Earnest Hemmingway” today. You might not know in detail who he was, but most of us would know that he was a famous writer. Hemmingway was a great storyteller. Many of his books are considered to be classics. The Old Man and The Sea, a story he wrote while living in Cuba reveal his genius. He was a Nobel Prize recipient. From the very early years of his life he was a person who went for it all. He was a newspaper reporter and an ambulance driver during WWI. He was involved in the Spanish Civil War. He had friendships that ranged from bullfighters to authors. Whatever he did, he went for it all, he was drinking long at the natural wine of life. But there came a day when those wines ran out. Carlos Baker records it in the biography of Hemmingway like this,
Sunday morning dawned bright and cloudless. Ernest awoke early as always. He put on the red “Emperor’s robe” and padded softly down the padded stairway. The early sunlight lay in pools on the living room floor. He had noticed that the guns were locked up in the basement, but the keys, as he well knew, were on the window ledge above the kitchen sink. He tiptoed down the basement stairs and unlocked the storage room. It smelled as dank as a grave. He chose a double barreled shotgun with a tight choke. He had used if for years to shoot pigeon’s. He took some shells from one of the boxes in the storage room, closed and locked the door, and climbed the basement stairs. If he saw the bright day outside, it did not deter him. He crossed the living room to the front foyer, a shrine-like entryway five feet by seven feet, with oak-paneled walls and a floor of linoleum tile…he slipped in two shells, lowered the gun butt carefully to the floor, leaned forward, pressed the twin barrels against his forehead just about the eyebrows and tripped both triggers
B. There are times when the wine runs out. The joy is dry!
1. A good friend of mine with whom I eat lunch every Wednesday came in late to our lunch meeting with a look of anguish on his face. He had just been to see his best friend, a stock broker who he knew was going through some rough times, they had found him that morning in his car with a hose ran from the exhaust pipe.
2. Families that were once began with exuberant joy are now ending in the pain of divorce—why? There is no more joy in the relationship.
3. There are those who have not went to that extreme, but they are not living life, they are just enduring life. They drift from one day to the next.
4. You and I have no resources available within ourselves to replace the joy. Only new wine can come from Jesus Christ.
When we run out of wine …
II. This sign teaches us that…When the wine runs out, Jesus can turn the water into wine.
A. Mary came to Jesus and told him of the problem that they were facing. I can just imagine her telling the groom’s mother, “You hold on just a minute! I know just what to do with this situation.” She came to Jesus and told him…I love her instructions to the servants. “Whatever he says to you, do it” Just Do It!
1. Jesus took the waterpots that were filled with water for handwashing. When the guest arrived someone would pour some of this water over their hands in a symbolic purification. To eat with unwashed hands would have been a defilement.
Jesus took this water and made approx. 180 gallons of wine. What a wedding gift.
a. It’s interesting to note that Jesus took the water for purification and used it for his first miracle. The water in those pots was merely for an external cleansing. Jesus ministry over the next three years would teach people about an inner cleansing.
2. If we look at the first miracle of Jesus we see this truth…Jesus is not just the giver of joy…he is the giver of “abundant” joy. He not only met their immediate need, but he gave an abundance.
a. Jesus did not just make some ordinary wine. No, the wine that he produced was better than that which they had started the celebration with.
b. Jesus didn’t just doctor the water so that it tasted like wine. No, the water in those pots was transformed into the finest wine the people had ever tasted.
c. The truth for us is this—Jesus is not going to just doctor up our lives a little bit. Just put a Band-Aid on our needs—no he wants to transform your life, just like he transformed that water. Our lives will take on a new nature.
Ills Someone once said, “Don’t focus on the stone water pots—and miss the whole point—Jesus is about transformation.
· water into wine;
· he turns frowns into smiles;
· he turns whimpers of fear into songs of hope;
· he turns deserts into gardens,
· he turns sorrow into joy;
· he turns sin into grace;
· death into life.
C. Jesus is all about transforming power. Changing people—that’s what its all about.
III. This Sign teaches us that…Jesus offers an abundance of new wine at the end.
A. Sometimes its hard for us to understand God not only meeting our need but providing for us an abundance.
1. That’s the story of grace. There is no measure to grace. There will always be enough grace to meet our needs.
2. That’s the story of God’s love. There is nothing that you can do that will cause God to diminish his love for you.
3. Understand this principle of God today…God is not just a God of the required—he is a God of the abundance.
a. Malachi 3:10, “Bring all the tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and prove me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, If I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it”
b. Not “just enough”—an abundance
Look at creation—have you ever been to the Rockies? There is an overabundance. God didn’t give us “just enough” beauty, it is all around us. Have you ever been to the seashore and looked out over the ocean. There is far more beauty that our eyes can absorb. Have you ever seen a field of wildflowers? Not just enough to fill a vase in your living room, but more than enough. This is the picture of grace…God always gives more than you will ever need!
4. So the wine is poured out and all the people who are present rejoice at the richness of this “new wine”.
a. This was completely against custom. The best wine was always offered first.
b. Isn’t that just like our Lord? The best always comes at the end. The grace we once tasted cautiously—we now drink freely. Jesus has poured out in us the richness of his love and forgiveness.
c. There is one among us who is pouring out the rich “wine” and there is enough for everyone!
What do you do when the wine runs out? Mary showed us by example. She told the servants that if they would just do what Jesus commanded they would see a miracle. A miracle that not only met their immediate need...but a miracle of abundance.
Has your joy ran out today? Jesus wants to transform you! Bring your need to him!