Have you ever seen something miraculous? This week Kent delves into how often those who see the miraculous are those who serve. Jump in with us in Sections 22 of the Gospel Harmonies @ https://www.harmonychurch.cc/tracking-jesus-timeline/. IT’S EASY TO GIVE at Harmony, text any amount to (859) 459-0316 to get started (or give online @ my.harmonychurch.cc/give ).
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My senior year, my grandparents decided they were going to pay to take my entire family, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. on a cruise to the Bahamas. Free cruise, how does it get better than that? Except I was a teenager – like a seriously moody grumpy teenager. This meant I was going to miss a week and a half of being with my buddies. It meant I was going to miss going to church camp. You ever heard don’t look a gift horse in the mouth? I didn’t just look it in the mouth, I literally shoved my whole head in. I was full-on teenage angst. I knew going on that trip would ruin my life. I knew all the best things in the world were going to happen during that week and a half. I fought my parents, told my grandparents I didn’t want to go to the Bahamas. I was SO mad! (because I’m dumb… 🙂
Literally, we are in Florida ready to get on the boat, and I’m still feeling like I’m forced to do something I don’t want to do…
You ever felt that?
-you have protested over and over again that your company doesn’t need to be spending time and resources on that new project and your boss tells you to suck it up and do it anyway?
-your parents force you to do something that everything in you didn’t want to do?
We all know what it’s like to be put in a position where you feel like you HAVE to do something you don’t want to
Did you know Jesus knows what that’s like? Check this out, in a second we are going to look at a time when Jesus was force to do something He didn’t want to do, I’ll show you something that blew me away, and then we’ll swing it around to what do we do next…
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.”
Jewish weddings are not what we are used to. They had two parts, the betrothal – the husband and the father of the bride would set a price the husband would pay to the family and the bride. The father would determine if he thought the man would be a good fit for his daughter and then he would pour a glass of wine, if his daughter drank the wine, it meant she approved and if she didn’t, it meant she didn’t approve. After this point, the couple was legally married, even though they didn’t live together or consulate the marriage…
The groom would go off to prepare a place for him and his wife. This would take up to a year before he’d come back for her. And when he did, she and her bridesmaids needed to be ready (I couldn’t find any information on this, but I think they must have known a general time frame for when it would occur because guests were invited). They would keep lamps trimmed and ready. The bridegroom’s friends would blow a shofar horn – he would go with the party through the streets and get his bride. They would all come back and have the wedding ceremony. All the guests would be there – they would party and celebrate for days – often times up to a week.
This is where we find Jesus, at the wedding of this bride and groom…
-He and His mom have both been invited to the wedding, along with his disciples…
And this couple has run out of wine.
I’ve wondered why Mary gets involved with it, does she know the family well? Is she worried about this young woman about to be embarrassed by the fact that they’v run out – Mary herself knew what it was like to be embarrassed as a young betrothed woman – because of being pregnant with Jesus…
Whatever the reason, it seems we find ourselves in the middle of the moment where Mary, Jesus, & the servants know there is no more wine, but it hasn’t gotten out to the master of the banquet…
-they are probably scurrying, everyone trying to see if there is any other solution and Mary comes to Jesus…
4 “Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
Jesus calling his mom “woman” seems derogatory in our culture, but would have been seen as simply an informal way of speaking to her…
A few weeks ago, we had my mom’s surprise 70th birthday party. I had such a hard time not spilling the beans. I’m terrible at keeping secrets. I kept being worried I’d accidentally let out what was going on…
Jesus is worried that Mary is going to put His mission in jeopardy because she wants to fix this problem, but Jesus is super specific about what He will do and when He will do it…
It cracks me up, because
This passage rings so true to life. Mary doesn’t answer Jesus’ complaint – she just moves on with her plan.
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.[b]
These would have been special jars – used for the family to wash their hands to be ceremonially pure. Likely a priest’s family.
-stone jars were used because they were considered pure
-clay had to be thrown out every year.
-they would have been expensive – thus priest – enough money for the jars, but not for enough wine for the celebration
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
120-180 gallons of wine… 2,400 servings of wine
-Jesus is being extravagant – they won’t run out…
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.”
It was typical to start off with the good stuff when people were drinking lots…
When I was in Israel we celebrated Shabbat (sabbath) with our rabbis – they bought wine for everyone, but when the wine ran out, everyone started drinking the cheap wine the hotel provided.
The same is true for weddings in ancient Israel.
The master of the banquet is surprised because the wine is SO good, normally it would be watered down and not the good stuff..
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.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
So, maybe you’re sitting there going, OK Kent, thanks for the History lesson, but so what?
To be honest, this story has always been a bit of a conundrum for me. I never gave it much thought, until I heard an older preacher say something that really stuck out to me…
Let me point it out to you… I want to read you a section of this again:
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.
The only people who saw the miracle were the servants…
This is often the way with Jesus.
When you are near the work of God you see the wonders of God
I’ve seen this in my own life. I’ve been on missions trips where our vehicle breaks down in the middle of Arizona – all the kids filed off the bus and gathered around it in a circle and prayed. The guy driving got back on and turned the key and the vehicle started back up and drove fine the rest of the trip.
I’ve seen God just show up in ministries and provide when we had nothing.
Our first Christmas at our church plant – we had $15,000 in debt on our own personal credit cards. I was sitting there stressing about it and waiting to get up and preach and had a woman walk up and hand me an envelope and she said, “Merry Christmas”. I opened the envelope and it had $20,000 in it.
I’ve seen very sick people be prayed over and experience a full recovery.
My wife was doing mission work in Africa and witnessed a blind man receive sight.
These things don’t happen every day
But we’d never have experienced them if we weren’t staying near the work of God.
I ended up going on that trip with my family for the cruise. For the first few days, I was still all grumpy about it. But pretty soon, I realized that this was a pretty cool experience. And as I’ve looked back I’ve realized more and more how amazing it was. I got to spend that time with my grandparents and my entire family. I got to go to the beaches of Nasa and ride in a crazy taxi with my grandparents. I got to talk over meals with my grandpa and spend time with my family. I got to see the open seas and swim in the most amazing waters. I got to listen to a steel drum band on the shores. I got to experience things I never would have. But if I had stayed in that place where I was, I would never have experienced it.
Can I ask you a question?
Do you experience the wonders of God in your life?
My guess is, if you aren’t seeing the wonders of God in your life, you probably aren’t staying close to the work of God.
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get the results you’ve always gotten…
Look, serving sounds worse than it is.
Serving is really about taking your giftedness and passions and connecting them to the mission of God and giving yourself away.
That’s why we are doing the 90 Days of Service Challenge
We want to challenge you to join the challenge to take your giftedness and passions, connect them with God’s mission (we’ll help you with this), and give 90 Days to serving God to see what God will do!
After 90 Days, you can keep going if you’ve found your fit, you can try something different to find your fit, or you can take a break.
There’s no pressure, we just want you to experience the wonders of God and that takes being near the work of God – it takes getting on the boat…