Sermon: The Wedding Feast at Cana

The Wedding Feast at Cana
John 2:1-11
RUMC Jan 17, 2016

               The second wedding that I performed as a minister was a memorable one.  It took place in an outdoor park in Springfield, Missouri.  The month was August and the temperature was a hot and humid 95 degrees.  The problems with this wedding began when the maid of honor couldn’t fit into her dress.  That delayed the wedding for at least 45 minutes as the person who worked on the dress tried to make emergency adjustments.  The bride who was hidden away in the woods, sat in a convertible, as she wiped sweat with a towel and swatted away flies and mosquitoes.  The guests were just as miserable sitting in the hot sun.  To keep them hydrated, I served them the wedding punch that was intended to be used for the reception.  While the guests waited patiently, their only entertainment was watching me trying to keep a stray dog from running off with the white runway paper that the bride was supposed to walk on.  If that were not enough, I heard a loud piercing scream and saw that one of the bride’s maids collapsed to the ground.  Family members quickly put her in the car and rushed her to the hospital.  She did not return, but I was told the problem was a kidney stone.

Now you might be wondering if the wedding took place that day.  It did.  The couple lovingly exchanged their vows and from my perspective the ceremony went well.  However, there was more to come.

The father of the bride who had driven the bridesmaid with the kidney stone problem, returned in time to walk his daughter down the aisle.  But it was during the cutting of the wedding cake that he collapsed and fell to the ground.  Apparently he had forgotten to take his heart medicine.  So there he lay on the grass, out cold while his wife held his hand and reassured everyone that he would be okay.  It was bizarre to see people step over him as they got their piece of wedding cake.  And sure enough, after 15 minutes, he got up and acted like nothing ever happened.  Other than that, it was just another outdoor wedding in the Ozarks of Missouri.

Two thousand years ago, the Apostle John also recorded how something else went wrong at a wedding.  The wine had run out at the reception.  To us, it doesn’t seem like much of a big deal, but back then in that tiny village of Cana, it had the potential to be a major embarrassment that would be remembered the rest of the young couple’s married life.

My scripture text is Jesus’ first miracle and from what we can take from this story is that when things go wrong, it is best to invite the Lord into our midst and ask for his help.  My text is John 2:1-11.

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. 

This is the Word of God.  Thanks be to God.

The first miracle that our Lord performed, took place in a rather obscure village only 9 miles from where Jesus grew up.  Like all Jewish weddings in Bible times, this event took place on a Wednesday at dusk.  It began with the bridegroom and the groomsmen walking to the bride’s house.  Once inside, there was a brief ceremony.  At the conclusion of that service, the bride and groom, both families, and attendants went outside.  Most of the people of the village were assembled outside the house to greet them.

It was at this point, that the bride and groom led a long procession to the groom’s new home.  Since it was now evening, adults held torches to light the way, while children ran on ahead.  Once the procession arrived at the groom’s house, the young couple walked underneath an outdoor canopy.  A few more prayers and a benediction were said; then it was time for the reception.

Back then, there was no such thing as a honeymoon as we know it; the bride and groom had an open house that began each evening for the entire week, much different from today’s reception which lasts just a few hours.

Here was the crux of the matter.  The rabbis’ taught that there was only one time in the married life of a couple where they were expected to splurge and that was the wedding.  And if they failed to provide enough food and drink for their guests for the week, then there would be social disgrace that would haunt the young couple the rest of their lives.

Verse 3.  When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, they have no more wine.

The fact that Mary came to her son with this urgent request was a reminder that we should go to Jesus with our concerns.

Jesus even encouraged this when he said in Matthew 11:2.  “Come to me all you who are weary and overburdened and I will give you rest.  In other words, he invites us to give him our cares and concerns, and not to worry, because he was everything under control.  There is a hymn that also speaks to that.  “What a Friend We Have in Jesus all our sins and grief’s to bear.  What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.  O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer.” 

The message of that hymn and the miracle of wine show that that if we are in need, to do what Mary did and go to her son Jesus.  Otherwise, if we do not seek his help, we could spend an endless time in worry.

When the Lord changed the water into wine, it was what we would consider a miracle of transformation which revealed his power over creation.  Technically speaking, what Jesus it did was speed up the process of chemical change.  And let us not forget that the God of this universe who created the natural laws is not always bound by them.

Jesus will take care of our needs, both great and small if we let Him.  He sees every bird that falls to the ground.  He calls each star by name.  The same Lord who changed the water into wine is concerned with the things that may trouble us.  So don’t be afraid to call upon his name.

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I think we should do what Mary did and go to Jesus.

There is this poem that has made the rounds on the internet and I used it in one of my newsletters.  It is called “A Letter From God.”

Good Morning”
From God

I am the Lord your God.

Today I will be handling all of your problems. Please remember that I do not need your help.

If the devil happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, DO NOT attempt to resolve it. Kindly put it in the SFJTD (Something for Jesus to Do) box. It will be addressed in MY time, not yours.

Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold on to it or attempt to remove it. Holding on or removal will delay the resolution of your problem.

If it is a situation that you think you are capable of handling, please consult me in prayer to be sure that it is the proper resolution.

Because I do not sleep nor do I slumber, there is no need for you to lose any sleep. Rest, my child.

If you need to contact me, I am only a prayer away.

Love Eternally,
The Lord your God

P.S. Please pass this on to all my other kids.


Let me close:

  • Where is the wine level in your life? Is it full?  Half full? “Empty?
  • What is draining you?
  • What area seems like stale water in an old jug?
  • How could Jesus renew that?
  • Where do you need to see the water turned into wine in your life right now? Could it be self-esteem, family, work or school, physical, or your spiritual life?  Perhaps feeling lonely, dry, out-of-sync with God?

If any of those situations apply, let us go to the Lord.