Greetings! Welcome to the show! It’s good to have you with us. We have been moving through the first of Jesus’ miracles, which He performs at a wedding in Cana. The wine has run out and Mary (Jesus’ mother) points out the situation to Him, expecting that He will help. Yet Jesus responds to her rather evasively. It says in verse 4…
John 2:4a (ESV)-- 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me?
Isn’t This Harsh?-- Now this seems harsh to us, that Jesus would call His mother “woman”. And dangerous for any of us. If you ever address your mother or wife like that, I can guarantee you are probably going to have problems. Yet here Jesus means no disrespect. The word here translated “woman” some would say is like our word ma’am; it is not demeaning in any way; quite the opposite, in fact. It is actually the same word that Jesus uses of Mary later when He is hanging on the cross and He places her into the care of John. Remember Joseph died sometime during Jesus’ childhood or youth; sometime during those “silent years”; definitely by the time of the cross, because Jesus commits Mary into the care of John because she is a widow. Jesus therefore (because He was the oldest) had become the head of the household (taking responsibilities for the family ever since Joseph’s death) has the responsibility of caring for Mary. And for that reason, He was the go-to person for Mary’s every need. And He was a good caregiver; because He never made a mistake or a bad judgment call. He was the very embodiment of the wisdom of God. And therefore Mary trusts him implicitly. And that is why she comes to Him with this request to begin with, because she knows that Jesus will be able to give the best possible help to the situation. Now the reason Jesus responds the way He does to her is highlighted by His next statement…
John 2:4 (ESV)-- My hour has not yet come.”
His Hour Had Not Yet Come-- Now what Jesus meant was that the time for His glory to become complete had not yet come. He is operating on a divine time table and is moving in perfecting timing towards the fulfillment of His mission. All throughout John’s Gospel is repeated the phrase “His hour had not yet come.” all the way up until His hour finally does come at the time of His crucifixion; and He is glorified (lifted up) on the cross; becoming the very means of our glory. It is arrival language; His hour had come. And so here Jesus is showing that He is about to enter into the purpose for which He came to earth and is saying that everything He does must be brought into submission to that mission.
Mary’s Relationship With Jesus Had To Change-- But in addition to this, in saying this the way He does, He is distancing Himself from Mary (in a way) and indicating that (because His ministry is starting) their relationship is going to have to change. She is to recognize Him not just as the son she raised, but is to start relating to Him as the promised Messiah and Son of God. He was no longer accountable to her, but from this point onwards was accountable only to His Father in heaven. But Jesus never denies her; this was always a part of His plan. And this is further demonstrated by the fact that she doesn’t take it as a denial. She knows He is going to do something about it because of what she then says to the servants. It says in…
John 2:5-6 (ESV)-- 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
Why the Pots?-- Now it is interesting that Jesus chose these water pots as the means by which He would perform this sign; because these Jewish water pots weren’t meant for wine at all, but were meant for hand-washing in order that you might be made ritually clean before you ate. And so they represented the whole Jewish system of purification; and the old covenant. And in verse 7 it says…
John 2:7a-8 (ESV)-- 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.”
They Obey-- Now I don’t know what the servants who had been commanded by Jesus to do this must have thought. They obviously probably would have been scratching their heads. But they obey and fill each of these stone water pots with water. It says…
John 2:7b (ESV)--And they filled them up to the brim.
And together these pots held somewhere between a hundred and twenty and a hundred and eighty gallons.
John 2:8 (ESV)— 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.
At what point?-- Now we don’t know at what point the water became wine; before they took it or after they took it in faith, we don’t know. All we know is that they took it. They take it to the master of the feast; the maitre’d or head waiter. And it says…
John 2:9-10 (ESV)-- 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
Leftovers-- And isn’t that how it is. Somebody comes over to your house for a couple days and you serve them the best, but toward the end you are serving leftovers. The food quality depreciates somewhat. Yet here it is just the opposite.
The master of the feast says, “Hey, this is the good stuff! What are you doing waiting to serve this! How much do we have?”
“Well, gallons and gallons of it.”
“What! You kept the best till the very end?”
Who Knew?-- You see, he didn’t know where the wine had come from. Few at the party ever did. Not even the chief waiter knew. It was all kept secret. In fact, interestingly enough, the couple that was getting married may not even have been aware of what Jesus did at their wedding. Imagine having no idea what Jesus had done for you. And yet (in a way) there is a beauty in that. The quiet grace of Jesus allowed a wedding to be preserved and enjoyed.
Unseen Touches of Grace-- And this is true in our lives as well. Jesus moves unseen in our lives every day; preserving us in an untold number of ways. When we get to heaven I can only imagine the awe we will have in looking over all those areas of our lives He touched; how many empty jars He has filled for us.
The Servant Knew-- Yet the servants (who had no stake in this); they knew and were witnesses to what Jesus had done. And even more importantly, so were the disciples. The disciples knew where it came from. And we are told that they saw His glory…
John 2:11 (ESV)-- 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
Beyond Expectation-- And what a joyous occasion to perform His first sign. In the Old Testament the two events that are almost alway mentioned in accompaniment with joy are the harvest and when you would hear the voice of the bride and the bridegroom. Those are the two greatest times for rejoicing. And here, the joy is found in the fact that, like I said before, Jesus doesn’t just fulfill a need, He does so abundantly (with a better wine; with excess and overflow; gallons and gallons of overflow). He’s saying to His disciples (and us), “Even though you expect me to stop at fulfilling the Jewish law (what these stone pots represent), I am going to go so much further. I have what it takes to meet your greatest need; to fill your emptiness; to cleanse you. The Jews had been trying to clean their hands; the outward parts, but Jesus is saying, “I want to go deeper than that. Just as I changed the inside of those pots, so also I want to change you from the inside.” He says in…
Matthew 23:25-26 (NIV)-- 25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
From The Inside Out-- And so Jesus touches those pots on the inside and makes wine that is altogether new; altogether better; altogether perfect; the most wonderful wine that had been tasted by any other person since the fall. And Jesus is saying to us, “Give me your cup and let me fill you. If you feel empty, let me fill you so that you will never thirst again!”
Church More Than Ritual-- As a pastor, I notice when a person or persons stop attending church. And there are any number of reasons why. But I think that often times the reason some people eventually come to skip Church is that Church itself has often become just a ritual we go through (like washing our hands in those stone pots) to cleanse and wash our consciences every week; not a place we go to to experience the rich, overflowing, wine of the presence of God. In many ways, we find that we have lost the wine. We have lost the wine of the presence of God.
Offering More than Ritual-- What Jesus is offering you today is more than ritual; He is offering you more than just forgiveness; He is offering you the life-giving joy of intimate fellowship with Him in a marriage relationship with Him. That is the depth of the relationship He wants to share with us; a marriage that begin now and extends on into eternity. And so today I would like to enter into the presence of Jesus in prayer and allow Him to fill you, to renew your strength, to cleanse you, and to make you new. And He will; and your life will be full; and you will also be a blessing and a source of life for those around you. Give yourself to Jesus today. Amen.
Rev. Cameron Ury graduated from Asbury University in 2007 with a B.A. in Bible and Theology. From there he continued his studies at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson, MS. It was there that he met his wife Tanya, who graduated from WBS with her M.A. and M.Div. degrees. Cameron and Tanya got married in 2009. Cameron then graduated with his M.Div. degree with a pastoral concentration in 2011.
After shepherding churches in both Mississippi and Ohio, they joined the ministry team at Renton Park Chapel in January of 2018, where Cameron serves as Senior Pastor and Teacher.
Cameron is also the founder and host of Lechem Panim, a weekly radio show that airs on KGNW 820AM "The Word Seattle". The ministry of Lechem Panim is centered around leading people into the life-giving presence of God in and through Bible study, prayer, and active discipleship with the aim of ministering to a world that is in desperate need of the healing touch of Jesus Christ.