The setting of our passage today is a wedding. I recently did a wedding. During the wedding rehearsal, the groom pulled me aside and made me an offer He said “Look, I’ll give you $100 if you’ll change the wedding vows. When you get to me and the part where I’m to promise to ’be faithful til death,’ I’d appreciate it if you’d just leave that part out.” He gave me a $100 bill and walked away.
The day of the wedding the bride and groom were in front of me and we were to that part of the ceremony where the vows are exchanged. When it came time for the groom’s vows, I looked the young man and said:
“Will you promise to obey her every command and wish, serve her breakfast in bed every morning of your life and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever even look at another woman, as long as you both shall live?”
The groom gulped and looked around, and said in a tiny voice, “Yes.” Then He leaned in and asked “what happened I thought we had a deal.”
So I gave him his $100 dollars back and told him that she had made a better offer!
Weddings are fun they are times of celebration. But anybody that has planned a wedding knows about all the work involved. Everything has to be done and as it is a memorable day we want everything to go just right. The bride spends the whole day getting ready the groom spends just 10 minutes, which is actually longer than it takes him to get ready for anything else. Through all of the preparation, through all of the planning, most weddings will have one glitch, one or two things that were not perfect.
Over the years of ministry I’ve seen some mistakes at weddings, I’ve seen members of the wedding party show up late, the song that was sung be a total disaster, ring bearers and flower girls not cooperate, with outside weddings I’ve seen the wind blow the decorations down, I have seen the minister fall down stairs, Fortunately the bride broke my fall.
When Niki and I got married we went to light the unity candle and it just would not light. Now that does not mean that we are not married it just means that there is no flame in our lives. I’m kidding the candle lit fine.
When these kind of issues happen we are a little embarrassed but we usually just laugh a bit and move on – because the really important part of a wedding – the love and the promise that make the covenant – is in the hearts of the bride and groom. Still we want this day to be special.
Jesus first miracle happened because Jesus’ mother Mary was concerned about a large potential embarrassment at a wedding.
My guess is that if you’ve been going to church for a while, you don’t really think of Jesus as someone who liked to have a good time. The picture in many of our minds is of someone who avoided such normal human pleasures as social activities and parties. When we read through the gospels, we discover that Jesus loved to go to banquets, parties, and receptions — He was a much sought-after dinner guest. Even the religious leaders disdainfully referred to Jesus as a “glutton and a drunk” Matthew 11:19 also says, “The son of man came eating and drinking…” Jesus always chose to spend time with ordinary people rather than mixing it up with the religious crowd.
The wedding took place in a town called Cana of Gallilee. Cana was a little town outside of Nazareth.
Weddings in Israel at that time were long celebrations usually lasting a week. Instead of getting married and going off by themselves, they were surrounded by their friends and family for the first week of their married life. How would you like to have your mother-in-law watching your every move after having just gotten married? During that week, they had a huge celebration. It was a week-long feast. The groom and the parents of the groom were responsible for providing all the food and drink that would be needed for the celebration. The drink was wine and it was very important, to run out of wine at a wedding would be like McDonalds running out of hamburgers! Besides being the staple drink of celebrations, wine is also very symbolic. Wine symbolized the gospel, (“new wine in new wine skins”) the blood of Christ, (communion) it was also symbolic of joy. To the Jewish people, wine symbolized joy.
I can imagine that that bride, if she even knew about the shortage, might have been getting pretty anxious. I can hear her saying to her mother, “My wedding day is not supposed to be like this! I’m supposed to be filled with joy. But instead, I’m worrying about what everyone is going to say about us when they discover that we have run out of wine.”
Maybe you have had similar thoughts. Marriage is not supposed to be the horror that you are experiencing. Parenting isn’t supposed to be filled with so much sorrow. Christianity is not supposed to be like this. I’m supposed to be overflowing with joy – or so I’ve heard – but nothing seems to be happening. My joy is gone.
For some of you, your joy is running low. You thought that you had enough to make it through whatever period of your life you’re going through, but you were wrong. You are running on empty.
You may not even know where your joy went. You just woke up one morning, and the supply had been drained. Some things have come along that you didn’t anticipate that have stolen your joy. Maybe some people have come into your life, and they, by their attitudes or actions, have drained you dry. An even more common reason that people lose their joy is because of sin in their lives.
LIFE HAS ITS EMPTY SPOTS
How Do I Deal with the Empty Spots in My Life?
The question that confronts us all today is how do we deal with those empty spots in our lives? How do we deal with failing and faulty finances, bankrupt relationships, broken homes and hopes? How do we go on spiritually when our joy is gone?
Our text is a shows us how to deal with emptiness.
1. Check My Invitation List
2 and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration.
The text clearly states that Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding. This stresses the fact that if things are to start off right and get even better Jesus must be invited. In those areas where we find emptiness in our lives we should check the invitation list and see if Jesus is there. It is Jesus that transforms houses into homes, weddings into marriages, males to men, and females to women. Without Jesus our brightest day is still dark, our happiest moment is shallow, our lives are shells of what they could be. We need to check the invitation list and see if we have invited Jesus in those empty and lonely areas. Many of you have invited Ronald McDonald, Mickey Mouse, Victoria’s Secret, the Dallas Cowboys and everyone else but Jesus into our homes and relationships. Then we wonder why we are empty. We need to check the invitation list and evaluate who has access in our lives. I suggest that we need to restrict some people and things and extend a VIP invitation for JESUS. He wants to come into your situation, but He will not break in; He stands at the door of our hearts and seeks access. Often we invite everything but the right things into our lives. Today I want to challenge us from the start, to check where you are empty and then invitation list of our lives and make sure Jesus is there.
2. Face My Dilemma and Consult Jesus
3 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”
Mary, says to Jesus they have no wine, translation, it’s all gone, we are in trouble, we are all out. I have said it, and you have said it “I am up the creek without a paddle”, or I am empty.” Mary understood the urgency of the moment and so she 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 portrait of what we need to do when we are running out emotionally, and running out of patience. This helps us to know how to respond to empty situations. Mary goes to Jesus and tells him all about it. She has a little talk with Jesus. Mary says when we are empty we should not hesitate, or cover up. Don’t deny it and don’t hide it. Mary wants us to all know that if we are serious about our search for solution to emptiness we must face our dilemma. This is the beginning to the manifestation of God’s power; he requires that before He will show up, we must be willing to face up to our situation. After we face our dilemma we must consult Jesus.
When Mary realized that there was a problem, she correctly took the problem to Jesus. This family may not have exhibited a great deal of wisdom in how they planned for the wedding celebration, but the wisest thing that they could have ever done was to invite Jesus. The very presence of Jesus at this wedding opened the possibility to a miracle.
In case you weren’t aware of it, Jesus is present with us in this place today. The very fact that Jesus is here means that there is enough power to resolve whatever problem you may be facing.
When Mary came to Jesus and communicated the problem to Him, You may think His response toward her seems a little cold and hard. Verse 4 -“Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” And there are times when we bring our requests to God for what we think are important to our lives that God’s response seems cold and hard. It seems like the windows of heaven are shut up. But the response that Jesus gave to Mary was to let her know that she was no longer in control. He was no longer under obligation to do what she wanted when she wanted it. He was under obligation to fully obey His heavenly Father not His earthly mother.
When it comes to asking God to do certain things in our lives, God is under no obligation to do things our way or in our time. God knows better than we ever could what is best for our lives and when is the most beneficial time for Him to answer our requests. God does miracles and He answers prayers, but He does it in His time and in His way.
There is one prayer that Jesus will always answer with a “yes” as soon as that prayer is offered up to Him. That is the prayer for forgiveness. If you are empty because you’re living a life that is contrary to what God says, then bring that sin to Jesus. He will work the miracle of forgiveness.
In the next post we’ll look at two more ways that Jesus can fill the empty spots in our lives.