Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Wedding Planner

In his contribution to our continuing conversation about our Savior and the sipping sauce, my buddy Chad made a point about the miracle at the wedding feast at Cana of Galilee when Jesus turned water into wine. That passage is very near and dear to me. The story ranks about #2 on my top-ten list of favorites, right behind Elijah taunting and subsequently beheading the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18).

It is the first passage of which I remember receiving revelation, or a deeper understanding while eating scripture communion with the Lord. So as I share those thoughts, please pardon the 1990’s “faith movement” style of exegesis. These are the things I felt the Lord revealed to me regarding this passage and additional commentary:

John 2:1-11

1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, [3rd day = Day of Resurrection which is when our bridal gown was bought.]

2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. Jesus will come into any circumstance or setting when invited.

3 When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."
This was not an “invitation” but a declaration of a need. Moms seem to always worry about how something will look, or if someone will be “exposed” or embarrassed. My buddy Greg would shrug his shoulders and send everyone home. I would have gotten some buds together and taken up a collection and went to the market. I see the validity of all of those reactions, but - What would Jesus do? Let’s see…

4 "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied. "My time has not yet come."
Jesus is not obligated to fix the messes we make, but His grace applied usually does. Jesus “timing” is not necessarily tied to our schedule or agendas.

5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."
I see this as an act of faith (surrender) by Mary. Did He honor his mother? Was He responding to her faith? Since He only does that which He sees the Father do, perhaps He “saw” the Father doing this at His wedding feast. Something prompted Him to act after implying it wasn’t HIS problem.

6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Six is the number that often represents man or flesh in scripture, and stone the condition of his heart. Earthen vessel is also a depiction of us, dirty and filthy inside with much sediment settled in our hearts from religious traditions/ceremonies, and often we are “used” by others for their benefit, depleting but never giving back.

7 Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.
They weren’t full, so Jesus said, “just add water.” He will fill us with His living water, and does so fully, which literally changes the properties within us to transform us. That is His new covenant in action.

8 Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so,
I love this picture here of one servant drawing out the goodness of another and taking it to yet a third. That is the beautiful picture of relationship and making disciples. Oh that we would draw out the wine of other storehouses and drink in life from others. He gathers the water of the seas into jars and puts the deep into storehouses. Psalms 33:7; Deep calls to deep…Psalms 42:7; The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. Proverbs 20:5.

9-11 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 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." This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

Have you ever seen the mischief of this miracle? How about the snickering of the servants as they handed it over to the wedding planner; or the “eew gross” comments of the disciples as they looked on; or the “don’t tell mom, but watch this!” coming from Jesus himself; or the guffaws turning to shock as the master of the banquet sips and praises the wine the servants just handed him? Another interesting conclusion is the implication that the guests drank ‘em dry and had already “had too much” yet Jesus made more???? The earthly bridegroom will get depleted and fall short. The husband of heaven never will.

I think we miss the mark if we consider this miracle about provision instead of transformation. We love the miracles of provision when God meets us in our moment of our need, right? Often the need is a result of a self-inflicted crisis. What Jesus did was to see a need that initially He chose not to address. Who knows why He changed His mind, whether honoring mom or Dad or both? Regardless, it is a beautiful picture of redemption: Taking a religious ceremonial tradition and transforming it into a tool of relational communion and life - covenant.

As I was getting some more input from Rabbi Chad he shared this:

What is wine? It's the "fruit" of the fruit. It's what's produced from the fruit. And wine often symbolizes joy and fullness in the scriptures. Does it make sense that perhaps our wine (joy) comes as a product of Jesus' fruit being produced in our life? Our joy is a byproduct of his fruit in us. Of course the wine comes when the fruit is squeezed. The squeezing is not fun, but there's no wine without it. God never produces fruit in us for the fruit's sake. Fruit is not a trophy or plaque we hang on the wall to be admired..."Look at my fruit."

But as for John 2, there was no squeezing of the fruit to make wine. Just this miraculous wine POOF! Which I think was a "sign" that the kingdom of God was now on the earth. How? Well it usually takes a long, long, long process to make wine...years. A whole lot of work to produce a little bit of wine, but in the kingdom economy a little bit of work produces a whole lot of wine. It's a reversal of Eden's curse where you toil at work and the ground is contrary. In the kingdom, work is fruitful and productive and easy. If it ain't easy it ain't kingdom.

Jesus took the filth, mud, and muck, added His portion to it and turned it into something that can get one drunk, not with the wine of man that can leave you hung-over, but the fullness of the Holy Spirit to help you crossover to life in His Kingdom of Light and Life. He makes all things new. He loves to be invited to our parties and gatherings, and what He brings will always be better than our best. Hopefully we’re not too full of our own stuff to miss out on His contribution.

4 comments:

Not Tim Michael said...

3 When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine."
This was not an “invitation” but a declaration of a need. Moms seem to always worry about how something will look, or if someone will be “exposed” or embarrassed. My buddy Greg would shrug his shoulders and send everyone home. I would have gotten some buds together and taken up a collection and went to the market. I see the validity of all of those reactions, but - What would Jesus do? Let’s see…

actually, I would have responded just like Jesus...

4 "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied.

or in the New Greg Translation: mom, why are you bothering me?

And then I would have continued,

"I've talked to you before about how alcohol affects your walking, we've got a long journey home and all my buddies are trashed. What part of Designated Walking Caravan Leader don't you get? Come on, we're trying to have a good time..."

But then she would have continued just like she did, interruption my speech and saying,


"Do whatever he tells you."

'cuz mom's don't like it when their kids backtalk.


A minor point is that she already knew he could do something about this situation, and that his method was to require action on the part of the people at the party. So this is his first "public" miracle.
She was apparently fully aware of his awesomeness, she had seen it demonstrated enough to know how he would take care of it, and she wasn't repulsed by his initial response.

That's a whole lot of mom right there.


Tim Michael said...

You're not my only friend named Greg, but you are my only friend that goes by "Not Tim Michael."

Great points btw. We can always use a lotta Ma. We get to honor them this week. Sweeeeet!

Are you sure you wouldn't say "Party's over! Let's wrap it up, and leave me the bacon!"

Anonymous said...

So is Chad really a Rabbi?

Tim Michael said...

Chad is more rabbit than RABBI - truth be told.

Nope he used to be a preacher and his roommate in college was a converted (I think) Jew.