Sermon Outline On John 2:1-12 (NIV)
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 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. After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days.
Have you heard about that TV show on the cable network TLC (The Learning Channel) with the title “Trading Spaces.” It is based on an intriguing concept. Two couples who are neighbors trade spaces. Each couple designates a room in their own home that they want renovated. They may give some general guidelines like “the family heirloom must stay,” or “I don’t care if everything goes.” After designating the space to be remodeled, the couple trade homes for 48 hours. During that time they redo to others space as they choose. They each have the help of a designer, carpenter and one thousand dollars. At the end of the show each couple sees what the other has done to their room. Often the redo can be described as transformation.
Transformation happens in our lives in many ways.
According to John, Jesus accompanies his mother to a wedding in Cana. He has just recently called his disciples, and they are with him. At the wedding something embarrassing happens. They run out of wine. Mary feels sorry for her host, and she turns to Jesus and asks him to do something.
Jesus says to his mother, “I don’t know how to make wine.” “Besides that I don’t have any grapes and the process requires more than a few minutes. It requires months and years to make a fine wine.”
No that’s not the way it went. The exchange between Jesus and Mary is much more interesting than that. Jesus does protest, but with regard to it not being time for him to reveal who he is. How does Mary respond? She turns to the nearby servants and says to them, “Do what ever he asks.”
Now isn’t that just like a mother? You protest and she ignores your wining assuming that you will do what is expected of you.
Jesus looks around the room. Over in the corner sits 6 stone vessels. They are in the home of a good Jewish family, and the empty vessels are used for water that is used in ceremonial cleansing. Jesus tells the servants to fill the jars with water. Then he does something that is amazing. He tells the servants to take a dipper full of water to the master of the banquet. When the head caterer takes a taste, he is surprised. “Why this wine is better than that we have been serving. ”
John then describes this as “the first of his miraculous signs.” John likes to use that word “sign” rather than miracle. It was a miracle, but its purpose was to point to Jesus.” Isn’t that what a sign does? It points to something beyond itself. Jesus performed the first of his many miraculous signs at Cana in Galilee.
John gives us a reason. He says that this sign revealed Jesus’ glory. We are told that because of this miracle, Jesus’ disciples put their faith in him. Jesus is revealed as much more than a mortal man. The glory of his true being can be seen. For the disciples it is an epiphany. The god nature of Jesus is uncovered.
This story also reveals something about the transformational power of Jesus Christ. Jesus transformed water into wine. Later we will see Jesus transform the sick into the healthy. He will transform the blind, the lame, lepers and adulterer. He will transform sinners into followers.
Let’s take a closer look at what Jesus did at this wedding banquet. To make the wine, he used servants, empty vessels and water. Water. You can’t get much more common than water. Jesus used the very common to make the most uncommon. His wine was far better than that served first.
Jesus used the very common to make the most uncommon. Jesus couldn’t get more common than me and yet he chooses to use even me in his purposes. Jesus has plans for each of us. Jesus wants to transform each of us into citizens of God’s kingdom. Jesus wants to transform us just as he did all those tax collectors and sinners.
To transform the water into wine, Jesus used empty vessels. Hear these words from Paul to the church in Philippi. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death–even death on a cross. Philip. 2:5-8 (NRSV) Jesus emptied himself in order to serve. Jesus used empty vessels for this sign of water into wine. Jesus works best with empty vessels. Do we offer ourselves to Jesus as empty vessels? Do we offer ourselves to Jesus with no strings attached? “Well Jesus you can use me, but…” “If you do this for me, I will do that for you.”
Remember when Jesus said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” And what did Jesus say to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And then there was another who said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59-62 (NRSV) Jesus needs empty vessels.
Paul begins his letter to the Philippians with this salutation: Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus… Jesus used servants to render this sign. Jesus on the night he was betrayed took a towel and wrapped it around his waist. He took a basin full of water and knelt at the feet of his disciples. He showed them and he showed us that we are to serve not be served.
Jesus is in the transformation business, but Jesus chooses to use you and me in this process. Before Jesus can use us we must be transformed. Has Jesus transformed you from seeing yourself not as a common person, but as the uncommon child of God Almighty? Have we like Jesus emptied ourselves? Do we like Jesus have a servants heart?