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Jesus Makes Wine

01.24.21 Nathaniel Wall

  1. Full of Joy
    09.19.21 32m 40s
  2. Refuse to Fall
    09.12.21 40m 52s
  3. When the World Hates
    09.05.21 38m 58s
  4. Stay Connected to the Vine
    08.29.21 45m 09s
  5. Do Works Greater Than Jesus?!
    08.22.21 40m 38s
  6. For The Troubled Heart
    08.15.21 46m 45s
  7. Victorious Christian Living
    08.01.21 46m 07s
  8. What You Should Do With Clean Feet
    07.25.21 47m 11s
  9. Dinner with Jesus
    07.18.21 42m 53s
  10. 5 Truths for Troubled Souls
    07.11.21 49m 47s
  11. The Triumphal Entry
    07.04.21 43m 23s
  12. Mary Anoints Jesus
    06.27.21 42m 28s
  13. Raising Lazarus
    06.20.21 39m 15s
  14. Jesus and the Father are One
    06.13.21 47m 12s
  15. How Good is the Good Shepard?
    06.06.21 40m 16s
  16. Was Blind But Now I See
    05.30.21 45m 25s
  17. Live Free
    05.23.21 38m 07s
  18. The Light of the World
    05.16.21 34m 45s
  19. Condemnation and the Gospel
    05.09.21 34m 31s
  20. Not The What But The Who
    05.02.21 40m 24s
  21. The Significance of Feasts
    04.25.21 38m 53s
  22. Eat Jesus
    04.18.21 39m 06s
  23. Faith Through The Storm
    04.11.21 37m 51s
  24. Worship When You Struggle
    03.28.21 35m 25s
  25. Healthy Conflict
    03.21.21 43m 50s
  26. Pick Up Your Mat and Walk
    03.14.21 33m 45s
  27. Cling To His Word
    02.28.21 33m 07s
  28. The Scandalous Grace Of God
    02.21.21 38m 55s
  29. The Strength of Humble Faith
    02.14.21 36m 11s
  30. Life Over Death
    02.07.21 46m 45s
  31. Do Not Waver
    01.31.21 43m 16s
  32. Jesus Makes Wine
    01.24.21 36m 36s
  33. The Story of Us
    01.17.21 40m 44s
  34. What Made John Great?
    12.27.20 34m 29s
  35. Why Jesus?
    12.20.20 31m 51s
  36. The Word of Light and Life
    12.13.20 34m 02s

Jesus Makes Wine

01.24.21 Nathaniel Wall Light the Dark Series

I’m going to jump into John chapter two, and this is what I’m going to do for us this morning. John chapter two for me is kind of an odd story. I’ll be honest in Christianity, when I first read, for several years, reading John chapter two, the beginning of these first 11 verses, I didn’t fully understand what was being communicated in this passage of scripture. I found myself kind of floundering and making application to this chapter. So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to talk about a weird story and we’re going to make some great application. I hope that you learn something from here today and that you don’t do what I did as a believer in Christ when I first read this story. It took me years to understand what it was about and if I would try to communicate the significance of Jesus, as it relates to this story, I wound up saying some just strange things, which we will talk about. I find that people often pull out the wrong things from this story.

But as we get ready to dive into John chapter two… We’re going to talk about Jesus turning water into wine, by the way, that’s what we’re talking about. Jesus making wine. And before we dive into this, I want to draw a passage in John’s to your attention. In John chapter 21, we’ll throw it up on the screen, it says this, John writes this, he says, “But there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I expect that even the world itself would not contain the book that would be written.” So what John’s saying about Jesus’s life is man, Jesus did so much stuff that it’s really impossible to capture it all. But John manages to capture some of Jesus’s life that he would feel is significant for us and it’s contained in 21 chapters in this book.

So when you read John chapter one, we’ve gone through it together, and you get into John chapter two, John chapter one is kind of the pronouncement of the identity of Jesus and the calling of people to follow him as he begins his ministry, right? It’s like, “I am God in the flesh. Guys follow me.” And then when you get to chapter two, he performs his first miracle. This is Jesus initiating his ministry, right? People now invited more broadly to follow along and see the goodness of who he is.

Now, when I think about the inauguration of a king, right? You think about bringing a leader into this world and that pronouncement and that declaration. And let’s just say, you’re in charge of that, right? You’re the PR person or the representation of Jesus in this world. And you’re going to write that story like John writes in John chapter two. You’re going to write that story to declare it for the world. Maybe set up the first event to demonstrate to this world this inauguration of this king. What kind of miracle are you going to pick? I mean, if I were in charge of this… And I don’t want to blaspheme the goodness of God and what he chooses to pick, I want us to see why this is significant here in a minute. But if I were in charge of this, I’m thinking maybe like Oprah Winfrey Christmas style. And more than just, “You get a car, you get a car.” It’s more like, “You get a resurrection and you get a healing. And you get a resurrection and you get…” Jesus stepping out into the world here. It would be just this theatrical work. That’s the way my mind would go.

But what happens this story? The first miracle John chooses right about… He tells us in chapter 21, he can’t write about everything. Okay, John, so when you introduce Jesus to the world, what’s the first thing that you want to write about? And what is John choose for us? A catering problem, right? I mean, that’s what this is. If you know the story of the water turning into wine, it’s a catering problem. There’s a wedding going on and they run out of wine and they come to Jesus. They’re like, “We’re out of wine, make more wine, Jesus.” Who cares? Am I missing something in this story? Out of all the things that John could have chosen to declare the goodness of Jesus and the initiation and his inauguration in this world. Why water to wine?

I mean, when you look at the end of this story in verse 11, it says something interesting. It says, “The beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee and revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” Jesus not only does a miracle here, but he calls it a sign and the revealing of his glory. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think this is a pretty incredible thing. But if I just… In comparison to all the miracles that Jesus has done, this one, to me, more looks like a David Blaine street magic trick than anything. Why water to wine as the first story John chooses to introduce Jesus?

And when I find people often talk about this text, what I typically discover is that the first thing people want to fixate on is the question, “Is Jesus making alcohol right here?” Right? Some people even, when they approach this text, spend so much time on that topic. I mean, I’ve been in rooms where people… What Jesus is doing here doesn’t fit their narrative of what they find comfortable and so they actually… I’ve been in rooms where people have spent an hour talking about this passage and what Jesus really made here wasn’t alcohol. And that’s a bit ridiculous. I mean, even… And I’m not trying to make this pro-alcohol stand, but if that just makes you uncomfortable, you need to deal with it, right? But that’s what’s happening here.

It wasn’t until the last couple of hundred years that Welch’s grape juice even figured out how to stop the fermentation of grapes. And so it’s not a doubt in my mind that what Jesus was making here is wine. In fact, what they say in this story is that they come to Jesus or they come to the groom and they say, “Usually people serve the best wine first and save the bad wine for last. But what you actually did is the exact opposite. You saved the best wine for last,” and you know why they do that? Well it’s because once people get a few glasses of wine, your taste buds start to turn a different direction, right? You quit caring as much. Jesus turns water into wine.

Now I’m going to tell you this, I’m just going to talk about alcohol just real briefly for a minute, but I don’t want to dive real far into this. I know people usually come to that passage… Depending on where you grew up, you might be a little bit more fascinated with the idea that Jesus makes alcohol than other places of the world. The way you were raised, where you grew up, has a large perspective of how you view alcohol. I just went on a trip into Europe… You go to Europe and it’s like, “You wants some McDonald’s fries and some wine with that?” It’s a common thing there. But here in America, other countries, they have prohibitions, right? So the way you’re raised and your experience around alcohol might affect your perspective of it. Some people, it’s not been a positive experience by any stretch of the imagination with the way alcohol has been seen in their family. And so we have different ways of viewing that in scripture and I just want to work through it just a little bit and not get too far into it, because that is not the primary point of this passage.

But understanding what the Bible says about alcohol, I think it could be a little relevant here in saying if you’re a person that tends to lean towards prohibition, you might look at scripture and realize, “Man, Jesus was a little bit more liberal than what I like.” In fact, in Matthew chapter 11, Jesus got accused of being a drunkard because the type of crowd that Jesus hung out with was not the religious elite. There were more of the rough crowd. They were the one that understood how much they needed a savior. And so Jesus tended to spend more time in that kind of ministry in Matthew chapter 11, verse 19.

But for people that might drink or don’t feel that restrictiveness around the alcohol, maybe Jesus is too legalistic for you. Proverbs 23, verse 20, it says this, “Don’t be with those who drink too much wine.” The Bible doesn’t tell you that you can’t drink. Jesus turned water into wine. Jesus, on the night of his crucifixion, he celebrates with communion with his disciples, a picture of him as the Passover lamb. Paul tells Timothy in first Timothy chapter five, verse 23, “Use wine for medicinal purposes.” Timothy’s stomach was upset. He says, “Drink wine for your stomach, to help settle your stomach.” So the Bible certainly talks about the use of alcohol. I think during that time, it was a way to maybe make sure that what you were drinking was a little bit cleaner than some of the water that was offered.

And at the same time in the Ephesians chapter five, the Bible also warns about alcohol and the way it can control your life. In Ephesians 5:18, it says, “Do not get drunk with wine in which there is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” And it carries this idea in this passage, that drinking is a suppressant, right? It’s like some people in an unhealthy way, when you experience challenges in your life, rather than cope with the challenge, you want to check out by suppressing. And that’s not a healthy thing to do. That’s a bad coping mechanism, right? And he says, “Don’t be drunk with wine.” This suppressing. This debauchery. And this picture of debauchery literally means, “the spilling out.” It’s the wasting. So you picture a cup, if God gives you a cup, and what happens with your life when it’s given to alcohol. It becomes wasted. You spill it out. This idea of getting drunk, not drinking, but getting drunk. And then at the end of this verse though, it says, this is what we should be about. It’s not whether you drink or not drink. It’s about being filled with the Spirit.

So the picture is this, the alcohol suppresses you from living the life that God calls you to. You sort of waste that. But rather, God wants you to be filled with the Spirit, meaning he wants you to be alive to the things of God in this world. To not be afraid of things, to not have to hide from things and suppress it and not deal with it. But rather, God moves in you to make a difference in this world. To walk filled with the spirit, knowing that God is with you, wherever you go. So the Bible’s calling for us is, “Be filled with the Spirit.”

So how do you approach this as a church? Well, I would just say this. You meet very few people in life that say, “Man, because of alcohol, my life is so much better,” right? Like, “It’s radically transformed me. This is incredible.” But what you do meet is people that tend to share the opposite of that story. Maybe directly affecting them or within their family relationships or friendships. Maybe alcohol has wreaked havoc. When I just consider the effects of it, there’s a few things that we could say. The Bible gives you freedom in life. If what you do is not a sin, if what you participate in doesn’t control you, if it doesn’t become an idol, it doesn’t dictate your life, if what you do allows you to honor God with your life, you get liberty, as a believer. There’s liberty in the things that we do. At the same time, as a church, people struggle with things. And we want to be a place that doesn’t point people to temptations, but points them to Jesus.

I still understand the Bible doesn’t come out and just say, “No drinking.” I understand that. Jesus turned water into wine. At the same time, as a church, we want to be careful with where people have been in life and encourage them towards a godly platform. Meaning we care more about where you are in Jesus than what your favorite beer is, right? I mean, it should be a no brainer for us. And wanting to see people succeed in Christ. Therefore A.B.C., when we do gatherings together as a church corporately, we just don’t bring alcohol because we care about people that come through the door and we know that people face all sorts of temptations and we don’t want to be the person that puts that temptation in front of somebody. We want to be about Jesus. And that’s our focus.

In Romans 14:21, it says this, “It’s best not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything over which your brothers stumble.” We may have people in church that drink, and we may have people in our church that don’t do well with alcohol. And what I’m saying is just be mindful for where people come from. Care more about where they’re going and their walk with Jesus, than you do your Christian liberties. And you certainly have Christian liberties, right? But ultimately what we’re about is seeing people come to know Jesus and walk with him.

Having said all that, that’s not even what this passage is about. So if you read the story of the wedding at Cana, please know if your final interpretation of this passage is about alcohol, that’s a very shallow interpretation of this passage. I don’t know how else to put it. You’ve messed up somewhere, okay? That’s fine if you want to consider those thoughts, as it relates to scripture. Has nothing to do with what Jesus is doing here, okay?

But let me just dive further into this text. The wedding at Cana, really what it is, is a cultural embarrassment, right? We said, it’s a catering problem, but Jesus uses a catering problem to tell a much bigger story. So look at this. First three verses of this story. “On the third day, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee and the mother of Jesus was there and both Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding. And when the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”” I mean, that’s a problem in this day. This is a cultural embarrassment. It was the duty of the groom and the master of the banquet to make sure that the wedding went well. The groom was supposed to supply the wine and the master of the banquet took care of the ceremony. And it’s supposed to last… The typical wedding in Jesus’ day was seven days. And here they are just three days into this celebration and they’re going to run out and this would have been an embarrassment for the family. And so when Jesus intervenes here, he’s dealing with that sort of a cultural embarrassment.

I mean, just to help you identify that this was something that would have been a struggle for the groom and the master of the ceremonies is in verse eight and nine. As soon as Jesus turns water into wine, the first thing they do is they go to the master of the ceremonies. They’re like, “Look, you’re not going to be embarrassed now.” And the master of ceremonies is like, “Okay, take this to the groom.” And then the groom gets the notice that, “Yes, you’ve got more wine. You don’t have to worry anymore.” So you see that they’re in this situation. He wants to impress his bride, right? This is her day. She’s been thinking about this since she was a little girl. He doesn’t want to be the one that takes away from this. This is the first step for their family.

And this is where Jesus intervenes. Now verse four and five are an interesting and confusing section of verses. I will say this. As you read this passage, some people come to verse four and five and they think Jesus is teaching us how to obey your mom. If your interpretation of the wedding of Cana is not about alcohol, then generally the next interpretation I find people take from this passage is, “Kids, you should obey your mom,” just like Jesus obeys his mom. That’s kind of the application. And again, that’s not what Jesus is doing here, but let’s look at verse four and five for just a minute. It said, “And Jesus said to her,” talking to his mother, “What business do you have with me, woman?” That’s not going to go over well. “My hour has not yet come. His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he tells you, do it.””

This is sometimes what people think is happening. And I’m guilty of this, right? Jesus’ mom says, “This is embarrassing. Jesus, are you going to do something about this?” He’s like, “No way, mom.” And she’s like, “Come on.” He’s like, “Okay.” And Jesus goes and does what his mom wants. You should obey your mom. That’s kind of the application. And I’m not telling you kids not to obey your mom. Obey your parents. It tells you, “Your days will be long if you obey your parents.” Listen to your parents. I know sometimes you become a teenager and you think you know better. But mom and dad have walked the block a few times. They’ve got some wisdom, right? Listen to that. But that’s again, not the point of this story.

Jesus, here in this passage, he’s teaching us something more profound and something much deeper. And I think the author wants us to gather that by the way he addresses his mom because he doesn’t use an endearing term here. You see that, right? “Woman.” What’s Jesus doing? I think in this passage of scripture, Jesus’ mind is on something much deeper here. And he’s demonstrating it by saying, “woman.” I think Jesus wants us to recognize that the way he’s addressing this wedding at Cana isn’t as a son to mother relationship, but God to woman relationship. Or God to people relationship. Jesus is about to demonstrate his God-like characteristics at this wedding in what he’s going to perform. And this is why Mary knows Jesus is going to do something. This is why in verse five, she doesn’t turn and say, “Oh guys, he doesn’t want to.” But rather she says, “Do whatever he says,” because Mary knows Jesus is about to perform a miracle. But what Jesus is saying to us is that the miracle he is performing is not the ultimate miracle he wants us to recognize. This is a picture of something greater.

Now I’m going to prove that to you in just a minute. What does that mean? That Jesus is going to do something greater than just this miracle in this passage of scripture? Well, in this story, Jesus is using the wedding at Cana as an image of a greater wedding to come in him. So Jesus is sort of using this first wedding as a greater picture of a bigger wedding that will take place in him. In fact, when you look in John chapter three, just the next chapter over, if you were to turn to those verses, you see John the Baptist making a statement here. He says, “He who has the bride is the groom.” So he’s talking about his people, God’s people, the church, that’s his bride and he’s the groom. John the Baptist is saying this. “But the friend of the groom,” that’s John the Baptist. “The friend of the groom who stands and listens to him rejoices greatly because of the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

What John is saying is, “Look, there’s a wedding that’s going to happen here and I need to understand my role is not to take the spotlight from the bride and the groom, right?” And John is saying, “I’ve had this ministry to this point. I’ve proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, but now the wedding day has come. The groom has come for his bride.” The question is, where does John get this idea of this type of illustration? Why is John referring to this moment as a bride and a groom, with Jesus and his people? And John is saying, “Look, let’s not put the attention on me on the wedding day. I must decrease and let the wedding increase. Let Jesus increase in this.” Where does John get this idea? He’s not just pulling it out of a hat. I think John gets this idea from the illustration he’s seen in the wedding at Cana.

In fact, if you follow the theme of wedding in scripture as it that relates to God and his bride, the Bible uses it multiple times. In John chapter 14, when Jesus is in the upper room… Chapter 13 is where he celebrates the Passover with his disciples. They partake of what we call today, “communion.” Jesus drinks from the cup with his disciples, right? The last supper. And then in chapter 14, Jesus starts off with this statement. He says, “Do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. In my father’s house are many rooms. If that were not so, I would have told you because I’m going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to myself so that where I am, there also you will be.”

Now you look at that and be like, “How’s this the wedding, right? I don’t get this. We’re using wedding illustrations and he doesn’t talk about a wedding here.” Well, what Jesus is saying in John 14 is called a betrothal. He’s using betrothal language. And it’s a little different in our culture than engagement. But in Jesus’s day, when a couple was betrothed, if one of them died in the betrothal which was before their wedding, the other person was seen as a widow or a widower. So in Jewish culture, they considered this moment, this ceremony, so important that in the eyes of society, though they haven’t consummated the marriage, if one of them perished, the other one was considered a widow or a widower.

During Jesus’s day, when there was a betrothal, what would happen is a young man would go to the father of the bride or the future bride. And he would pay a dowery for her. And in fact, some cultures still practice dowries today. If you guys remember Harriet that was here from Uganda who was staying with us and was here during the summer. In her culture, people still buy cows. A future groom will buy a cow and give it to the family of the bride in honor of that dowery. The last thing she said to me… When I come to Uganda, I made a promise to her, I said, “When you get married, we will make sure that that cow is taken care of, right?” And so she said to me, when I was flying back here, she said, “Pastor Nathaniel, are you serious? Are you still going to get a cow if I get married?” And I said, “I will buy the best stinking cow in Uganda.” Some cultures still practice dowries today.

And in Jesus’s day, that was true. And when they would offer the dowery and a dowery was agreed upon, the future groom and the future bride, to demonstrate this betrothal, would drink from the wine glass together. Communion. That would be a demonstration at that meal, that they had agreed upon that dowery between the two of them. And in chapter 13, Jesus just offered that for us. His life. And then when the dowery was paid and the betrothal was set and communion was partaken of, the young man would then go home to prepare a place for his future bride. And that’s what it’s saying about Jesus in this chapter for you. God continues to use the picture of a wedding as an illustration of what God has for you. That he’s come for you. That he’s paid a dowery for you. In fact, at the end of Revelation, the way that Revelation ends, it’s a wedding celebration. Where Jesus is finally with his bride. Chapter 19, “Let’s rejoice and be glad and give glory to him because the marriage of the lamb has come and his bride has prepared herself. It was given to her to close herself in fine linen, bright and clean for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”

In this moment when Jesus says “Woman, my time has not yet come,” what he’s saying is… He’s saying to us, “I’m thinking in the moment of this wedding, of something even greater, a greater wedding to come. This is an illustration. This isn’t the wedding…” Jesus is saying, when he performs his miracle, “This is not the act. This is not the final act. This is not the act that I want everyone to hold to in me. This is a demonstration of his glory, certainly, but this is not the ultimate.” And so when he performs this first miracle, that’s what he wants us to know.

And how do we know that? Well, how do we know that for sure in this passage that that’s what Jesus is teaching us? I want you to focus on one phrase in verse four that really gets that across. If you go back to John chapter two, and you can see this in verse four, the very last statement that Jesus makes here, “My hour has not yet come.” That’s kind of bizarre. “Jesus, need you to fix some wine here.” “Can’t mom. Hour’s not yet come.” What does that mean? “No, it’s time for a wedding without wine and you’re capable of making this. Your hour is here right now. Do this.” Right? What is that? “My hour has not yet come.” Well, if you follow this phrase throughout the book of John, you’ll see that Jesus says it repeatedly. I’ve referenced some passages here. Jesus continues as he performs miracles to say this to people over and over, “My hour has not yet come. My hour has not yet come. My hour has not yet come.”

Until you get to chapter 16 and 17. And then Jesus finally says… He opens up chapter 17. “My hour has come. Father glorify me as I glorify you.” What’s Jesus thinking of in Cana? He’s thinking of you. He’s thinking of the ultimate wedding. The reason for which he came. To give his life for you. He’s thinking of your wedding day with him. Not the wedding at Cana itself. Much greater, much greater.

When you look in verse six and seven, I find it just a beautiful picture in how Jesus, in this moment when he chooses to turn water into wine, how he further illustrates this in the way he captures the wine. And look what it says in verse six and seven. “Now there were six stone water pots standing there for the Jewish customs of purification.” Some people think up to 150 gallons, these things would hold. “Containing two or three measures each, Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim.” What’s Jesus filling up? Pots for purification, right? And this is where, ceremonially, the Jews would cleanse themselves. And what’s Jesus doing with this wine? He’s offering you the drink of purification from these pots. That what Jesus would do for you would make you pure for him as a bride. What a beautiful illustration for us at the goodness of who God is.

And so you see in verse 11 now, when it says that this was a sign and the disciples believed and the glory of God was made known. That what he’s picturing here is more than just, kids obey your parents or have a conversation about alcohol. That is nothing in comparison to what Jesus is really saying to us in this passage of scripture. Jesus from the beginning is giving to us a declaration of his identity for your life that when the master of ceremonies runs out of an offering to make this party great, that Jesus himself becomes the master of ceremonies and provides the wine for your life. And he makes this party incredible.

So the Bible doesn’t just say to us, “In eternity, you will have a feast.” But that for us, eternity is a feast of the goodness of his presence. In a sense what God is saying here is, not just know that he is good, but taste and see that he’s good. That experience. Experience the promises of God made true in your life and embrace Jesus. Your groom has come for you. This is why Mary says, “Do whatever he says.” Do whatever he says. When it comes to the significance of Jesus in your life and the things of the world, forget it all for a minute and just do whatever he says. Embrace what Christ says over your life.

So let me just ask this. What does this all mean? That’s an incredible story. I think I’m going to call it my first miracle until we talk about another one next… or my favorite miracle until we talk about another one next week, right? This is my favorite miracle in the Bible. And then next week we’ll try to top it. But how do you make the application of that? It is a good story, but how do you make the application here? Well, you think for a minute, what does a wedding represent in Jesus’s day? True love, right? [Singing 00:29:25]. If you know The Princess Bride? One of us. But, it’s the most intimate of human relationships, that’s for sure.

And we had a wedding here last week, or this week, [Sair and Cecilia 00:29:37] got married, right? Our sound booth rulers back there. God was bringing some love together in that booth. They’re not here this week, obviously, or right now. But it’s the most intimate of human relationships. And you think about marriage in Jesus’s day and that’s still true. A wedding, a marriage, symbolizes the bringing of a family together, right? There’s all the possibilities of what God does through the two becoming one and what that builds. In Jesus’s day, a marriage was also your protection plan. It was also your retirement plan. It was also your health care plan. It was your welfare plan. You depended on a family for all of those things.

And I’m not saying that’s not true today, but I know within our culture today, we have other avenues where those things are supplied as well. But in Jesus’s day, that’s what family represented. And that’s why the book of Ruth is such a big deal when Ruth’s sons and husband die. Ruth looks at her life and says, “That’s it. My life’s done.” Not… Naomi. And Ruth partners with Naomi. Ruth goes with Naomi and helps care for Naomi, so that Naomi doesn’t die. Beautiful story. But that’s how family was viewed in Jesus’s day. It was an identity of belonging. It was looking towards your present, but also thinking about the future and all that family could provide.

What does that have to do with us? I would say for us, this story is probably more important than in any time in our history as a people, as a nation. And the reason I say that is because when it comes to our culture, our culture has a massive identity crisis. The moment you divorce yourself from God, you separate yourself from your purpose as a human being. Because God made you for his purpose. And what are you left to? To find the value, worth and meaning of who you are apart from him, and how in the world can you ever do that? Well, the answer is you can’t. Temporarily perhaps, but ultimately never.

And so you think about in our culture today… I think as a young person, there were options as a teenager growing up of different groups that you could be a part of to find your identity, right? I mean, I could have been a part of the nerd group, the jock group, the skater group, right? The grunge group, the druggy group. I mean, sometimes they cross, but there were a few options of a group that I could find an identity in as a young person. But I look and think, young people today. Talking about all the ways you can identify yourself. I can’t even keep up with it. And how does a young person find their true identity, worth and value and meaning? I mean, temporarily, yes, they might find some acceptance and love and belonging in some group. But does it ultimately satisfy?

Parents, that makes me think of your own relationship with Jesus and what you model for them. How important to find who you are in the one who made you. That’s what this wedding of Cana is about. It’s the groom coming for his bride. It’s the place to find identity and belonging and worth and value and meaning. It’s the place to see where Jesus paid the dowery, that Jesus gave it all for you to be loved and to belong and to be accepted and to find the reason for your existence in this world. It’s the greatest invitation you could ever have. Not the temporary fixes of this world, but something deeper in the longing of your heart for which you were designed for.

So the wedding of Cana for us as a church is something that we have opportunity to live out every day. Every day we get a place to help people understand the invitation of this God who wants them to know him and to walk with him. I don’t want to go far into this, but I just want to say, even for us as a church. And one of the things that I have just loved over the last few months is the food pantry that we do here. I find, I’m not able to be here every Tuesday night, but when I’m here I always find one person that’s here that I get to hear their story when they come through our doors. And I even think of the person that came last week, that just shared their story with me. I mean, I cannot tell you the number of people that… Their lives are being wrecked by something. There’s a handful of people come through that are in the middle of battling cancer. And the food pantry gives them a place to be able to get food in order to pay for their medications. And I love being able to meet a physical need, but in the middle of that, being able to talk about a God who gives us greater hope.

I talked to a guy last week, who in caring for his wife before she died, being able to pay for that medically, he lost everything. He lost home. He lost his wife. He loved her to the end, but he lost everything. And he comes through our doors. And what do we say to that? There is a God who knows where you are and he loves you. And he walks with you through the storms and he’s given his life for you. And he invites you in that dowery he paid for you to come to him because one day he will reconcile all things and there will be a feast that will endure all of eternity in celebration with this king. That’s the wedding of Cana. And that’s what you have as a church to be able to embrace and to share with this world.