Monday, January 18, 2010

And the Disciples Believed Him

Second Sunday after the Epiphany
John 2:1-11
Bror Erickson

[2:1] On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. [2] Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. [3] When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." [4] And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." [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. [7] Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. [8] And he said to them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast." So they took it. [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." [11] This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:1-11 (ESV)

“This the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed him.” “and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed him.”
He manifested his glory and his disciples believed him. It doesn’t say if anyone else believed him. We aren’t even sure if Mary did. The servants who drew the water knew who had done what, but it doesn’t say they believed. Though knowing and believing aren’t all that different. I mean you can actually believe something you know. Today there seems to be a dichotomy driven between these two words that isn’t all that helpful. In Greek they are the same. But the disciples believed Him. It is the essence of being a disciple of Jesus, to believe Him, even as you believe in Him. To hear His comforting words of forgiveness and know that it matters not whether they be attached to water, bread or wine, they are true, and they do forgive.
Why not the rest, though? Why didn’t the rest believe Him. Here, closing time almost came early. The wine had run out. The couple getting married is up for embarrassment. They had saved and put away. They waited. They hadn’t moved in together to cheapen the wedding. They had stayed with their parents until which time the man could support a wife, then they called a party. The happy day when this love smitten couple’s hour had come, the day that they would move in with one another and be married, finally enjoy each others company and come to know each other as husband and wife had come, and this was worth celebrating, joy to be shared with the families on both sides. I mean I sometimes think people go overboard with this. But if there is ever something to celebrate it is the joy of man and woman coming together as husband and wife. The God’s gift of marriage deserves to be celebrated.
Essential to this in Jewish life, even today, is wine. There were non of the taboos surrounding this in Jesus day that there are today. Taboos that often serve to exacerbate the problems that were known even in Jesus day. But they knew drunkenness and alcohol abuse. They knew men and women who couldn’t control it as they say, couldn’t hold down a job. Yet wine was part of everyday life for them, and it was expected at a wedding. It was an embarrassment not to have it there. This young couple just getting married, well you can imagine what the mother in law is doing right now. The fit she is going to show at the embarrassment of her little princes. The bride, always uptight on the day of the wedding, full of nerves, so anxious she can barely enjoy the day she has waited for her whole life, relieved to see that the groom bothered to show up. And now they find they don’t have enough to entertain with. This isn’t going well.
Mary, Jesus’ mother thinks maybe Jesus can do something. She asks him. Jesus responds as if she is asking him for a miracle. “What’s this got to do with me, or you for that matter woman. (why don’t we just leave) My hour has not yet come. But then it does. Jesus turns water into wine. Not to hard to do if you have enough grapes and time, but no, Jesus just has some stone jars filled with water, and then it is wine. Good wine. The party continues, The disciples believed Him.
The rest why not? To preoccupied to see Jesus working in their lives? Perhaps. Aren’t we guilty of that at times? The hard times show themselves on the horizon. We pray. We pray, and we pray. The hard times come and go not so hard as we thought they would be. And we think it was us. I mean I don’t really know how you wake up in this world without realizing there is a God and thanking Him for the blessings He has given us. Yet I find myself guilty of blowing Him off. Here He saves a party. The disciple’s believed Him, and everyone else went on their way. Even Mary it seems. Later she shows up to take Jesus home, thinking He lost a screw. But the disciples believed because they saw. They saw Jesus reveal His glory. He revealed it to them.
So He reveals His glory to us, more often than we realize. He gives us our daily bread. He takes care of us day in and day out. Gives us what we need, not only to live, but also to enjoy life. Even as we abuse those things, as perhaps the wedding guests did. The steward seemed to think they were sufficiently drunk to bring out the cheap watered down wine. We take them for granted don’t we, the people in our lives, the work He gives, too busy coveting what other people have to stop and enjoy what He has already given us. And this doesn’t even compare to the life that He has set up for us in heaven. The full weight of glory. He gives us all these good things in the midst of a sinful world manifesting His glory. What more will He give when the true manifestation of His glory, His death and resurrection comes to full fruition in our lives as we step from the grave and into heavenly bliss, because we have believed when He manifested his glory on the cross, forgiving our sins, and in the empty tomb giving us life, life we live even today, even now, life we enjoy at his hands.
Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord Amen.


Nancy said...

Hime? Was that a special Lutheran disciple? Just wondering...*; )

Steve Martin said...

Us Lutheran types aren't necessarily the best of spellurs.

And yes, the Lord does give freely to us and wants us to have a full life.

He gives until overflowing.

Bror Erickson said...

thanks, I posted that yesterday early in the morning, and maybe should have waited.

Frank Sonnek said...

There is another error beyond the spelling here.

"The happy day when this love smitten couple’s hour had come"

not so much. all marriages then were arranged. including mary and joseph´s wedding. arranged. meaning your parents pick out your spouse.

the metaphor of christ as bridgegroom only works correctly if we remember this. we did not choose him.

But here the metaphor breaks down. he chose us. and he paid the dowry not in gold or silver but with his blood.

6 vats of ceremonial Mosaic Law water. 1 less than complete. turned into the new creation freed from the law with christ himself being that 7th thing.

Bror Erickson said...

Many marriages were arranged, this does not mean that the couple was unhappy, or were not looking forward to this day. it was a joyous occasion. I wrote that comment full well knowing about arranged marriages. Also knowing that these were often arranged with parents knowing the feelings of their children. That is a boy and girl would fall in love, and if the parents approved they would arrange a marriage.