Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Love for Life

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.
12 After this he went down to Capernaum, with his mother and his brothers and his disciples, and they stayed there for a few days. (John 2:1-12)
There is something about this miracle that captures the attention of almost all who hear of it. Jesus turns water into wine. It seems like such a trivial thing. For many people who refuse to enjoy life it is a stumbling block. I don’t get that frame of mind. I run into it all too often, people who are intent on not enjoying life in the name of Christ. These are the people who refuse to put out Easter baskets for their kids on Easter morning, because Easter is about Jesus. Personally, I think Jesus would put out Easter baskets, I think he would even play Santa Clause on Christmas. He loved children, he thought they were special. You may think that by depriving your kids of a couple presents from Santa, the joy of playing in the fantasy world that goes on with that, and exercising their imaginations, you are teaching them to take the Christian faith seriously, and the same with Easter, and Halloween. All you are really doing is teaching them that the Christian faith is a kill joy. And this is the opposite of what Jesus does here. The Christian faith, the kingdom of God, is reason to rejoice, to celebrate and to enjoy life. This isn’t trivial, on the contrary, there are so many layers of meaning and facets to this miracle it’s hard to keep track of them all. But here is Jesus’ first miracle. He turned water into wine on the third day. The empty jars of stone become vessels of joy. Jesus reveals his glory. Water into wine. Our hearts of stone are replaced with hearts of flesh, beating and pulsating with the very blood of life. Life itself is given new meaning, it is no longer plundered by the sting of the law that is death, no longer robbed of its dignity by the grave. God has become man, he speaks and it is done. His word has power over the world he created. And he saves us from our guilt, our shame, our embarrassment. He dies in our place and pours out his blood for many that we would have life and have it abundantly in the forgiveness of sins. Now joy, joy characterized by love, love for life, love for self, love for neighbor.

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