Monday, January 20, 2014

Serves the Best Wine Last

2 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.[a] 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)
When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
“My hour has not yet come.” We all know the story. Jesus fills the stone water jars with water and it turns to wine, the best wine. The newly married couple is spared the shame of having run out of wine at their wedding. Jesus intervenes in a seemingly small matter, the daily bread is given, and there he manifests his glory and his disciples believe in him.
Daily bread, we pray for it. “Give us this day our daily bread” just as Jesus instructed his disciples to pray. We pray for it and often worry about it. We become anxious and it helps nothing. Night comes and we toss and turn wondering, are we going to get that job? Is that deal going to come through? And it doesn’t help to know that others have suffered worse than we have. At times like these we suffer. Perhaps so much that we forget to do those things Jesus tells us to do. “Do whatever he tells you” the Mother of Jesus says. Do whatever he tells you. She knows the minute Jesus says my hour has not yet come that he is going to do something great, but he will do it in his time. But it becomes hard to trust when the twilight hours bleed into dawn and you find yourself still too tired to stay awake and too stressed to sleep. You wonder in the back of your head, “Am I going to lose it all?” Lose it all, every one of the good gifts that God has given you of his own Fatherly divine goodness and mercy, your house, your home, your work, clothes and shoes, and all those things with which you find your own self-worth, your own pride and joy are so intimately bound. To lose such things is to lose more than your wallet and find a hundred dollars gone. When a man’s house is broken into and things stolen, a man feels violated. A man loses his job, he may know that he won’t starve, friends and family, the community food bank will feed his body, but he hopes he doesn’t see you at the food bank, loss of pride is a hard thing to suffer, shame a hard thing to endure. And like it or not, there is often a good deal of shame to be had along with charity. Stress, anxiety and depression, and one hardly has the presence of mind to do what Jesus has told us. But when we listen it helps us bide the time till he comes.
And what has he told us to do? He reminds us that man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Pay attention to his word, keep his word, let it have its way with your life. His hour will come. But prayer and devotion will bring you further than aimless anxiety. The fields have no worries, but God clothes them with lilies that outshine all the splendor of Solomon. He gives us our daily bread despite our anxiety despite our sin. Every day we wake up is a day he has given us to accomplish his purposes in this world, good works he has prepared for us. And these we do as Fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, these we do as accountants and business owners, teachers and mechanics. Do whatever he tells you to do, the job he has given you yes, but then he tells us not to neglect the assembly of the saints, which is church, and he tells us “do this often in remembrance of me.” Hear the word, live in your baptism and walk in the newness of life, partake in the Lord’s Supper for the forgiveness of sins, and be patient for his hour will come. This is how a Christian bears his cross in the hard times, throwing his cares on Jesus known that this cross has been borne by him.
This cross has been borne by him. He carried it, and he carries it with you. Your anxieties are his cares. And in the face of death they may seem like small things that we suffer, but if we suffer he suffers with us, and if he suffers with us, then he will take care of us. His hour will come, and when it does his glory will be made manifest through our weakness. His hour comes, and in his time he will work out things for us in a manner that we could never have conceived for ourselves, our mourning will be turned to dancing, our sadness to joy because He always serves the best wine last.
Yes, when we thought we have lost everything we could have ever hoped for, it is then that Jesus steps in and intervenes. His hour comes in his good time and he who gives us this day our daily bread who gives us life, he takes the water from the stone jars of the law, and he pours into our hearts of stone that worry and toss, and trust not in God, and there he pours in blessed wine in the forgiveness of sins. The third day comes, his hour comes, the wine is served and it is better than the last. And we give thanks because we see and believe in him. His disciples realize it is he who gives us our daily bread, the same one who died to give us his body, it is he who turns our mourning into dancing, who from his side poured water and blood for the forgiveness of sins, that on the third day, we too would walk in the newness of life.
Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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