May 11, 2014
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men and women light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men and women that they may see your noble deeds and recognize and honor, praise, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Mathew 5: 14-16
“One candle doesn’t do much.
Lights up a small corner.
But only just!
One prayer doesn’t say much.
Shows concern for a while.
But not for long!
One Christian doesn’t achieve much.
Works until empty.
But without much hope!
…but surely there is more than one?
One and one and one and one,
That’s four already!
Multiply again and again and again;
Soon there are hundreds, thousands, millions!
One million candles
Can light ten thousand rooms.
One million prayers
Can transform concern into action.
One million Christians
Today’s Study Text:
“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (through the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.”
Luke 2: 1-11
“Behold The Man” – Part 21
“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? –
The Wedding in Cana
“To Jesus religion was service. It was love of God and love of men and women. Ritual was irrelevant compared with love in action. To Jesus the most important thing in the world was not the correct performance of a ritual, but the spontaneous answer to the cry of human need.”
In what ways has Jesus called me to be of service to others?
How can I exemplify Christ’s love in the way I treat those I come in contact with?
“I know of no greater need today than the need for joy. Unexplainable, contagious joy. Outrageous joy!”
“When the wine of natural joy is spent and there is nothing left but the water of affliction, then doth Christ turn this water into wine.”
(1579 - 1659)
When I was growing up, there were two meals that my sister and I didn’t miss, that is unless we had a very good excuse. The meals were breakfast and dinner. Obviously, you may have already figured out that we “came of age” at a very different time in history for having breakfast and dinner as a family is not, for many, a routine in this era, like it was way back in the “good ‘ole days!”
The interesting thing about getting together at mealtime is that we all learned a lot about what was going on in everyone’s life. My dad’s favorite question, “What did you learn today?” became a springboard for some extremely interesting discussions that wandered all over the map. The thing is, that as time has passed, I’ve been informed by my mother that it was during our families’ conversations where she and my dad found out about the “real” things going on in the lives of my sister and myself. At a time when we were relaxed and enjoying a delicious meal, with our “guard” down, we were frequently little blabber-mouths yakking about everything in the world.
It shouldn’t surprise any of us to find out how many decisions in this world happen during meals. Not long ago I was reading about a very large business merger which took place and one of the participants was asked how the “deal” came together. Maybe the questioner thought the talks developed in some stately boardroom with wood-paneled walls around a hand-crafted conference table. Wrong! As the two individuals explained, they went to dinner at a favorite mom-and-pop restaurant and used a paper napkin as their notepad. Just a napkin and a couple of ink pens and the basic deal was done.
I’ll never forget years ago going out with a potential client to eat. After that one meal, I knew for certain they were not someone our company ever wanted to do business with. But on the flip-side of the coin, one lunch with my friend Betteanne, almost 15-years ago, and I knew I had a lifelong friend. Strange isn’t it how mealtimes open our eyes to so many things about ourselves and others as well.
This may be the reason we find Jesus spending so many of His meals with people: visiting in their homes; going to their banquets; participating in a beach picnic; and yes, even going to a wedding feast. In Jesus’ world, mealtime was ministry time. What a lesson for us!
Since Jesus found that “sitting at the table” and fellowshipping at mealtime was such an effective way to glorify His Father in heaven, I thought that as we continue this week to “Behold The Man” – our Saviour, Jesus Christ – that we should join Jesus as He feasts with those He met here on earth just so we can find out what mealtime meant to Jesus and can mean to us as well.
Today, we begin by looking at the very first miracle Jesus performed in His ministry. This story, about a wedding in Cana of Galilee is found only in the book of John. In his book, And He Had Compassion, William Barclay provides us with some insight into this particular event contained in John 2: 1-11. Here’s the background Barclay shares: “The story shows that in the household where this wedding took place Mary (Jesus’ mother) had a special authority…one of the Coptic gospels – that is one of the Egyptian gospels which did not get into the New Testament – has the interesting information that Mary was a sister of the bridegroom’s mother…Mary’s sister was Salome.” And as past scholars have considered, her son John may have been telling a story of the wonderful miracle Jesus performed at his own wedding. Since John is the only gospel writer to tell this story and since we do know that Mary, Jesus’ mother was his aunt, it certainly explains why Jesus’ mother was so concerned when the wine ran out. As William Barclay notes, “’without wine,’ said the Jewish saying, ‘there is no joy.’”
So in a situation that could have brought great embarrassment, even shame to the groom’s family, Mary went to Jesus and asked for help. What a tremendous lesson for us. How often when we run out of anything, we often scramble around trying to meet the need ourselves when if we would go to Jesus first, He will meet our need in His own way and time.
Sometimes when this parable is read, Jesus’ response to Mary seems almost like a rebuff of His’ mother. Actually, Bible scholars note that Jesus words, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me?” is, in fact an “exquisite courtesy.” As William Barclay shares: “There is no harshness and no disrespect here…it was a common phrase…in a case like this it meant: ‘Don’t worry yourself; leave it all to me.’ What Jesus said to Mary really was: ‘Lady mother, don’t worry. Leave me to settle this in my own way.’ One thing is certain – Mary did not consider herself in anyway rebuffed. She was quite certain that Jesus would do something – she knew Him so well. She went to the servants and told them to do whatever Jesus might tell them to do.”
It is here where I want to use a technique unique to Transformation Garden. Something I haven’t used for a while but this event and Mary’s response to Jesus yells out for a T.G. “STOP SIGN.” Mary’s trust in Jesus for the urgent need in her life was based on the fact that she knew Jesus was trustworthy. She had watched her precious son grow into a man. And it was through years of closeness with Jesus that gave her such a resounding faith in His ability to “come through” when she needed Him most. This fact forced me to look within my own life and ask this question, “Has my past experience with Jesus built such a faith in my own life that in the most desperate situations I know, without a doubt, that Jesus will “come through” for me, too?” How about you? Can you give that wayward child to Jesus and say, “I know you’ll do what’s best. You always have! So I’m trusting you today.” This is what Jesus’ mother Mary can teach us today.
But, we can’t stop at the sign and think we’ve gleaned all the lessons from Jesus’ first miracle. There’s so much more for us to find if we keep searching. There are, in fact, three things we can learn about Jesus as He takes what could have been a disaster and turns the event into a demonstration of heaven’s joy:
Lesson #1: We can be the heirs of Jesus’ mother as we intercede on behalf of divine generosity in a world of need. I absolutely love the thoughts expressed by Professor Carol Lakey Hess. She encourages us to watch Mary’s footsteps when she goes to Jesus:
‘They have no wine.’
‘What concern is that to you and to me?’
‘Do whatever He tells you’
‘Fill the jars with water.’
In John 2, the mother of Jesus…nudges the Divine. This text invites us to trust so much in God’s generosity and abundance that we, like the perceptive mother of Jesus, nudge God with our observation: they have no wine.” As I read these words, my thoughts turned to the millions upon millions going hungry today in our world. Where are my prayers? And will I open my heart and hands so Christ can use me to begin the miracle of providing for those who have nothing to eat or drink? How about if we just undertook working to feed the hungry in the community where we live? If everyone around the globe did this, what would happen?
Lesson #2: We can be the exporters of heavenly joy in a world of sadness and sorrow. David Steele, a Christian author and pastor flipped on the light switch in my mind with a new word he calls “Cana-Grace.” Pastor Robert Brearley, in his commentary on John 2: 1-11 explains how he sees “Cana-Grace,” exemplified in this first miracle of Jesus: “God does not want our religion to be too holy to be happy in. Throughout His life and His ministry, Jesus of Nazareth celebrated people – people getting married, people being healed of disease and deformity, people enjoying meals together. He carried a spirit of celebration with Him wherever He went as He proclaimed a God of mercy and peace and joy. This joyous feast at Cana is still a sign to the church that we are to rejoice in the people of God and to toast the world with the amazing Good News of grace.” WOW! What if when people met Christians, their first thought was of “Cana-Grace,” a joyous response to meeting Jesus who gave in abundance and brought heaven’s joy into every life. As author S.D. Gordon so beautifully penned, “Let us lift Jesus up by our lives of loyalty to Him, by our unselfish love.”
Lesson #3: We can be “reflectors” of God’s glory here in a dark world. Professor Linda McKinnish Bridges gives a beautiful perspective on which to base the foundation of Jesus’ first miracle: “The purpose of Jesus’ miracles, or signs, is to reveal the person of Jesus…John 2: 11 clearly states the purpose in summary fashion. ‘This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana, in Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. Jesus’ face is reflected in the pools of flowing wine being poured out for the laughing, happy, wedding guests who are present to celebrate life. In those same vats of wine, the faces of the believing disciples are also seen. Because of this sign, the disciples, ‘believed in Him’ (John 2: 11).”
As I’ve heard the story of the wedding at Cana in the past, I’ve thought that this miracle was performed by Jesus to help out because of a wedding emergency. But today, my thoughts are focused on what this miracle calls forth in your life and mine as disciples of Jesus in a dark and hurting world. Are we willing to “nudge’ the Divine with great perseverance on behalf of our world? Will we share the message of joyous “Cana-Grace” with a sad world? And when the hurting come to us, will they see, as S. D. Gordon pens, “the glory of God,” reflected on our faces and in our lives? Just as Jesus was witness to His Father’s glory, so we too can be reflectors of our Father’s gracious love today.
“Indeed, the glory of God was in the face of Jesus as He walked quietly among men. Looking into that face men and women saw God. That simple, gentle, patient, pure face, with its deep peace and victory and yet its yearning – that was God looking out into (human) faces.”
S. D. Gordon
Quiet Talks About Jesus
Prayer of Dedication
“Thou great winsome God, we have seen Thy beauty in Jesus. We have heard Thy music in His voice. We feel the strong pull upon our hearts and wills of Thy presence in Him. We cannot resist Thee if we would. We would not if we could. We are coming-a-running to keep tryst with Thee under the Tree of Life thou art planting in our midst. We will throw ourselves at Thy feet in the utter abandon of our strongest love. Thy volunteer servant I would be…now and forever.”
S. D. Gordon
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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