Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jesus Turns Water into Wine

Topic: Jesus Turns Water to Wine
Scripture: John 2: 1 - 11
Date: 29th February 2017
Time: 8.30pm
Venue: Christ Church Melaka
Preacher: Rev Lionel Gan.

1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” 4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

Opening Prayer:
Our gracious Heavenly Father, we thank you for bringing us together to worship you this morning. As we open your word, pray that you also open our ears to hear your voice, open our minds to receive your eternal wisdom, open our hearts to receive your wonderful love! May the word of my mouth and meditations of our hearts be pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

Good morning to all of you! Today is the second day of Chinese New Year, I would like to take this opportunity to greet our Chinese members and friends a blessed and abundant New Year. May the Lord embrace you with His presence, His peace and His joy as you continue your walk with Him throughout the year and throughout your lives.
The gospel we read this morning is a very familiar text. I believe we have heard this passage being preached many times in our church, even you could share many good insights upon contemplation of the text. As a celebrant of Holy Communion this morning, I am privileged to be here to share some thoughts so that we may encourage one another in the Lord.

Today, as Chinese communities throughout the world celebrate their New Year, or the Spring Festival so called, you could hear exchange of greetings and wishes in a jubilant atmosphere. In fact, Chinese are wonderful and generous people who can give away their best wishes lavishly even though you find it incredible at times.

Why I say it is incredible? Just because the wishes you come across is too good to receive. Here are some auspicious words or phrases which you can hear, “May your wealth come to fill a hall”, “May your happiness be without limit”, “May a small investment bring ten-thousand-fold profits”, “May your happiness and longevity be complete” and many other good wishes.

As you can see, the greetings come in bountiful expressions. In a nutshell, they are focused on prosperity, abundance, fullness, longevity and so on. I am sure all these good wishes are not confined to Chinese alone, they also ring true for the people from all parts of the world. Just ask yourselves sincerely, who do not want prosperity, abundance, fullness and longevity?

I believe all these wishes are the goals of many today who regard it as the ultimate fulfillment in their personal lives! However, in the midst of all material pursuit, have we ever paused for a moment to ponder the graciousness of our divine Provider? He is the One who makes our ends meet under all circumstances, whether it be abundance or deficit we experience in our lives.             

The passage we read this morning is relevant to our daily life experiences. It serves as a kind reminder to us especially when are carried away by the clamor of celebration. At times, we shared the same experience with the host of wedding feast in the Gospel, something crop up last minute at the climax of our celebrations. We are caught by surprise and will find this saying “Nothing is so certain as the unexpected” is always right.

However, from the experiences of many God’s children, no matter what happens in lives, our Lord is ever gracious to let us experience His wonderful provision, just like the host of wedding feast in Cana, because the Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not be in want. When we encounter shortage or deficit in lives, the key to His provisions always lies in whether we stand true to God and trust Him enough. May be we could learn some lessons from the host of wedding feast who experienced divine provision when supply of wine was depleted.        

Dear friends, to run out of wine in a wedding was more than embarrassing, it broke the unwritten law of hospitality in Jewish culture. During Jesus’ time, weddings were community events that lasted several days and involved countless details. It takes plenty of time to plan the days for this big event. As such, the host would ensure sufficient supply of food and beverages. Shortage is definitely out of the question. However, the case we studied today, wedding was held in a humble village. Most likely, the host was poor and he could afford only low-budget reception.

I am touched to learn that the host did something wonderful for the Lord.  He invited Jesus and His disciples with open arms, serving Jesus with whatever he had. Yes, this should be our attitude in serving our Lord. Serving God with whatever talent, gift and resources you have today. Don’t procrastinate until the day when everything goes well, only then consider offer yourselves to God. The host never turned down Jesus by saying please join me when the supply is plenty.  No, he just offered Jesus whatever he had, and miracles followed suit.         

On top of that, the host demonstrated humility in serving our Lord. At this moment in time, Lord Jesus just began his ministry on earth. He is nobody in the Jewish community, especially in the eyes of the religious leaders. When Jesus came for the feast, he had recruited only 6 disciples, in the process of getting more. In fact, this number was no match with Pharisees who had 6,000 disciples at that time. The host was willing to usher the lowly and meek, the humble ones…to receive them as guests of honor in his wedding celebration. As for Jesus, our Lord entered into the normal experiences of people’s life and sanctified them by His presence. Wise is the host, the newly-wed and the family who invited Jesus to their wedding.

Today, as we hold celebrations in our personal lives, whether it be your Wedding celebrations, your wedding’s anniversary celebration, New Year celebrations and so on…may the Lord help us to be mindful of the need of others, especially those who are needy, lowly and humble, marginalized by our society. Pray that we will receive them with the love of Christ in the midst of our celebrations. We must be reminded the purpose of Jesus’ attendance in the wedding feast, not for food or wine, He joined in the festivities because they involved people, and Jesus came to be with the people. We pray that our mission entrusted by God could be accomplished even in the  times of joyful celebration with others.             

Closing Prayer:
Heavenly Father, we thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ to be the Savior of mankind. He has accomplished the mission entrusted by you, it is our calling to continue His work on earth. Father, even in the celebrations at this point in time, help us to be the channel of blessings to others, especially those who are needy, lowly and meek, marginalized by our society. May your love, grace, mercy, provision and salvation come upon them through us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen! 

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