St. James The Apostle Anglican Church

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Sunday Sermon, January 17th.,2016. Gospel reading from St. John 2:1-11 - Jesus changes the water into wine.

Title: Fill Me To The Brim.

Text: "This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him." [Jn 2;11]

There are times when life's everyday challenges drains us to the point that we are running on "empty".  When we run on empty we let life rob us of our joy and we are not as happy as we should be. Maybe you are here today, and you have lost some, or all, of your "joy".  Something is troubling you, something is bothering you. Something is taking away your joy. You have been disappointed, hurt, or grieved. You are running on empty. You've lost or misplaced your "Joy".

St. John tells us how Jesus restores "joy" and He can do the same for us today. Lets call it the lesson of the four "be"s. First and foremost we are to be where Jesus is!  St. John tells us that Jesus has just begun his ministry and called his first five disciples. It is their third day together and they were invited to a marriage feast in Cana of Galilee.

We may think it is expensive today to have a wedding and it is. Back then a Jewish wedding feast lasted  a full week. They would begin with a sort of parade in which the whole town joined in. It was a huge celebration for all. The father of the bride would bring his daughter to the home of the groom where the marriage ceremony would take place at the front door. Then the seven day feast began. There was no honey-moon. They had an "open house" for a week with lots of food and wine.

This wedding feast would be a time of change for these new Disciples. At least two of them had been disciples of John the Baptizer. And John the Baptizer was not what you would call a socialite. He ate grasshopper  and wild honey. He wore animal skins for clothing. He lived in the wilderness and drank no wine. John the Baptizer would not be very comfortable at a wedding feast. Nor perhaps were his former disciples.
Jesus on the other hand was very different. Jesus loved being with the people.  He enjoyed social occasions and  most people were very comfortable around Him. In fact, He was even criticized by the Religious leaders for His love of life and his love for all sorts of people. Jesus brought Joy into people's lives. And that is what happens when we are where Jesus is.  The further away we are from Jesus in our spiritual life, the further away we will also be from the fullness of joy. The closer you are to Jesus the more joy you will experience. "For the joy of the Lord is your strength."[Nehemiah 8:10]  If you've lost some or all of your "joy", then you need to spend some time with Jesus.

SO first be where Jesus is and secondly be aware of the need [Jn. 2;3-4]  Mary the mother of Jesus went to Him with a need "They have no wine" she said.  It is important to understand that to run out of wine was a very serious thing to happen at a Jewish wedding feast. The groom's parents were responsible to make sure that there was enough wine to last for the whole celebration. But they ran out. It was a disaster. In that society, it could ruin a family's reputation .

Now mothers, what would happen if you told your son to carry out the garbage, and he said to you, "Woman, why do you involve me?  My hour has not yet come." I think your son would soon realize that his hour had come and he'd  better take out the garbage. Now!

Jesus said, "Woman, why do you involve me?" This statement is not as harsh as it may sound.  Jesus did not call her "Mom" as we might today, but He calls her "woman" which in Jewish culture was a term of very great respect. Jesus uses this designation for his mother only one other time when He was on the Cross at Calvary. Seeing His mother He said "Women behold your Son." Woman was said with the greatest respect.

 

At the wedding in Cana Jesus may not have been sure if it was the time and place to begin that part of his public ministry which could so easily mislead the people into thinking He was just a miracle worker and not realize who He truly was or why He came. Jesus, however, was not going to ignore the need brought to His attention by His Mother or her hint that He might do something about it. Mary knew that her son could handle the situation. Jesus can do something about our needs too. Jesus cares about our every need.  If you have lost your sense of Joy if you have a problem that seems to big, a yoke that is too heavy. Jesus truly cares. Go to Him,  seek His presence. He wants to bring "joy" back into your life.

 

So first be where Jesus is, secondly be aware of the need and thirdly be obedient. As we heard read there were six large stone water-jars which were used for ceremonial washing before and after meals.  Jesus told the servants to fill the jars with water and they obeyed, filling them to the brim. It is important to obey Jesus' instructions if you want to have "Joy" restored in your life because when we do not obey, when we live in disobedience to Jesus and His Word, then we will begin to lose our Joy.

So first be where Jesus is, second be aware of the need, third be obedient and lastly be the best.  Jesus took water and turned it into the very best of Wine. Let us think for a moment and ask ourselves the question, am I the very best that I can be for Jesus? Be honest now. If Jesus can take water, and turn it into the very best wine just think what He can do for us if we let Him. Do you want God's best for your life?  Sadly, many of us settle for much less. We are like the stone water-jars when they were empty. Jesus wants to fill us to the brim.

Maybe we do have something that needs to be emptied out in order to regain our joy. Is there some bitterness,  some guilt, some sorrow, some resentment, or some selfishness in our life? If so, we need to come to the foot of the cross this morning and empty ourselves in order that Jesus can make new creatures out of us and our joy can be restored.  Maybe we need to empty ourselves and be filled to the brim with His love in order to be the best that we can be for Him.


I invite you to join me in this prayer:  Heavenly Father, help me to yield all of who I am, to your transforming love. Break me when I need to be broken, strengthen me when I need strength. Father I empty myself, that you may refresh me with the Holy Spirit and with the renewed Joy of thy salvation. O Heavenly Father, fill me, fill me to the Brim. Amen .

Acknowledgement: adapted from Sermon Central

 

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