Skip to main content

Celebrate Life (John 2:1-12)


I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. - John 10:10

Let's continue our study of John.  In John 2:1-12 we find the story of Jesus going to a wedding party with the disciples.  His mother comes to him with a problem.  They have run out of wine, and the party is only half over.  This would be a terrible social dilemma for the Bridegroom, who would have been expected to supply enough wine for the duration of the celebration.  After asking his mother why she expects him to solve the problem, she leaves the workers there with him, with instructions to do whatever he says.  He tells them to fill the stone jars, that are usually used for purification rituals, with water.  Then he tells them to serve the water out like wine.  They do as instructed, and after serving the water it becomes the best wine they have ever tasted.  

As I read this, I wonder why would his mother expect him to do anything about this?  We know from the Gospels that every public miracle Jesus preformed brought him closer to the cross.  Why would Jesus risk that for the sake of a bunch of guests having a good time?

It can be explained in a lot of different ways.  He might have done it out of respect for his mother.  It may demonstrate that he cared deeply for the bridegroom.  He might have done it because the little things matter to him.  While all of these are possible, I would argue that it is because Jesus wanted his brand new disciples to know that the celebration of life should mark their ministry.  

This is the first public miracle that Jesus preformed.  For the remainder of his ministry he argued against the religious leaders that tried to restrict the people with oppressive rules.  He constantly talked about the "eternal life", but what is often not talked about is that these words may be better translated as "abundant life".  Jesus was not only concerned with if a person were healthy, he was concerned with if they were living life to it's fullest.  

John tells us that Jesus said this, just a few chapters later:

But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal (abundant) life. - John 4:14

As the disciples began living this way they were accused of being gluttons and drunkards, but Jesus always defended their joy.   

How might you finish this sentence:  Jesus came to...

...give his life for many - Mark 10:45

...fulfill the law - Matthew 5:17 and save the lost - Luke 19:10

...serve. - Mark 10:45

but how many of you remember that Jesus said this:

"The Son of Man came eating and drinking..." - Matthew 11:19.  

Christian culture sometimes puts too great a burden on us.  We find ourselves caught up in trying to be good, trying to do and say the right things.  I won't object to any of these goals, Jesus set a high bar, he told us to be perfect as God is perfect (Matthew 5:48).  I will, however, tell you that you should take just as seriously Jesus' call to live an abundant life.  Enjoy yourself, and do something to love yourself today.

God, help us to enjoy this life that you have given us.  Help us to see that it is not by our efforts that we are perfected, but the work you do within us.  Help us to let go of our striving and enjoy you more fully.  Amen  


Popular posts from this blog

Death Will Lose it's Sting

Our reading from the Narrative Lectionary this week is 1 Corinthians 15:51-57. In these verses, Paul reveals a mystery, that in the end some will be transformed, given a new body, instead of facing death.  In other words death is not one of life's two certain terms.  It seems taxes may be the only guarantee.   " this world nothing can be said to be certain, except  death and taxes ." - Benjamin Franklin. Ok, all jokes aside, these verses are difficult to read.  Paul looks forward to a time when death will have no victory, it will have lost its sting.  But today, we are in the middle of a pandemic, surrounded by death.  Many are scared for their lives, or their loved ones, and too many have already been lost.  Death does not seem to have lost its sting at all, it feels as if it is closing in. When I worked in wilderness therapy I remember holding a child who was desperately trying to kill himself.  We cried together as he struggled to end it, and I struggled

The Return Threshold

  As we come near the end of our weekly series on the Hero's Journey, today we will cover "The Return Threshold".  In this stage, the Hero has succeeded in their quest and now they are coming back to their old world.  Joseph Campbell calls this the "ordinary world".   The return to the ordinary world usually includes some type of challenge.  Sometimes an enemy must be challenged, but sometimes the enemy is the ordinary world itself.  As we have followed the hero's journey we have seen the hero change, what was once important is no longer important.  While the hero has changed, the ordinary world has not.  The ordinary world holds values that the returning hero has abandoned for something greater.  This can cause tension as the hero tries to return as a changed person. In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, we see the Hobbits finally return to their home in the Shire.  Unfortunately in their absence Saruman and his orcs have taken over the Shire and must be defeat

Master of Two Worlds

  This week we come to the second to last stage of the Hero's Journey.  Campbell called this stage "The Master of Two Worlds".  In this stage, the hero tries to integrate what they learned and gained on their journey with their old "ordinary" world.   Albert Einstein once said, "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."  This explains the challenge the hero must face in this stage.  All that they learned and gained must be fully mastered and the test of this mastery is being able to use it in the ordinary world.  They must simplify it so that the uninitiated can benefit from it, just as Einstein encouraged the mastery of complex ideas into simple explanations.   In the Star Wars Trilogy, this stage happens off-screen after the film is over, but before the new movie begins.  We learn in the newest trilogy that Luke created a school for Jedi, taking the wisdom he gained from his journey and sharing it with others.  In