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Friends, welcome to the Trinity Church live feed on Mother’s Day.
If you have tuned in particularly this morning because you have been invited because it is Mother’s Day, can I especially welcome you.
I tell you something interesting …
If you do an internet search on Mother’s Day you discover a few things.
About ¼ of the flowers purchased in any year are purchased on Mother’s Day.
The oldest woman to become a mother for the first time was recorded on April 9, 2003. She was a retired schoolteacher from India who gave birth to a baby boy at 65 years of age.
It may surprise you to discover that in Australia, people in NSW spend the most on their mothers on Mother’s Day. Tasmanians spend the least.
In fact … here is something interesting … on average, sons spend more on a mother day gift than daughters do, about $12 more in fact.
In fact I read a story about three sons who were quite wealthy arguing over who had gotten their elderly mother the best present.
The first said, "I built a big house for our mother."
The second said," I sent her a Mercedes with a driver."
The third smiled and said, "I've got you, both beat. For the last ten years I have been teaching a South American Parakeet to recite the entire works of William Shakespeare. It has been a labour of love because I know how much mum loves Shakespeare.
Soon thereafter, Mum sent out her letters of thanks:
"Milton," she wrote the first son, "The house you built is so huge. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house."
"Marvin," she wrote to another, "I am too old to travel. I stay home all the time, so I never use the Mercedes and the driver is rude!"
"Dearest Melvin," she wrote to her third son, "You were the only son to have the good sense to know what your mother loves. That chicken was delicious."
They’re the sort of things you find when you do an internet search on Mother’s Day.
However, you also find stories like this one:
“All the reasons Mother’s Day will break my heart”.
Mother’s Day can be a mixed day can’t it?
It can be full of joy for some and it can be full of sadness for some and it can be a real mix of both for some for all sorts of reasons.
I certainly want to be sensitive to that this morning.
Whatever your experience of mother’s day and mothering, I think we all sense that there is something special about Mothers and mothering.
We live in a confused culture and so on the one hand we say mothers matter and are unique, and on the other … two men can raise a children … no mother is needed anymore.
You can remove a mother and you lose nothing of value.
Our confusion is perhaps most evident in February this year when Channels 9’s Today show found a Facebook post from a mother of four named Brooke.
Her post reads, “I always make sure I don’t go to bed until everyone’s lunches are packed, their clothes are set out for the next day including my husband’s and the house is clean, dishwasher is on and load of washing on. Sometimes it means I get to bed at 9pm, sometimes that means I go to bed at midnight but I always get up early (4.30a.m., with husband to make his breakfast and coffee).”
Well the Today show’s response to that mother was very interesting. The hosts went to town laughing and mocking and rolled their eyes at this mother for her post. They called her a ‘1950’s mothe’r.
They said, she must be hypnotised by her husband
They called her husband lazy and disabled. On, and on they went.
Martin Iles from the Australian Christian lobby saw all this and he said …
“What if Brooke had said, “I always make sure I don’t go to bed until all my client emails are sent and my work is updated. I wake at 4.30 am to get ahead of a busy day, and check in with my boss and start work on the right foot. Sometimes that means I miss out on sleep, but hard work has seen me promoted and given me high status in my company. I hope to make CEO next year.”
Would that have received such a mocking … or it is only motherhood?
We seem confused, don’t we?
It may surprise you to discover that God has things to say about mothers, and fathers and families and children and life and it is so often the very opposite of what our culture is saying about them.
God doesn’t belittle mothering, after all he invented it.
I mention this not because today’s passage has anything in particular to say about mothers, although it is worth noticing that in a book that is
speaking about the wonder and the glory and the majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ … interestingly his mother is not ignored.
Interestingly, it is a story where she wants Jesus to do something … but the thing that he in fact does do is so much more wonderful than she could ever have imagined.
If you read the whole story you discover that Jesus has such an impact on her … that by the time of his death and resurrection she is convinced that he is the Son of God and she becomes a following of him as God and king.
That is pretty significant for a mother … given all mothers know about their sons … that she reaches that conclusion.
Let me return to that at the end.
For now come back with me to this event that was read for us by Heather.
It is an event that happens at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry a town called Cana where there is a wedding.
Weddings in Jesus’ day are a little bit different than they are for us.
For one thing, you didn’t have to be invited to turn up. It was common for people from all over your community to come along and celebrate with you.
The length of the wedding for us is an afternoon, however in Jesus’ day they could last a whole week.
The wedding we have here is probably a week-long event, and it seems a lot more people have turned up than they anticipated and so the groom finds himself with a problem.
They are only part way through the wedding, and they have run out of wine. Clearly it is not the sort of thing you want to have happen at a wedding.
When that happens, Jesus’ mother comes to him in verse 3.
“They have no wine.”
Now what is it she is thinking? Is she embarrassed for the family therefore is asking Jesus if he can help in some way?
Maybe … but what could he possibly do?
I wonder if there is something else here?
Before Jesus was born an angel came to Mary and told her that her child was to be called Jesus … which means saviour … because he will be a rescuer.
In fact quiet a few astounding things happened around the birth of Jesus … including his conception … which don’t happen every day.
Mary knew Jesus was special from the beginning., and perhaps she senses that now is the time for Jesus to be the saviour. After all, here is a situation in which saving is needed.
Jesus is 30 years old … it is time for him to be the person the angel said he would be.
It is time to be the saviour.
Now, Jesus’ answer is probably not what she expects.
In verse 4 he says.
“Woman, what does this have to do with me?
Now he might have said … “Sure, I’ll see what I can do …”
What has this to do with me? Is a strange answer.
You see … Jesus’ mother sees this running out of wine … which in this culture would have been incredibly embarrassing … sees that as the big issue … the issue from which they need saving.
Jesus sees something much bigger than that and it is important to notice if you are to ever understand Jesus.
You see Jesus does help the groom out of this embarrassing situation, but not for the reason his mother wants him to …. Jesus has a bigger reason.
We know that because of what we are told at the end of the story.
11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory.
This event is not just Jesus being nice, but rather Jesus displaying something about his glory.
Come back to verse 4
4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
My hour … which hour?
That is a phrase that Jesus uses a number of times and each time he is talking about the hour of his crucifixion. The hour he will be hung onto a cross.
It you know anything about Christianity you will know that that is the very time that Jesus truly rescues his people, not from embarrassment, or running out of food, but from their sins . On the cross he pays the price for the sins of his people.
But that is three years away at this point. This event happens as a sign post that points to what he is going to do in three year’s time.
So important is the crucifixion of Jesus that he does things now along the way, to make it clear what the crucifixion is about.
They are all sign posts that point to the cross, and this is one of them.
What does this sign post say?
It says only Jesus can make you truly clean.
Let me explain.
At a Jewish wedding you had to have a lot of water which is not for drinking but for religious reasons.
At the wedding every utensil was to be rinsed under special water to purify them. The same with the plates and your hands everything.
They all had to be rinsed under this water in this special way. You can imagine how much water would have been needed for a wedding … especially if it runs for a week.
This wedding has six massive water jars for this purpose, and every time a fork is rinsed, or hands are rinsed or a plate is rinsed with this ceremonial water it is saying to you over and over again … you must be made clean, you must be made clean … why? because you are dirty … you stand before the living God, unclean.
This is not an idea that we are familiar with. To say we are dirty before God is unheard of today.
We hardly think of ourselves that way. We think by and large we are not too bad.
Imagine this: imagine if your whole life was made into a movie and put on YouTube.
Not just the things that you have done and said … but also the things that you have thought and done in secret.
Every moment, every thought all captured and put into the movie of your life … for all to see.
Would you watch it?
Would you want anyone else watch it.
Would you want God to see it?
No doubt there would be some parts that you would be very proud of … but what about the other parts? The parts of your life that no one knows about.
Would you want to stand before the Lord of all on the day of judgment and have him review your film?
If he did … and he gets to the end and asks … why did you ignore Jesus my Son all your life? What would you say?
If you’re honest, when was the last time you thanked God for your life?
Over and over again the Bible tells us in different ways that we are people who are not clean before a holy God.
This system of ceremonial washing … it didn’t make people clean before God … how could it … but it told them over and over again … they needed to be.
When was the last time you even thought about that?
You could wash and wash for ever, but how many times have you ignored God or lived as if he doesn’t matter or lived as if the things he said about how to live don’t matter.
So how could ceremonial washing ever hope to change that?
That is why, what Jesus does here is so astounding.
What he does is to take these six jars for ceremonial washing, gets them filled to the top and with a thought changes all the water into wine.
It is a massive statement … a massive sign post.
He is saying: “Do you want to be clean? Forget the ceremonial washing.”
Forget the water, you need to be washed in the way only I can do.
You see once all the water is changed in to wine … what are you going to do for the rest of the wedding? Jesus is saying, you don’t need it, it doesn’t really work anyway.
If you want to be made really clean Jesus is the only one who can wash you clean by his death in your place.
Do you know what it is to stand before the God of the universe, clean? Forgiven, right with God.
That is what Jesus does to those who follow him as their king.
If you begin to understand that, then you are beginning to understand the wonder of Jesus.
Let me ask you a question: why does he make the point this way? He could have made the jugs disappear or he could have just got rid of all the water.
That would have made the point about what he has come to do.
Instead he makes sure all the jars are full… about 600 litres of water and changes it all into really, really good wine.
This wedding now has 800 bottles of the best wine there is.
The master of the feast says:
“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.”
800 bottles of it.
This is much more wine that the wedding needed.
When Jesus makes you clean, what are you left with? You are left with a party.
Can you imagine being made clean before the living God? Every sin forgiven … made right with the living God.
So you need not fear the day of judgement. Can you imagine belong to a king as good as Jesus?
What is there left to do … other than celebrate in thankfulness.
Jesus is saying what I give I do in abundance.
He does not do half the job. The cleansing Jesus brings does it all. No one is short changed.
You won’t get to heaven and find he hasn’t dealt with the big sins, you won’t get to the day of judgment and find that Jesus has not done enough. I think that is why he makes more wine than this wedding could possibly hope to get through. It is saying something about the cleansing that Jesus brings.
Jesus doesn’t hold back, there is nothing limited about the forgiveness he brings. He doesn’t do half the job and he does it in abundance.
Well friends. That is the sign.
It points to the time when Jesus would use his power to bring about the cleaning that the ceremonial washing only promised.
At the end of it the disciples have seen enough, they believed in him, they entrusted themselves to him for now and into eternity.
11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
What about you? Where does it leave you?
I don’t know where you stand in relation to Jesus this morning, but let ask you”
What if you could be washed clean by the Son of God?
Jesus says he is your only hope, and when he washes people clean, he does it in abundance … no sin is left unforgiven.
Is that a king worth following with all your life?
That is a king well worth celebrating.
Look, it might be this morning that you sense you really do need to look into this Jesus. Could it really be as good as I have said?
Well one of the best ways I know of how to do this is to read about his life in the Bible.
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This king is too wonderful to pass by … why not look into it?