"This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him." (John 2:11 ESV)
In the name + of Jesus. Amen. You won't find the words of institution in John's Gospel. You won't read Jesus say, "take and eat," and "take and drink," which seems strange for a gospel that starts with the words, "In the beginning was the Word." Why does John leave out these important words of the Word made flesh? Is it an accident? No. In fact, from beginning to end, the Gospel of John is all about the Lamb of God giving his flesh and blood for you to eat and drink for the forgiveness of your sins. John is a "take and eat" and "take and drink" gospel.
One of the first things John tells us, after Jesus calls his first disciples, is that Jesus went to a wedding. The wedding feast runs out of wine, which doesn't look good for the person who is hosting the party. You might be embarrassed if you couldn't offer all of your friends a drink when they come over to your house. Your friends probably wouldn't think much of it, but for the master of the wedding it doesn't go as well. He looks unprepared, careless, poor, and weak. He has let his friends down. He disappointed his family, and to top it off, everyone can see his failure.
Realizing this, you can almost hear Mary's voice empathetically soften, nervously increase in pitch, and crack a little bit. "They have no wine," she says to Jesus. To which he responds, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." Nonetheless, Jesus tells the servants to fill some jars with water and take it to the master of the feast. It becomes good wine, and the master is shocked that the best wine was saved for the end. Jesus gives good gifts... in ritual purification jars none the less.
God's glory has always been revealed to people in concrete places. In the Old Testament, the glory of God dwelled in the temple, and, ultimately, it would be revealed in Jesus hanging on the cross. In John's gospel, God's glory was first made manifest at a wedding feast, and he doesn't reveal it in the way you may expect. He doesn't come to the wedding showcasing his power, authority, and influence. Instead, it goes unnoticed by most of the guests. The true Bridegroom reveals his glory in the midst of a social disaster by giving the guests wine to drink. God reveals himself in concrete places to real sinners. All along the way, God reveals himself as Jesus going to the cross to give his body and to shed his blood. So even though you won't read the words of institution in John's Gospel, the book is dripping with the blood of Jesus given for you.
In many ways, we can sympathize with the master when the wedding runs out of wine. Our minds are filled with worries and cares. What do my friends really think about me? Am I going to get into the "good" college or get the "good" job? Am I going to disappoint my parents? These thoughts invade our heads like black sheep jumping through our brain as we try to fall asleep, or maybe like a wedding feast gone wrong. How do I know that Jesus' death on the cross is for me? How do I know Jesus gives me his gifts? How do I know he reveals his glory to me? I don't deserve his gifts, not after what I've done and not after what's been done to me. I've tried to accept God's gifts, but they don't seem to change anything. I don't feel like Jesus loves me. I don't want Jesus to love me. These are real questions. Real struggles. Real things that faith fights against. You want to see a difference in your heart and in the things you do, but looking in those places will never satisfy your doubts. They aren't the source of your new life and forgiveness.
Don't be afraid; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Little flock, when it comes to comfort, look no further than the words of the Lamb of God, "So Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day' (John 6:53-54). In Holy Communion, the foretaste of the wedding feast to come, the wine Jesus gives you to drink is his own very blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins. Come to the Lord's Table. Be forgiven in Jesus' name. He has prepared this table for you. At this table, his blood will never run out for you. He will never stop giving it for you to drink. His blood covers you. His blood forgives you, strengthens you, and gives you hope. Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). See the glory of Jesus revealed in his body and blood given for you to eat and drink. In the name + of Jesus. Amen.
Created: May 18th, 2015