Drink Deep the Joy of the Lord

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.  When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  John 2:1-5

What an odd exchange between Jesus and his mother.  Mary knows that this is a looming social disaster.  This is a planning mistake tied to family honor that this young couple will not soon overcome in this small town.  Jesus sounds almost rude.

I think when Mary asks Jesus to make wine his mind is somewhere else.

As a pastor, I have performed many weddings over the years.  I think minds wonder during the ceremony.  Those who are married are remembering their wedding day.  Fathers are remembering when their daughter or son was small.  Mothers are—I have no idea, really.  And those single folk that are present at a wedding are imagining their wedding day—somewhere out in the future. You remember with joy or you imagine with joy, the day when you give yourself fully to your beloved.

I think it is possible that Jesus is imagining his wedding day when he will give himself fully to His beloved.  Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to himself as a Bridegroom.  Laced all through Scripture in the Old Testament there is spousal language used to describe the love relationship between God and his people.

So, when Jesus refers to himself as the bridegroom, he is saying that He is the way that God will once and for all take fickle and fallen people and woo us to himself, express his love to us and unite himself to us.

I think Jesus is thinking about his own wedding.  But wait a minute—Jesus never married.  Yes and No.

“My time has not yet come.”  Vs. 4  Or  “My hour has not yet come.”

Every time Jesus talks about his “hour” in the gospel of John it always is a reference to his death on the cross.  Jesus knows that the only way that these broke, disorganized lovers at this wedding are ever going to know the deep soul-satisfying joy that Jesus demonstrates in those two hundred gallons of fine wine, is if he drinks a cup as well.

The only way that we broke and disorganized people reading these words will drink of the cup of God’s love, life and joy is if Jesus drinks to the dregs the consequences of our rebellion, brokenness, injustices, pride and selfishness—and takes in to Himself the sting of a death that belongs to us.

The night before His death on the cross Jesus went “a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”   (Matt. 26:39)

The cross and the empty tomb are God’s wedding vows for His creation.

Marriage vows sound a lot like this: I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawfully wedded(husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

The cross and the resurrection is God saying to you, “I have you, I hold you, I cherish you.  I trade my better for your worse, I give my richer for your pooer, I take on your sickness and I give you my health. I will even die so that nothing—not even death itself—will ever part us.”

Jesus makes gratuitous amounts of the best wine the world has ever tasted on the Third Day of this wedding feast in Cana of Galilee to point us to a higher and holier truth that on the THIRD DAY after his death, by raising Jesus from the dead, God would pour out on you and I gratuitous amounts of love, joy, and life.

As a culture we are obsessed with being happy and yet we are some of the unhappiest people on earth.  If you are like me you tend to pursue joy externally.  (career trajectories, fulfilling relationships, material possessions) But joy never comes from the outside in…joy is an inside job.

It means reminding ourselves when the weather is gray and the bills go unpaid and the phone doesn’t ring and our lives are falling apart that the most important thing about us is that God has said to us, “I love you, I have you and I hold you.”  When you remember that and hold it dear to your heart—our life can be a mess and yet you can taste the sweet honey of joy.  You must pursue it internally.

In worship, God gives us the bread of His Word offers us the sweet drink of song from the lips of the gifted as we worship and get lost in the fountain of love.  Drink deep from that musical fountain amid all the sorrow of living in a broken world with lives that feel as if they are hanging on by single fiber—come worship, bath, and drink in the joy that comes from God.

You may not know this, but I surprised my wife on our wedding day by singing to her.  While the preacher had everyone bow their heads in prayer my brother left his place in groom’s party and sat down behind the piano.  Someone handed me a microphone and when the preacher said, “Amen” and everyone raised their heads the music began and started singing to the love of my life.

Why I would risk public shame and humiliation?  Because there are some things that can’t be said with words alone, only a song will say it.

Want to know what song I sang?  It’s a Larry Gatlin song written back in the 1970’s.

You Happened to Me

You happened to me just in time

To save me from me

I have surrendered myself

Saying what will be will be

Then you came like the touch of a raindrop

To a dry withered rose

You happened to me just in time

God only knows

You happened to me

What I needed to make one more stand

I built my life like a fool

My foundation was sand

Then you opened love’s door in my heart

That I thought hate had closed

You happened to me just in time

God only knows

May I remind you of the vows, of the song that God sang to you on a hill far away?

…We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  ~~The Apostle Paul

So, sip and savor the wine that comes from the Love of your life.


2 thoughts on “Drink Deep the Joy of the Lord

  1. Joe, I had a huge ah-ha moment late a few nights ago. God loves me. I just need to let Him love me. When I do, the guilt, pain, fear, self-doubts, recriminations, and hurts peal away like the skin of a Christmas orange. What is left is the Love of God. Nothing else matters. Thank you, Jesus!

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