Background - John 2:1-10; Text - John 2:9,10
The Lord has blessed us to remember another year gone by and a new year begun. We can look back and recall things that have gone right, look back, be glad that we survived things that didn't go the way that we hoped they would. We can look forward to new hopes and dreams, but along with those hopes and dreams, there's always a tinge of human uncertainty about what lies ahead.
You see, life is a constant mix of the good and the bad, of joys and sorrows, but that's not what really matters. What matters is that when you know the Lord Jesus Christ, then you don't have to worry about what the future holds. You'll know that when the Lord Jesus is in control, the best is yet to come.
John's gospel gives us our only record of Jesus' first miracle, an unusual miracle in an unusual place. Most of the miracles of Jesus involve suffering people in desperate circumstances, but this miracle takes place at a wedding not far from Jesus' hometown in the village of Cana.
The miracle actually took place at the post wedding celebration, what we now call the wedding reception. Receptions then were just like receptions now, with feasting and dancing and celebration and, usually after you get the pastor out the door, a little drinking too. The groom and his family went to great lengths to guarantee a good time. Jesus was there, his mother Mary was there, his disciples were there, and it may well have been a relative or a close friend's wedding, because someone quietly got word to Mary that they had a problem. The reception was in full swing, and they ran out of wine. That was a big problem, because wine was a part of the celebration, and human nature makes us forget the good and remember the bad. When the guests left, they wouldn't talk about the wedding or the food or the celebration, people would say, "Well, the wedding was alright, but they didn't buy enough wine."
Mary quietly let Jesus know the situation, and Jesus protested at first, but mothers can be persistent, so Jesus gave in and his mother called the banquet staff over and told them to do whatever Jesus said do, and he told them to do something that must have seemed strange to them. Jesus pointed at six stone water jars that held 20 or thirty gallons apiece, jars used for ceremonial washing, and Jesus told the staff, "Fill those jars with water, all the way up to the brim," and when they did so, Jesus said, "now draw some out and give it to your boss."
They took a cup to the wedding planner, didn’t tell him where it came from, and the man took a sip, and probably took another sip, and then he went to the groom, and said, "Brother, you really are a gracious host! This is first quality wine, people don’t usually do what you’ve done, people usually have us serve the best wine first, and then at about this point, when everyone is a little tipsy and less picky, we usually bring out the cheap stuff, but you've saved the best wine for last."
That's how Jesus is. That's why John also said in his first general letter to the church, "Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be." That's good news in our times of need and confusion and uncertainty. We don't have to worry about the future because the Lord Jesus is living water, the Lord Jesus is the bread of life, the God we serve has cattle on a thousand hills, the God who takes care of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field knows what we need even before we ask for it.
We don't have to worry because regardless of what lies ahead, Jesus will bring new healing, bring new prosperity, bring new power, bring new joy. That's why our fore parents used to sing, "You can call him in the morning, you can call him late at night, but Jesus will never say no," when you trust in Jesus, the best is yet to come!!!!
There's a message in that simple wedding miracle. It doesn't seem at first glance to be as important as making the lame walk or casting out demons or making the blind see, but it was what those at the wedding feast needed then and there, and Jesus met their need. We'll be all right if we just remember that Jesus knows what we need and will meet our needs, because most of our headaches and heartaches are based on what we think that we need. We'll work ourselves to death and neglect our families because we think we need more money. We'll go so deep into debt that we can hardly see our way because we think that we need to buy more stuff to make us happy. We'll eat or drink or smoke ourselves into ill health because we think we need that to feel satisfied. We'll mess over the people who care about us trying to fill a need for immediate pleasure.
Even in Christ's church, we'll run over each other because we need to be in charge, hold up progress because we need to have our way, push for position because we need to be recognized, talk about how bad others are because we need to feel that we're better than they are. If we’re not careful we can we run ourselves ragged looking for what we need, not understanding that there's a difference between need and want. The Lord Jesus might not always give you what you want, but He’ll always give you what you need.
When we stand on your faith and look to Jesus, then we'll see changes in our lives and have more peace of mind. We’ll take the time to provide for our loved ones and make the time to show them our devotion to the Lord Jesus. We’ll still have nice things, but we'll know that even if we lost all and still had Jesus, everything would be alright. We can find satisfaction not in abusing our bodies, but in letting the Lord Jesus enrich our spirits.
Then the church will grow and serve the present age, because we'll let Jesus use us to tell a lost world that the best is yet to come because we’ll know by faith that the song is right, "All that you need, He will provide, God will take care of you, nothing you need will be denied, God will take care of you !!!!!!!!!"
There's a message in that wedding miracle for us. Jesus did more than just turn water into wine. The wine was so good that the wedding host proclaimed it better than the good stuff they had already served. Jesus took something ordinary and made it special.
We'll be alright if we just remember that Jesus can take ordinary people like us and make us special, because we run into all kinds of trouble trying to make ourselves special. We try to wear the right clothes and be seen in the right places so that people will know that we're special. We try to dazzle people with our education and our money so that people will know that we're special. We try to live in the right place and drive the right car to show that we're special.
Even in Christ's church, we sometimes run past the righteousness that Jesus gives, assume our own level of righteousness, and look down on those outside the church and discourage those who don't meet our standards and convince ourselves that nobody can serve the Lord like we serve the Lord because we're so righteous, because we're so special. We'd do well to remember that none of us were born righteous. There's good in the worst of us and bad in the best of us. We're saved and special because the God of all creation sent that part of his eternal divinity called the son down here to die for our sins so that all of the dirt we've done could be washed away by the blood of Jesus at the foot of the cross. Jesus makes us special!
When you know whose you are, then you can be special. Then the church can welcome men who used to be lost standing on the corner, welcome women who have done wrong for so long that they've forgotten how to live right, show our children that you can enjoy life and praise the Lord.
When we realize that we’re special because Jesus saved our souls and lifted us and turned us around and straightened us out, we can live lives that tell the world that the best is yet to come, and when someone asks how we know it, we can say, "because from sinking sand, he lifted me, with tender hand, he lifted me, from shades of night to planes of light, oh, praise his name he lifted me!"
The best is yet to come. You may have been blessed last year, but the best is yet to come. You may have had your share of struggles last year, but the best is yet to come. You may be expecting good news, you may hate to see the sun come up tomorrow, but don't worry. Jesus sees, Jesus knows, Jesus gave his life for us more than 2,000 years ago so that we could go forward knowing that the Lord Jesus has put us in touch with a God who can do anything but fail. The best is yet to come!
Walk with Jesus today and every day of your life, and don't worry about what lies ahead. Even though he thought it was a trivial thing, the Savior of the world took the time to make that wedding banquet a success. If you really know Jesus, then you know that, Jesus will always take the time to give you the best.
Then regardless of what you have to face, the Christ who gave his best so that we could live will gave us what it takes to say with the writer, I do not know how long ‘twill be, nor what the future holds for me, but this I know, if Jesus leads me, I shall get home some Day!"
Rev. Joseph A. Darby is Senior Pastor of Morris
Brown African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
He and his wife Mary, have two sons. Rev. Darby is a graduate of the University
of South Carolina and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. A fourth
generation minister in the AME Church, Rev. Darby pastor's the largest congregation
in the Seventh Episcopal District of the AME Church.
Rev. Darby is very active in Charleston serving as a Board Member for the Reid House of Christian Service organization and on the Family Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit's Drug Court Program. He is a member of the State Superintendent of Education's African-American Achievement Committee, First Vice President of the South Carolina Conference of the NAACP and Chairman of the PASTORS Housing Initiative.
In the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Rev. Darby serves as a Church Coordinator of the Sons of Allen Men's Fellowship, Registrar for the Board of Ministerial Training for the Palmetto Annual Conference of the AME Church and member of the General Board of the AME Church.
Rev. Darby is a former Religion Writer for the Carolina Tribune and a frequent contributor to many newspapers.
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