2nd Sunday after Epiphany
January 20, 2019
“No Fuss, No Muss!”
Grace, mercy, and peace be and abide with you all in the name of our living Savior and Good Shepherd Jesus. The basis for the sermon today is the Gospel lesson from John 2, Jesus’ first miracle.
My dear friends,
Here’s a blast from the past…anyone remember Ron Popeil? Ron Popeil is famous for his many inventions you used to see on TV. He and his company, Ronco, have given us the Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman, Mr. Microphone, and the Veg-O-Matic. But one of his “best” inventions was his “Showtime” rotisserie oven that could be yours for 5 easy payments of $19.95! You put the food in. You set the oven. You walk away. Set it and forget it. No fuss. No muss.
In this Gospel text, Mary reminds us to do the same; walk away, set it and forget it, no fuss, no muss. The situation confronting Jesus was pretty simple. He was at a wedding, and they ran out of wine. At the least, this would have been a very embarrassing, maybe even humiliating situation. Jewish wedding ceremonies in the 1st century could last a week. Guests would stay, abstaining from work and sticking around to share the family’s joy. But to run out of wine? Ouch! The only thing worse I can think of is running out of Diet Dr. Pepper…may it never be! The social “scar” from this situation, though, would last for some time; it would have been super embarrassing. We’re talking about wine – a fermented drink – a drink that needs the one thing the host doesn’t have…time. So the problem had to be dealt with.
Mary apparently knew the family because she came to Jesus with the problem. She told him, “They have no wine” (v 3). I wonder what Mary expected Jesus to do about this situation. Did she want him to send his disciples out to buy more wine? Was she just telling him because she felt bad for the couple? What, if anything, did Mary want Jesus to do about it? What was she expecting? John tells us that this was Jesus’ first “sign.” It’s not like Jesus was known as someone who did miracles growing up. Luke 2 says that Jesus grew up like any other child and was obedient to his parents. When Jesus went to Nazareth in Mark 6, the people wondered when he had received the power to do miracles, for he hadn’t evidenced any miracle power before. So why tell Jesus about this couple being out of wine?
Whatever the expectation, Mary comes to Jesus with the news that the family is out of wine, and Jesus tells her that his hour has not yet come. He makes it clear that this isn’t his issue. You would think that Mary would walk away, perhaps a bit disappointed, but trying to figure out a way around this situation. But she doesn’t. Instead she tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you” (v 5). BIG faith move! Mary had incredible faith in her Son. She knew – as maybe only a mother could – that he would answer her request. She committed the situation to Jesus, and she knew that he would take care of it – walk away, no fuss, no muss.
Mary’s faith was rewarded. Jesus not only took care of the situation, but he did so big time! Filling six jars with 180 gallons of water, Jesus changed it into wine. And this was no cheap box of Franzia or a bottle of “2 Buck Chuck” from Trader Joe’s; this was an excellent wine, the best wine. Jesus gave the couple a gift of extreme value, and if there happened to be any left following the wedding, they could sell it and have a good financial cushion to begin their married life.
Question…have you ever felt like Mary? I don’t mean complaining when there’s no more wine. You cry out to God, but it seems as if he isn’t listening or helping? Have you ever felt as if your prayers are going as far as the ceiling in the room and they’re getting stuck there? That’s a pretty common feeling. In Psalm 6, David says that he is in great anguish and is flooding his bed with tears. He cries out, “O Lord—how long?” (Ps 6:3). The disciples were scared to death in a storm at sea while Jesus was in the boat sleeping. They cried out, “Lord, don’t you care if we drown?” St. Paul prayed to the Lord three times to take away his thorn in the flesh, but the Lord refused. We all have times when we cry to the Lord for relief, but it just seems as if God doesn’t answer. If he would, then everything would be fine…no fuss, no muss. But it’s NOT fine…it’s not fine…and that hurts.
The reality is that God hears our prayers and he answers them. It might not be in the way we hope or expect, but he will do it. We can commit our problems to Jesus, knowing that he will take care of them. David knew that. In Psalm 6, right after he complains about his terrible weeping, he says, “The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer” (Ps 6:9). So many times, God answers our prayers in ways we don’t expect. Look at Mary: do you think she expected Jesus to create wine from 180 gallons of water? I think Jesus’ response took her by surprise. When the disciples cried out to Jesus for help, did they expect him to quiet the sea? I don’t think so. They were astonished at what he did. I’m sure Paul didn’t expect the answer he received, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). That answer allowed him to rejoice in his sufferings and hardships. In the same way, we can commit our situations to Jesus knowing he will answer them, no fuss, no muss. How do we know? Because of his hour.
Jesus’ “hour” is his time of suffering. Now this, at the wedding of Cana in Galilee, is not his hour. Jesus’ hour is his Passion and his cross. The cross of Jesus is his promise and guarantee that he will hear and answer our prayers. He has borne our sin. He has borne our punishment. He died in our place. He rose again for us. He has made us his own. He did all of that even though we do not deserve a bit of it. He does it all so we don’t have to…no fuss, no muss.
Given all that Christ has done for us, does it make any sense that he would ignore our pleas now? No. As Paul points out in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Christ, by his sacrificial life, death, and resurrection, is the promise and the guarantee that God will hear our prayer. His death and resurrection allow us to commit our cares to him knowing that he will take care of them.
We have many cares and worries in life, right? Most of them are beyond our control. Mary was worried about this family, but she knew there was nothing she could do. She committed the situation to Jesus. She asked him to take care of it. She committed the situation to him, knowing he would take care of it.
Don’t count on God whipping up 180 gallons of wine for you, but still commit your cares and worries to the Lord. He will take care of them. He gave his life for you. He rose from the dead. He has baptized you in his name. You are his. He will take care of you. No fuss, no muss!