The Second Sunday after Epiphany

January 20, 2019

John 2:1-11

Commit It and Forget It!

 

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.”  Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.  Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.  Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”  They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.  He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew.  Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”  This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee.  He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.  (NIV1984)

 

 

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

 

Do you remember a man by the name of Ron Popeil?  What if I told you that he is a world-famous inventor and the father of the infomercial?  Do names such as the Chop-O-Matic, Mr. Microphone, the Veg-O-Matic and the Rhinestone stud setter ring a bell?  How about phrases such as “As Seen on TV,” But wait, there’s more,” “Now how much would you pay?” and of course, “Less Shipping and Handling”?  Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s Ron Popeil, his inventions and his infomercials were household names and household staples.  One of his best known inventions was his rotisserie oven.  Along with that invention he made an infomercial that included the famous slogan, “Set it and forget it!”  You put the food in.  You set the oven.  You walk away.  No mess.  No fuss.  Set it and forget it!

 

That memorable saying gives us a good handle to us as we look at this very familiar portion of Scripture.  Our goal today is to see how Mary gives us an example of someone who commits their troubles to Jesus and forgets them— knowing that He will take care of them!  With that perspective in mind let’s study our text under the theme:  Commit It and Forget It!

 

The situation confronting Jesus here in John 2 was straightforward and simple:  He was a guest at a wedding where they ran out of wine.  At the very least this would have been a very embarrassing situation for the groom and his bride.  At the very worst it would have been utterly humiliating for the new couple.  We get the impression that Mary was close enough to the bride and groom that she was not only involved in serving at this wedding, but she also had some authority over the servants.  John gives us that impression when he writes, “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.’”

 

Why did Mary go to Jesus and say, “They have no more wine”?  Did she share this situation with her Son simply because she felt bad for this couple?  Or, did she expect her Son Jesus would do something about this situation?  Since Mary believed what the angel Gabriel had told her some thirty years prior to this wedding (“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” {Luke 1:35}) and since Mary remembered what Jesus had said to her after she and Joseph frantically searched for their twelve-year-old Son in Jerusalem (“Don’t you know that I must be about My Father’s business?” {Luke 2:49}) we cannot rule out the possibility that Mary was indeed expecting her Son to perform a miracle to solve this very embarrassing and potentially humiliating situation.  In fact, Jesus’ reply to Mary seems to point us in that direction.  Very literally Jesus said to Mary, “What is there between me and you, woman?  My hour has not yet come.”  While this answer may indeed sound a little harsh to our ears, in reality it was more formal than harsh.  Jesus wanted Mary to know that their relationship was no longer a mother/Son relationship.  Now that Jesus had entered into the public phase of His ministry His relationship with Mary was now a Lord/disciple relationship.  Mary needed to understand that Jesus already knew what He was going to do— when the time was right.

 

Mary’s reaction to Jesus’ response is what gives us our sermon theme for today:  Commit It and Forget It!  Notice that Mary did not question Jesus.  Nor did Mary not walk away dejected and disappointed.  Mary had brought the problem to Jesus trusting that He could and would do what is best.  Then she simply turned to the servants and said to them, “Do whatever he tells you.”  Mary had incredible faith in Jesus!  Even though it might seem to us as though Mary had been rebuffed, Mary knew that Jesus would take care of the situation— in His own time, in His own way— and we might add for His own purpose!

 

Jesus’ purpose for taking care of this problem was not simply to save this bride and groom from an embarrassing/humiliating situation.  No, my friends, Jesus’ purpose for taking care of this problem is clearly brought out in the closing verse of our text, “This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee.  He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.”  Jesus’ miracles were never designed to impress or entertain the people the people around Him.  Jesus’ miracles were designed to reveal to the people that they needed to listen to His teachings and put their faith in Him as the long-awaited Promised Messiah, their only Lord and Savior.  (See John 10:37, 38; 14:11; 20:30, 31)

 

Have you ever been in a situation like Mary’s situation here in our text?  Have you ever brought a problem to your Lord, but it seemed as though He wasn’t listening or wasn’t willing to help?  Have you ever felt as if your prayers get as far as the ceiling and then they just kinda get stuck there?  If so, you are not alone.  In Psalm 6 we hear an anguished King David cry out, “How long, O Lord, how long?  Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (verse 3).  In Psalm 13 King David cries out, “How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?  How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” (Verses 1, 2).  And in the book of Habakkuk we hear the Lord’s prophet lift up this complaint to heaven, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?  Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?  Why do you make me look at injustice?  Why do you tolerate wrong?  Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflicts abound” (1:2, 3).  Yes, my friends, there are indeed times when a child of God brings their problem to the Lord in prayer and it seems as though the Lord either does not hear them or is slow in responding to their prayer.

 

What do you need to commit to the Lord, my friends?  Is there a health problem that is causing you to lose sleep?  Has one of your children or one of your grandchildren done or not done something that fills your heart with grief?  Have your well-thought-out plans unraveled uncontrollably right before your very eyes?  Has your retirement taken a turn that you never expected?  Are you wresting with the decisions that are— or are not— being made in Sacramento or in Washington?  What problems or what situations seem to be simply overwhelming you?  Whatever it is— commit it to your Lord in prayer and forget it!  But what does that mean?  It means two things.

 

First of all, it means that like Mary here in our text you go directly to Jesus and tell Him about your problem.  Scripture assures us that as a Christian we not only have the right to approach God’s eternal throne of grace with “freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:120, but Scripture also assures us that in Him (Pointing to the cross) we know that we have someone who not only understands the problems we face in this world but we also have Someone who has both the power and the will to help us!  So whatever it is, no matter how big your problem may seem, no matter how overwhelming the situation might be, take it to Jesus in prayer and say, “Lord, I need you to fulfill your promises and take care of this for me!”

 

Once you have taken it to Jesus in prayer, once you have committed your problem to the Lord— then forget it!  Notice that even though Jesus’ response to Mary seemed rather harsh and very formal, Mary didn’t try to figure out any other solution to this very embarrassing problem.  Mary had so much trust in Jesus that she knew He would take care of this situation— in His own time and in His own way.  That’s why Mary immediately turned to the servants and said, “Do whatever he tells you.”

 

From my experience committing a problem to the Lord by taking it to Jesus in prayer is the “easy” part.  “Forgetting it,” that is, completely trusting in Jesus to solve our problem— in His own time and in His own way— that can oftentimes be much more difficult!  All too often we take a problem to Jesus in prayer but then we try to figure out a way that we can solve that problem all on our own!  This is where I sometimes struggle— or perhaps I should say stumble.  When I am faced with a problem in my personal life or when I am faced with a problem in my professional life I do indeed include that problem in my nightly prayers.  But sometimes I lay awake at night trying to figure out how I can solve that problem.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about that problem.  That’s why I’ve learned to end each of my bedtime prayers with the words, “Help me to trust in Your plan, in Your power and in Your promises.”  (I like alliteration!)  I sleep a lot better when I not only commit my problem to the Lord in prayer, but also “forget” my problem and trust that He (Pointing to the cross) will take care of it!  A passage of Scripture that ties in very well with Commit It and Forget It! is Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all— how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things!”  As surely as we trust that our God has solved our “biggest Problem” by sending His own Son to suffer and die on the cross in order to complete pay for all of our sins (Pointing to the cross), so also we can trust that the Lord our God will indeed take care of all these “little problems” we encounter as we journey through this world!

 

Ron Popeil may still be remembered by some for his rotisserie oven and his catchy saying, “Set it and Forget it!”  But as time passes by fewer and fewer people will remember him or his inventions.  The example that Mary gave us at the wedding at Cana, however, will be remembered by God’s people until the very day that her Son returns to this earth in all of His power, majesty and glory.  My prayer then this morning is that whenever you encounter a problem in your life that you follow Mary’s example here in John 2.  Commit your problem to the Lord in prayer and forget it!  Forget that problem by trusting that He (Pointing to the cross) will take care of it.

 

To God be the glory!

 

Amen