Pastor Aaron Steinbrenner delivers a sermon entitled “What Our Family Needs Most – Jesus!” based on John 2:1-11 at Peace Lutheran Church in Hartford, Wisconsin.
Delivered on Sunday, January 20, 2019
I recently read that in 1960 there were 308 cases of child abuse reported in the U.S. Today, there’s a report of child abuse every ten seconds. In 1960 the divorce rate was under 20%. Today, the divorce rate is nearly triple that. Would you be surprised to learn that in 1960 teenage homelessness and teenage suicide were not nearly as prevalent as they are today?
I’m not suggesting that the year 1960 was a little slice of heaven on earth. What I am suggesting is that the home…the family unit…the very core that God designed is under a tremendous amount of stress today. I am suggesting that the devil, that roaring lion, has been trying to sink his teeth into the family unit for generations upon generations. I am suggesting that societal trends are doing less to build up and support God-fearing families and they’re doing more to tear them apart.
What are Christians to do? Run scared? Surrender? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em? I am suggesting that we redouble our efforts….that we regroup…that we surround ourselves with godly influences and peer groups and friends who will support us in our Christian faith, not try to sabotage us. And mostly, I am suggesting that we rally around the One Our Families Need Most – Jesus.
Today in our Gospel we see him as he often shows himself in Scripture…steady…caring…ready to help. It’s the first of his miraculous sings, we’re told. Well, it must have been a doozy, huh? Actually, it was all pretty lowkey. It happened in a little town called Cana at a little wedding. Wedding celebrations lasted days, even up to a week. People took off of work and celebrated with the family. Wine was not only a staple – something people would drink with meals, but it was also part of the celebration. At some point the wine ran out. Mary approaches Jesus. Jesus reminds Mary that he will dole out blessings at his rate and in his time. Mary steps back and waits on Jesus.
Isn’t that a beautiful, peaceful picture…Mary steps back and waits on Jesus, telling the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Our homes could use a little more of that…waiting on the Lord…trusting in his hand of blessings…trusting him to give at his rate and in his time. If I had to make a list of things that would instantly make my life better, what would I include?
- More money
- Better health
- A boss who appreciates me
- More money
- A spouse who understands me better
- An extra week of vacation
- Did I mention more money?
Instead, you already have what your family needs most – Jesus. And he knows how to take care of you. Bring your requests to him…big ones and small ones…just like Mary did. Pour your heart out to him. He’s listening. But then step back and wait. Step back and trust.
Turning water into wine may not seem so flashy, but it does show you and me that Jesus cares…he pays attention. When things matter to us, they matter to Jesus too. But know this, just because this miracle of turning water into wine might seem lowkey, but it is no simple matter.
In 1988, first game of the Word Series – A’s versus Dodgers. Bottom of the 9th. 2 outs. Dodgers are down 3-4. After a nearly 7-minute at bat, Vic Scully, Dodgers announcers exuberantly shouts out, “The impossible has happened.” That’s because Kirk Gibson, who could barely walk, stepped up to the plate and hit a 3-2 slider over the right field wall…home run…Dodgers win. “The impossible has happened.” Improbable yes. Unlikely, yes. Against the odds that a badly injured Gibson would hit a home run in that scenario, yes. But not impossible. Impossible means it cannot be done. Impossible means there is no way something can happen in the natural course of things. Impossible means it would take a miracle…the hand of God…intervention from God himself. Kirk Gibson hit a baseball 375 feet. There are literally thousands upon thousands of people who can and have hit a baseball that far. That’s not impossible. Turning water into wine. That’s impossible. That takes power. That takes the hand of God.
With Jesus we get used to seeing the impossible happen.
- The Son of God takes on human flesh and is born of the virgin Mary.
- The Son of God lives perfectly and dies sacrificially – paying for ALL sin.
- The Son of God says, “whoever believes shall not perish but have eternal life”
This powerful Son of God intervenes. He takes care of our biggest problem of sin and carts it away – removes it from the equation. He confronts our biggest obstacle, death, and turns it into a sleep…a doorway to heaven. That’s a miracle! That’s something thousands of people cannot do….only ONE can and has.
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. The Gospels are filled with miracles. Again and again Jesus did things that only God could do. This miracle in Cana, along with all the other miracles, got people to pay attention to his greatest work (that only God could do): his death and resurrection. AND these miracles bolster and build up the faith of his disciples.
Don’t the miracles of Jesus do the same for us?
- If those miracles ignited the faith of his disciples, don’t they also ignite our faith?
- If those miracles caused the disciples to be excited to follow Jesus, to drop everything and follow Jesus…to become life-long students of Jesus and his Word…don’t we too?
The world is not a nice place. Our families struggle at times. Let’s not wish we could turn back time and revisit the 1960’s, let’s instead run to Jesus…rally around Jesus. What Our Families Need Most…we already have. Jesus. Helper in every trouble, the Forgiver of every sin, the Listener to every prayer, the Provider of every need…and we pray, the welcome Guest in every marriage…every home…every family. Amen.