The Holy Gospel: January 20, 2013 (Year C)

Read:  John 2:1-11

Meditation:  “When the Wine Runs Out”

You can count on it, our wine is going to run out.  Our insights, our power, our plans, and all the rest that we make will not be enough.

We can only imagine that those who prepared the wine for the wedding knew what they were doing.  They had done it many times before.  They knew how long these events lasted and how much wine (on average) would be consumed.  Who knows….they may have even taken a look at the guest list and made their estimates based upon their knowledge of per-person consumption!

But no matter how they determined their calculations, the wine ran out.  It always does when it is our wine.

The first sign sends the message that needs to be sent right at the start:  it’s not by might, or by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord (Zech 4:6).

No Jesus—no wine.  That’s the message, and the gospel story declares it early in the Christian year.

Like the original clay vessels, we are filled with the “good wine” of creation:  talents, intelligence, wisdom, creativity, influence, etc.  Human beings are amazing in all sorts of ways.  But…human beings are human, and some time, somewhere (it varies from person to person) each of us come to the end of our selves.  Competence and charisma are no longer enough.

In that moment, our life is defined and determined by the presence of Jesus.  In that moment, we hear the voice of our soul tell us what Mary told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”  And if we are willing to heed the advice, the “best wine” fills us and the end is better than the beginning.


About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
This entry was posted in The Holy Gospel. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Holy Gospel: January 20, 2013 (Year C)

  1. Patrick says:

    Thanks Steve and this one fits us all at some time or another in our life, so well that I got good use out of this yesterday.

  2. tammy hogan says:

    Steve, This post is spot on. Having just gone through a very difficult valley, I ran out of “my” wine. All throughout that time, whenever someone asked how I was doing, I would say this, “I have come to the end of myself.” As you have said, I was out of my own wine. Praise God though, because in those moments, Jesus filled me with His wine. And like the master of the banquet, I had to say when tasting the new wine, “the best has been saved until now.” Praise His holy name!

  3. Lucas Dawn says:

    Your Zech. 4:6 quote about the Spirit is especially appropriate for this story about new wine since the new wine is a sign especially of the Spirit Jesus will give. A similar contrast between water and what Jesus will give is found in Jn. 1:31-34, where John the Baptist says he baptizes with water but the one on whom he will see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who will baptize with the Spirit. And similarly in Jn. 4 is a contrast between the well water of the Samaritan woman and Jesus’ living water; in 7:38-39 Jesus says his living water portrays the Spirit, which will be given after he is glorified. In Jn.2 his hour (to be glorified, to return to the Father) has not yet come but he goes ahead and gives new wine as a sign of his great gift when his hour does come.

Comments are closed.