Believe:879. How far will you go to find the truth? He is among us.
The gospel of John, chapter two.
Wedding days are high stress. How many of you are married? Raise your hand. How many of you remember your wedding day? How come more hands went up? You remember them, one of the reasons is because there were so many details and there was months of planning and they all culminated on that day. High stress. Detail after detail. There was a young woman who was getting married and she said to her mother, "Mom, this day is so important to me. I do not want to overlook one insignificant detail." And she said, "Don't worry, sweetheart. I'll make sure the groom is there." Well the groom is hardly an insignificant detail. However, in our story, the wedding supper at Cana, the wedding feast, we don't know who the couple is—they're not mentioned at all. There's no mention of the bride or the groom by name; they're unnamed, they're unidentified and there's no record that they even said a single word which may be a good thing. I think it was Ogden Nash the American poet who said, "To keep your marriage brimming with love in the loving cup, when you're wrong admit it and when you're right shut up."
But the real reason that John does not record that this couple is named or said anything at all is because they're really not the most important part of the story. The most important One in this story is not the bride. It's not the bridegroom. It's not the mother of the bride. It's not the one who officiated the marriage. It is the wedding guest. It is Jesus Himself. Because what He does and what He brings to this wedding would change everything for a group of disciples who were watching. I love this story and I love the fact that Jesus' first miraculous sign was at a wedding. And I thought as I was reading through the text this week how weddings would be really different if Jesus were the invited guest. And how marriages would be different if Christ were the center of the home. And how relationships would be different if that also was the case.
I do a lot of weddings. I have done a number of them for years and one of the reasons I love them so much is because I see what nobody else sees. I have the best seat in the house standing up here. I get to see the sweat bead up on the brow of the groom as he's being watched by a whole bunch of people and sometimes his hands will shake uncontrollably. I get to watch that—it's a lot of fun. I get to watch tears in the eyes of sometimes both the bride and the groom. I certainly get to see the love that is exchanged in just the looks that they have. It's a wonderful, wonderful time. And no doubt, this was also a wonderful moment for this young couple.
Now, John chapter two moves us geographically from the area of the Jordan River down south, and it moves us north-northwest to the area of Galilee, which will become the headquarters for Christ, and just about five miles north of his hometown of Nazareth was the village of Cana of Galilee. Nathanael, this last disciple that we read about in chapter one, his hometown was Cana of Galilee. We're going to read through 11 verses of chapter two. There's one little point that isn't mentioned here that I want you to know about: the day of the week this wedding happened on was a Wednesday. The reason I know, that is almost universally in Jewish literature, that was the appropriate day for the wedding of a virgin in Israel, was a Wednesday. It was certainly not done on Saturday, like in our culture, because Saturday was the Sabbath. And a marriage would not take place on the Sabbath. Wednesday was the typical day and, you know, Jewish weddings are like the coolest. Because the bride and groom get married under a canopy and as soon as the ceremony is done, they lift them up and carry them through the streets with the canopy above their heads and they're singing songs. It's a torchlight ceremony and they would make the most circuitous route through the town possible so that everybody in town could get on the bandwagon, so to speak, and say, "Congratulations," "God bless you," "Mazel Tov," "Good on ya," and they would all be involved.
This marriage was probably a wedding that was of a friend of the family who was very close to Jesus and His mother, Mary. Or perhaps even a relative because Jesus and Mary, His mother, were invited and Mary, it seems like, is serving behind the scenes—she's part of the workforce. So probably they were related or at least good friends. But what I want to show you today is something I think John shows us. As we go through the story, we see Jesus Christ and His relationship to four separate entities. And John brings them all out. First of all, His mother. Second, the moment. Third, a miracle—that's probably what it's most famous for. And fourth, His men, the disciples. Jesus in relation to all four of those entities.
Let's begin in verse one and read through the fifth verse, and what's highlighted there is Jesus and His mother: "On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine." Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it." Now you know something always goes wrong at a wedding, right? I don't care how much you spend or how well you plan, there's going to be some detail that is unforeseen that will crop up.
I remember my own wedding; it was wonderful. It was a warm day but it was a beautiful day. The music was good and the food was great and Lenya looked like a knockout. I remember I saw her, I just went, "Ohhhh…" But there was one detail that just kind of changed the day for me. I rented a tuxedo but I did not try it on before the wedding. I put it on right before the wedding, it fit fine except for one small item and that was the shoes—they were one-and-a-half sizes too small for my feet. So the entire wedding, I have like bird-claw feet inside my shoes and if I shed tears during the wedding, it was not out of joy, it was out of sheer pain and agony. I'll never forget that.
But I've done a lot of weddings as I mentioned. And um, I've watched the best planned events go awry. I'll never forget the garden wedding that I did where the groom fainted, not once, but twice. Yeah it was really beautiful. They came and they were walking down the aisle and I told the groom, "Make sure you have a good meal in the morning." He didn't do that; so we got up there and he's nervous and the blood leaves his head and his legs are locked up and he just went back. And we caught him and we kept going and he did it again. So for the rest of the wedding we had to have him sit in a chair while his bride stood nice and tall next to him and they finished it off. He'll never forget that, I'm sure—never live it down.
Then there was the silent wedding that I did. That's right. The musician forgot that he had to play that day at a wedding so there was no music. It was a silent wedding. It was like an old black and white movie and when she walked down the aisle it seemed to take hours, because music helps. Well here's a wedding where they run out of wine. Now, I cannot overemphasize the distress that must have been in Mary's voice when she said to her Son, "They have no wine." Because to have no wine was a social catastrophe which I'll explain in a little bit. What I want to focus on first is the relationship between Jesus Christ and His mother at this point. And I do that because this has been a huge issue historically. Mary has been worshiped by some, being called the mother of God, some say that she was sinless, some say that her body was assumed into heaven and that Jesus Christ crowned her the queen of heaven and the queen of the universe. She has therefore been revered and prayed to and depended upon and she has been called the co-redemptress of the human race and the co-mediatrix of the human race. There's even a church in Rome, and I've been to it, it's a basilica, that has Jesus hanging on the cross, on one side of the cross dying for the sins of the world. And on the other side of the cross is Mary, dying on the cross. Even Vatican II, in the 1960s, spoke of, and I quote, "The union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation."
With that background, verse four is very, very interesting because Jesus said to her, "Woman, [in Greek, gynai] what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." Now, don't, don't misunderstand. This is not harsh; this is not inconsiderate or disrespectful. It is polite to say "woman." Jesus will say the same thing to Mary when He hangs on the cross and says, "Woman, behold your son!" and gives her to John's care. In fact, it's a typical, polite way to address a woman. Six times in the New Testament in the gospels, Jesus calls different women by the name "woman." It's like saying, "Mrs." or "lady" or "ma'am." Ma'am. Now that's polite but it is not intimate. It is more formal and it indicates a change in the relationship that He would address His mother like any other woman, calling her "Ma'am," or "Mrs."
Couple that with the question: "What does your concern have to do with Me?" In the Greek I discovered it's even more poignant. It's "ti emoi kai soi gynai," or literally, "What—what with you and Me, woman?" And it's a little Semitic rhetorical question that is meant to show we're thinking in two different galaxies; we're thinking in totally different manners. My thoughts are not your thoughts—two divergent ways. Now, you couple that question with the formal "woman" and as I said, it indicates a change in the relationship. And here's the change: Jesus here is beginning His public ministry and now, earthly relationships will not determine His course of action. But a different relationship will.
It's as if Jesus is saying, "I'm not just your Son. I'm to be your Savior. And I'm on a different agenda." And Christ predicted this day would come. He was 12 years old when He did. Remember He was lost in the temple and Joseph and Mary were like partway back to Nazareth and go, "Where is he?" And they had to go back and find Him and Jesus said, "Didn't you know that I must be about My Father's business?" And what Father was He speaking about? God the Father. There's a whole other relationship that I'm tracking with even more than this relationship of Son and mother, and that is My Heavenly Father. Now, all of that to say simply that Mary is a blessed woman. She was a wonderful, godly example of motherhood; a wonderful example of womanhood; a great, wonderful example of spiritual submission—but she is not sinless and she is not the co-redemptress and she is not the co-mediatrix of the human race. I'll tell you what she is and what she was: she was a disciple who needed God's grace and mercy like anybody else. And I'm saying that because that's what she said about herself. When she was told that she was going to be the mother of Jesus in Luke chapter one in that beautiful section called the Magnificat of Mary, she responds by saying, "My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit rejoices [listen] in God my Savior."
Savior? Well, who needs a Savior but a sinner? Only sinners need saviors; sinless people don't need saviors. Co-redemptresses don't need saviors. Only those who know that they need God's grace and mercy because they're sinners need a Savior. So I would say to you if you want to honor Mary, please honor her by doing what she says to do. In verse five, "Whatever He says to you, do it." She points to Jesus and says, "Honor my Son. Submit to my Son." So you want to honor Mary, do that—submit to Christ, love Jesus, obey Jesus, make it all about Jesus. Because that's what she did. She was never given any special honor by the early church. You'll never find a shred of evidence that that happened. She was certainly never worshiped by the early church. In fact, she's hardly mentioned in the Bible at all after a certain point. She just drops off the page after Acts chapter one.
Now, don't you think that if Mary were to play a role in our salvation or if she were to be prayed to, don't you think the New Testament would at least mention that? But it doesn't mention that. In fact, what it says is quite the opposite. In Matthew 12, Jesus is teaching and the house is packed full of people listening to His Bible study. And as He's teaching, He gets interrupted by somebody who says, "Hey, Your mother and Your brothers are outside. They want to talk to you." Remember what Jesus said? He didn't go, "My mother?" He looked around the room and said, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?" And he pointed to those listening and said, "Those who listen to God's Word and keep it, the same is My mother and My brothers."
Then in Luke's gospel, chapter eleven, evidently there was somebody already wanting to worship Mary back then and this person came up to Jesus and said, "Blessed is the mother who gave You birth and nursed You." Jesus immediately shot back and said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and do it." So this is a good section to highlight, as John does, the relationship between Jesus and His mother. "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me?"
Second thing I want you to notice, because John brings it out, is Jesus and the moment. The relationship between Jesus and the moment. You'll notice in verse one, it says, "on the third day." And so far haven't you noticed how John is very particular about recording what happens on what day, as if there's some schedule that Jesus is keeping? If you haven't, I want you to notice back in chapter one, after the prologue. Look at verse 29: "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'" And down in verse 35 is another time indicator. "Again the next day John stood with two of his disciples." Verse 43: "The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee," because He's got a wedding to go to. "And he found Philip and said, 'Follow Me." And then verse one of chapter two: "on the third day." So there was a couple days to travel from down at the Jordan River to Galilee to Cana up there in the mountains.
But John is announcing the timetable. But the key verse is back in verse four of chapter two: "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come." I want you to notice that phrase because you're going to see it five more times in the gospel of John. Jesus will make reference to "My hour, My hour, My hour, My hour, My hour." And what does He mean by that? What He means by "My hour" is the time of His suffering, death, and subsequent resurrection. That is, the manifesting sign of who He is and what He has come to do by His death and resurrection. I'll give you a few examples, just a few; I won't go through them all. John chapter seven, verse 30: "They sought to take Him but no one laid a hand on Him because His hour had not yet come." In John chapter 13, verse one, "It was before Passover and Jesus knew that His hour had come when He would depart from this world and go to the Father. In John 17, verse one, Jesus is now praying to His Heavenly Father: "Father, [He says] the hour has come. Glorify Your Son that Your Son may glorify You."
Okay, I want you to see something; I don't want you to miss this part. Mary asked Jesus something by saying, "They have no wine." And Jesus says, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour is not yet come." So, Mary couldn't have simply been asking Jesus to pull off a miracle. Like, "Hey, you know, they don't have any wine and You're really good at that." Because that wouldn't make any sense. It wouldn't make any sense because Jesus rebuffed her in saying, "We don't share the same concern," and then He makes more wine, which is what she's indicating. No, what she must have been saying and indicating to Him is, "Son, now is the time. Here's the launching point. Here is the time when You can display and reveal who You are and what You have come to do. Give some unmistakable sign, some supreme manifestation, that You are the Messiah and launch it publicly so everybody will know here and the word will go out." And He says, "My hour is not yet come."
You see, Mary knew Jesus better than any person on the earth at that time. She remembered back to when she found out she was pregnant and she knew, "I haven't slept with a man. I haven't been sexually involved with anybody—I've been pure." But the angel said, "You're pregnant and it's conceived by the Holy Spirit." She would never forget that. And she remembered what the angel Gabriel said this Child would be like, that He would be the Savior, etcetera. She remembered the night the shepherds came, after the birth of the Child. She remembered when the magi came, following that star. She remembered what Simeon said in the temple and what Anna said and what Jesus, at twelve years old, said: "I must be about My Father's business." And all of that was in her heart and in her head and she pondered that. And she says, "Now is the time to let what I know out so everybody else knows."
There's something else Mary knew. Mary knew about gossip. Mary knew that she had to live day in and day out in Nazareth with people talking things like, "Well you know, we know that Mary got pregnant before the wedding. And that Joseph says he has nothing to do with it." And all of these rumors of illegitimacy; it was so, so much so that when Jesus confronted the Pharisees down in Jerusalem they said to Jesus, "Well, we were not born of fornication." In other words, "We weren't but You were." So all of those rumors, all of that stigmatization, socially, could be done away with if You would just reveal who You are. But Jesus said, being in the moment, "My hour has not yet come."
So here's what I want you to see: He's moving in a divine time schedule toward His hour leading up to the cross. And so it begins in the garden of Gethsemane when He says, "Behold! The hour is at hand and the Son of Man is betrayed." And here's what you need to know: Jesus' entire life is moving toward that hour. If you were to take the four Gospels and find out how much was written about Jesus growing up and the first thirty years of his life, you know what you'd come up with? There are only four chapters in all of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—only four chapters—that even hint at what happened in the first thirty years of Jesus' life. That's why they're known as the silent years: there's nothing written about them. But there are 85 chapters in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that talk about the last 3 ½ years of His life. And of those 85 chapters, 29 of those 85 chapters deal with the last week of His life. And of those 29 chapters, 13 deal with just the final 24 hours—that last day. In Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John there are 579 verses that speak of the final day of Christ on earth. That was His hour—that was the focus of His life. And He is saying to His mother, "I am saving that ultimate manifestation for My suffering, My death, and My resurrection."
Well, I'll tell you what that does to us. It tells us something about God's timing. It's perfect. You know what? God is never late. God is never early. God is precisely on time. He is always on time—that's what it tells us. Now, honestly, there have been times in my life where I didn't think God was on time. I actually told God—I've counseled God before, by the way; that's how dumb I've gotten. "God, You had the chance! It was such a perfect time for You to do that and You didn't do it! Where were you?" God is perfectly on time. Peter said, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness." Now I grew up with an earthly father who was late. Maybe that's why I keep trying to put it on my heavenly Father; it's what I grew up with. When my mom said, "I'll pick you up from school," I knew she'd be on time. Whenever she'd say, "I can't make it, your dad'll pick you up," I knew I'd be the last kid standing—inevitably. But not my heavenly Father; it's very different. His timing is impeccable. Spurgeon put it this way, "There are no loose threads in the providence of God. There are no stitches that are dropped, no events that are left to chance. The great clock of the universe keeps good time and the whole machinery of providence moves with unerring punctuality."
The third relationship in our study today is really what most people think about when they think of this story. And that is the miracle—Jesus and the miracle that He performed. Verse six: "Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing 20 or 30 gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, "Fill the waterpots with water." And they filled them to the brim. And He said to them, "Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast." And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water [they] knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!"
Now, just a while back I told you that I'd talk about the whole wedding/no wine social catastrophe thing. Here's the deal: weddings were the social event. If you're a poor person, it was the one party in life you'd have. And it was so important socially to have the right kind of a wedding and to have wine at a wedding. By the way, in those days weddings were paid for completely by the groom. The bride's dad or the bride had no responsibility. The groom paid for it all and supplied the wine. To have no wine was a social embarrassment, because in Jewish thinking, wine was a symbol of joy. Many Scriptures, Isaiah 55 and others, Psalm 104 says, "The wine that makes glad the heart of man." Even the rabbi said, "Without wine there is no joy." So for a groom to run out of wine, this is what it meant: it was to admit, I can provide no joy for my wife or her family or my friends. In fact, if you ran out of wine at a wedding, you could be sued for it because you have failed to meet your social responsibility.
So when Mary said, "They have no wine," it was like—they have no wine! They've run out of wine! Jesus knew what that meant. So in verse six, John is telling us about what happened. There were six waterpots of stone. Now here was the Jewish thinking: if it was made out of stone, it was clean, if it was made out of earthenware, it was unclean. All a matter of purification. But did you get how big they were in that verse? Twenty or 30 gallons apiece? That's between 120 to 180 gallons of wine. I agree with William Barkley, "No wedding party on earth can drink 180 gallons of wine." This isn't Jesus just meeting a need; this is Jesus lavishly going way over the top. Like more than ever you'll need. Which, all I can say about that is, what a gift. What a—what a lavish gift! Because that wine was so good, and even the master of ceremonies said, "This is good wine." And that couple could've sold that wine and could've used that money for their early marriage. It was quite a gift.
We often like to skip over things like verse seven. We call them insignificant details, but notice Jesus said, "Fill the waterpots with water" and they what? Filled them up to the brim. You know why John wants you to know that? He wants you to know that nothing was added. This wasn't some sort of a fake miracle. It was filled all the way up to the top so unmistakably this was a miracle. It's not like there's a little bit of water and somebody dumped a gallon of wine in it. It was water all the way up to the top. This was a miracle. It did not come through the normal process of fermentation that has to happen for wine to be made. Just instantaneous, fresh, good, sweet wine. Now our wedding was sort of like this only in reverse. Because we had no alcohol at our wedding but we had Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Juice and when you put it in a glass it bubbles and I remember a lot of people going, "Champagne!" And they all kind of rushed for it and then they drank apple juice. We didn't do that to psyche them out, but it was kind of funny.
Now, I'll tell you why John is writing this. John is writing this to demonstrate who Jesus Christ is. John wants everyone reading this book to know that Jesus Christ was no less than God. That's the premise of the whole book, right? That's why he starts out saying it: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And He made everything." All through the book, he is saying that Jesus Christ is God and so he's going to demonstrate that. Back in chapter one, he demonstrated that by telling us how omniscient Jesus was; that He knows everything. So he meets Philip and He knows that Philip is from Galilee and He wants to go to Galilee. He meets Nathanael and He knows about Nathanael's character and He goes, "Hey, you're a man in whom there is no deceit." "How do you know me?" "I knew you when you were in the fig tree, when you were out there praying—I saw that."
And after that, now John is demonstrating that Jesus is not only omniscient, but He's omnipotent. That He can control the natural world. That He is capable of creation. Like God creates things, Jesus created wine and maybe John even had Genesis one in mind because the Old Testament begins by a miracle of creation. Jesus' ministry began by a miracle of creation. So that's Jesus and a miracle. But it doesn't end there. Verse 11 is the end of this story, really, and it tells us why Jesus did what He did. It's really the answer to the whole issue here, and it's about Jesus and His men.
Verse 11: "This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him." Two things are told in verse eleven about this miracle. Number one: that this was the first miracle Jesus did. The first one. The beginning of the signs that Jesus did. And I'll tell you why that's important. Because there are a couple of books floating around out there, they have been for some time. One is called The Gospel of Thomas; the other is called The Gospel of Peter. They're apocryphal books; they're not canonical books of the New Testament. But they have these fanciful stories of Jesus sort of kind of coming to grips with His miraculous power when He was a child, and there's a story that Jesus made a clay bird in class, or a few clay birds, and then made them come to fly and they flew away. And then He was out on the playground one time and He got mad at a kid and cursed him and the kid fell down dead and then Jesus raised him from the dead. And He's just sort of like, "Whoa! I'm pretty powerful!"
So it's helpful that John gave us this note. That didn't happen. This is the very first miraculous sign Jesus performed. Second, he tells us why He did it. He did it to reveal His glory in order to develop the faith of His disciples. Because it says, "And His disciples believed in Him." That's why the name of this series is Believe:879; that's the theme of John's book. Believe. Remember our first study and we looked at John 20:30-31? Where John said, "Truly many other signs Jesus did in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that by believing you would have life in His name." So naturally, John wants you to know why He did this: it's so that His disciples would believe in Him.
By the way, there's only five disciples, right now. If you look at the disciples from chapter one, there was Andrew, and John (that's who we infer it was), then there was Peter, then Philip, and Nathanael and they go to Cana. And so this is a very private miracle. It is not public. Sure the servants knew about it, His mother knew about it. But really the disciples knew about it and what they saw brought faith. Those disciples, you know they're just sort of getting a grip on who this is and what's going on, and then they see this miracle and they go, "Wow! I believe."
Now, I'm wondering something. I can't prove it, but I'm just wondering that they didn't think immediately of Moses at this miracle. Because Moses predicted, and they would have known this, Moses said, "The Lord God will send unto you another Prophet like me; Him you shall listen to." And do you remember what the first miracle Moses ever performed was? It was turning water into blood. Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine. Moses' miracle of turning water into blood brought destruction and misery; Jesus' first miracle of turning water into wine saved the day and brought joy. And they might have put two and two together and thought, "This guy is like much cooler than Moses! This is awesome! I believe."
And by the way, this is part of what Jesus promised Nathanael would happen. When he said, "Nathanael, you think the fig tree thing was cool? You will see greater things than this." And boy, Nathanael had no idea what he was in for in three days. He got up to his hometown, Nathanael of Cana, and here's Jesus of Nazareth and Nathanael said, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Now here's the boy from Nazareth doing this in Nathanael's home digs. And his faith was increased.
I read a funny little story about a businessman back in the East who always had a dream of being a rancher out here in the West; of course it was just a childhood dream. He read books and he thought, "I want to own land to be a rancher." So he eventually saved money and bought a ranch, or bought land, I should say, in Wyoming and started his own ranch. And a friend of his came out to see the ranch and saw so many acres of land and said, "This is fabulous! What do you call it? What's the name of your ranch?" And the man said, "Well, that's sort of the problem we've had. We couldn't agree on a name so I've given it the name, the Double R Lazy L Triple Horseshoe Bar Seven Lucky Diamond Ranch." The guy said, "Wow, that's a long name." And he goes, "You know, I look around, I notice you don't have any cows. Where's all the cattle?" And the man said, "None of them survived the branding." Can imagine the long brand.
Well, I thought about that and I thought about all of the people who have joined different religious groups that I have known. This brand of spirituality and that brand of cult and this brand of that, and I think, you know what? I listen and I look at what they believe in. And some of it's narrow and legalistic and austere and they just turn out weird. None of them can survive the branding. Then I think of Jesus here, who brought joy to a group of people and faith to His disciples and so I have a question: Do you think that if you came to Jesus Christ you would ever be empty or you would ever be disappointed? This one who could lavishly supply such graciousness—180 gallons. Because if you ever do feel empty and you ever do feel disappointed following Christ, it's not because He failed you—it must be because you left Him.
The Christ who can produce this kind of abundance is able to take care of you even in a recession. He's lavish, He's abundant. Oh, you'll be tested and you might even go, "I don't have any… stuff." Like Mary to Jesus, "They have no wine." His timing is perfect. He knows what He's about. I'm going to give some of you this morning like we did last night and all the other services an opportunity to meet the real Jesus. Not some crazy person invented by some group that you could never survive the branding, but the one who lavishly gives joy and life to you and forgiveness to you. Let's pray.
Our heavenly Father, I do pray that those today who don't know you or have strayed away from You would come back. Father, I pray for those who are strong believers, devoted believers, who are with us this morning. I pray that this year You'd lavishly bless them. You'd provide what they need and then some. 'Cause there's no limit with You. You're a God of creation and recreation. You make all things new. You do all things well. And I just pray that blessing upon this wonderful congregation of Your children, Your sons and daughters. That You, the God who knows no limit and has no lack would supply, and that this year would be marked by that supply in the lives of these, Your children. Father, we pray that those who don't know You and they need that touch of love and forgiveness and a new life would come to Jesus Christ today. We pray in His name, amen.