Sermon by Rev. Stephen R. Carnahan Jan 16, 2022


John 2:1-12

The magician, “It can’t be done any slower.”  Saying that to me when I was driving.


I like magicians


But I don’t believe they are doing any magic


Jesus had power to do surprising, and seemingly impossible things.


  • He didn’t like to do them as proof.  They may not work that way.
  • If you got up and flew around the room the best you would get out of me is, “That’s a pretty good trick.” 
  • Perhaps Jesus had the power to do such, but he knew that people would react in two ways:
    • Misinterpret—power of devil
    • Overreact—
      • Worship him for his power, not his truth
      • Make him king


This story of turning water to wine has been one of the best known. Many jokes:

Cop pulls car over, priest behind the wheel.  Window down and cop smells alcohol.  Have you been drinking? No? Well, what’s in that bottle?  Just some water.  Smells, says, this isn’t water, it’s wine.  Hallelujah, he’s done it again!


Jesus was not a magician.

  • But it unique among the stories of Jesus in the Bible.
  • Only John mentions it.
  • Didn’t do anything else like this.
  • This and walking on water stand out among the things Jesus did.
  • Jesus’ miracles are done in response to great need, misery. 
  • Many aren’t miracles at all, in the way we think.  Natural occurrences. 
  • Power from God is seen in how it helps others.


Sometimes they are signs:

  • The miracles that Jesus did are often referred  to as signs:
  • They indicate something else. 
  • John says This one, with water and wine, is an indication that Jesus is not just some ordinary guy. 
  • John says he revealed his glory this way: that the power of God was in him. 
  • Although the wine was to save the embarrassment of the hosts, it was really for his disciples to see: Jesus was able to change things by God’s power. 
  • Here is someone, John is saying, with the power to turn your water into wine.
  • But who at that wedding was changed by this? No one, other than his disciples.


How did Jesus’ power help me?


You might say I didn’t need much help.

I am white, male, straight, educated, grew up in a stable, middle class family, and even have health insurance. 


Yes, privileged.


But I also grew up in an abusive home.

        I grew up with physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse. 

        I was often neglected and felt very lonely.

        My parents had also grown up that way, and didn’t know better.

        But it took a heavy toll on me, and many yeqrs of working on it, with therqpy, prayer, and use of others wisdom. 

        My wife Judith helped me a great deal


But so did my faith. 

        I was learning about Jesus

        I was experiencing Jesus through faith.

        I was changing from water into wine.


Having grown up to be suspicious, egocentric, and qggressive, I began to see life a different way.

        Through my faith in Christ I began to become compassionate

        Unafraid of people who were different to me.

        I learned that I didn’t need to win all the time.

        I also learned that I was not the failure I was often told I was.


My family expressed love through sarcasm.

        But that doesn’t really work.  Some people love it.

        But sarcasm is a way to protect yourself from criticism.

        I began to learn that I could speak the truth without putdowns of others.

        (and I’m still learning)


My world was full of prejudice

        Stereotypes of black folks and racist laws. Disregard of women.  Complete exclusion of glbtq people.  Judgement of Catholics and other religions.

        I found that following Jesus made that bigotry difficult for me.  I had to let them go.  Still trying to.


I began to understand the way of peace. 

        Being raised in a world that trusted violence more than anything.

        I began to learn how to treat people with kindness and grace

        The Wire? Filmed in my neighborhood.

        Tough place to learn the ways of peace,

        But as I watched the streets, I saw things could not be made better by acts of violence.

        I’m still learning the ways of peace, but I’m following Jesus..


        When I look back over my life I see how following Christ has turned my water into wine.  I am becoming delicious.  Are you?


Working at Panera—hat WRSHP

        Worship or warship?

        Was it just us working there, or was it Christ working in us?

is it possible that God can do something with the water in my mind?  Can it be made into wine?

You are the miracle: you can be delicious.