For the Second Sunday after Epiphany, so I bring you a children’s sermon on John 2:1-11. It’s “the wedding at Cana.” (You can see my regular Monday Meditation on this text here.)
I really love this text. I often use it when teaching groups St. Ignatius of Loyola’s “Prayer of the Senses.” (You can find out about that in my book, Kneeling with Giants).
This leaves me with a paradoxical problem. When I sit down to prepare a children’s sermon on John 2:1-11, I sort of know it too well. How will I do anything beyond quoting the NRSV from memory?
And then there’s the problem of what we might call “adult content.” How do I talk to kids about Jesus making stupendous amounts of first-rate wine for a crowd that is, by all reports, already drunk?
Oh well. The only thing to do is jump in and try to tell the story. So here we go with a children’s sermon on John 2:1-11.
(You can skip getting the kids to chime in about the lack of wine if you want. By the way, before you read it, check out the fresco by Giotto above, especially the look on the Blessed Virgin Mary’s face as she talks to Jesus about making some miracle wine. Giotto totally agrees with me.)
A Children’s Sermon on John 2:1-11
Good morning kids! I’m so glad to see you. It’s so great that you are here for worship. Thanks for coming up to hear the children’s sermon.
I wonder if you’ve ever been to a wedding? Well, this morning’s Gospel story tells about when Jesus and his mom and his friends were all guests at a wedding.
If you’ve been to a wedding you probably know that after the actual wedding there is usually a big party.
In Jesus’ time, at the party after a wedding the people drank wine. Also they probably ate really good food, and they drank a lot of wine. And maybe they talked, and danced, and laughed—and they drank a lot of wine.
No More Wine
Well, at this particular party, after this particular wedding, the guests drank all the wine. Every last bottle. Every last glass. Every last drop.
But it wasn’t anywhere near the time when the party would end.
There was a line forming at the table where the servants poured the wine for the guests. But when guests got there, the servant just shrugged his shoulders.
Then the guests in the line started to sort of chant: “More wine! More wine! More wine!”
You can say it with me if you want to: “More wine! More wine! More Wine!“
The servant at the wine table was getting kind of nervous. He went over to the chief servant, the one in charge of the party.
“We’re all out of wine,” he said.
So the chief servant, the one in charge of the party, started to worry too. He went over to the bridegroom, the host of the party.
“You’re all out of wine,” he said. So the bridegroom, the host of the party, started to really worry a lot. He happened to be talking to Jesus’ mom, Mary, at the time. The bridegroom looked at Mary, all embarrassed and worried.
“I’ve run out of wine!” he said. “Completely!” he said. “Every bottle! Every glass! Every drop!”
“Oh dear!” said Mary. “Don’t worry, I’ll talk to Jesus.”
“Does Jesus have a lot of wine?” said the bridegroom.
“He’ll know what to do,” said Mary. “He’ll think of something.”
Can Jesus Help?
So Jesus’ Mother, Mary, walked over to where Jesus was talking to his disciples.
“They are all out of wine, honey,” said Mary. “Can you help them out?”
And Jesus said, “Oh Mom, you know this isn’t my problem. It isn’t actually your problem either.”
Mary didn’t say another word. She just gave Jesus one of those “mom looks” that meant “Didn’t I teach you better than that? Didn’t I always tell you to try to help people when they have troubles?”
Jesus rolled his eyes, but Mary just said to the servants “Whatever Jesus tells you to do, you be sure and do it.”
So Jesus said to the servants, “See those water jars over there? Fill them all up with water.”
They called them “jars” but each one was the size of a big garbage can—20 or 30 gallons. They held water for special ritual baths.
It took a while to fill six garbage cans with water, but the servants did it.
Then Jesus said “Scoop out a glassful and take it to the chief servant, the one in charge of the party.”
A Big Surprise
Then Jesus turned to his disciples and whispered “Hey watch this! I turned all that water onto wine! The chief servant doesn’t know they’re gonna serve him a glass of ritual-bathwater!”
Well, the servants dipped out some water and poured it into a glass—and it was bright red! Like a ruby! Like blood! They sniffed it, and it smelled just like wine!
They took the glass to the chief servant, the one in charge of the party.
The chief servant looked at the wine. Then he smelled the wine. Then he tasted the wine. And then his eyes lit up.
The chief servant turned to the bridegroom and said “Why didn’t you bring this out before? Everybody knows you serve the good wine first. When people have had a bit too much and won’t notice, that’s when you bring out the cheap wine. But this is great! you saved the best for last! How much is there?”
“Um,” said the bridegroom, “I don’t really know?”
So the bridegroom turned to the servants who brought the glass to the chief servant. He asked them “How much of this wine is there?”
“Six jars,” said one of them.
“Little jars?” said the bridegroom. “Or big jars?”
“Oh, big jars!” said the servant. “The ones for the ritual baths.”
“So I guess,” said the bridegroom to the chief servant, “we have about 180 gallons of this.”
“180 gallons!?!” cried the chief servant. “That’s, what, like 900 bottles of wine?”
“That’s about right.” said the bridegroom.
“We’ll never run out now!” said the chief servant. “But what will we do with all the extra wine?”
And Jesus said “I guess you’ll need to invite more people to the party!”
Then all the disciples laughed and laughed.
And they had some wine.
Plus, they started to really believe in Jesus.
And that, my friends, was Jesus’ very first miracle.
I wonder what those servants thought when they realized Jesus had turned the water into wine?
I wonder if there are other times when Jesus saves the best for last?
I wonder what the people who drank up all that miracle wine thought about Jesus?
You are, of course, free to use this children’s sermon, or adapt it as you find most useful. But, if you use it, please do one (or more!) of the following.
- You can let me know that you are using it, either in the comments below, or using the contact form above.
- You can put a little notice in your church bulletin that your children’s sermon is adapted from one published on GaryNealHansen.com.
- You can support my work over on Patreon. (Just $1 per month brings my children’s sermons straight to your inbox about two minutes after they go live. And every little bit keeps me going…)
This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.