Joy is serious business. [Andrew McMillan]

If you were Jesus, what would your first miracle be?

Jesus decided to turn water into wine to keep a wedding party from turning into a disaster, in John chapter two. Is that how you would think the Messiah would start his ministry—making wine for a party? This is not the God we have had in our minds. We thought God was like a big policeman looking for any sign of fun to stomp it out.

The Bible starts with a wedding with Adam and Eve and ends with a wedding of Jesus with us. And here Jesus’ first miracle is saving a wedding party from being a flop. Maybe Jesus started to show His glory in a wedding to say one day all will be wonderful like a wedding where everyone is getting married to the perfect person and all that is horrible and sad will become untrue.

Obviously, joy is a serious business for Jesus.

Read John 2:1-11. In verse 6, there were 6 big 30 gallons jugs full of water. What for? John tells us they were for purification, that is, for cleansing the feet and hands of all the guest arriving for the party. Before every important event, we take showers. We know inside that we need cleansing on the outside and on the inside. Somehow make the washing a religious cleansing might make us feel better inside.

But Jesus does something wild. He takes the jars that once had dirty water from all the dirty feet and dirty hands, filling them with water. Yuk. Then He turns it into pure clean wine. That tells us that all the religious ritual will not clean us on the inside but the wine of His blood will really make us clean. Read 1 John 1:9. That is amazing news. Have you ever done something bad and went home to take a shower hoping to feel clean but you still felt dirty. Jesus tells us He has something better than water; the wine of His blood really cleanses us deep inside. That is amazing news.
Then the hired man in charge of the wedding tasted the wine and said, “This wine you save for the last is the best. “ In other words, the wine and pleasure of this world getter worse and worse but the wine of the Spirit gets better and better. Marriages get better, homes get better, and life gets better.

I did not say easier but better. So, the best is yet to come.

Notice that Jesus did not break the traditional jars, He fulfilled them.  He did not come to break the law but to fulfill the law. That means that all you have learned from tradition about Jesus should not be thrown out the window. For example, you have believed in Christ your whole life. And that is good, but now it is time to receive the One you have believed in. it is time to fulfill the tradition with real life.

There are certain characteristics that God planted deep inside the Colombian paisa culture- the affectionate family, the dads hugging their grown kids, everyone saying,  “at your service” and meaning it. The “drive” and the innovation are gifts from God. Even the pride of our city is from God. Big families and big family reunions are God. This is the redemptive gift God has given the Colombian paisa- to be resourceful, innovated and happy. But the devil corrupted the gifts into something evil. For example, the devil twisted the creative business gift into the mafia. He perverted the gift of the affectionate family man into a man with many lovers. The loving dad is no longer living at home but at the bar and hard work is more an addiction than a blessing. But Jesus has come to redeem the traditions. Once again the paisa family will be a happy home. Prosperity will be integral to the body, soul, and spirit. And dads will be the heroes of their children again. We dream of a new Medellin according to the original design of God.

So, your family has some great traditions that Jesus wants to highlight but there are some bad traditions (ancestral curses) that Jesus wants to destroy like violence, divorce, depression, cancer, drugs, fear, alcoholism and absent dads. Also, we honor the faith of our parents to baptize us as babies. I was baptized as a baby and I only know because I still have the picture. I don’t, of course, remember a thing.  When I told my parents I was baptized again when I was 23 years old, they did not understand it until I told them I honored their faith and I honored the Presbyterian Church but I was not a Christian in my heart until I was 23. And the Bible teaches us to believe and then to be baptized. So, in a way, I was fulfilling what my parents hoped me to become, a follower of Jesus Christ. One of the beautiful stained-glass windows in the Presbyterian Church has our family shield being donated by my grandfather. The window shows Jesus preaching from the mountain. Years later, I was preaching Christ in the colored light of the window to the congregation. I preached on Jesus preaching to His hometown church in Nazareth. My heart was so melted in love for my past and fire for the future. Jesus was filling the water pots with new wine.

When Kathy and I married we both had our different “family cultures” We each had our own way of celebrating Christmas and Easter. What Kathy expected me to do and what I expected me to do was two different things. She came from a big family of nine kids and lots of noise. I just had one sister and love silence. When we married, we tried to bring out the best of each culture and submit it all to the culture of the kingdom of Jesus- service, honor, love, and forgiveness. We are still working on that, but after 30 years, it’s working.

About Team McMillan:
In 1994, the McMillan family traveled to the kidnappingmurder, and drug capital of the western hemisphere to plant a church and a foundation. God thought Medellin, Colombia a good place to raise a family. And turns out He was right (as He usually is). It became a very large family: The church, Comunidad (Community), is now the largest church in Medellin with over 8,000 members, the Foundation, Viento Fresco, cares for over 150 high-risk children, and a non-profit coffee shop, New Hearts Cafe, serves cups of caffeine and the love of Jesus to thousands of college students.

God is doing so much in Medellin, and we write about here on the blog!


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