Sermon – John 2.1-11 (Epiphany 2 – 2019)

Let us pray: Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank You, that by Your grace You have instituted holy matrimony, in which You keep us from unchastity, and other offenses: We beseech You to send Your blessing upon every husband and wife, that they may not provoke each other to anger and strife, but live peaceably together in love and godliness, receive Your gracious help in all temptations, and raise their children in accordance with Your will. Grant that we all might walk before You in purity and holiness, put our trust in You, and lead such lives on earth, that in the world to come we may have everlasting life, through Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen. 

Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.

 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.

 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.”

 4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”

 5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

 6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece.

 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it.

 9 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 knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom.

 10 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!”

 11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

These are Your words heavenly Father. Sanctify us by the truth. Your word is truth. Amen.

Dear fellow redeemed,

John the Baptist said, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled” (John 3:29). John is using marriage as a picture of something here. Marriage is something to rejoice in. When the friend of the bridegroom hears the bridegroom’s voice, he rejoices, because the bridegroom is coming to take the bride to himself. John is using this picture of marriage to express his joy in Christ’s appearance and ministry. For he is the friend. The Bride, the Church, does not belong to Him. But she belongs to the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, and John, as the friend, rejoices that Jesus has come to redeem His bride, and bring sinners to Himself.

We focus on these two points today, rejoicing in earthly marriage, and rejoicing in the heavenly marriage.

Jesus, His mother Mary, and some of His disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana. These wedding celebrations were days long feasts. As part of the festivities and celebration, there was included much food and drink for merry making. These were not provided for gluttony and drunkenness, and certainly Jesus would not produce wine for the purpose of drunkenness, else He would be the cause of sin. But the food and drink are enjoyed in good conscience as part of the cheerfulness of the event.

Weddings are to be celebrated. Jesus’ presence at the wedding and the performance of His first miracle at the wedding give witness to the good thing that marriage is. He honors it and it is something for us to honor and celebrate. For God has established marriage at creation, for the good of those who enter into marriage, for the good of children, the fruit of marriage, and for the good of society, and also for a picture of the mystery of the marriage of Christ and His Bride, the Church. We ourselves know the great thing marriage is, and it is something that we honor. We might not be very pleased with some match ups. But the fact that it matters goes to show how important a thing it is, and how highly we regard marriage. We celebrate it as a good gift that God has given us.

But marriage is not celebrated in the world. For a long time, even unbelievers valued marriage, because the culture had been influenced by the values of Christianity. But now, as those values disappear, the culture has been despising marriage more and more. And we’ve been seeing this happening now for 50 years.

Boyfriend and girlfriend move in together, and they defile the marriage bed. Each day they make mockery of marriage and incur God’s wrath upon themselves. And it is no wonder that statistics show that those who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce, because they have already started with a low view of marriage. And marriage is already viewed as something that is easily disposable. Along with these, the sexual immorality, the unashamed use of pornography, the efforts to redefine marriage are the opposite of the celebration of God’s good institution of marriage, but such things are a celebration in the devil’s perverse and destructive works.

May God save us from the world’s influence. But we confess what Scripture says in Genesis 2, and what Jesus repeats, “He who made them at the beginning made them male and female, for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mt 19:4-6). We recognize the value of marriage, and rejoice in it the great gift that it is.

But the rejoicing that is there on the wedding day isn’t always so easy to come by in later years. Excitement subsides. The days become plain and ordinary. Difficulties with money, work, health, and other things put stress on the relationships. The selfishness that is inherent in the sinful flesh of husband and wife give offense against one another.

Yet, in Christ, there is still reason to celebrate the marriage relationship. As Christ’s presence and work blessed the wedding day of the couple in Cana, His presence and work blesses your marriage each day.

The blessing, and rejoicing that there is in marriage is based on this, that Christ is the faithful Bridegroom to His Bride.

And this is the true marriage, the ultimate marriage in which we all rejoice in. John rejoiced in Jesus coming. And so do we! Jesus preaches the gospel. His disciples baptized. John’s disciples were jealous, but John was rejoicing that Jesus was on the scene drawing people to Himself. Through the miracle of Cana, Jesus shows that He is divine, true God. And He comes for His Bride the Church.

Love. A decisive act of love. He didn’t wait till she deserved it. But it came from His own heart of love. And thus God became man, so that He may give His life for her. Purchased her with His own blood, and died, that she may be His own. If He remained dead, the Bride remains alone. But He is risen to take her to Himself, that she may rejoice eternally in His presence and love.

You and I as children are members of the Bride, purchased and won from all sin, death and the power of the devil. Your sins are forgiven.

In everything, whether we are married or not. We have forgiveness. We belong to the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

And it is in this reality of the marriage of Christ and the Church, that we are able to rejoice continually in the gift of marriage, both in the institution, and in the specific marriage relationships we are part of. Remember the blessings of marriage. It is not based on emotions. But a gift God has given you. God’s gifts to one another. Joining together. The love that comes from the heart of Christ, gives us hearts to love one another. A decisive love, an love that acts, not waiting for that love to be earned, but to love freely. In this love, you give the gift of repentance.

Gift of repentance.

Gift of forgiveness.

We rejoice in institution of marriage.

Marriage is a gift, a blessing we rejoice in. Children rejoice in it. I love it how children act all embarrassed at the sight of parents affection for one another, but they love it. They feel safety in that.

For some, marriage has failed, and there is no return.

For some, marriage was a gift now taken away by the Lord through the death of a spouse. And its hard, but count the blessing, and give thanks to God for the blessing.

With Christ in the relationship we have reason to rejoice, even when things are difficult. In Christ we always have reason to rejoice. “Rejoice always, in everything…”

“Wine on the lees.” Bound to Him, the faithful Bridegroom.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.

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