Sermon – John 2.1-11 (Epiphany 2 – 2021)

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,

The Epiphany season fittingly follows Christmas. In the Christmas we celebrate the birth of our Savior. We celebrate the fact that the eternally begotten Son of the Father, the Word, is made flesh to deliver us from sin, death, and the devil.

Epiphany means the revelation of a truth. In the Epiphany season, we have readings that reveal to us and to the world the person and work of Christ. And so our Gospel reading today certainly fits that theme. The last verse of the reading makes that case very well. “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory.

Jesus manifested His glory. He revealed His divinity. He showed that He is God with divine power. For He broke the laws of nature to turn the water into wine.

Man can make wine, but is confined to the laws of nature. If Jesus was no more than just a man, He, too, would be confined to the laws of nature. He would either have the servants go find some wine that had already been fermenting and aged for some time. Or else, say there is nothing more that I can do.

But Jesus miraculously turns the water into wine in an instant. He shows that He is not confined to the laws of nature. He is the mighty Word, who in the beginning, put all the laws of nature into place. He is the One who is above Creation, who upholds the universe and all the laws of nature, and who has the power to break the laws of nature. This is the definition of a miracle. A miracle is an act of God that transcends the laws of nature.

And so this guest at the wedding gives an epiphany here. He manifests His glory. He reveals that He is true God.

How many were blessed on that day by His presence, even for something as so little as more wine after it had run out. The guests were blessed, the servants, the family, the master of the feast, and most of all the bride and groom were blessed by Jesus presence and blessing

How blessed it is to have Him present with us, in our marriages, in our state of singleness, in our homes, in our relationships, and our lives each and every day. Indeed, He is everywhere present, even among the heathen. He fills all things and rules over all things. Through Him, the Father cares for all creation, causing the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

But we desire more than His omnipresence. We want that special presence and blessing, that He promised before He ascended into heaven, when He said to His believers, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” We want that presence of Jesus that gives us contentment and confidence in life, as the writer to the Hebrews says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness, be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Heb 13:5-6).

His presence and blessing doesn’t mean that life will be easy and free of trouble. The wine does run out. The master of the banquet and the bride and groom suffer through the fear of embarrassment for running short. Mary makes the problem known to Jesus, but Jesus, at first, shows no interest in helping.

So also, our Lord will allow us to endure trouble for a while, and He will seem to be uninterested and even far away. Marriage and children, though being most wonderful blessings, add new crosses in life. There are troubles unique to the estate of marriage and family. Yet, we all suffer trouble of one sort of another, whether, conflict, lack, sickness, and even death.

And while Jesus may seem like He says, “What do I have to do with your problems?”, yet He is gracious, and knows our every need. He is your very present help in every trouble, and grants us what we need according to His good and gracious will. See how He comes through for the people at the wedding feast. If you think of all the miracles that Jesus could have performed to be His first, would you expect it to be this one? One little wedding celebration taking place in this little town among all the events and all the people of the world and all the troubles going on. And this really is not that big of a problem. It’s not like someone is dying. Yet Jesus shows His care for the people, and provides for them even in this little trouble, that they may enjoy their wedding celebration.

So do not think that you are too little or your troubles are too little for Christ to be present with you and to care for you in all your needs and anxieties.

Christ revealed His glory at the wedding. He showed Himself to be God. God was happy to be a guest there. In the same way, He wishes, in fact He promises to be present with you. He doesn’t wait for you to invite Him. Our sinful nature is dead in trespasses and sins. But He has broken through locked doors into your hearts through the gospel, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit created faith in your hearts. He turns your rebellious and inhospitable hearts into hearts that believe in Him as your Savior, and loves Him.

He has caused you to love Him and to hear His word, to repent of your sins, and to trust in His promises of salvation won by His sacrifice on the cross. And so as believers in Christ, this is what Jesus says about you. “If anyone loves Me, He will keep my Word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with Him” (Jn 14:23).

And so let us welcome our beloved guest, our gracious God, who so loves us that He willingly gave up His life on the cross that we may be His, and that we may live with Him forever.

We repent of our sins, and every resistance to His presence with us. When we refuse to forgive our spouses, we refuse Christ’s forgiveness. When we are discontent with our lives, we are being covetous, turning our backs on God, and seeking happiness elsewhere. When we seek to do what is right in our own eyes, allowing sin to gain the ascendancy in our hearts, we have cast Christ aside to go our own way.

And so, we repent and turn, not to the special presence with which He is with us each day, but to the saving presence of Christ in the Word and Sacraments. He invites us to be His guests at His feast to receive the saving message of His cross, and consume His body and blood given into death for us. Through these He grants us His heavenly blessings, His forgiveness, His eternal salvation, and the Holy Spirit. He causes us to grow more and more into Him, that we may be firmly implanted in Him as the branches is to the vine.

And then, let us welcome Him at all times. Couples who marry in a worship service make God a part of their marriage bond, but we want that to continue throughout the marriage relationship. Through the power of the gospel, that humility, love, and forgiveness of Christ, may predominate between husband and wife. And also that in prosperity and difficulty, husband and wife may find their contentment in Christ, and recognizing the gift that God has given to one another in their spouse.  Not only in marriage, but in our homes, in all our vocations, in all our relationships, and in every thing, we welcome Christ to be present with His blessing. Isn’t it His presence and blessing we ask in the common table prayer? With Him the vanity of life disappears, and we have meaning and purpose. He is the source of our contentment and happiness, our strength in difficult days. To Him we look for every blessing and give thanks.

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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