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Second Sunday after the Epiphany

January 20, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Epiphany

Passage: John 2:1–2:11

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: John 2:1-11
Date: January 20th, 2019; Epiphany 2; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • In our Gospel lesson for this morning we heard the familiar account of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana.
  • From this account we see that Jesus gives a high place to the sanctity of marriage.
  • In the rite of Holy Matrimony it is noted, “Our Lord blessed and honoured marriage with his presence and first miracle at Cana in Galilee.”
  • But, while it is true that Jesus blesses and honours marriage, this is not the main reason why St. John recorded this event in his Gospel.
  • He later reveals his main purpose when he said, “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).  
  • That is to say, the wedding at Cana is one of those moments when Jesus gives us a sign that reveals him as our Saviour.  
  • And the goal of this sign is not to just lead us to say, “Wow, that Jesus is sure powerful” or “Jesus is sure nice for helping that couple out”.
  • Rather the goal is to lead us to confess, “I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”
  • St. John tells us, “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory.  And his disciples believed in him” (John 2:11). 
  • The Greek word that is translated as “sign” here means more than just a “mighty wonder” or “miracle”.
  • It refers to an event that makes known the presence of God.  It’s an event that manifests God’s glory.
  • So, Jesus’ sign of turning water into wine is not merely a demonstration of his power that is intended to make us bow down in awe and wonder.  
  • The sign of Jesus turning water into wine is an event that reveals that God is truly with us and it leads us to confess and believe that Jesus is Lord, and that by believing we may have life in his name. 
  • A wedding feast in Jesus’ day was a week-long affair and almost everyone was invited.
  • The hosts were expected to provide the food and wine - and if a wedding feast ran out of wine - it was a huge social embarrassment.  
  • It was sure to make the gossip circles in town.  
  • And as we heard, this is what happened to the people hosting this wedding in Cana.  
  • Mary, showing compassion, informed Jesus, “They have no wine.”  
  • And it seems that Mary’s statement was really more of a request.  
  • It’s similar to when a mother tells her child that the kitchen garbage is full.  
  • It’s not just for the sake of information - what she really means is "Please take out the garbage."  
  • So, it seems, our Lord's mother asked her Son to help.
  • In doing this, Mary is an excellent picture of how the church should pray to Christ in faith.  
  • She lays the needs of her host before Jesus boldly and with confidence that he can and will help.  
  • So also we should pray to Christ, firmly trusting in him and believing that he will hear us and help us in the way that is best for us.  
  • Further, Mary endures in this faith even when Jesus seems to brush her off.  Though he seems to answer her a bit roughly, she simply turns and tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 
  • Those are the last words recorded from the Mary in the Scriptures.  “Do whatever he tells you.”  
  • Like the servants at the wedding, we too should obey Mary.  “Do whatever my Son Jesus says.”    
  • He’s the One who died on a cross and rose from the dead to save you. 
  • So, if he says “make disciples of the nations by baptizing and teaching,” then do what he says.  
  • If he says, “Take this bread which is my body and eat it; and take this cup of wine which is my blood and drink it, and do this for my remembrance,” then do it.  
  • If he says, “Believe that in me you have eternal life,” then believe it.  
  • As we heard, Jesus told the servants to fill six stone water jugs used for ritual washing to the brim with water, and then take some to the master of the feast. 
  • The master tasted the water now become wine and immediately called the groom.  
  • He said, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine.  But you have kept the good wine until now” (John 2:10). 
  • “You’ve saved the best until now.”  
  • God truly saved the best for last in his Son Jesus Christ.  
  • Everything that God did in the past comes to fruition in his sending his only-begotten Son to take on our flesh and to die on a cross to rescue us and the entire world.
  • The sign of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana reveals the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the promised Messiah who has come to save us from our sin and death.  
  • And Jesus continues to reveal himself through signs today.  
  • He has provided us signs in the sacraments of Holy Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. 
  • There, Jesus is hidden in lowly water and simple bread and wine.  
  • In the Sacraments, Jesus, who revealed at Cana that he is Lord of the elements, continues to reveal himself as Lord over all creation.
  • In the waters of Baptism, Jesus makes us his own.  
  • As he turned the water into wine, with his Word and by his command - so he also gave water the power to redeem us.  
  • Baptism is a “washing of regeneration” (Titus 3:5).  
  • Baptism is a re-creation of that which was dead to sin.  
  • Baptism re-creates us in newness of life in Christ Jesus.
  • In the same way, the Lord’s Supper is a sign of our redemption in Jesus Christ.  
  • We receive his true body and true blood for the forgiveness of our sins, the strengthening of our faith, and to receive the gift of everlasting life.
  • Through these signs God continues to reveal to us that he is present in our lives and that the salvation that Jesus won for us is personally ours.
  • On that day at the wedding celebration in Cana, our Lord revealed who he is, to us and to the world.  
  • He is God in the flesh, come to save us from sin and death.
  • He is God in the flesh, come to give us the gift of everlasting life.
  • In “this, the first of his signs,” Jesus manifested his glory - and we believe in him.  Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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