Sermon for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany, AD 2021

John 2:1-11

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” In this final sentence of our gospel reading, we get the full summary of this lesson and why Jesus performed this miracle. Jesus, coming in humility, being God in human flesh, had not performed any miracle before this or shown his divine nature. Here at Cana he did so to show His glory – make manifest, give an epiphany. Therefore, his disciples believed in Him. Ultimately Jesus does this work to create faith, that we may be saved.
How wonderful is the wisdom of God, how beyond our thoughts and ways He is! God does not work in the way which falls into man’s logic, yet at the same time works in ways that man can understand. With eyes of faith, we see that God has worked everything in His perfect timing, and there is nothing He leaves undone.
Christ does everything in it’s proper time, and not all at once. Look at the creation of the world in Genesis. Our Lord created the world in six days, and on the seventh day, He rested. While some will argue against scripture that the world actually developed in millions of years, let’s not consider that right now. What about the opposite – why didn’t God create the world in one day? Why not one millisecond? Why wait until the sixth day to create man and woman? Why does God need to rest? Scripture does not necessarily give satisfying answers as we might expect to these questions, but we do know one thing. God works everything in its proper time. The time that God took to create the world was done so because of his compassion for us. We can come up with ideas of why God took six days to create, we can try to see behind God’s mind, to find His hidden will. But ultimately the answer is this: the cross! It was because it was the best and most proper time to do so for your salvation. God does not work just to show His power, but to save us, to make us lost sinners his own.
This is precisely the case with Jesus, the Son of God taking on flesh and humbling himself for our salvation. This Epiphany season celebrates many of the miracles, the times in which Jesus chose to show His divine power while in His earthly ministry. Yet Jesus for much of His earthly life did not demonstrate his divine power at all, as today’s gospel reading shows. This miracle of the water into wine was the first miracle he performed. Such again shows God’s wisdom as greater than man’s. Many times, especially around Easter, you will hear in the news about “new gospels of Jesus” that often claim to speak of his childhood. These are not new, but old, invented by men centuries ago. Often they will show Jesus doing various miracles as a child, and this goes directly against the testimony of John’s gospel.
When men make stories about Jesus doing miracles, it is only for the sake of the miracle, the show. These false gospels show Jesus allegedly demonstrating power, but for no purpose. Contrast this with the gospels, where Jesus performs his first miracle at the proper time.
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.  Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.” Jesus’ first miracle occurs at a wedding on the third day. Already in the first few words, we see the proper time has come. Every miracle of Jesus is connected to His resurrection on the third day. It is only proper that his first miracle, his first demonstration of divine power as God and man would be on the third day. In this miracle, Jesus shows his power of creation and re-creation, just as He will fully reveal in the resurrection.
Now some deride this miracle which seems so simple and unnecessary. It has been called a “luxury miracle.” Turning water into wine, helping a party, seems frivolous compared to making the blind see, the lame walk, or certainly raising the dead. That looks at the miracle as man thinks in his sinful mind, as if the value in a miracle was only in its practical use or the power that it shows. Just like those who tried to make Jesus king after feeding the 5,000, it only cares for what God can do for them in the here and now.
Jesus’ miracles, and especially this one, are primarily signs which point to a greater reality to encourage faith in Christ. The first of Jesus’ signs, it demonstrates Jesus’ work as one of new creation. Jesus, being the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, not only s the Wiord by which God the Father created the world, but keeps and sustains it every day. It is Jesus who normally and naturally turns water into wine by bringing rain on the earth, making the vines grow and sprout fruit, causing it to age and ferment. Jesus sustains creation. This miracle is one of instant new creation, even better than the first creation, for it is the best wine, as the steward of the feast announced.
Jesus Christ comes to the wedding feast as merely a guest, not one of great fame or standing, and blesses it with his presence. He does not come to party and get drunk, but to serve humanity and to honor marriage. For in Christ, we are a new creation. By His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, He has made all things new. Jesus showed that marriage is a good and noble estate by attending this wedding at Cana. It is blessed by God and worthy of honor that a man and woman should come together publicly for the sake of mutual companionship and to beget godly children. Even more, as Jesus made peace between God and man in his death and resurrection, He took as His bride the church, all believers in Him.
The early church often spoke of baptism as a wedding nuptial, where Christ weds an unworthy bride. To be sure, we all come to Christ unworthy, dirty, and ungrateful. Yet Christ does not wait for us to clean up our act. He cleans us by water and the word. He makes us a new creation. He creates in us the new hearts that are no longer like weak, cold water, but like good wine, given body causing joy in our hearts and others. He sanctifies and supports our marriages, leading us to forgive as we have been forgiven and to love as He loves us.
For sin still clings to us, and our new creation is not yet fully revealed in this life. Every brother and sister we interact with in the church is an unworthy sinner. Every husband and wife here is marred by sin. Yet as Christ has taken us in, made us new in heart, we can begin to love and forgive as He does. Our marriages, our lives, are not our own work, but are His new creation working through us from the inside out. The sign of the water into wine shows us this, and demands our faith and obedience. Let us come to him, drawing near in repentance from our sins, knowing He is always willing to forgive. Here he comes to strengthen us to do so in His body and blood.
Christ has shown his glory fully to us in his death and resurrection. What compassion He has to be willing to die that we may live! As the disciples believed in the sign of the wine at Cana, let us cling to the greatest of His signs – His resurrection. For we also share in that resurrection and life of the world to come, a life of new creation which will far surpass this one as the greatest wine surpasses mere water. Amen.

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