Sermon for the Second Sunday after Epiphany, AD 2022

John 2:1-11

The miracle of the water into wine may be one of Jesus’ strangest miracles. It is completely unnecessary for Jesus to do. This isn’t Jesus cleansing a leper who has been suffering his entire life, or bringing sight to the blind, or raising a dead daughter. If the wine had run out and they were unable to get more for the wedding, nothing much would have been lost. It’s extravagant. It’s unnecessary. And that’s the point. Jesus is made manifest in his extravagant work for you.

It’s important to know about the extravagant work of Jesus. Especially in the recent weeks surrounding Christmas, there has been a lot of focus in the reading on fulfillment of prophecy. Jesus is born in Bethlehem to fulfill Micah’s prophecy. Jesus is visited by the wise men to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah. Jesus and his family escape to Egypt to fulfill the prophecy of Hosea. This is all very good. It’s good to know that God has been working on His plan to save you through His Son Jesus from the very beginning. Everything in Jesus’ life follows His Father’s will, humbly submitting to a life of service and sacrifice so you may be saved.

Just because Jesus lives a life which fulfills scripture does not mean He is only moving through life robotically. It’s not as if every act was choreographed, every word scripted. That is the opposite of the truth. For prophecy of old did not determine Jesus’ work – it described what Jesus would do. The Lord revealed to the prophets the truth about Jesus, and described many things He would do to complete His Father’s will. Jesus, as God and man, lived in perfect freedom, for He has no sin.

Perfect freedom is the ability to live according to God’s will perfectly, to do what is good and right. You as baptized Christians are free, and you know this in your hearts. You have been given the new life which has been freed from sin to follow God. Yet in this life even Christians often get turned around. They feel like sin is freedom, and the will of God, the Ten Commandments, is slavery. Yes, the law is slavery to your old man, you sinful flesh, but it is a delight to the new. Otherwise, Jesus would be the most enslaved person who ever lived!

No, Jesus was not enslaved, nor was He limited in any way by the law. He was free to serve, to love, to die for the sake of the world, and He did so in a free and extravagant way. See in this miracle, the wine runs out, and His mother asks Him to solve the problem. He mildly rebukes her, saying, it is not yet my time! So it is clear that this is not some work He is obligated by anyone to do. He does even more miracles than are needed to fulfill his ministry!

Then when he makes the wine, He replaces it overabundantly. Filling six large stone water jars with wine, he brings what would be another 150 bottles of wine to the wedding banquet. 150 bottles to a wedding in a small village. It’s way too much! It’s a waste! This is the comment of the master of the feast to the bridegroom. We know from him that yes, the wine is very good. But the master of the feast is not complementing him, he is upbraiding him for his foolishness. Not knowing where the wine came from, the master says, in effect, “why did you hide all the good wine until everyone got drunk? You’re wasting all the best stuff on people who won’t even notice!”

The master of the feast speaks with the wisdom of the world, but this is not the wisdom of Christ. Christ doesn’t just do things to completion, but overabundantly and extravagantly. He did not just win salvation for us, but did over and above what is needed. Yes, Jesus has died for us and risen, and we too who believe and are baptized will rise with Him, but we are more than just saved. We have been given a new resurrection life of true joy.

Jesus isn’t a C- student, he doesn’t just get by. For all the sins and punishments we have racked up, Jesus has paid for it and given back grace abundantly more. Even to those who do not believe in him, like the drunkards at the wedding, He wastes so much grace and love. Even those who deny and hate Jesus receive every good thing in this life because Jesus has died for them.

So as Christians, let us see that Jesus has not only worked for our salvation, but for our flourishing. He shows here concretely in Cana by blessing a wedding, and therefore the wonderful estate which God created. Marriage does not save, it has no bearing on salvation, but God has still given it to people in Christ so you may be comforted by it in this life.

Through marriage, God gives to the believer, and even to the unbeliever, companionship and mutual consolation, and many times the gift of children. Often we are able to enjoy and see what a beautiful blessing these things are. Yet at times, it can take the eyes of faith. Marriage is not promised to be an easy road. Like the law of God, man in his sinful flesh can see this gift as a burden. This is the nature of God’s good works, to often seem hard and bitter and heavy to the Old Adam in us. The easy way is to accept what the eyes see and the difficulties experienced and say, no, this marriage is not for me. I don’t want marriage anymore, it’s too difficult. Or, I want the fun of intercourse without marriage. Or, I want marriage without the work of children. The path is wide and way is easy which leads to destruction, but the path is hard and gate is narrow to eternal life.

The wide path may seem to be freedom, but in it is slavery to selfish passions, regret, broken relationships, wayward children. God does not give us these gifts and commands to enslave us, but that we may be free to live the life that brings us the best. If there is unhappiness between spouses, here is what faith says, “Look, God has given me this spouse. He knows full well what is best for me. If it had been otherwise there might have been more harm than good done. God’s will be done in me.” Those are words of faith in difficult times.

God’s good works like marriage may be hard and bitter to the Old Adam, but they are the joy of the new man you are in your baptism. For by these good works, we are not merely saved to sit idle, or be lured into temptation, but have been given many tasks which strengthen both faith in God and love for one another. The promise is that Christ blesses marriage and will provide what is needed in a marriage. When spouses work to do his will and seek first His kingdom, he will be their ever-present help in time of need.

Therefore, while some moderate festivities at a wedding are fine, the most important thing is that the couple is held up in prayer, that man and woman devote their marriage in Christ. It is our privilege also as brothers and sisters in Christ to pray that marriages may be kept safe from the wiles of the world and devil, and husbands and wives seek God for all their needs.

If Christ had only saved us from an eternal death, that would have been enough. He does far greater than this. He wastes so much grace upon you, that you receive blessings far beyond what you deserve and joy besides. For He does not see what He gives you as a waste, but to His glory, that all should see his work in faith and believe on Him. Amen.






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