Epiphany 2C 2016 (Jn 2:1–11)

January 17, 2016
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO


What do you do with a Jesus in plain sight? It’s happening in our text today. Not that Jesus was in plain sight then. Far from it! He wanted to remain out of sight. “My hour has not yet come,” and all that. But Jesus is plain in our sight because it’s a familiar story. Jesus changes water into wine. We all know the text.

(A1.) Jesus was a guest at Cana’s wedding.

“Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.” Jesus was invited because His mother’d been invited. And from what took place at the wedding we can tell that Jesus liked, and He certainly blessed that wedding. “When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’” The kegs had run dry, and the wedding party wasn’t even close to done! They were having a good time, and it was all about to come crashing down. Jesus, even though His hour had not yet come, wanted to keep the party going. He blessed that wedding feast in Cana. For “there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.” When Jesus had the servants take what was in those jars to the MC, “the master of the feast tasted it”, and it wasn’t water anymore. It had become wine. And not just any wine! It was the best wine. The MC gave the bridegroom praise: “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.” Now, Jesus blessed that marriage feast because He Himself had created marriage in the Garden of Eden. The eternal Son is the means of creation: “God created all things through Jesus Christ,” as Paul says, and that includes Adam and Eve in the Garden. And when Eve was created and brought to Adam, it was then that marriage was created.

(B1. Jesus performed a sign of glory at the wedding.)

Jesus was there to enjoy the celebration. Weddings are usually grand affairs, and the wedding receptions are always a good time. It was a great event. That’s just the nature of weddings. It had to have been a good party because they ran out of wine! That’s a big problem at a big event. The groom would’ve been embarrassed, the bride mortified. Such a big failure on such a big, important day, but there’s something else at the wedding. It’s so simple it goes almost unnoticed, except by Jesus, of course. “There were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification.” “Fill the jars with water,” Jesus says. Can’t get any more simple than water in a jar. But then the miracle! Jesus showed His god-ness. He revealed His glory. He epiphanied who He was. The water wasn’t water anymore, it was wine, good wine, the best wine! Jesus would only deliver the best. It was then and there, with His Word “fill and take”, that He delivered something far greater. And because of His institution and Word, faith was created and strengthened in His disciples. “His disciples believed in him.” It’s true:


(B2. Jesus performs signs of glory within His Church, His bride.)

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Ok, pastor. I know all that. The text already told us what Jesus said and did.” But it’s all about what Jesus said and did! He died and rose. His death saved His bride, the Church. Old Adam doesn’t want to hear about this at all. He’d rather remain frat boy Adam, distant from Christ and Church. He doesn’t want to be reminded that He’s already done for in the death and resurrection of Jesus that was washed over Him at the font. Because don’t you see? What Christ did then, He does now! Jesus through His signs didn’t just create faith in His disciples then, but He does it now too! The signs of glory still continue. It’s not like it was then though. At the wedding party at Cana there were some simple things at a very big event, but the signs that Jesus works in our midst now look simple, but they deliver great things. Jesus’ glory is seen in water. His God-ness is there in His Word. He epiphanies glory in a man, who’s a sinner, but He’s placed His yoke over him and His Word of forgiveness in his mouth. It is for that reason He sends him. To hear sins, to forgive those sins, that they wouldn’t bother you. That’s Jesus’ glory, His glory for you. He’s manifested in the bread and wine through which He gives us His body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins, giving us new life so that we can have faith toward God and love for our neighbor. Great things in and through simple things. His Word does it all. That’s Jesus’ glory now as it was in Cana—for example: “Fill and take” in Cana; “Take, eat and drink” now. His signs are the things that create and sustain faith. They may look simple, but they are immensely and eternally important. Things that shouldn’t be shrugged off.

(A2. We’ll be guests at the eternal wedding feast.)

Jesus manifests His glory within His Bride, the Church. He saved her through His death and resurrection. Now He washes Her, and nourishes her with His body and blood. So also you. He does things this way because there’s a wedding party coming, and we’ll be guests at that party. The eternal wedding feast is coming. We pray for it all the time, “gather us together, we pray, from the ends of the earth to celebrate with all the faithful the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom, which has no end.” The wedding party’s coming. John sees it in revelation: “I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Jesus prepares us for this wedding. We’re going to be guests. So He cleans us up and invites us. Water and Word. We’re His guests now! He gives us to eat and drink of His Supper, this keeps us body and soul until that feast which has no end. Jesus does it. Through His signs He prepares us. Through His signs He’s given us faith, so we’re ready for the wedding. Even as He once did a sign at a wedding party, so also His signs prepare us for the eternal wedding party. So it will be as it was then and is now. Jesus’ work is all the same. THROUGH HIS SIGNS, JESUS CREATES FAITH IN HIS DISCIPLES.

Jesus was in plain sight today in a familiar text. There were simple things at something great. But that’s Jesus’ way. It was a mirror of what He does now. Simple things deliver to you and prepare you for something great. Water, Word, Absolution, Body and Blood: cleaning you up, inviting you, preparing you, getting you ready for the “marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom which has no end.” And what a party it’s going to be!


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