Sermons

Epiphany 2 (Jn 2:1–11)

INI + AMEN.

What’s normal and natural? Water that becomes wine. “That’s not natural,” we think. We call that a miracle. There’s supposedly Laws against such things. Water is water, and wine is wine. And after Jesus turned 120–130 gallons of water into wine, they might’ve implemented the first blue laws in Cana of Galilee! There’s all sorts of laws for all sorts of times. Purification laws. Cultural laws—like running out of wine at a wedding is severely embarrassing for a new groom and bride! There’s God’s Law. The rules and laws we make for ourselves. All sorts of law, but in spite of such laws, breaking through them all, Jesus turns water into wine. He supplies for the wedding fest. It’s natural for Him to do so, and when He does, He gives the best.

JESUS ALWAYS GIVES THE BEST WINE FOR HIS BRIDE.

((I. He fulfills the Law.))

What sort of “best wine” does Jesus give? Well, He fulfills the Law. “Six stone water jars for Jewish purification rites.” “Filled to the brim.” Full of water that condemned, destroyed, and judged the unbelieving world in a flood. Is water no more, but the sweetest and best wine fit for a bride and groom at their wedding reception.

Jesus does “This, the first of his signs, Jesus at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory.” He did this sign to show that He’d come to fulfill the Law. It was natural for Him to do it. Certainly natural to fulfill the Law. He gave it. It expresses who He is from eternity and His eternal will. So, it’s natural for Him to fulfill the Law. He does it for us. Just as He supplies His wine for the bride and groom, so also He fulfills the Law for you and me, too.

But with Jesus there are no miracles. That’s how we have to talk. When we see things like water turning into wine, we think, “Impossible!” “This breaks the Laws of Nature!” “It can’t be!” But that’s just not the case, dear friends, in Christ. It’s just not how it is. It’s natural and normal for Jesus to turn water into wine. There’s no miracles when it comes to God. All that He does is natural. He created water in the first place. He created all things from that water. In concert with the Father and the Holy Spirit, Jesus did that. He created water. So it’s quite natural for Him who created all things to change water into wine.

The Law is fulfilled. Jesus fulfills it. We can’t. We want to. We want to please God, and then we don’t. We let Him down, we let ourselves down. Again and again and again. But the condemnation of the Law is put away. Obedience to the Law is set aside. (Not that it was ever about obedience.) Now, we can truly and freely love God and really love our neighbor—what joy and love can fill our hearts for them—because condemnation is God. Whatever the Law said that must be fulfilled, Jesus fulfilled it FOR YOU. You’re set free to love with a joy like that of a well-supplied wedding gathering.

((II. He supplies for the feast.))

Now, how else does JESUS ALWAYS GIVE THE BEST WINE FOR HIS BRIDE? He supplies for the feast. When He didn’t have to. It wasn’t yet “My hour,” as He says. That was His cross, of course. There, with His mother by His side, the only the other time in John’s Gospel she’s with Him besides this wedding—there at Calvary He bleeds for His Bride the Church, as our Epistle says. He suffers for her. He drinks the cup of wrath due her for her sin. He is “Forsaken,” that she might be called “married.” All that was in the cup of wrath, He drank. He drank it for her. FOR YOU. The wrath you deserve, He endured. Down to the dregs!

He supplies better wine for you. He drank the cup of wrath, that He might nourish and care for His bride, for you. Because, “no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.” He loves His Bride, the Church, His body with an eternal and undying love, and He loves you who are members of His body, the Church. Not just [[Immanuel/Bethlehem]], but the Church scattered across every people, language, place, and time. He nourishes you, His body, by giving you His body to eat. He gives you of the sweetest of wines—His blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins, your not measuring up. All that was lacking Jesus fills up with His body and blood that it can be forgiven.

He supplies not just for the feast of our earthly pilgrimage, or our engagement, if you understand that like they would in Jesus’ day—not married, but basically so. Anyway, He prepares us for the eternal wedding feast. The day that He will “present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” His earthly feast prepares us for that, purifies us for it. When we won’t just see His back, but, like a bride seeing her husband on her wedding day for the first time at the altar, we will see Him face to face.

Jesus is the Husband. The Church is His bride. Jesus redeems her, saves her, bleeds and dies for her. JESUS ALWAYS GIVES THE BEST WINE FOR HIS BRIDE. He fulfills the Law for her. He does this FOR YOU. There is no Law that hasn’t been fulfilled. “Filled to the brim” those stone jars were. Water into wine. It’s natural for Jesus. He created water. He turned water into blood in Egypt. He turned water into wine at Cana. He uses wine to bring us His blood and bread to bring us His body. He supplies the feast of forgiveness for His bride preparing her for the eternal feast, and He always supplies the best wine for her, FOR YOU, too.

INI + AMEN.

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One thought on “Epiphany 2 (Jn 2:1–11)

  1. Phil Friedrichs says:

    I love the point you made about Jesus’ “miracles”. I had never thought of it that way, but it is true, We should never be surprised by anything He does. The why of it always leaves me astounded,

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