Epiphany 2 (Jn 2, 1–11)

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“The water had become wine.”

᛭ INI ᛭

The Lord does all things for our salvation. He does everything to save us. There’s nothing He won’t do to save us. His every action is for our salvation. He’s born; He comes to save. He goes to His cross—His “hour,” His “glory.” He rises from the dead, too.

He does all things now for our salvation, too. He delivers it. He makes sure it comes right to us. He does this because, well, we’ve found “favor in His sight,” just like Moses did. He delights in us. It all flows form His grace, His favor, His mercy. Nothing in us except what He freely gives. What comes to us in His Word and gifts comes to us not not on the basis of us, the one receiving, but it’s all on the basis of Him, the one delivering.

And so it is when the Lord’s going about doing everything to save us, we come across these moments like the one recorded in our Gospel lesson. When the Lord is doing and delivering His salvation, we come across miracles. And our attention today isn’t necessarily on the amazingness and outwardness of the miracle. It can’t be.

Today’s miracle, today’s sign, the water changed into wine, isn’t like other miracles. It’s His first sign, of course, but it’s different from all others because it’s actually hidden. Unlike healing people in the middle of a synagogue, or feeding thousands at a time, when Jesus changes water into wine, no one really knows about it. The MC of the banquet doesn’t. You could assume the bridegroom doesn’t. Maybe Mary knew. But for certain, what the text tells us, is that only the servants and Jesus’ disciples know.

But what we can see in this miracle is something comforting for us as we live our lives in an ever-changing world. The Lord changes things. And this isn’t cause for us to demand the sort of change WE want to see. Though, in our lack of faith, we think we’re god and not Jesus. The comfort we have from the wedding at Cana is this:

THE LORD CHANGES WHAT’S UNHOLY INTO SOMETHING—SOMEONE!—HOLY.

((I. The LORD changes things for our blessing and salvation.))

Now, the Lord changes things, and when the Lord changes things, He does so for our blessing and salvation. Now, one way that’s described, especially so in the Old Testament, is that He’s changes what’s unholy into something holy. Another way that’s put, again chiefly so in the Old Testament, is that He changes what’s common into something holy. That’s clearly what Paul’s resting on when He says that Jesus “sanctifies” the Church. Jesus makes her “holy and without blemish.”

Now, Jesus does that by changing the nature of the Law. Jesus changes the Law from “unfulfilled” to “fulfilled.” Jesus fills up the Law. Nothing’s left out of His fulfilling. He fills up the Law completely. We see that at Cana. “There were six stone water jars for the purification rites of the Jews.” Jesus had the servants fill them up, and they did “all the way to the top.” They’re filled first with only water (no cause for joy there), but then they’re filled with wine, which does “gladden the heart of men,” as the Psalmist puts it.

Only Jesus can do that miracle, and only Jesus, as the sinless Son of God, can fulfill what we don’t. He does the Law because we can’t. No amount of our trying can ever do what God demands—perfection. No joy in that labor.

He not only fulfills the Law in our place, but He “gives Himself up for” His bride, the Church. He gives Himself up for us all—“for we are members of His body,” the Church. He sheds His blood, He suffers in our place. He goes through the consequences of our sins. He goes all the way to Calvary. That’s what Jesus means by “My hour.” He means His suffering and death, and we’re also told in John that His “hour” is also His “glory.”

He changes water into wine also to show us that He changes physical things for our blessing and good. At Cana’s wedding feast water flows into wine, and at Calvary blood and water flow from Christ’s side, when Christ left His mother for the sake of His bride. What’s common—water—becomes holy—wine. What’s unholy—death—becomes holy—your very salvation.

And so the Lord continues to take up common things to deliver His salvation. Water with words are Holy Baptism—“the washing of water with the Word,” as Paul says in Ephesians 5. Words with bread and wine are Jesus’ body and blood for you for the forgiveness of all your sins. He sanctifies the prophets and apostles with His Spirit so that their Words—the Bible—are in fact His own eternal Word. He sanctifies the Pastoral Office so that their Words are His—His Sermon, His Absolution for you.

((Transition.))

The Lord sanctifies, makes holy, changes things. He makes common things Holy, but the Lord does this not because He’s concerned about things, but about people—you! You, just like Moses, have found favor in His eyes! And so we rejoice that

THE LORD CHANGES WHAT’S UNHOLY INTO SOMETHING—SOMEONE!—HOLY.

And that means the Lord changes you, too!

((II. The Lord changes you, too!))

The Lord changes His Church. Without Him, she’s not His Church. Without Him, she’s nothing. Without her Savior, she’s not saved. Without her Bridegroom she’s not Bride. Without her Sanctifier she’s unholy. Without Him who died for her, she’s dead. Without Him who became inglorious for her, she wouldn’t be glorious. Without “the washing of water with the Word” she’s not “holy and without blemish.”

But she is, in fact, all of those things. She is because of all that Jesus her Lord and Savior did for her. “He gave Himself up for her.” He went to Calvary. He went to cross. He went to grave. He came back to life. Anything and everything for her, because He wanted her to be His, and she is! He made it so. Changed her to be so. For after all, as Luther put it, “The love of God does not find but creates what is its desire.” (Heidelberg XXVII) Or to put it another way: God doesn’t seek the lovable to love. He makes the unloveable lovable.

And that goes for you and me, too. It has to! It’s not just the Church, but you and I, too. “For we are members of His body.” He changes us because we are part of His Church. We’re part of Him! We’re one with Him! Just as much as we are together as the Body of Christ, so we are each, individually, you and I, His. We are baptized into Christ. Made holy “by the washing of water with the Word.” We are members of His body through the means of His body and blood, given to us with the bread and wine that are His body and His blood. We are made holy through His Word, too. “For everything,” and everyone, “is made holy by the Word of God.”

That means we are His saints. His holy disciples. Those who believe in Him, just like those disciples at Cana. He makes us that way. He changes water into wine. He changes the unholy into holy. He changes the weak to strong, the empty to full. He changes the unrighteous into the righteous. He changes those with sins into those forgiven. He changes the dead into the living. The living into those who live forever. That’s what Jesus does for you and for me, for all who believe in Him. He does it through His Words, His Water, His bread and wine, His minister, the things He changes, sanctifies, so that you would be—and forever are—holy!

((Conclusion.))

The Lord does all things for our salvation. He delivers all things for our salvation, too. He works His miracles to do it, but not miracles as we expect them. Miracles like at Cana, where most haven’t a clue as to what’s going on.

He changes things. All His miracles do that. Water changed into wine. A book that’s His Word. Water that’s His Baptism. A man that’s His minister. Bread and wine that are His body and blood. But not just things: people—you!

THE LORD CHANGES WHAT’S UNHOLY INTO SOMETHING—SOMEONE!—HOLY.

And that’s you. You’re holy. He’s changed you. He’ll continue to change you. Until you’re raised to eternal life. He changes you to be holy, does it through the things He changes for that very purpose. The Lord will and does change you, only through the things that can and will.

Miracle of Miracles! “I baptize you,” and you’re baptized. “I forgive you,” and you’re absolved. “My body and blood for you for the forgiveness of your sins,” so they are, so you are, and you’re now a member of His body.

No need to change yourself for Him. Stop trying! You can’t! It’ll take a miracle, but that’s exactly the sort of thing Jesus does. And you? He’ll make you holy. In fact, He’s already changed you, already made you holy. You are in Him!

᛭ INI ᛭

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