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Epiphany 2 – John 2:1-11

by pastorjuhl ~ January 12th, 2012

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

            Is there no one who will cut Jesus some slack? He’s at a wedding feast. It’s a party and perhaps He wants to relax with His disciples, enjoy some great food and wine, and catch up with friends on what’s happening. Leave it to His mother to ruin His experience by telling Him they have no wine. What does she expect Him to do, make some more wine so the feast can go on?

That’s exactly what she expects. Mary goes to her Son in confidence that He will give her statement a fair hearing. He does. His answer is also fair, both to her and especially to Himself: Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.

Something is at work here that is deeper than the embarrassment of running out of wine. John explains at the end of today’s Gospel what is at work here: This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him. What is also at work here is Mary showing you how to approach the Lord with your petitions in prayer. So there are two miracles shown here. One you know well: Jesus changes water into wine through His instructions to the servants. He changes one thing into another in His Word. Jesus also answers Mary’s statement with the answer she expected, even though at first Jesus seems not to be interested.

Let’s take the second statement first. You might consider the answer to prayer to be a miracle. Perhaps you should also consider God hearing your prayer a miracle as well. We have no right to approach Almighty God to ask Him anything. Our sinful nature separates us from His holiness. Nevertheless, His steadfast love endures forever in His promise of salvation from sin and death.

You have a wonderful privilege in asking the Lord to hear your prayer. You believe what Jesus says in Luke chapter eleven: ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Maybe there have been times when you have asked, sought, and knocked, but there was no answer. You could compare those moments with how Mary might have felt after Jesus told her Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.

Instead of sulking back to her place at the wedding feast, Mary tells the servants, Do whatever He tells you. This is faith in the midst of adversity. Even when it seems that God Himself doesn’t want to hear your cries for mercy, He is listening. He loves it when you ask, even if you ask repeatedly for months, even years on end. Like Jacob, you won’t let go until you receive a blessing.

How Mary puts you to shame with her confidence! She has said her piece, yet in confidence she believes her Son will take care of the lack of wine. You may have said your piece to God and are waiting for an answer. Granted, the answer you receive may not be exactly what you asked for in the first place. Do not be unbelieving, but believing. The Lord will answer according to His good and gracious will. Ask Him and wait in confidence that what you asked will be answered, perhaps with something even better than what you asked.

Consider the water made wine that our Lord provided. The master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “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.” If you are hosting a cocktail party you use up the good booze first, then use the cheap stuff later. That way your guests enjoy the quality stuff first. After one or two drinks, nobody really cares what they are drinking unless they are a connoisseur of spirits.

Jesus is not a connoisseur of spirits. He is manifesting His glory. Those who knew what was going on believed in Him. They believed in Him because only someone who is both perfect God and perfect Man can change the substance of one thing into another. They believed in Him because He helped make what could have been a tragic situation into a joyful situation. The feast could go on because the best wine is being served.

Christ comes according to the flesh to manifest His glory for you. Though the miracle at the wedding at Cana is a marvelous thing, He saved the best wine for later. The best wine, the finest hour, happens when Jesus sheds His blood for you. His blood flows like wine from His side when the soldier lanced Him after His death. In His blood there is atonement, payment for sin on your behalf. Wine brings momentary joy that goes away when the alcohol wears off. Christ’s blood brings eternal joy that no one can take from you. His blood purifies you from every stain of sin. The death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the greatest manifestation of His glory. All the epiphanies you hear this season of the Church year point to the cross and empty tomb, where He no longer hides who He really is.

He keeps the good wine flowing even now for you. Instead of flowing from six stone water jars, His wine, His blood, flows from the chalice into your mouth for the forgiveness of sins. It’s only natural not to believe that bread and wine cannot do such great things. However, bread and wine don’t take away sin and strengthen faith. The true Body and Blood of Christ, under bread and wine, with the Word of God, takes away sin and strengthens faith.

What first seems like an insult to His mother turns into the first of His signs. Though seemingly slow and indifferent to the needs of the guests at a wedding feast, Jesus speaks the Word and water becomes the best wine. If Mary asks for something simple like replenishing wine, what more could Jesus provide for you? It may not be gallons of wine, millions of dollars, or a cure for cancer. But it could be something that makes you cry with the Psalmist: Come and see what God has done: He is awesome in His deeds toward the children of man…He has not rejected my prayer or removed His steadfast love from me! He gives you eternal life. What more could you ask for? Don’t cut Christ any slack. Ask Him and see what happens next.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit

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