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Epiphany 2 – John 2:1-11

by pastorjuhl ~ January 16th, 2010

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

Psalm 104 says, [The Lord] causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the service of man, that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine that makes glad the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengthens man’s heart. God created all things good. Our heavenly Father provides created things for the service of man. Today Jesus takes one created thing, water, and changes it into another created thing, wine. The water now made wine is no ordinary wine. It is the best wine, for Jesus gives you only the best.

Saint John ends today’s Gospel by saying this miracle is the first of Jesus’ signs. Jesus manifested His glory and His disciples believed in Him. Perhaps it was not so much the performance of the sign that made His disciples believe in Him. Perhaps it was the manifestation of His glory. No ordinary man can make water turn into wine by speaking a word. Jesus is no ordinary man. Jesus is the Word of His Father, the same Word that brought something out of nothing during the first six days of this world.

Nevertheless, it is difficult to believe that the same Word of creation would stoop so low as to change water into wine. Healing people, yes. Raising Lazarus, yes. Casting out demons, yes. Changing water into wine? What’s the point? Why do something so ordinary when the extraordinary would suffice?

A closer look at where our Lord’s miracle takes place might answer any questions about the ordinariness of this sign. Jesus, His mother, and His disciples are at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Knowing what happens to Jesus later in His earthly life should bring surprise to see Him invited to a wedding. Why would anyone invite a man who is a friend of tax collectors and sinners to a wedding? That’s precisely the point! God brought His Son to this time and place to manifest His glory. The disciples believed in Him. Why not others, especially tax collectors and sinners?

Saint Paul hits the right note when he writes in today’s Epistle: Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Paul’s words are more than what a Christian under grace does to show forth the love of Christ. Paul also shows why Jesus comes according to the flesh. He never stops being the glorious Lord of all, yet He associates Himself with the humble, the poor, and those who need forgiveness and mercy. Jesus is present at a wedding to rejoice with those who rejoice. Jesus is present at a funeral procession to raise the widow’s son. Jesus is present four days after Lazarus’ death to weep with the family and rejoice with them after He raises Lazarus from the dead.

Jesus performs miracles at the most ordinary of moments in people’s lives. You might think a wedding and a funeral isn’t ordinary because these do not happen every day. Weddings and funerals do happen frequently. Someone, somewhere, around the world, is getting married or being buried. These events are a part of your lives even if they don’t take place that often. If Jesus brings joy at regular events like a wedding or a funeral, think of the joy He brings you as you go about your daily routines.

When you got out of bed this morning, the Lord provided you with another day to rejoice and be glad in Him. When you ate breakfast or lunch, the Lord provided you with food that comes from animals, vegetables, and minerals that He created. When you drive your car, the Lord provided you that car through the job you have, or once had. Other people made that car, using the talents God gave them to design and manufacture the car.

Jesus is present in the ordinary stuff, though you might not think it extraordinary. If Jesus provides all these things, why would He not want to be at a wedding to provide the best of wine for the guests? Think now of what He provides for you here in His house. The Divine Service is a wedding feast of another sort. Here Jesus, the Bridegroom, unites Himself to His Bride, the Church, in a wedding dance unlike any other. Singing the liturgy may seem like going through the motions. However, as you and I go through the motions, our Lord feeds body and soul with heavenly food.

When you learn how to do something, you do it repeatedly until it becomes a part of you. So it is with the text of the liturgy. These words are Spirit and Truth because they come directly from God’s Word. Over and over, week after week, God’s Word is put into your head so you may speak back to Him what He first spoke to you. If I were to come to your house in the middle of the night and whisper part of the liturgy in your ear, chances are you will respond as you were taught to respond. These words are a part of who you are as a baptized child of God.

The dance began when you were brought to church. God’s Word penetrated your ears and created a childlike trust in the Savior. Water and His Word washed you clean in Baptism and gave you a place at the heavenly banquet yet to come. His Body and Blood take away your sin and sustain you in the journey through this life into the life of the world to come. Each week you return to His house to put your hands in His Hands and dance the dance of life, looking forward to the time when we will dance with Him for eternity.

The wedding feast at Cana looks a lot like the wedding feast that goes on here each weekend. Jesus redeems the captives and gives them sweet wine that takes away their sins. Jesus plants you in the land not made by hands, and no longer shall you be pulled up from the land He gives you. Next week, God willing, you’ll be back for another round of dancing with the Lord. You know the steps. You know your Partner. You look forward to seeing Him manifest His glory both here and in heaven.

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

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