SECOND SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY – JAN. 18, 2015
TEXT: JOHN 2:1-11; ROM. 12:6-16; AMOS 9:11-15
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Dear hearers of the Word made flesh: Whether you are single or married today’s Gospel overflows with good gifts for you. God’s good gift of marriage - God’s good gift of wine - God’s good gift of a sign - God’s Gift of gifts, the Word made flesh! He is awesome in his deeds toward the children of men. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!”


On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. Weddings in that day could be seven days in length. Some guests would remain the whole week to share in the family’s joy. This required considerable provision of food and drink. To help celebrate - the wedding couple at Cana served their guests God’s good gift of wine. The abuse of wine in drunkenness is sin (Prov. 23:20; 31; I Cor. 6:10; Eph. 5:18). But in Scripture, wine itself is a sign of physical and spiritual joy (Genesis 27:28), of future hope (Is. 25:6; Joel 2:19; Amos 9; 13, 14), of abundance (Joel 2:24; 3:18), of God’s love and blessing (Deut. 7:13; Is. 25:6-8; Psalm 104: 14, 15). The prophet Amos speaks of the end time in this way – “the mountains shall drip sweet wine and all the hills shall flow with it.” Wine is God’s good gift! Running out of wine at a wedding was a serious social blunder.


When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”


His mother knew of Jesus’ uniqueness! She knew that she had borne the Son of the Most High. She knew that He would be given the throne of David and there would be no end of His kingdom (Lk. 1:31-33). She knew He could help. Therefore she asks Him for help with wedding provisions - to keep social shame from the new couple whom they knew either as family or friends.

SECOND SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY – JAN. 18, 2015
TEXT: JOHN 2:1-11ROM. 12:6-16AMOS 9:11-15
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Dear hearers of the Word made flesh: Whether you are single or married today’s Gospel overflows with good gifts for you. God’s good gift of marriage - God’s good gift of wine - God’s good gift of a sign - God’s Gift of gifts, the Word made flesh! He is awesome in his deeds toward the children of men. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!”


On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. Weddings in that day could be seven days in length. Some guests would remain the whole week to share in the family’s joy. This required considerable provision of food and drink. To help celebrate - the wedding couple at Cana served their guests God’s good gift of wine. The abuse of wine in drunkenness is sin (Prov. 23:20; 31; I Cor. 6:10; Eph. 5:18). But in Scripture, wine itself is a sign of physical and spiritual joy (Genesis 27:28), of future hope (Is. 25:6; Joel 2:19; Amos 9; 13, 14), of abundance (Joel 2:24; 3:18), of God’s love and blessing (Deut. 7:13; Is. 25:6-8; Psalm 104: 14, 15). The prophet Amos speaks of the end time in this way – “the mountains shall drip sweet wine and all the hills shall flow with it.” Wine is God’s good gift! Running out of wine at a wedding was a serious social blunder.


When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”


His mother knew of Jesus’ uniqueness! She knew that she had borne the Son of the Most High. She knew that He would be given the throne of David and there would be no end of His kingdom (Lk. 1:31-33). She knew He could help. Therefore she asks Him for help with wedding provisions - to keep social shame from the new couple whom they knew either as family or friends.


After all, He had now begun calling His disciples. He is now stepping forth publicly. What Mary had pondered in her heart since His birth is full of end-time promise. Perhaps now is the time of fulfillment – the joy, the hope, the abundance the blessing indicated by God’s good gift of wine! The mother of Jesus said to him, “they have no wine.” She doesn’t yet understand what the real hour of fulfillment will mean – “Woman what does this have to do with me? His response to her was distancing. In the work of His office, she must not think of herself with motherly claims. His response is also instructive. My hour has not yet come. Yet she has faith that expects kindness from Jesus also in this hour. She points away from her to Him. “Do whatever he tells you.”


Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. (Six jars – each holding 20 or 30 gallons) “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from…(he) 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 we consider this instant gift of good wine will we not say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!” At the beginning the Word of God spoke giving the sun to shine and water to refresh the earth. He formed vines to grow and yield grapes. But truly fine wine takes years. By the natural means God has given, shortcuts in time yield only sour wine or vinegar. Yet, at Cana, in an instant, Jesus created the fullness and sparkle of rich, smooth, well-refined wine. At Cana, in an instant, the Word made flesh gave just like He did when the world was new. Think of it – in Eden, God did not first create a fetus. At His Word, He created a full grown man. In Eden, He did not first create a seed to grow into a plant. He created full grown trees bearing fruit in which is their seed. What occurred at Cana is beyond nature but not beyond nature’s God. The one through whom all things are created has come to give the new creation!


The master of the feast said, “You have kept the good wine until now.” We are right to say to God of this miracle – How awesome are your deeds! It was not a matter of life and death! Yet it signifies much about life and death. This is true because there comes a time for each of us when the wine runs out. These are the times when the best we can provide comes up short. These shortcomings may be in teaching our children, in providing for our livelihood, in relating to those around us, in dealing with daily duties and persistent pressures, in taking care of our health and on and on. There are times when we simply run dry.


The sad truth is that the things of this world all run short and ultimately fail us. Because of the destructive entry of sin into the world, things are always draining away, decaying, needing to be replenished. Our rebellion against God has brought a curse on the good gifts God created for us. They simply do not last! Time races away, as does youth! Energy gets drained. Emotions get emptied. Food is purchased but soon needs purchasing again. Even our bodies fail us as eyes need glasses and then surgery and ears need hearing aids and joints need replacing and blood vessels grow narrow. And contrary to the fabricated and unobserved convictions of macro-evolution, mutations do not help us. They bring disease and deformity; they cause cancer; they bring deterioration not advancement. Our bodies work their way toward empty and ultimately fail us in death. Like a flower that springs up in the morning by evening we are cut down and wither away. As the wine ran out at the wedding, so the wine of our earthly lives is approaching empty as well.


That why Jesus’ full response to His mother is refreshing to hear. Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” When John records Jesus referring to “His hour,” it always refers to His impending crucifixion. For instance just before His agony in Gethsemane Jesus said, “Father the hour has come, glorify Your son, that the Son may glorify You” (John 17:1) (See also John 7:30; 8:20; 12:23; 13:1).


So the hour when the wine ran out is a sign, a pointer to the hour when Jesus’ life would run out, the hour of His glory, the hour of His death on the cross. When Jesus provided this overflowing, abundance of wine at Cana, He showed how He came to reverse the draining force of sin so that there would be bounty once again. This hour pointed to the coming of His hour in which He destroyed death by His own death on the cross. In the sacrifice of His flesh He did away with the impermanence of the old order of things. He brings us life again! As water and blood flowed from His pierced side, He brought about a new creation.


Truly of that hour it can be said, “He saved the best till last”. For, this is how we know what love is, that Christ laid down his life for us 1 John 3:16). The goal of all His works and signs and suffering was to take you as His Bride (Ephesians 5:30). Dear Christians, you are so loved by Him! Single or married, God rejoices over you as the bridegroom rejoices over His bride. As He brings you to His banqueting house today His banner over you is love. As He was present in the flesh to provide the needs for the wedding in our text, so He is present in the flesh to provide what you need. His grace does not run out; there is always enough. You are never forsaken or desolate in Christ!


Truly of His hour it can be said, “You have kept the good wine until now.” As the wedding of Cana was on the third day, so there was a glorious third day, that followed the hour of His glory on Calvary! By Jesus’ power, the garden tomb sealed with a stone was not full, but empty. It was empty because the bridegroom rose and now lives to love you His bride today. It was empty because the bridegroom rose to fill your future with a heavenly feast.


Whatever your marital status here the Lord delights in you as His bride, holy and without blemish. Whether single or married, you will miss none of the eternal joys He has prepared for you. You are His! He gives you worth! He gives you purpose! Marriage does not define you! Singleness does not define you! Christ Jesus defines you!


Recall how St. John described this miracle. He said, this, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. Now John does not speak of signs as we think of them. Often we think of a sign as a mere symbol standing in the place of something else. But for St. John, the word “sign” means an action or gift of God that is linked with and reveals something else, hidden from ordinary sight. The Greek word for “sign” here could be translated as “mystery” in the same way that “mystery” is translated as “sacrament” in English.


So these signs in Holy Scripture reveal and give something you wouldn’t otherwise recognize. A “sign” is therefore something like a gift from God waiting to be opened. Martin Luther taught that God gives signs as something visible for our faith to hold on to. So it is that the Lord’s holy gifts of Baptism and His Supper are signs, mysteries, Sacraments. They are gifts from God continually to be opened and received. He is awesome in His deeds toward the children of men. Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!”


Like His first sign His mysteries, His Sacraments also point to His last hour and manifest His glory! Your baptism is full of God’s glory because you are baptized into Christ’s death (Rom. 6)! Your receiving together of the Lord’s Supper is full of God’s glory because you all together proclaim His death until He comes again (1 Cor. 11:26). Your receiving of His gifts gives God the glory of being kind and gracious. You might not always feel that’s the case. In the empty times of stress or sickness or loneliness feelings wobble quite a bit. But consider that last feeling of loneliness! There is a vast difference between feeling lonely and being alone! In Christ Jesus you are never alone because He has promised to be with you always to the end of the age – to never leave you or forsake you.


Beloved, the new wine is Jesus’ person, who comes to you through His preaching and provision of forgiveness! The first of His signs shows that His ministry to you is qualitatively and radically new. It is new in nature! And so are you! If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come (2 Cor. 7:17). Whatever sins have been in your past against His good gift of marriage or His good gift of wine or His holy mysteries, Christ cleanses you with the washing of water by the Word. Whatever emptiness there may be in your life today, Christ comes to fill you with Himself. He is the new wine! He has made you a new wineskin (Luke 5:37-38) – a new creation.


Knowing that – knowing what His love does for us – there are no words more helpful and healing for us now than Mary’s words at this wedding - Do whatever He tells you. In the emptiness of this present age we are to present our needs before Him as she did and do whatever He tells us. One of the things He tells you this Lord’s Day and every week is this – “Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9). In the name of Jesus, Amen.


The Peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a