SERMON FOR THE 2ND SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, 1-14-2018
LUTHER MEMORIAL CHAPEL, SHOREWOOD, WISCONSIN
Rev. Michael Larson
We don’t know much about the couple in today’s Gospel getting married. We don’t know much about Cana. We don’t know the name of the bride or the groom. But what we do know is that Jesus was on the guest list. He was invited.
John the Baptist called himself the friend of the bridegroom. He introduced Jesus as the bridegroom – the one to take away the sins of the whole world. And here He is, making himself known to us at a wedding. His very first miracle.
And there is something of a crisis situation. The folks have run out of wine. It’s bad news because it means that the party is all over. Perhaps the bride and groom were poor, or perhaps their parents were poor, and couldn’t afford more wine, who knows. Mary, the mother of Our Lord, is the first to notice the problem, and she goes to the only one who can do anything about it. She simply says to her son, “They have no wine.”
Jesus says to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” Mary trusts in her son and tells the disciples or the servants to, and I quote “do whatever he tells you.” Marvelous words of faith.
Jesus instructs the servants to fill the stone water jars with water up to the brim. “Now draw some out and bring it to the master of the feast.”
When the master of the feast tasted it, his eyes lit up, and he yelled over to the bridegroom, “everyone serves the good wine first, then the poor wine, but you have saved the very best till now!”
In this Jesus manifested his glory. Showed himself to be the Lord God.
Now take our OT reading this morning. Moses was just hoping to catch a little glimpse of glory. He had heard plenty. Moses begged the Lord “Please show me your glory.” The Lord consented but told Moses “You cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live…” and so the Lord had Moses hang on to a cleft in the rock as the Lord passed by only to see his back, but a glimpse of glory.
The first miracle Moses performed was changing water into blood at the Nile River, a sign of judgment against unbelief, but also a sign of the exodus, the deliverance from captivity and hard-hearted pharaoh.
Now, it’s water into wine at a wedding feast, in which Jesus shows himself to the be the bridegroom. Philip, like Moses, had asked to see the glory, to see God face to face, show us the father, and it will be enough for us! To which Jesus responds, ‘whoever has seen the father has seen me.’
You see in Jesus, we God face to face. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. Whoever sees the Son has seen the Father. In Jesus, the heart of God is revealed, and made known. Nothing is hidden. It is an epiphany of love and grace of seeing God for who he is.
The only other time we see Mary, the mother of Our Lord, is at the foot of the cross. And now, at last, his hour has indeed come. His greatest hour, his passion, his suffering and atoning death, is at hand. Moses only caught a glimpse of it in the cleft of the rock, but now you see Jesus. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
This Jesus, the winepress that was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, His side was pierced, and out of the cleft of the rock – out flowed water and blood.
Water that splashed upon Job Christopher this morning and refreshed him with forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Blood, which flows from Jesus pierced side upon this altar, a new and better covenant than Sinai. Something Moses could only dream of. And the Lord doesn’t just give you a glimpse. He gives you Himself, completely, and withholds nothing.
Like John the Baptist, the vocation of a preacher, is only to be the friend of the bridegroom, and to introduce, or officiate at the wedding between Christ and His bride the Church.
The wedding at Cana was picture of something greater to come when Our Lord, would take bread and declare it to be his body. And wine and declare to be his blood, poured out as a new covenant.
The Divine Service, which is celebrated here this morning is truly a wedding feast. A wedding like none other – in which the Lord washes you clean, cleanses you from all sin, and presents you to himself, in splendor, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing.
For husbands and wives, and for those preparing for God’s holy gift of marriage – set this picture before you of the wedding feast.
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church. Receive from him good things and trust in him.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her. This is not a crushing statement of the law, it is descriptive of who God himself is. Live in this love. In the words of Mary, concerning her son, “Do whatever he tells you.”
We don’t know much about that couple getting married, but we do know, they had the right idea, to have Jesus, on the guest list – to be present.
Let is be so also among us. Let the Lord be invited into your marriage, your homes, and in the lives of your children. Welcome him in his preaching, his baptism, and his blood. Then, the joy, the wine of gladness, will never run out. Come, Lord Jesus be our guest, and let thy gifts to us be blessed. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Prayer of the Church
Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs.
Almighty God, how awesome are Your deeds, for it pleased You to send Your Son into our world to rescue us from sin, death and the devil. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that we might cling in faith to Jesus Christ, our Bridegroom, and receive from Him the divine gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation, which He lovingly delivers to us in the Cana of His Holy Church from the font, pulpit and altar. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Heavenly Father, bestow Your blessing upon Matthew, our Synod president; John, our district president; Michael, our circuit visitor; and all pastors in Christ, that the Holy Gospel be preached among us in its purity and the Holy Sacraments be administered among us according to Christ’s institution. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Merciful Lord, we give You humble thanks for instituting the estate of holy marriage and for the blessings of families. Grant that these gifts would be cherished and honored in our society, and especially within the household of faith. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Gracious Lord, You provide for all our needs of both body and soul. From Your bountiful goodness, we receive our daily bread. Create in us grateful hearts to receive all that You provide with thanksgiving to the praise of Your name. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Almighty God, grant wisdom to all who are in authority over us at the federal, state and local levels. Supply them with Your blessing, that they may be inclined to Your will and walk according to Your commandments. Bless all those in our armed forces, that they would serve with integrity and honor. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Heavenly Father, behold with tender mercy our homebound members, especially Dorothea, Elizabeth Doris Clifford and Carol Teresa Carol Paul Ethel, Daniel, Maude, and Lou, that they would know the consolation of Your love in Christ Jesus and be strengthened to endure. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Lord God, you instituted holy baptism to be a lavish washing away of sin, in which we joined to the death and resurrection of your Son. We thank you for the holy baptism of Job Christopher German. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Merciful Lord, grant Your Holy Spirit to those who come to the holy altar this day, that they may receive the Holy Sacrament of Christ’s very body and blood in repentance and faith, and to their abundant blessing. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Almighty God, all the earth worships You and sings Your praises. Keep us in the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, that together with all Your saints of every time and place, we may enjoy the marriage feast of the Lamb in Christ’s Kingdom, which has no end. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.