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The Day Jesus Turned Water Into Wine

January 20, 2013

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Second Sunday after the Epiphany                        Trinity Lutheran Church

20 January 2013                                                  Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


St. John 2:1-11


This is horrible!  Dreadful!  It’s a nightmare!  Of gargantuan proportions!  You’re at the big bash wedding reception at Cana – the social event of the season — anyone who is anyone in the Galilean high society is there — and … the wine has all been drunk!  Every last drop!  Go ahead!  Shake the casks!  Upend the glasses!  They’re all empty!  Dry as a bone! 


Can’t go to Sam’s and buy more because there aren’t any Sam’s back then!  Lousy planning!  Who’s in charge of this shindig?  Have we been Punk’d?  Have we been hoaxed – Manti Te’o like tricked?   Nothing worse than being at a wedding reception and running out of liquor!  Isn’t there some kind of federal mandate that won’t permit such a tragedy?  No?  Well, there should be!  Something has to be done!  Someone has to act! 


Somebody call Robert Irvine from the Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible!  With his muscle, his get in your face attitude and expertise he could pull off a MacGyver and rescue this party before everyone starts to riot or goes home deeply disappointed! 


Wait a minute!  Maybe there’s someone else on whom we can call!  “Hey Mary!  Darling!  Be a dear please and have a chat with that Son of yours!  You’ve got some pull with Him don’t you?  Throw your weight around (no disrespect intended)!  Exert your influence!  Bring some motherly pressure to bear!  Surely there’s something He can do about this disaster!  We’re desperate here Mary!  We’ve got no booze!  The natives are getting restless!  We’re about to experience Wedding Crashing 101!  Put in a good word won’t you?  We’re begging you!”


Mary acts as mediator.  She speaks to Jesus on behalf of her friends, relatives, and partygoers.  “My Son, there’s a problem.  It’s quite embarrassing.  I’m ashamed to even tell you.  But they have no more wine!”


Like He didn’t know already!  Mary doesn’t have an in with Jesus as mediator.  She’s not the go-between.  He shrugs her request off with a cryptic:  “Woman, what is that to me or to you?”  I suppose it’s His way of saying:  “Not our business!  Not our call!” 


Then Jesus spouts off another remark.  Quite odd in this wedding reception emergency situation!  “My hour has not yet come.” OK. 


What hour?  What in the world does Jesus mean?  Has He had a little too much to drink?  Hour?  What’s that all about? 


Well, it’s the only hour He could ever mean!  And that’s His hour!  The hour otherwise known as Good Friday!  The climax of universal history hour!  Salvation of the world hour!  Through the one and only mediator who mediates between sinners and God:  Jesus Himself!  He’s the Savior! 


So when Jesus tells Mary, “My hour has not yet come,” He’s reminding her of who He is and what He’s really up to!  He’s here to do the salvation of the world job!  Through a Holy Week that culminates in His bitter suffering and death!  For sinners!  A whole world full! 


That’s when Mary tells the employees at the wedding banquet:  “Don’t listen to me!  Listen to Jesus!  Do whatever He tells you!  No matter what He commands, don’t ask why, just DO IT!”        


And that’s when Jesus starts barking orders.  “Fill up those six stone water jars over there and take them to the master of ceremonies for a quick taste test!”


“But Jesus!  Those are for the bride!  They are to be used for her ceremonial bathing right before her wedding night!  We can’t touch them!”


“Do whatever He tells you!  What did He just say?  Boys, He told you to fill them up to the brim!  Chop!  Chop!  Now it’s off to the MC! 


Can you imagine the outrage?  The looks and the moans?  How dare Jesus go messing with the bride’s bath jars!  Especially on her wedding night and soon to be celebrated honeymoon! No doubt this raised many eyebrows!  The servants are too sure that they should do what Jesus says.


But they do!  And the bride’s bath water is no longer bath water!  It’s wine!  Real wine!  The best wine!  For everyone to enjoy!  Even if they’re all a little giddy, tipsy or three sheets to the wind!


The MC takes a swig!  He’s delighted!  No watered down Muscatel but the very best!  Even after everyone’s buzzed!  How generous!


The bride will have to find some other jars for her wedding day bath.  But the party can go on!  It’s not a disaster after all. 


This miracle and generosity are all from My Hour Has Not Yet Come Jesus!  This is an epiphany!  A revelation!  A manifestation!  A “sign” as John puts it in the text!  It is the first or chief of all “signs” that Jesus did! 


The miracle brings right out into the open something that is hidden from every day sight!  And that’s way it’s done on the “third day.”  After all, it was on the “third day” that Jesus rose from the dead!  Easter Sunday we call it!  When He revealed who He is and what He accomplished!  He is the Savior!  Savior of the world!  Savior of you!  In His “hour” called Calvary, Good Friday and Easter!        


Whenever you hear “on the third day” here in John chapter 2 or anywhere else in the Bible, you can expect big things to happen!  Divine things to happen! 


Why?  So that you’ll believe only in Jesus!  This sign, as well as the other signs that Jesus did, are meant to rouse up faith in Him as the Savior!  Your Savior!  Just as the text says:  “This, the first of his miraculous signs Jesus performed … He thus revealed His glory and His disciples put their faith in Him.” 


The Gospel according to St. John ends like it begins.  Listen:  “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book.  But these are written that YOU MAY BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name,” (John 20:30-31)!


Seven Signs that John records in his Gospel:

  1. Changing water into wine (2:1-11)
  2. Healing the royal official’s son (4:46-54)
  3. Healing the paralytic at Bethesda (5:1-18
  4. Feeding the 5,000 (6:16-24)
  5. Jesus’ walks on the water (6:16-24)
  6. Healing the man born blind (9:1-7)
  7. Raising Lazarus from the dead (11:1-45)


And then an eighth:  His resurrection from the grave on “the third day”!  All done and hooked with His Word!  When Jesus attaches His Word to things miraculous signs or revelations of Jesus happen!  In order to stir up our faith to be in Him!


These days hooks His Word to water so that it is a washing of the new birth and renewal in the Holy Spirit.  That’s Holy Baptism!  A bath that purifies sinners with the Blood of Good Friday’s Hour of Salvation! 


Today Jesus takes wine.  He tells you to drink it.  And according to His Word that the pastor proclaims it is also His Blood.  So too the bread!  He tells you to eat it and that according to His Word it is also – His Body!  His Calvary and Good Friday Hour Body and Blood!  He doesn’t have any other Body and Blood!


And He says it is all FOR YOU!  For the forgiveness of your sins!  


That’s gift talk!  For you talk is gift language!  Lavish!  Generous! 


Every Sunday the divine service is a celebration of the “third day,” the very day Jesus rose from the dead!  Every Sunday is the outrageous and joyous festival of His victory over all your sin!  Over your biggest and nefarious enemies:  Satan and the grave! 


Today Jesus reveals His glory among you!  His heavy weight bodily presence of grace!  Through His Word and Sacrament!  Having, if you will, another Cana in Galilee revelation of Himself as your Savior!  That you’re so precious to Him that He’s comes to give you His Body and His Blood to eat and drink! 


Today, the Lord’s Supper is a foretaste of the eternal wedding feast to come between Jesus the Bridegroom and you the church His bride.  He bids you to eat and drink!  Not to fast!     


Better do what He tells you as He heavy weights His glory among you!  Don’t you think?  Of course! 


Happy believing in Him!


In the Name of Jesus!

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