Second Sunday after Epiphany + John 2:1-11
On the Third Day, God joined the waters together in one place, and the dry ground He called earth and the water He called seas. Grass grew on the earth, so did plants that produce seeds and trees that produce fruit, and God saw that it was good. The six days of creation, especially the Third Day, is a day of life and growth.
Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried, He descended into hell, and on the Third Day, rose again from the dead. On the Third Day, with His physical resurrection from the dead, Jesus brings forgiveness, life and salvation to all those who believe in Him. With Jesus resurrection from the grave, we who believe and are baptized with water will participate in the resurrection from the dead on the Last Day. The Third Day is a day of new life, of new beginning, of a new man coming forth to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
And on the Third Day, as we hear in our Gospel reading for today, there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. A wedding, the joining together of one flesh, husband and wife. A wedding, where Jesus joins together one man and one woman, for the purpose of being fruitful and multiplying. A wedding, where man promises to give up himself completely for his wife, even dying for her. Where a man promises to protect and provide for his wife, loving her as he loves himself. And the wife, because the husband promises to love her, protect her and provide for her, promises to honor, serve, and obey her husband. All this, in sickness and health, in richness and poverty, in good times and in bad. What God has joined together, let no man separate.
The wedding feast at Cana, marriage, is all about joining together of heaven and earth, a joining together of God and man, as one: One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in us all. Marriage, where the things of God become the things of man. Marriage, where God creates His children, His holy family, through the water of Holy Baptism; He is our God and we are His people. The family, where father and mother teach their children the fear of the Lord, that we would walk in the way of faith, the way we should go, the way God has prepared for us. The family, where we are taught to fear, love and trust in God above all things. Where we are taught to call upon God’s name in every trouble, pray, praise and give thanks. Where we are taught to hold the Word of God sacred, gladly hearing it and learning it.
All of this took place on the Third Day; the day of new creation, of new beginning, of new life, of new hope; it is very good. How fitting then, that at this wedding in Cana, our Lord Jesus performed His first miracle. For during the wedding, the wine ran out, and Jesus’ mother 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.”
Jesus is saying that the time, the hour, the day, has not come, for that time, hour and day, will be at His passion and death. The time, the hour, the day that matters with Jesus, is when He was betrayed by Judas, denied by His disciples, when He suffered under Pontius Pilate, rejected by His people, when He was crucified on the cross, died and was buried. The day that matters with Jesus is good Friday; that is the day that Jesus, our husband, paid the price for His wife’s sins, our sins, that is the day He purchased and won us, His beloved bride, from sin, from death and from the power of the devil. Good Friday is the day that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, laid down His life for His sheep. That is the day that Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, became the once and for all perfect sacrifice on the cross. Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Jesus did all of this, that we would be His own and live with Him in His kingdom, serving Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. Jesus did all of this out of His great love for us. For God the Father so loves us that He sent His only Son down from heaven, to die on the cross, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life.
And the mother of God truly believed in Him. The Virgin Mary said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.” What the Virgin Mary is saying is that the time is now, everything that Jesus has done, is doing right now, and will do tomorrow and always, is for the salvation of all people. Jesus, His very name, means Savior, the One who comes to save the world. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save it. Jesus did not come to be served by the world, but to serve it. The Virgin Mary believed all of this to be true, and she did not listen to Jesus. Jesus time is right now. He has come down from heaven to save the world; everything He does is for that purpose.
Jesus told the servants to fill the six stone jars, used for repentance and purification, with water, and Jesus changed it to wine. And when they drank it, the master of the feast said, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the poor wine. You have kept the good wine until now.” This divine and physical miracle of changing water to wine is the good thing. The Son of God, coming down from heaven to earth, is the good thing.
This miracle points us to the water of Jesus’ baptism, where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus was baptized to make all the world’s sin His own, to place our sin upon Himself and take it to the cross. Jesus carried all the sins of the world and He suffered and died for them, He paid the price for them, that we would not be condemned but forgiven. The water of Holy Baptism is the good thing.
This miracle points us to the wine of the Lord’s Supper, which we drink to proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again. The wine is the blood that Jesus shed, we drink it from the chalice. The blood of Jesus’ circumcision and crucifixion, which He poured out freely, fulfills the heavenly Father’s holy will. This wine and blood sets us free to be people of God. By this blood and water, forgiveness of sins, life and salvation is ours. In our drinking, life is in us, and we look forward to the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Indeed, there is no greater wine, no greater drink than this; it is the good thing.
Dearly beloved, the wedding where Jesus changed water into wine, is the first sign, the first miracle, that Jesus performed to reveal His glory to us. Jesus is God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God; and like His disciples, we believe. And in our believing in Him, we cling to the physical means of water in Baptism and wine in Communion, which He uses to bless our marriages and each one of us. Truly, our cup runs over, goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.