Second Sunday after Epiphany – January 17, 2016
Pastor D. Ninmer
“What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which He revealed His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” (John 2:11)
There are a number of things that we should remember about this account in Scripture. First we should remember that this actually happened. It is not a parable. The parables that Jesus spoke are word pictures from everyday life that teach a lesson. One example of this is: For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. You see: Is like a landowner.
In our text we hear: On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and His disciples had also been invited to the wedding. John does not say: It was like a wedding took place, or there was a virtual wedding. He says: On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. So John is recording something that actually did happen.
As we read this Gospel lesson, we remember that Jesus is not recommending the over use of alcohol when he says: Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine, after the guests have had too much to drink. Of course wine was used as a part of a meal in the Bible. The Lord chose this beverage when He instituted the Lord’s Supper. Paul wrote to Timothy: Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. (I Timothy 5:23) But Paul also wrote to the Ephesians: Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine. (Eph. 5:17-18)
As we read the words of our text we remember that Jesus was a grown man at this point. There are those who think that Jesus entertained His friends when He was a boy by doing miracles. Some writings tell how He made clay pigeons and then told them to fly away. Certainly He would have been the most popular kid in town if He had done that. What are we going to do today? Let’s go to Jesus’ house. We know that this is not true because John tells us in our text: What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which He revealed His glory.
We also think about the city of Cana. We don’t know exactly where it was. The Lord simply tells us: On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. And that is all that we need to know. Other important things took place there in the ministry of Jesus. John also tells us: Once more He visited Cana in Galilee, where He had turned the water into wine. And there was a certain royal official whose son lay sick at Capernaum. Jesus healed that son whose home was in Capernaum, so the location had to be near Cana. We remember that Nathanael, one of the disciples also came from Cana.
Are you familiar with the miracle? There was a wedding. Jesus, His disciples and His mother were all invited to the wedding and to the wedding supper. We are not told what they served for the meal. For those raised in Jewish traditions, we are pretty sure that it was not ham. Part of the meal was wine. More people came than were expected or they ate and drank more than expected. It reminds me of the scampering that ladies sometimes have to do when more people show up for a funeral luncheon.
Whatever the reason – they ran out of wine. If you were a good host at that time you did not run out of wine. That would be considered a disgraceful and embarrassing thing. But they did. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to Him, They have no wine. Mary said: They have run out of wine. Why did she say this to Jesus? She knew that her son was something special. It was an act of faith. There was no doubt in her mind that He would do something. Even when He did not act immediately notice her instructions: His mother said to the servants, Do whatever He tells you.
Somehow you might expect Jesus to say, Okay, Mom, I will get right to it. Some might think that His response was rather snippy: Woman, why do you involve me? Jesus replied. My hour has not yet come. But this answer tells us something. God’s plan of salvation was carefully planned out, down to the very second. There were still seconds or minutes in that plan of salvation before He would do His first miracle. His mother, how dearly loved she may have been, could not change God’s plan of salvation.
When it was time Jesus acted: Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, Fill the jars with water; so they filled them to the brim. Then He told them, Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet. That is the time when the man said: Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.
Of course it was the best. This was not made from grapes picked or squeezed or bottled by human beings. Oh yes, Jesus is also true man. But now in a wonderful way He also demonstrated that He is true God. Of course the wine was the best. It was made by God’s Son using the power that is His alone.
What can we learn from this? I am sure you will agree that running out of wine at a wedding supper, no matter how disgraceful that might be, is not the end of the world. The people there might have talked about the man or laughed at him, but it would not have been the end of the world. The lesson for us as we begin our journey through 2016 is that Jesus loves us and cares about us. He will walk beside us throughout the year and throughout our lives.
Not only that, He can do things to help us. He is the eternal Son of the Father. He has the power to change water into wine. He has the power to help us in whatever we must face. But His biggest change was done on the cross. There He changed us from lost and condemned sinners into His redeemed children. Because we believe in Him, that will not change. He who changed water into wine has changed us from lost and condemned sinners into His dear children who will some day join Him in heaven around the wedding supper of the Lamb.