January 17, 2016

Rev. Bernt P. Tweit

Old Testament Lesson; Isaiah 62:1-5

Epistle Lesson; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Sermon Text; John 2:1-11

Before we get into our text for today, I want to give some perspective, or some background leading into our text.

       -By the time Jesus changed water into wine, He had been baptized. That is what Pastor Bartels focused on last week, as we focused on the baptism of our Savior, Jesus.

       -By the time of our text for today, Jesus had been tempted in the wilderness for forty days, by the devil.

       -By the time of our text, Jesus had picked at least four disciples, but maybe six, to be His followers. Andrew and Peter, Philip and Nathaniel, maybe James and John.

       -Now, that leads us into the time of our text. A transition is taking place in Jesus' life. He is transitioning from thirty years of private life, to three years of His public ministry. This transition is not happening in the bright lights of Jerusalem. This transition is happening in northern Israel, in Galilee. You see, Jesus spent a majority of the thirty years of His private life in Nazareth. That is where He grew up. I provided a map this morning just to show how close Cana is to Nazareth, where Jesus would perform His first miracle. It is only ten miles away. It is the distance from our new property at Holy Cross Way to U.W. Hospital. It is a very close distance. And so it should not surprise us that Jesus and His mother Mary, and at least some of His disciples were invited to this wedding. So, here is what I would like to do today. I would like for us to see Jesus blessing this marriage, Jesus blessing this wedding with His presence today. I want us to look at a human need Jesus relieves. And then I want us to see how Jesus manifests His glory and how He strengthens the faith of others.

Let's look at God's Word this morning, which is taken from John, chapter two, looking at verses 1 through 11.

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. 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.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “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 (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast 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.”

This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him.

This is God's Word.

Jesus is about to be the bringer of joy. Jesus was a guest at this marriage. He was a guest at this wedding. Imagine if Jesus could be the guest at your wedding, or could be the guest at our marriage.

Again, the transition Jesus was going through from thirty years of private life to now, three years of public ministry, when He is invited to this wedding that is just a short distance from where He grew up.

Jesus blesses this wedding.

Jesus blesses this marriage

with His presence.

Now, weddings in Jesus' day were different than weddings in our day. In our day, a wedding celebration lasts, what? Maybe six hours. Maybe nine hours. A wedding usually happens on a Saturday afternoon. Then, everybody is invited for dinner. If you stay to the very end, and dance all night long, maybe you can stretch it out to nine hours. Well, in Jesus' day, a wedding celebration lasted one week. It lasted seven days! Now, certainly, weddings were smaller in Jesus' day, but just imagine lodging guests for a week! Providing food for a week! Providing things to drink for a week! And, something embarrassing happens to this couple. Something embarrassing happens at this wedding. They run out of wine, and wine was a staple, with most meals.

Well, Jesus blessed this wedding, and blessed this couple, with His presence. And now, when they have run out of wine, it is Jesus' mother, Mary, who runs to Him, and explains the situation. “They have no wine.”

What was Jesus' response? “Woman, what does this have to do with me?”

It wasn't Jesus' mission in life to provide alcohol, was it? That was not His mission. Jesus said “My hour has not yet come.”

Jesus was referring to what would happen at the end of His three years of public ministry at the cross, when His hour would come. He would pay for the sins of the world, and He would pay for our sin.

“My hour has not yet come.”

And yet, we see the trust and the faith Mary has in her Son, and her Savior, when she says to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”

There were six stone water jars that were there. Now just envision a stone water jar that has the ability to contain twenty to thirty gallons of water. They were used for the right of purification. Well, you are talking 120 to 180 gallons. That is quite a bit. Imagine a one gallon bottle of wine. Think in terms of 120 of them, or think in terms of 180 of them, and that will start to put into perspective what it was Jesus did!

Those servants followed what Jesus said. They filled those stone water jars to the brim. Then, those servants brought to the master of the banquet a little sampling of what it was.

What was it Jesus did? Well, Jesus relieved a need. The need He relieved was providing wine, to put to rest this embarrassing situation that had happened.

       -Just as Jesus can calm a storm by speaking the Word and say, “Quiet. Be still.”

       -Just as Jesus can call forth from death somebody who has died, “Lazarus, come forth.”

       -Just as Jesus, at the beginning of the world, when He said, “Let there be light”, and He created the sun, and the moon, and the stars,

Jesus can certainly change water into wine.

Jesus the bringer of joy.

In the Old Testament, and at the time of Jesus, wine was a symbol of physical and spiritual joy and rejoicing. There is a passage in the book of Ecclesiastes that says,

“Go eat your food with gladness,

and drink your wine with a joyful heart.”

Wine is synonymous with joy. It was synonymous with rejoicing. Here Jesus relieves this need this wedding couple had.

Why did He do it? He did it to manifest His glory. And, He did it to strengthen the faith of those who were there. But, notice how it is John puts it in our text for today. He doesn't say Jesus performed a miracle, here. John just says this is “the first of His signs”.

Now, what does a sign do? A sign tells you something, right? It gives you information. A sign points you in a certain direction. This was the first of Jesus' signs.

At the end of John's gospel he says this about the miracles, or the signs Jesus performed. He said,

“Jesus did many other miraculous signs

which are not contained in this book,

but these are written

that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,

the Son of God,

and that believing you may have life in His name.”

In performing this sign, Jesus manifested His glory. There is a passage the seventh and eighth graders learned in Catechism Class this past week that talks about Jesus revealing His glory. We associate this passage with Christmas. It is from John 1, verse 14. It came right before our text for today.

“The Word became flesh

and made His glory among us.”

That is talking about Christmas, when Jesus came to be one of us.

“We have seen His glory,

the glory of the One and only

who came from the Father

full of grace and truth.”

That is what the Epiphany season is all about, Jesus manifesting His glory to us, and telling us who He is. He is more than just a human being. He is God. For the thirty years of his private life, Jesus chose not to use His full divine powers in His human nature.

But now, during the three years of His public ministry, there are times in which Jesus manifests His glory. He reveals His glory in telling other people who He is.

He is God.

He came to be our Savior.

What was the result? Our text tells us the “disciples believed in Him”. Andrew and Peter, Phillip and Nathaniel, maybe James and John, they believed in Him. And, their faith was strengthened.

But now, I want to make this personal to you. When the sky is clear and the moon is out, and I am going to get the newspaper in the morning, or it is in the evening, and I am walking from Holy Cross to my car, and the moon is out, I stop, even if it is below zero, and I look at the moon. I say, “That is awesome! Jesus created this! Jesus created the moon. It is a miracle!”

Why did Jesus do that? He did that to manifest His glory.

I am driving to Holy Cross Way far more often, I am traveling in an easterly direction, traveling in the direction the sun rises. I am beginning to see some wonderful sunrises. I pause for a moment (I don't stop, but I keep going in my car), and I think, “Jesus is manifesting His glory, right now, because He created the sun. How awesome is that?”

And what is He doing? Jesus is revealing Himself to us that He is God.

Well, I want you to know today that Jesus is the bringer of joy to you in your life. Do you need some joy? Who doesn't need that, right? Jesus blesses you with His presence. Jesus relieves a need of yours. Jesus manifests Himself to you, so that your faith in Him can be strengthened. Jesus blesses you with His presence each and every day.

The Bible uses picture language of our being married to Jesus, to talk about Him blessing us with His presence. Consider what it says in Revelation 21. “I saw the holy city coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” Here you are beautifully dressed as the bride prepared to meet your Groom, who is Christ. What is our response to that? Well, our response is what our Old Testament Lesson for today said, in the very last verse, when it says, “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so your God will rejoice over you.”

I wish I would rejoice more over my bride, Katie. I wish I did more. But, look at Jesus' response to you. Not only does He bless you with His presence, but He rejoices over you. He relieves a need we have. The need Jesus relieves is our sin. Our relationship with our spouse is not perfect. Our relationship with our parents is not perfect. Our relationship with our children is not perfect. Our relationship with our friends is not perfect. But Jesus comes to relieve our need. In our text for today, Jesus said, “My hour has not yet come.” But that hour did come. And, that hour has come. That hour came on Good Friday. That hour came at the cross, where Jesus said, “It is finished.” He relieved a need we had, in forgiving us of our sin, so we can have eternal life in Heaven.

Jesus manifests His glory to you. Why does Jesus manifest His glory to you? Well, Jesus manifests His glory to you and me so that we can be strengthened in our faith in Him as our Savior. And so, consider again what it is again that the book of Revelation says. Jesus is the bringer of joy. Do you need some joy in your life? I know I do. Jesus is about to bring you joy, because scripture says, “Let us rejoice and be glad, and give Him glory, for the wedding of the Lamb has come and His bride is ready. Fine linen, bright and clean was given for her to wear.” Jesus has forgiven your sin. He has placed a white robe of righteousness that He has earned and won for you. You are beautiful as you stand before Him. You are beautiful as you stand beside Him. He is the bringer of joy.

May the purpose of our worship today, may the purpose of God's Word today bring you joy. May it be so that the One who came to reveal His glory, who came to be our Savior, share His joy with you. He blesses you with His presence. He forgives us of our sin. He manifests His glory. May your faith be strengthened in Him.