Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father and
from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
First of all, don't worry. The kickoff time for Minnesota
and Dallas is at noon Eastern Time, not noon Central Time, so we'll be all
right. Not that you guys would absolutely be thinking about that at this time.
This is an unusual miracle indeed. And of all the miracles
that Jesus did…healing palsied limbs and making them strong, bringing sight to
blind eyes, and loosing the tongue of those who cannot speak, unstopping ears
that are unable to hear, and raising the dead…of all the miracles that Jesus
did, this is probably the most frivolous of all the miracles when you think
about it in comparison to raising people from the dead and bringing sight to
the blind and so on. Frivolous in that all that was done was giving a wedding
celebration more wine. Not just a few gallons, mind you, somewhere in the
neighborhood of a 150 to 180 gallons of wine. That's a lot of wine. That feeds
and drinks a lot of people. Hmm.
And of all the Gospels…Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John…only
John's Gospel records this and makes a note, of all the Gospels, this was His first
miracle. That's interesting. If you and I were to put our minds to it, we would
think in terms of something big right out of the chute in order to make an
impression upon everybody. Raising someone from the dead…now that would have
been a real good miracle at first, that first miracle out from the chute.
Instead, Jesus chose this of all miracles.
Now it's interesting because all of us can understand the
other miracles in many ways. Think about it. Our eyes have been opened, and we
can see Him as our Lord and Master and Savior. Our ears have been opened so
that we can hear the voice of our Shepherd calling us back to Him regularly.
Our limbs have been strengthened and no longer palsied, enabling us to serve
other people. We know by faith that though we are dead, we shall be made alive
upon our own death, being raised with Christ Jesus.
All of that we have some common connection. But marriage:
now there is a common connection. Because whether we are married or divorced,
whether we are single or widowed or widower, all of us have experienced the
joys of that union (whether it was ours or our parents) and the pains of that
union (whether it was ours or our parents or our siblings or whomever). We have
that very much in common. Isn't it interesting that of all the relationships in
this world that God has given us as His people, the one epitome of all
relationships that He wishes to use as the very image of Himself toward you and
me is marriage?
When He arrives at this marriage, He is invited by the
family. There had to have been some sort of a close relationship between not
only Jesus but also the mother of Jesus…Mary. They both were invited to this
gathering. By His attending that very day, a marriage, He solidifies and
confirms that which the Father had already defined in paradise with Adam and
Eve. That marriage is to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman.
But why would John put this in his text? The Lord wanted him
to put it in this text. Remember what John wrote later on in his Gospel, the
20th chapter. It goes something along these lines, "Jesus did many other
miraculous signs which are not written in this book (meaning the book of
John) and the Scriptures as it were as a whole. But these things (that had been
recorded by John and others) have been written that you may believe that Jesus
is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing in Him, you might have
life." So of all things, this was given to us that we may see Jesus as the
Christ, the Son of God.
Now, I know you all make note of the Gospel readings every
Sunday that we gather together, but note during this season of Epiphany, which
is what we're in right now; it ends on Transfiguration Sunday, it begins with
the baptism of our Lord last week. Every single Sunday between now and
Transfiguration, there will be something in that Gospel reading that shows
forth Jesus as being both God and man; an "epiphany" as it were.
Each Sunday, just as it began with the wise men visiting
Jesus, so it shall end with the Transfiguration on the Mount. Every Sunday will
show forth some aspect of Christ's life that shows Him to be the Son of God,
and this morning is no different. Changing water into wine is indeed a miracle.
But blessing and bestowing Himself on marriage, for that matter…blessing and
bestowing Himself on your and my marriage…there indeed is a miracle and a great
He is the perfect husband. He always will stay with us when
we are the most unlovable. He will not get hurt by our words spoken in anger,
in fright or fear, in frustration. He will not love us more when we're lovable
by our actions and our deeds, and He will not love us less when we're
despicable by the same. We haven't even begun to scratch the surface on the
thoughts that rattle around in this empty cavern known as our head. He knows
them all, and He stays true to us all. That indeed is a miracle, and by His
presence at this great miracle of changing water into wine does He establish
for us His desire to bless your marriage and my marriage and not
just with enough but with more than enough for this life.
You have heard it said many times, "This is the
marriage feast of the Lamb and His kingdom." It's a picture of such,
because when we enter into heaven, it will be a continual feast. We're
practicing it here. With whom are we practicing it? With whom do we commune as
one body of Christ? But with a lot of other broken people with broken lives,
with a lot of other people whose lives do stink; namely, we ourselves.
By whom we don't have our stuff together and our frayed
edges are obvious to all but most importantly to our God, does He come in our
midst just as He came in the midst of this wedding feast to bring Himself to
us; to provide us for the things of this life. But more importantly, to provide
us with that which all of our earthly marriages cannot live without, and that
being forgiveness. Notice I did not say love. Yes, but that is such an abstract
concept that only is manifested in how we give and how we receive such
He desires to come into broken marriages and bring healing.
For marriages that don't need Him, what does He have to offer, unfortunately
and sadly? But for those of us whose marriages are not perfect, those of us who
have felt the pain of this great and glorious relationship, He has come for us.
He has come to bring healing for us. There are many things that stir up emotion
in our lives but none more than the marriage bond. Whether it is our own or
whether it is someone whom we love dearly, it evokes great emotion and
Our Lord comes to such an event that should be seen as a
celebration of "Good work!" and "Good job! They've got a great
marriage!" He instead is saying to all of us, "I've come to fix
broken and dead marriages. To raise from the dead those who think themselves to
be dead and to bring life to those who think themselves to be not living."
What a great gift this God is to bring Himself as our husband to us, to bind up
our wounds! As He did to that man on the side of the road who had been beaten
and robbed, so He has done to us.
Whether we wear this band or whether we don't, marriage is
an event in our life that all of us have experience with. Seeing and
experiencing, even maybe for ourselves; but regardless, He is who comes with
fresh new wine to such marriages as yours and mine and to such lives impacted
and greatly affected by marriages. He comes to bring us forgiveness that we can
give that then to one another. It is the same John who wrote in his epistle, "We
love because He first loved us." It is meet and right and salutary that we
forgive, because He first forgave us, and being the perfect husband, He always
will. Being the perfect husband, He will never find us not attractive and
beautiful, because we do not wear our own garment but the garment of His
choosing and of His earning.
Notice the Old Testament reading, the one about which was
sung so beautifully. He is all about His bride: "I will not keep silent…I
will not be quiet until her righteousness goes forth as brightness and her
salvation as a burning torch." She will be called a new name. Just as all
of us are a part of that culture where a wife gives up her former and maiden
name to take on her husband's name, in a much more grandiose manner, do we take
on the name of our God as Avery did here, so it was for you. You were chosen.
You didn't have the ability at that point to say, "I am worthy of
God." God said, "You are worthy of Me." God made you His.
He's crazy about you…your God, your husband, your Jesus. He says,
"…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice
over you." It doesn’t have to make sense to you. It doesn't have to be
quantified for you and I to understand. It is the proclamation that we are to
believe in and trust in, bank upon, and close our eyes in. This is what He
brings to us today, the first of His miracles. And as was said, "…His
glory manifested, and His disciples believed in Him." Believe what God has
said to you this day in your midst, at your wedding feast, that you may go
forth forgiven and free, forgiven and free in His name, Amen.
He sets us free from our guilt and our fear, lifts us from
shame to the place of His honor. Jesus has come. Hear the roll of God's
The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your
hearts and your minds on Christ Jesus to life everlasting, Amen.