Jesus changes water into wine at a wedding. We've probably heard this story a hundred times or more. Sometimes we get to thinking that we know it all, already, and so, why do we really need to hear it again? But let us consider, maybe we don't know all there is to know. In fact, maybe God has not yet revealed to us even the greatest spiritual meanings in this story. Maybe He will today. Regardless, there is still great comfort and assurance, and strength for us, in all the promises of God. “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
This story surely isn’t anything like the latest blockbuster movie. It doesn’t have exciting tales of espionage, and the thrills of racing and exploding cars that put us on the edge of our seat. But it does have this: deep and abiding comfort in Christ, the only Savior of sinners. Just as Jesus created an abundance of new wine, He creates new life in us, from His overflowing grace and mercy. As He changed water into wine, He changed our sentence of condemnation (that we deserved by our sins), into a sentence of complete and full pardon, by taking our sins upon Himself. Now there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
Dear Children of God, that is you and me, for haven’t we been baptized into Christ’s life, death, and resurrection?, and doesn’t His Word and Spirit dwell within our heart and soul? This is one of the clear meanings of Jesus’ first miracle: there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. For He came to this couple’s wedding, not to be against them. He is for us and not against us. He is there to bless us, to help us, to be with us, and not to condemn us.
He could have performed this miracle elsewhere, among royalty, or among some of the greatest and most powerful leaders at Jerusalem, and received great applause and praise for it. But no, after the first 30 years of His life, without performing a single miracle, Jesus chooses to perform His first miracle before husband and wife. He changes water into wine at a wedding. This is how highly God regards marriage, and how much He endorses and blesses it. He created it for our benefit, after seeing that it wasn’t good for man to be alone.
Did this newlywed couple realize who graced their wedding? The Lord and giver of life? The one who created marriage, the one who also attended the very first wedding, of Adam and Eve?
For all those who are considering marriage, for all those who are married, and for all those who maybe are having a rough go at it – Jesus Christ is with you, to help you, to bless you, to hear and to answer your every concern. There are such huge responsibilities that come with marriage, all the more reason for Christ to never leave you and never forsake you. By attending that wedding of Cana, He shows clearly that He will continually be by your side, to bless your marriage, and give you everything you need to remain faithful.
God never promised that there wouldn’t be struggles in marriage, that there would never be any conflict, yet, He does promise to always help you through them, and give you the strength and the faith, to carry on, by His Word and Sacraments.
And where we have gone wrong, where we have made the wrong decisions, Christ has come to bring us forgiveness, hope and healing.
Jesus changes water into wine. The whole matter may seem so trivial. Was it really the end of the world that they had run out of wine? Of course not, but we must also consider that, at that moment, running out of something that helps people to loosen up, and have a good time, at their wedding, was very important to the bride and groom, and to their families. Therefore, it was important to God.
Whatever our problem may be, big or small, or somewhere in between, Jesus has our back. Jesus is there for us. His answer may not always be exactly what we think it should be, but He always hears, and He always answers.
It may not always seem that way. It surely didn’t seem like it when Mary, His own mother, asked for His help. It seemed like He couldn’t care less. “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” It takes us back to last week’s lesson, where it seemed like He couldn’t care less about His own parents searching for Him for days. Jesus is Mary’s Son alright, but above all, He is reminding her, He is the Son of God. Above all, He came to earth to follow His Heavenly Father’s will, which would eventually lead Him to the cross. He was under no obligation to grant Mary’s wishes.
And next comes an even more mysterious response from Christ. He says, “Mine hour is not yet come.”
Perhaps this should sound familiar? When His enemies sought to kill Jesus, Scripture says, “They sought to take Him: but no man laid hands on Him, because His hour was not yet come.” And when His time had come, He said to the disciples, “ The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.” And later at Gethsemane, Jesus “lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify Thee.”
Even at this wedding, Jesus was making reference to the salvation He would provide for this couple, and for all mankind. Was there ever a day in Christ’s life where He did not contemplate His “hour” to come? That He would drink the cup of God’s wrath for us, to remove the condemnation that our sins deserved?
Yet, we still think we know better than God, don’t we? We can’t get His most simple commandments right, because we think we know better, we think there is a better way. Adam and Eve had everything they could possibly need, but then Satan entered the picture, “Did God really say that? Go ahead and follow your own way, and your own desires, what feels the best for you and your situation – and you will become as gods.” Fast forward to today, and we clearly the fruits of those lies. God says marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled, but come on, is that really what’s realistic for our advanced, fast-paced culture today? Did God really say that? We have become as gods, because we’ve thrown the true God, and His eternal wisdom, away.
Yet, Jesus shows forth His glory. He changes water into wine, not to “perform” for people. But to show us all, He is the very Son of God, whose hour was yet to come. Who would take all of God’s wrath upon Himself, and take all our sins of disobedience away.
He provides over a hundred gallons of wine. Psalm 23 – “My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”
Jesus provides an overabundance of wine, signifying that there is no end to His forgiving grace. We should never think that we can take advantage of it, and think that we can cling to our sin all the more since there is forgiveness – that’s not the true saving faith. Those who cling to Christ instead, by the aid of God’s Spirit, turn from their sin. For if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Jesus provides new wine for them, just as He continues to create in us new life, from His never-ending grace and forgiveness. He will continue to be with us, and in us, by His Word and Sacraments. Amen.