Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN! Our text for this morning’s sermon is taken from St. John’s gospel account the second chapter (John 2:1-11).
Beloved in the LORD,
Jesus comes to Wedding with His disciples
Still dripping from His immersion into the Father’s voice at His baptism, Jesus makes His way to Cana of Galilee. There is a Wedding. Weddings are cause for joy and gladness. Jesus and His disciples have been invited to join in. Therefore our eternal bridegroom departs the Jordan and journey’s north to make glad the day of nuptials. It has been three days and our Lord does His greatest work after three days. Like a bridegroom exiting His bridal chamber He rejoices to run the way with His attendants following right along, eyes fixed and ears open. That’s what disciples do. They follow the teacher, listen to His Words and they go where He goes for wherever He goes there is life and there is joy.
So . . .to the Wedding feast they go. It is a time of joy, joy for the families, joy for the disciples, joy for Israel, and joy for the Lord. Our Jesus delights to be in the midst of His people, to share in their happiness even as He brings blessings from the Father above. Therefore His presence at this wedding blesses and sanctifies all weddings. What God has joined let not man divorce. What God has blessed let not man pervert. What God has given for our good, let not man deny His truth and bring shame on men, women and children.
Jesus has come to the wedding feast with His disciples! Let all rejoice in His presence. Let there be dancing and singing and godly revelry. Let the heart leap with gladness and the soul skip like a child. Let the family of God make merry with choice meats spread for all and good wine, wine on the lees, wine not for drunkenness or debauchery, but for hearts made glad in the LORD’s goodness. Jesus has come to this wedding and to our world, come for us and for our good, for our salvation.
They Have no Wine only Water pots
But, there is a problem. Mary takes note and says, “they have no wine.” The host has nothing to gladden the heart of his guests, only 6 water pots filled with water. Such is the world to which our Lord has come, and such is the world in which we live. There is plenty of drunkenness, but no gladness, much revelry but nothing godly about it. They have no wine at this wedding, the world too is lacking, because they have not Jesus, because they have no gospel. They have, instead, their 6 water pots, their 6 stone jars filled with their self-help purifications. These have nothing to do with Jesus but everything to do with man and his desire to cover his nakedness and remove his shame. Such manly things may indeed cleanse the flesh with the removal of dirt, but the heart remains stained, blemished, and rotten. For man cannot make pure what man has defiled. Woman cannot cleanse the source of her uncleanness. Children, infants and toddlers can only suffer the consequences of their sin. All fail, because humanity is lost, depraved and corrupted with sin, original and actual.
Nevertheless, the world indulges in her water pots. People make every effort to be clean, worrying more about germs on the hand or in the air, or on the cup, than we do about sin in the heart. The comfort of this life trumps the promises of the next. And so we scrub and we scrub but we never gets clean, because we never deal with our sin the way God would have us deal with our sin. We avoid the heart of the matter, ignoring the pleas of our conscience and the Word of our God. The fruit of our labors is vainity and vapor. Joy is exchanged for anxiety. Certainty is surrendered for worry and the heart writhes about longing for heavenly comfort but receiving only earthly gall. The water pots of this life are full, but they have no wine for they have no Jesus.
He Takes His Bride
Jesus has come to the wedding feast, come to our world, not so much to party and revel and glory in man’s works and man’s whitewashed garments but He’s come to take a bride for Himself, to draw near His beloved, to redeem her from the corruption of her flesh and save her from the wages of her sin. He’s come as our bridegroom to love us, comfort us, and forgive us with His presence amongst us.
As our bridegroom He must cleanse us that we, as His Church, may be presented without spot, or stain, or blemish, beautiful and radiant, adorned with a righteousness that goes forth as brightness that kings of the earth would covet. For you are not Forsaken but you are His Hephzibah. He delights in You. And you are not Desolate, But you are His Beulah and He has joined Himself to you, married you, become one flesh with you through His incarnation. He is truly bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh. Stone Jars full of worldly piety cannot cleanse your soul nor forgive yours sins. They have no wine, no gospel. They are void of Jesus.
Jesus, however, takes the world and fills it to the brim. He suffers her faults and embraces her death. He loves the unlovely and carries her across the threshold of eternity. Such labor requires His Work, His Life, His Blood. Our bridegroom has no bride apart from His passion. “Men may offer their brides trinkets or other gifts from the earth such as gold, silver, precious stones,” etc. (Augustine) but they do not offer their blood. They do not die to seal their marriage vows.
To have us as His own, Jesus must die for us. He must take up the cross, pour out His blood, surrender His flesh. He is bruised for our restoration. He is striped for our healing. His blood becomes our drink and His body our feast. His cross is the doorway through which we must pass to be saved. His death is our life, His wages our reward. He gives us everything though we have nothing. He loves the unlovely and forgives the unrighteous.
The Best Wine from the Savior
Thus, the gift of God for you is Jesus. He is the gospel in the flesh, the heart of God made manifest for you and for your salvation. He takes the world’s water pots and fills them to the brim with the best wine because He fills them with His Word, with Himself. With Jesus we have one who has faced up to our sin and borne our griefs, suffered our sorrows, survived our death. He has turned things around, right side up, outside in, water into wine, sinners into saints. His gospel gives joy in place of sadness, comfort during times of affliction, hope under the cross, and a foundation upon which we may rest secure when the world around us quakes.
Dear Hephziba and Beulah, dear Christian in whom our Lord delights and with whom He wishes to be one, look to Christ your bridegroom! See in Him the delights of your heart. He has taken away your sin, redeemed you from death, and destroyed the devil’s power over you. Turn away from the stone jars of the world. For great is the path towards destruction and wide is the road to hell. There is one greater in our text this morning, one greater in our midst today. He is Jesus, anointed by the Spirit and dripping with the Father’s delight. And He has come to be near you, forgive you, strengthen you, comfort you, wash you and cleanse even unto the depths of your heart and soul. He’s come to do for you what you cannot do for yourself. Look to Jesus your bridegroom and see His great love for you. Behold His passion. Cling to His Cross. Adore His blood. Feast on His Flesh! Let faith receive the LORD’s gifts! And the soul will dance, and sing, and revel in all godly manner. There will be joy, joy in your families, joy in our church, joy in the LORD!
His disciples believe in Him
Beloved in the LORD, “Jesus once changed water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Should we not believe him when He changes wine into blood?” Following the first of signs which Jesus did in manifesting His glory, the disciples believed. That’s what disciples do. They follow the teacher. They learn from His Words. They trust His heart. They believe! In faith disciples go where the Teacher goes.
Today, Jesus goes to a wedding and His disciples go with Him. Thus the Savior is in our midst. He has taken His bride. He has joined Himself to us and now offers us choice meats and good wine, gospel wine, wine on the lees, wine filled with the passion of His blood. Come and drink and be glad. Your God is here to give you good things, gospel things, the best things. He is here to give Himself! For these have nothing to do with the world but everything to do with Jesus for you. The stone jars have been set aside and now He fills the chalice. Here is your health, your life, your hope, your certainty, and your eternity. Let your hearts only believe and it will be so for you. AMEN!
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!