2nd Sunday after Epiphany
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! In the name of Jesus, dear friends in Christ, does this happen to you? This happens to me from time to time. Perhaps you’re in a conversation with someone and they say something that cues your memory and leads you down a deep thought process. Or maybe you’re watching a situation or see something and you’re immediately taken to distant memory and you pause and you think about something you haven’t thought of for quite some time. It can happen in a conversation with my wife when we we’re talking about something cues my mind goes down a trail and I’ll tell her something that will make no sense to her because the thought process took place in my head.
Could it be that in our text Jesus is looking at this situation and there’s something much deeper going through His head. Have you ever wondered about Jesus’ response here? It’s curious, isn’t it? His mom comes to him and simply says, “They have no more wine.” And how does Jesus respond? He says, “Woman.” That’s exactly what the original says, “Woman.” It’s somewhat brusque, that’s not the normal way a son would speak to his mother. “What is it to me and to you? My time has not yet come.” Now, you could assume that Jesus is talking about doing a miracle, like Jesus is saying, “I’m not ready to do a miracle yet.” It could be that Jesus is following the timetable set by His Father and it isn’t quite time for the miracle yet and He doesn’t want His earthly mother rushing things. But that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it? Why not? Because just after Jesus says that His time has not yet come, He does something about Mary’s request, He does the miracle! And we have to think much more highly of Jesus than that. Jesus isn’t just someone who says, “I’m not going to do it” and then after a little bit says, “Oh, ok I guess, alright, I’ll do something about it.” That’s not Jesus. Jesus has things perfectly planned out, He isn’t just flying by the seat of his pants and doing things at random, He has everything perfectly calculated, perfectly planned out, everything He does, everything He says has purpose and meaning. “Woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come.” What if something much deeper is going on here?
Think about it, if you’re a young single person and you go to a wedding, what’s on your mind? What can you not help but think about? You think about your own wedding, don’t you? What will it be like? What will happen? Who will it be with? What decorations are there going to be? When will it happen? Will I get married at all? You’re thinking about a different time. What if at this wedding Jesus is thinking about His wedding?
Throughout Scripture God uses this awesome picture of marriage to illustrate His relationship with His people. It’s not enough for God to picture His relationship with us as a King to subjects or as a Shepherd to sheep or as a Father to children, very often, God uses the imagery of a marriage. He pictures Himself as the bridegroom and we, His people, are the bride. But we walked away from God. God longs for communion, fellowship, intimacy with you and me and what do we do? We ate the fruit of the tree, we break the relationship, we run after a love affair with the world, the things of the world, the pleasures of the world. God invites us to trust Him and…we worry, we fret, we doubt Him. God invites us to have conversation with Him through His Word and prayer and…we’re too busy, we have this to do, that to do, work, money, job is more important than a relationship with God. And wonder upon wonders, God still longs to be married to us, He still longs for a relationship with us, He still desires you as a bridegroom desires his bride.
But the relationship has been broken, the relationship needs to be repaired, our marriage with Jesus needs to be restored. But we can’t restore it. On our own we’re left to a life of rejection, scorn, shame, an eternity of gloom and sadness away from Him forever. That’s what we deserve and we can’t do anything to change it. But Jesus can. He longs for the wedding feast with you and me, that’s why He came. But Jesus knows that there’s something He has to do, something He has to go through before He can enjoy the wedding feast with us.
“My time has not yet come,” Jesus said. Whenever we’re referred to “Jesus’ time” literally “His hour” it is always talking about his hour of suffering. Several times people tried to seize Jesus, but we’re told “his hour had not yet come.” It wasn’t until Holy Week when Jesus said: “What shall I say, ‘Father, save me from this hour? No it was for this hour that I have come.” And again: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” So what’s going on here? Jesus is looking at this situation. Here’s a wedding, people are having a joyous time, but there’s a problem, they’re about to run out of wine. That’s an embarrassing thing at this time, that will cut short the party, that will drain the joy out of this happy occasion, the celebration will end. Wine is often thought of as a drink at a festal and joyous time. But the wine is running out. And here’s Jesus observing this situation. And what’s perhaps going on in His mind? “There’s no way that any of these people are going to really experience joy unless I do something about it.” As people are drinking their cups of wine, Jesus is sipping His cup of sadness. Perhaps Jesus is looking at this whole situation and thinking to Himself, “Oh my, the wine’s running out, the joy of this celebration is going to be over, but far worse, there would be no reason to have any kind of joy, no reason to have any kind of celebration on earth at all, unless my hour comes, unless I drink not the cup of wine, but the cup of God’s eternal wrath against every injustice, wickedness, and evil. There would come a time when Jesus is going to pray in a garden, “Father, if it is possible may this cup be taken from me, but not as I will but as you will.” God’s will, however, was that He suffer and die. Is Jesus thinking, “There could not possibly be any joy on earth unless I go to that cross and die.” You see, everything that Jesus did had its focus on the cross and it’s really no different here. Jesus said, “My hour, the hour of my suffering, has not yet come.” But it will.
So, Mary goes and tells the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Do whatever he says to you, no matter how weird or crazy it may sound. She knows. She remembers Jesus’ birth. She knows who He is and what He can do. Jesus directs them to fill the jars with water and miraculously Jesus changes the substance of water into excellent wine so the celebration can continue. But the real telling verse is the last verse here: Thus Jesus revealed His glory and His disciples put their faith in Him.
Jesus revealed His glory, His Light, He showed the He is the One. He is the One with the power of God Himself who has come to do for us what we could never do on our own. He has come with power to enter His hour, to suffer and die and rise, and why so? So that He might become your real bridegroom. So that He might intimately connect Himself to you forever. So that you might be welcomed at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb, so that YOU might have a place at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in heaven, He sipped His cup of sorrow – even in the midst of earthly celebration – so that you and I may drink the eternal cup of celebration with Him in His paradise forever! That’s great news!
And knowing this doesn’t just affect our eternal life, it affects our lives right now. How so? Well first of all, no matter what position in life you’re in right now, whether you’re married, single, divorced, widowed, you have the ultimate spouse. You’re Jesus’ bride. He looks at you and He’s amazed. If you’ve been a groom or a best man you’ve seen this, but you’ve probably not seen it as much as a pastor. A pastor gets to officiate at quite a few weddings so I’m usually standing up here when the Bride comes walking down the aisle. And without fail, the bride on her wedding day always looks stunning, she might not have looked that way the day before, but on her wedding day she does. Well, Jesus says, “I’m that groom standing in front of church and you’re my bride, you amaze me, you’re beauty takes my breath away.” Why so? Because He’s washed you from all your impurities with His blood, He’s cleansed you from all your blemishes in the waters of your baptism and He unites Himself intimately with you in His Supper. And one day you’ll sit in the ultimate wedding celebration at the Marriage feast of the Lamb. So, no matter your position in life, you have the ultimate spouse: Jesus.
Secondly, notice the context. Mary comes to Jesus with a rather simple thing. They’re about to run out of wine and the celebration is going to be cut short. She simply tells Jesus of the problem. And Jesus does something about it. It’s not too small of a matter to Him. Nothing is too small of a matter to bring before your Savior in prayer.
And lastly, we see Jesus’ incredible power. Jesus has the power to do anything. Yet, He used His power to save you and me. He drank the cup of sorrow to the last drop and why? So that we might enjoy the cup of joy forever in His presence. This happens and has happened with my own children. It’s their birthday and they get a present that they really wanted. But it’s bedtime so they have to stop playing with it. They’re disappointed, they throw a fit, throw themselves on the floor. And what do the parents do? I suppose some may threaten to take the toy back to the store, but sometimes what you do is you sit that child down and say, “Look, this is your toy, you get to play with it all day tomorrow, don’t let this present disappointment overshadow the great thing that you have.” We get disappointments, struggles, hardships, difficulties in life, but don’t let any of them overshadow the awesome thing that you have in your Savior forever. Amen.