Hi everyone. Service audio and printed sermon notes are included in this post. Today’s service is focused on the Wedding at Cana (John 2) where Jesus performs His first miracle - He changes water into wine. Jesus also blesses marriage with His presence. What is the key to a Christian Marriage? Repent of thinking ourselves more than Jesus or our spouse and forgive your spouse sins against you in the name of Jesus. Finally, stay warm! It’s cold out there. Pastor Pautz
Second Sunday after Epiphany
January 20, 2019
Grace and mercy to you from God the Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Let us pray, Gracious Father, who sent Your Son to a wedding in Cana, bless our marriages with the ongoing presence of Jesus Christ; Your Son our Savior. Amen.
KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
It was my first day in Kindergarden. The bell rang. Our teacher sat down on a chair in front of her desk and had all the children sit down in front of her. She asked each child their name and then made a mark in her book. After all those kids gave her their name, she asked, “Is Jeff Pautz not here?” As little girl asked the teacher, “Who is that boy behind you?”
I was standing behind my teacher.
She kindly incorporated me into the class. She didn’t yell at me. After that I put her on a high pedestal.
Who was your favorite teacher?
Or, for the purpose of this sermon, who are your favorite authorities? People you place on a pedestal.
It is common to place other people on a pedestal. We keep telling fond stories about them long after we have lost contact with them.
We do that in the church, too. Pastors have the tendency to quote seminary professors almost more than the Scriptures. People have a tendency to quote and look up to Sunday School teachers or former pastors trusting them more than the Holy Scriptures.
Today, we heard of Jesus’ first miracle. Jesus changed water into wine which only God can do. It is not only ok to put God on a pedestal, but according to the First Commandment, we learn it is required to place God on a pedestal so that we do not fear, love, or trust anyone above God. The same goes for God’s Word. Especially as it is recorded in His Holy Bible.
People have a way of putting human authorities on high pedestals, be it people or the books they write or the films they make. The buck stop with them. Unfortunately, that often means a high school teacher, college instructor, or seminary professor, because students are easier to influence at that age. Since we cannot count on human authorities, who often err, we should only treat the Word as the final authority on all matters. Therefore, if we have something from Jesus on any given matter, that settles the question. Disputes arise. What should be done? Study the Holy Scriptures to settle the question. All doctrinal matters are already settled by the Scriptures, but they are often not confessed and taught by man. Church authorities might say, “The matter is settled” but no person can settle a matter on their own authority or influence alone. The dispute will fester. Thus we have the Word of God as the authority that never varies, never contradicts itself.
I tried listening to a Ben Shapiro podcast recently. He is a fast talker. I couldn’t keep up. Then I realized I had set the audio to 1.5X the normal speed so he was talking even faster than normal. That’s why I couldn’t keep up with all the details. So I listened again from the beginning. Likewise, the Gospel has so many important details that we need to stop and look at passages, phrase by phrase.
2 And both Jesus and His disciples were called to the marriage.
By attending the marriage, Jesus blessed the married state. He did not come alone, by stealth, as some people do with gatherings that are not approved, but brought along His disciples who were all witnesses to this event and the first of His miracles. Every Christian couple should place Jesus on the pedestal of their marriage. Jesus blesses marriage even yours as He keeps His promise to both of you.
3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus said to him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus said to her, Woman, what have I to do with you? My hour is not yet come.
His mother is not named, just as the author is not named, de-emphasizing Mary (Jesus’ mother) and St. John (whom the Holy Spirit moved to author this Gospel) without denying their importance. As someone perhaps hosting the wedding for this impoverished couple, Mary told Jesus they were already running out of wine. That was a calamity she felt and trusted Jesus to take care of the matter. Jesus addressed her as "woman" - not as "dear woman" or anything else that would soften this address. The Scriptures balance the description of Mary blessed above all women with several reminders that Jesus was still her Lord, still her Savior, still God in flesh. So also at His crucifixion, Jesus said, "Woman behold your son." And he said to John, "Behold your mother." John 19:26
5 His mother said to the servants, Whatever he say to you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, Draw out now, and bring it to the governor of the feast. And they brought it.
In this first of all His miracles, Jesus made it impossible to refute what happened. Really smart people offer various explanations for other miracles - rather absurd, because they assume details never given - such as lunches hidden away for the Feeding of the Multitude. Like that miracle, this miracle also demands faith in the power and efficacy of God's Word, which is lacking today.
Many "conservative" Christian leaders will confess their trust in the inerrancy of God's Word, but they deny that Holy Baptism and Holy Communion are sacraments that provide the forgiveness of sin - as God promised. The Jesus’ Holy Bible is not put on the pedestal
Many "conservative" Lutheran leaders say they believe in the sacraments, but they deny that God created heaven and earth in six-24 hour days. But these fine men worry about their reputations in the academy/universities. Again, Jesus’ Holy Bible is not put on the pedestal.
And though the Scriptures and Book of Concord clearly say we are declared forgiven through faith in our Savior, their are conservative Lutheran Leaders who deny this for more logical explanations.
9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
I find some humor in the steward of the feast becoming alarmed at the quality of the wine and scolded the bridegroom. This is a feature of John's Gospel - someone misunderstanding what has just happened, which helps us see how great a gap exists between faith in Christ and one's natural (but blind) understanding.
It is not by accident that the bridegroom is the object of the rebuke. In the New Testament, Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the Church is the bride.
So, as Luther says, this is not only a very special miracle showing the power and efficacy of the Word, but also a parable about bearing the cross and about marriage.
As he says so wisely, we are used to providing the best wine first and the not-so-good later. That is what the steward expected. How dare the bridegroom save the best for last!
Miracle and Marriage
Americans have made a disaster of marriage because everyone is listening to the steward rather than to the Word. As Luther said, many disagreeable things are associated with marriage and raising children. The difficulties seem overwhelming at first, and they often continue for years.
God does things in reverse. He gives us the worst wine, even the dregs. But later, through faith in Him, that becomes the best and the sweetest wine. An enormous challenge is wonderful in retrospect, when it has been overcome. But only in retrospect. At the time, it can occupy all our thoughts and energy. How to keep the spark in marriage when your spouse is no longer fun. How to raise babies into children into adults is hard work 24/7. How do well at work but have time for family. These are all very hard at the moment. In hindsight, they are best and sweetest wine
11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
Jesus’ disciples believe on Jesus.
Let us do the same.
Let us keep Jesus on the pedestal and in time your marriage problems will not seem overwhelming. Hear Jesus. Forgive your spouse. God bless you now and always; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, …..
2:1-11. — By the power of his personality and by his divine knowledge and words Jesus had attested himself as truly being the Messiah of whom the Baptist had testified, as the Son of God and the Son of man. To the attestation through the word is now added that of the deed, which was made evident in the first miracle.
This wedding must be thought of in the Jewish fashion. In the betrothal bride and groom were pledged to each other in a way that truly made them man and wife, although the two did not at once live together following this ceremony. An interval, longer or shorter, followed, and then the gamos (wedding) took place. The groom with his companions brought the bride with her companions to the groom's home, and there without any further pledge the celebration began, starting toward evening with a feast as grand as possible and continuing for a week, the couple now living together.
2. In the first place, it is indeed a high honor paid to married life for Christ himself to attend this marriage, together with his mother and his disciples.
Moreover, his mother is present as the one arranging the wedding, the parties married being apparently her poor relatives or neighbors, and she being compelled to act as the bride’s mother; so of course, it was nothing more than a wedding, and in no way a display. For Christ lived up to his doctrine, not going to the rich, but to the poor; or, if he does go to the great and rich, he is sure to rebuke and reprove, coming away with disfavor, earning small thanks at their hands, with no thought of honoring them by a miracle as he does here.
"22. In the third place, we must briefly touch upon the spiritual significance of the text. This marriage and every marriage signifies Christ, the true bridegroom, and Christendom, the bride; as the Gospel lesson of Matthew 22:1-14 sufficiently shows."