Sermon / Pr. Ted Giese / Sunday Jan 17th 2016 - / John 2:1-11 / Your Best Life
Mount Olive Lutheran Church / Rev. Ted A. Giese / January 17th 2016 / John 2:1-11 / Season of Epiphany - Your Best Life - Jesus Turns Water into Wine
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with His disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”
Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him.
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. The master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” There is a false preacher, Joel Osteen, he's a slippery guy (big smile, nice suite, TV show) you've likely seen him around, if you watch him, you'll want to watch him very carefully because he mixes false teachings into his sermons - sermons which are more like shallow self-help life coaching.
In his book Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, He falsely says, “It's our faith that activates the power of God.” He falsely says, “Don’t simply settle for what your parents had. You can go further than that. You can do more, have more, be more.” And why does he say that? Because to him what you have today is based on your faith and not on the mercy and generosity of God, this is why he falsely says that, “What you receive is directly connected to what you believe.” Following this logic it would have been the faith of the bride and bridegroom at the wedding at Cana that activated God's power. The wine would not have run out because of their beliefs, or it would have been turned from water into wine by their faith. Look at our text today and you will find nothing like this at all. If that sort of thing had happened it would have shown the wedding couple to be glorious. Our Gospel text today is not about the glory of a newly married couple, it is about the manifestation of Jesus' glory.
When the wine ran out at the wedding at Cana, the bride and the bridegroom did nothing to fix their embarrassing situation, the master of the feast did nothing. In fact, in Jesus, their help came to them unexpectedly. Mary who had treasured up in her heart all of the things we celebrate in Advent and at Christmas - the annunciation of the angel Gabriel, the Virgin Birth, the Shepherds and their stories of the angels they had seen and heard in the fields, the words of Simeon and Anna in the Temple, the Wise Men and their gifts, the angel's warning to Joseph her husband, their flight to Egypt - Mary expected that Jesus could do something about the embarrassing lack of wine at the wedding. Jesus' disciples likely didn't know what to expect from Jesus as He hadn't done anything like turning water into wine before that day.
When it comes to our daily bread in life the catechism says that, "God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realise this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving." By this we see that, the gifts of God, that Jesus' miracle that day is not dependant on the faith or beliefs of the bride and the bridegroom, or the master of the feast, or the servants, or the guests, or even Jesus' disciples.
The purpose of the miracle wasn't simply to provide wine after the wine had run out. The purpose was to show the glory of Jesus and to produce faith by that sign. In 1 Corinthians Saint Paul says, "For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles."
The disciple John, who wrote our Gospel today, at the beginning of the Gospel writes about Jesus saying how Jesus is, "the Word became flesh [who] dwelt among us," testifying that, "we [that is, he and the other disciples and Apostles] have seen [Jesus'] glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." The disciple Peter, another of these disciples says how, "beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John [the baptizer] proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. [How Jesus] went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we [that is, he and the other disciples and Apostles] are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem."
While Paul was not at the wedding at Cana, Peter and John were there and they saw what Jesus did with the water there and like the Gospel say they and the rest of Jesus' disciples who were with Him that day "believed in Him." Saint John records this all telling you that "these [things] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name."
On the surface of this miracle there is a temptation to think, 'I want my water to be turned to wine!' I want my, 'best life now' I want 'healing now,' I want ... fill in the blank. What we want and what is best for us are not always the same thing. Remember what the master of the feast says to the bridegroom “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
Unbeknownst to the master of the feast, unbeknownst to the bride and bridegroom there is another Bridegroom there that day: Jesus. Jesus who is The Bridegroom to the Church His Bride. Jesus who "loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." The ultimate fulfilment of this will come on The Last Day. He doesn't give her "the good wine first" in this life, rather by virtue of the victory He has won for her at the cross of Good Friday and through the empty grave of Easter morning Jesus The Bridegroom promises to give His Bride the Church "the good wine," on The Last Day at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.
John, in his Gospel, tells us that Jesus and His disciples were invited -along with Mary - to the wedding feast at Cana. When it comes to the ultimate and Eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb, the Wedding Feast which will have no end, you are invited by Jesus to come and John in the Revelation of Saint John writes that, "those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb [are blessed].”
To recap, your best life, no matter how good it is at the moment, or how good it might be in the days and weeks and months and years to come, is not now. Your best life comes in the final revealing of the Eternal life given to you in Christ Jesus. The good wine of that life will come unexpectedly after everyone, both good and bad, have drunk freely of the gifts God gives in this life. Therefore be content appreciate what is yours now, look to what is to come, trust in the Giver of the gift. Life is not about your glory, all that you have is to the Glory of God, and the Eternal and final manifestation of Jesus' glory will be revealed on The Last Day. His disciples believed in Him. Believe in Jesus. Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, Joel Osteen, quotes provided at: https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/121347-your-best-life-now-7-steps-to-living-at-your-full-potential
 1 Corinthians 1:22-23
 John 1:14
 Acts 10:37-39
 John 20:31
 Ephesians 5:25-27
 Revelation 19:7
 Revelation 19:9