Lay aside your opinions today about how you think God comes to you and listen. Hear what your Lord has done and is still doing for you. Hear who you are to God and prepare to leave here today with the certainty that the world cannot give you. Dear baptized children of God prepare for an Epiphany.
Weddings… are terrific! Wine flows, champagne glasses toast the wonderful bonded life together, families gather and gifts are given. I love weddings, and by virtue of my call as a pastor I get to attend many. As the baptized children of God there is nothing greater than for and man and a woman to be joined, made one and there is no mistaking the significance of our Lord’s first miracle being performed amidst the great fanfare that followed the wedding in our text.
Jesus and His disciples had been called to attend, not to perform the ceremony, a Rabbi, more than likely received that dutiful joy. But they were called nevertheless to be a part of this joyous occasion for a very specific purpose indeed. A distinguished purpose, a meaningful purpose with messianic ramifications for all who attended, none more important than Mary and the servants who tended to the large water pots, Epiphanies abound for these persons, revelations and reminders that brought into focus the significance of Paul’s Epistle lesson for today concerning spiritual gifts. But things would threaten to get messy before the called Servant of all would set things straight.
You see, the old cliche “too many chiefs, not enough fire fighter’s” applies to our text for today. For a societal faux pas had taken place, one that would have led to the wedding planner being publicly humiliated and the wedding guests to cease the celebration. The Wine had run out. And as close as we are to the Super Bowl, all you party planners know that when the wine and spirits run out the party has a tendency to fizzle. Societally, it was a crisis. Culturally, it was something that should never be allowed to happen but alas, it was. And so in an hour of need, Mary runs to Jesus.
“They have no wine!” You can hear the angst in her tone. Mary the mother of our Lord runs to her Son, the boy she had seen teach rabbi’s, the One who Simeon saw and then died in peace. She runs to Him with high hopes that He would solve the riddle of this faux pas. But Mary isn’t addressing Jesus as her son, and she certainly isn’t addressing Him as the Messiah, you see titles are important to God. Status is important to Him, no not among the civil society but in the face of He who sent Him, God the Father. Jesus knew why He had been sent and it wasn’t to be a party planner or wine producer. Jesus, the Messiah, had been sent by the Father for one purpose; to die for sinful unbelievers like the woman who came begging Him to do something about the wine situation.
“Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” Many biblical commentators have taken this verse and lead many to believe that Jesus is disrespecting his own mother, others would like us to believe that Jesus is no respecter of Women. Neither of these is true, of course, and it is only our own cultural biases, narrow-minded selfish reading’s into that would lead us to believe these things. Instead let us understand that Jesus, fully aware of His vocation as Savior of the Human race, fully aware of His Spiritual Gifts addresses Mary not as His mother or a friend but as His precious child. Had Mary forgotten Gabriels words to Joseph, had Joseph not fulfilled his vocation as a Husband and told Mary these things? Dear friends have you, in your sin, forgotten to words of Gabriel to Joseph in Matthews Gospel? “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” And to this end… since there were none there that day, including Mary and the Disciples, who believed Jesus to be the Messiah, Jesus sets in motion one of the greatest teaching moments in His entire ministry, Water would be turned to wine, but my friends as St. John has told us; “You will see greater things than these.” Do not settle dear friends on Jesus the miracle worker, do not be enamored by the greatness of the feats this blessed day in Cana for greater things shall come to pass and it is this that Mary comes to realize again.
Mary, the blessed Woman, the child of God has an epiphany! She is moved, shaken from her earthly desires, to words that no sinner can speak without the Holy Spirit; “Do whatever he tells you.” Huh!? We’re quite a bit like Mary aren’t we? Concerned, needing to feel wanted and needed, not wanting to experience hardships and trials. Like Mary who approaches Jesus as the task master, we too address the Lord God, with pithy and selfish desires, desires not for others but for ourselves, desires that we want fulfilled by the god who notices good behavior and pious works and distributes rewards accordingly. We’re like Mary in her unbelief and by the grace of God we are like Mary in her repentance and forgiveness, we’re like Mary in the gifts that God gives and all the attendant secondary results. You see, Jesus wasn’t there that day to change water into wine, Jesus was there that day as the called servant of God, God Himself, in order that those who were there that day, might behold the husband of all Mankind, the great provider and protector, the great forgiver and merciful husband who forgives us, his sinful bride who chases after the creature comforts of this world while placing our neighbors behind us, He, the great Bridegroom, comes to show us that even though we are faithless, unable to have 100% faith, 100% of the time, that He is the One that Paul speaks of, the Lord, the possessor of all Good gifts, the Faithful One, seeking to remind us of who we are and in the process providing all that we need for this body and life. You see, we have it backwards, we insist on having things in order before meeting God, but God demonstrates to us today, that He is here because in Him there is order, there is meaning, there is purpose and there is life eternal. Mary, was awakened by the simple reminder of who she was… not Jesus’ mom but Jesus (True God’s) beloved child. So it is with us. This is the blessing of Epiphany, that we His beloved, His bride, His Church might see Christ for who He is… the Messiah.