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The Wedding At Calvary

January 19, 2019

Verse: John 2:11

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Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
January 20, 2019
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Epiphany 2
The Wedding At Calvary

This, the chief of his signs, Jesus did in Cana of Galilee and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him. John 2:11

The account of the wedding at Cana is not only a story, Beloved in Christ, it is our story, our feast, the account of our marriage to the Royal Bridegroom who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. It tells us who we are in the larger scheme of things!

In the eyes of culture we the greatest fools ever born because of the truths we believe, the hope we hold, and the self-denial by which we live our lives each day. But not so in the divine economy. Not so in the eyes of our blessed Beholder!.

By the Royal Wedding, which was begun at Cana and completed at Calvary, we who were lost in the solitude of sin are now “married”! We who were nothing to look at are now the Delight of the Lord; the baptismally cleansed Bride over whom the bridegroom rejoices; and the fruitful vine praised so highly in today’s Psalm (128); the Bride that gives birth to countless children of the New Creation.

All this and more is included in today’s gospel.

As we hear the Cana account we cannot help but notice that it is shrouded in mystery. No introduction is given, no background is provided. And other than Jesus and his mother, whom he refers to simply as “Woman,” no names are mentioned. But there is a reason for that.

The context, that of a wedding, was readily recognizable by John’s audience. It was one of the chief metaphors of Israel’s relationship to God. He was the Bridegroom who found her in her soiled state of solitude, lovingly cleansed her by “the washing of water” in the Red Sea, married her at Sinai, and took her to the wilderness for the honey-moon where they intimately communed as Husband and Wife, and where he cared for her in royal fashion against all odds.

But the New Wedding that we encounter in today’s gospel, though still a wedding, is filled with new Content! It brims over with grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. And so it is safe to say that there is much more going on here than a show of Jesus’ power, or an act of kindness in solving the knotty problem of a wedding with no more wine. Much more indeed.

What we see in today’s gospel is only one side of the coin. The other side is the cross. At Cana John tells us: he manifested his glory. But his full glory was manifested not at Cana, but at Calvary: which is why the crucifix, the sign of victory, is the chief icon of Christian worship.

Just days before his death the Lord says this: "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. (Jn 12:23) And when this Greatest Event of all history was only hours away Jesus prays, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” (John 17:1) And so when the Lord says to his Mother “My hour is not yet come,” he was referring to his death.

But, still, he performed this mighty miracle at his mother's request. Not as a matter of public relations so that people would be duly amazed (though they were); nor in order that the groom might avoid the embarrassment of being known as a clumsy host. But as a prelude, as a symbol and prophecy of the Good Wine that he would pour out the cross by which he purged the world of its most critical problem: its wild-eyed rebellion against its God.

And so what began at Cana is consummated at Calvary. Made complete when the New Adam was put into the deep sleep of death, his side torn open by a Roman spear, and the New Eve, the Bride of Christ, emerged: we are that Bride!

Baptized into the cleansing blood of the cross we are now sanctified, glorified and without spot, blemish, wrinkle or any such thing in the eyes of our Beholder (Eph. 5); and there is nothing better than that!

Not only this, but as we learn in today’s Epistle, Christ’s precious Bride is permeated and saturated with the Spirit of Christ. We learn that he, the Spirit, is alive, active and ever at work in and among the church: empowering us to confess that “Jesus is Lord,” (1 Cor 12:3) and distributing his many and varied gifts among us for the common good of all.

But undergirding the many gifts of the Spirit is the gift of faith by which we comprehend the Truth that sets us free; and by which we lay hold of the unending benefits of the cross.

But faith is not simply a mental exercise. Not merely a mental recognition and recitation of a list of theological facts - as many Christians are deceived into thinking. This wrong understanding of faith is an error that convinces God’s people that they no longer need attend the Wedding of Cana, the Wedding of Calvary, that occurs in the church each Sunday.

When John notes in the closing line of today’s gospel that: his disciples believed in him, much more is involved than simply mouthing the words, “I believe in Jesus.”

To believe in Jesus means to be baptized by the New and Best wine of all: the wine of his blood poured out on the cross. It means living a baptismal life; which presumes drinking the New Wine, the Best Wine of all in the Lord’s Supper; and having your life transformed by it.

All of these things take place here, in the nuptial chamber; and from here they spread into all the world with us. They go where we go so that God’s people are, in fact, light for the world, and salt for the earth (Mt. 5:13-14) - and Oh how the world needs that light!

Are you concerned about the sad state of affairs in the world? The sad estate of your mind, your heart, your home and your family? Then come to the Wedding Feast of Cana, the Wedding Feast of Calvary at the church each Sunday where you will see the glory of Jesus, where you will be washed from your sins, and your soul restored by the New Wine, the Best Wine saved for you until now, that Jesus gives. Amen.