The Second Sunday in Epiphany: Marriage Is Blessed by God

Hymns: LSB 399, 402, 408, 398, 394
Readings: Amos 9:11-15, Ephesians 5:22-33, John 2:1-11

      Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

      In your opinion, what makes for a perfect wedding? If you’re married, was your wedding day perfect? Did everything go smoothly? Was the reception wonderful? Did all the people show up? Did everyone fit into their clothes? Was it a good hair day? Was the music the way you wanted?

      It turns out that most weddings are not as perfect as we want them to be. The nerves and tension can run high. Parents may be demanding. Someone may faint or others may do something embarrassing. The bride and groom may not agree on what they want in their wedding. We get disappointed when some of our friends and family cannot make it. In this past year, many had much heartbreak when the virus drastically changed the plans for their wedding day.

      Some get upset because they cannot have a non-Christian song sung in their Christian wedding. They think the service is about them—not realizing that where the Word is read and preached, God is serving us with His gifts—that a wedding service is also a Divine Service in which the same Christ who attended the wedding at Cana also comes to us through His Word.

      Others may not have their “perfect” wedding because they have been living a lifestyle contrary to God’s Word and their pastor will not perform the ceremony. It is common today for Christians to ignore what God says in 1 Corinthians 6 that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that we are not our own. Christ Jesus has bought our bodies with a price. We are not to defile our bodies with sexual immorality. Why do Christians, who are instructed the Sixth Commandment (You shall not commit adultery) listen to the desires of the flesh instead of God’s Word? Why are so many convinced that God no longer means what He wrote in Scripture, or that He doesn’t care?

      Our world despises chastity. The world sees no virtue in what God deems virtuous. Those who live chaste lives are scorned. Our society believes that virginity is an awful state, but our Lord holds it in high esteem. Sexual relations outside of marriage is sin. And God hates sin. But remember, He does not simply hate the sins of the sixth commandment, but He hates all sin—idolatry, murder, lying, envy, strife, disobedience, drunkenness, covetousness, gossip—you name it.

      When people are living together before marriage and will not separate, they are saying that they do not care about God’s desire for us to live in holiness of living. They engage in idolatry, thinking that finances or lust are more important than the forgiveness of sins offered through the blood of Christ.

      Unless they separate before getting married or obtain their marriage through the state, they may not get married in the church. This can often destroy a couple’s wish for a “perfect” marriage. But really, they brought it upon themselves by listening to the world and not God’s Word. This is not something that this church has chosen to impose upon people. It is what God imposes in His Word.

      The wedding celebration in today’s Gospel did not go perfectly. They ran out of wine. During the time of Christ, it was typical to have elaborate wedding celebrations, which would often last a week. There would be much feasting on food and drink. Many people would come for this momentous occasion and stay for days to celebrate. As you can imagine, it was expensive to finance such large weddings. It is expensive enough in our day for just one night! Imagine a week!

      Apparently, this wedding was not planned out well. For they had run out of wine. Some may not want to stay around if there is no wine to drink. Yet the party was not over, and the celebration was supposed to continue. The celebration appeared to be ruined. All of that planning and preparation looks like it will end in disappointment.

      So, Mary gets involved by talking to Jesus. She knew who her Son is—that He is the Son of God and that He can create things out of nothing. By His Word, He can bring into being things that do not exist, as He did at Creation. So, Mary tells her Son. She trusts that He will perform a miracle even though Jesus gently reminds her that His time has not yet come. She wants Him to fix the situation.

      And Jesus indeed fixes the situation. Jesus commands the servants to draw water into the waterpots. This would be an odd request, but they listen anyway. After all, what could they lose? The worst thing is that they would waste some water and time. It would be better than ruining a wedding.

      Then Jesus instructs them to take some out of the waterpots. Water does not come out; instead, it is wine. When they tasted it, they were amazed because it was the best wine. Jesus made perfect wine. And the people were pleased. He saved the day.

      Whenever people heed the Word of Christ, their day, too, will be saved. For Jesus teaches how we should conduct our lives, and how we can receive salvation by grace through faith in Him.

      His miracle at Cana is the first public miracle of Jesus during His 3-year earthly ministry. He had recently been baptized and His ministry is just beginning. In this miracle, Jesus is making Himself known to be God, for only God can create wine out of simple water. Truly this is an epiphany of our Lord in which God is manifested through His ability to perform creative miracles.

      We do not know what happened to this couple after they married. We don’t even know the names of this couple. Perhaps they had a long, healthy marriage. Perhaps it was marred with much trouble and difficulty. But some things are certain: they planned to live together until death separated them and God blessed them with His presence.

      Many who are successful in having a perfect wedding day find that their marriage is far from perfect. In fact, all who are married realize this. Married life is not easy, for two sinners are joined together as one. There is much give and take, there is much sacrifice. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. Wives are to submit to their husbands as the Church submits to Christ her Lord. No one can perfectly fulfill these expectations. Most have struggles in marriage because the sinful flesh is selfish and does not want to forgive, to give, or work through things. Man is tempted to think only about himself and not the needs of the spouse. Many fail to remove the planks from their own eyes before they can see clearly to remove the specks in their spouses’ eyes. Many marriages today end in divorce, a terrible reality that is contrary to God’s will.

      If you have ever found yourself unable to forgive or to work through things, repent. If you ever found yourself engaging in sexual immorality, repent. If you ever find yourself sympathetic to the trends of this day which views marriage as frivolous, repent.

      Repent and know who your God is. He created you from the dust of the ground. He breathed in you life, and you are a temple of the Holy Spirit. You are bought at a price—through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. While you were dead in your sins and trespasses, while you were a child of wrath, our Lord came to you. Christ our Lord came to you with His Word and has worked faith in you.

      Christ our Lord has come to you and has forgiven you. He has done this through His faithfulness. He humbled Himself to be born of a virgin. He carried out His earthly ministry for you. He preached the Word, instituted the Sacraments, and suffered and died for you. When Jesus died on the cross, He atoned for the sins of the whole world. He has paid for every sin that you have committed. There is no sin so great that He could not forgive. For when He died, He paid for absolutely every sin that has ever been committed, even the sins of your spouse. He has given you faith through His Word and Sacraments so that this forgiveness applies to you. All sins that you have committed are forgiven, every last one, even sins against the sixth commandment.

      He did this because He carried out His Father’s will. Christ wed Himself to the Church and has promised to never leave you or forsake you. He has given you everything. So receive with meekness His infallible Word.

      This church is wed to Christ who is the Bridegroom. It pleased God to establish a congregation here. By the grace of God, He has allowed His Word to be preached in its truth and purity for 101 years (tomorrow is our church’s anniversary). He has seen to it that the Sacraments are administered rightly. And He has ensured that this congregation has existed to this day.

      Just as Jesus saw to it that the wine did not run out at the wedding in Cana, so we pray that His Word will always have free course among us and that He will continue to shower us with His gifts. He will always be faithful to us. Therefore, let us be faithful to Him.

      And finally, dear Christians, you have gifts that are better than water turned into wine. Not only do you have His Word and His forgiveness, not only do you have His love and His peace, not only do you have His name in holy Baptism, but you have the Lord’s Supper for you to eat and to drink. In this Sacrament, Christ connects His Word to the simple elements of bread and wine, giving you His very Body and Blood. In it, you are united with Christ and receive His forgiveness. Therefore, come, dear Christians, proclaim our Lord’s death. Receive this foretaste of the feast to come. For Christ, our Bridegroom, has joined Himself to us, His bride, the Church. Amen.

      The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus to life everlasting. Amen