sermon for 3rd Sunday of Epiphany
Water into wine?
Following on from last week (how could I resist?) but without the flipchart!
We encounter the infamous story today of Jesus turning a considerably large quantity of water into the best wine that people at a wedding feast had ever tasted.
What? Does this story cause us to wonder?
So what? What could it mean for us
What next? What effects are made upon us?
Needless to say it is worth pointing out some important points..
Johns Gospel tells the story of Epiphany very differently and actually begins with this story of Epiphany… and it is he says the first sign of it.
He introduces this story with a key phrase “On the third Day”…
This must surely be reminding the readers of the resurrection and the time of God’s fulfilment.. (it was also the time Jonah was in the Whale)
The wedding feast was the celebration of something life giving and something new… it was a day of celebration.
The fruit of the vine is often symbolic of God in our world and in our lives, there are lots of examples of Jesus talking about the fruit of the vine or the vine itself… I am the vine and we are the branches he says at one point, and of course when you drink of this cup remember me ….
We are not just being asked to listen to the story as we have realised… but to enter into the story and find our part in it. The story is an invitation to us…
So, when Jesus makes gallons and gallons of wine at a wedding reception, it is a sign for us, Here we see things clearly being pointed out (underlined three times if you like) that the scriptural promises we know well about God fulfilling promises and God coming to his people and sharing his love with them are unfolded here. God future is unfolded before us. It is REAL. It is NOW.
That’s why turning water into wine is the first of the signs Jesus did, and the rest of the signs follow. It’s saying, look! God’s future is breaking in now, has begun in Jesus. What else does God’s future look like? It looks like hungry people being fed, sick people being healed, dead people being raised from death, death itself being defeated.
God’s future is available now. In the present. In this life. We don’t have to wait to experience hope. And we can trust that God will keep God’s promises for the end of time.
We might be able to take some clues as to how we make this possible… how can we grasp the meaning?
Mary gives an answer: do whatever he tells you. !!
Maybe easier said than done to be honest but there you go.
But notice something else in this first sign… The people play their part! Without the people the sign would be missed…it would not happen.
They got to participate. They got to have a hand in Jesus’ first sign. They just did what Jesus told them to do:
“Fill the jars with water” and they do.
No arguing, “We need wine, not water.”
“Now draw some out” and they do.
No complaining, “What’s that going to achieve?”
“And take it . . . So they took it.”
No, “Hey, Jesus, I have a better idea . . .”
They just do the simple, straightforward things Jesus tells them to do and they get to participate in a miracle.
What might this suggest to us?
Jesus works with us
Do whatever Jesus tells you. Something even as simple as water can become a fine wine.
The mundane becomes miraculous.
We become (next week) nothing less than the body of Christ and we have been told we also have the mind of Christ.