Second Sunday after Epiphany January 17, 2021
131, 351, 134:1,2,5, 457
Hymns from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) unless otherwise noted
+ In the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen. +
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. (NKJV)
Kind of a rather unimpressive first miracle, isn’t it? (Maybe you’d also agree that it is even a little bit “strange” to change water into wine—and lots of it?!) It almost seems as if Jesus may have chosen this as His first miracle as a “warm up” before He performed some of His greater miracles. Maybe start with water into wine and then move up to healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. This one seems like a very “Little” Miracle, doesn’t it? After all, the situation doesn’t seem that desperate. No one’s life was in danger. No one was sick or demon-possessed. There was simply a shortage of wine at this wedding feast in Cana. That’s not so bad, is it? No one was going to starve to death, and it wasn’t like the people hadn’t had anything to drink (see v. 3). This wasn’t a “major emergency”…well, at least it wasn’t if you weren’t the groom that was hosting this wedding feast!
This miracle, although seemingly “Little” actually showed the greatness of Christ, because as v. 11 of our text says, “This beginning of signs [miracles] Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory.” Do you remember what season of the church year we are in right now? It’s Epiphany season. This word Epiphany means showing, to reveal, “to make known,” or “manifest.” During the Epiphany season we usually celebrate the many “Epiphanies” or ways in which Jesus was “revealed” as the Son of God. This miracle of changing water into wine was the first time Jesus “manifested [revealed] His glory” as God’s Son, true God Himself.
This first miracle of Jesus, although seemingly “Little” does show us “His glory,” because first and foremost it shows us Jesus’ love. Think of how very personal this first miracle was. It wasn’t done for the masses like the feedings of the crowds of thousands. It wasn’t done in full view of a large gathering like some of Jesus’ healings, or the raising of the young man of Nain. From what we are told in our text it seems as if only a few people at this wedding feast even knew that this miracle had happened. And yes, even though it was a miracle that blessed all of the people at the wedding feast, it really was a miracle that specifically blessed the groom and his new bride by sparing them from a potentially embarrassing situation. This is not the way that any bride or groom would want to start off their marriage! Doesn’t this show Jesus’ love in a very special way? Jesus took the time and made the effort to help these newlyweds personally in a miraculous way.
This “Little” Miracle of Jesus’ was also very important because v. 11 tells us that “His disciples believed in Him.” Now, this miracle didn’t create faith in their hearts. When Jesus called His disciples to follow Him, we read that they confessed Him to be both the “Messiah” (John 1:41) and the “Son of God” (John 1:49). What this miracle did do was strengthen and confirm their confession of faith by giving them further proof that He was indeed the promised Messiah, their Savior.
Jesus’ greatness is also revealed in the “Little” Miracles He performs in our everyday lives. How many times have we found ourselves in situations like the bride and groom of our text? Maybe it wasn’t a life or death situation, but it was a “major emergency” as far as we were concerned. Can you think of a few of them? Maybe you were faced with a money shortage, had an unexpected bill to pay, and didn’t think you would be able to make “ends meet” this month, and yet, Jesus got you through it. Perhaps you were having a very stressful day or week, and you had things that needed to be taken care of that you just really didn’t want to do, and yet, Jesus pulled you through it—or maybe even completely took the situation away altogether. Maybe you’ve had a number of nagging health problems or aches and pains that just seemed to make your life miserable, but now, Jesus has relieved you of them, or has given you the strength to patiently bear up under them.
In addition to all of this, just think of all the trials, difficulties, and evils Jesus has completely prevented from coming our way in the first place. Think of all the stresses and pains He hasn’t even allowed us to deal with. Do we always stop and take notice of these seemingly “Little” Miracles in our lives? Do you think the bride and the groom, if they had found out what Jesus had done for them, would have forgotten to thank Him wholeheartedly for bailing them out of a potentially embarrassing situation? Of course not! When we open our eyes of faith to the greatness of the “little” things of God we will see that we have, in a sense had “water changed to wine” many times in our lives as well.
These seemingly “Little” Miracles truly show God’s greatness in Christ. These “insignificant” blessings show us God’s great love because we already know what truly magnificent things God has done for us through His Son Jesus.
But don’t we also have to admit that we sometimes treat some of God’s greatest miracles as “little” or “minor” miracles from God? The gift of faith—the conversion of our spiritually dead hearts to living, beating, active, believing hearts—is an astounding miracle, one that only God can perform. The miracle of spiritual life, comfort, strength, peace, hope, joy, forgiveness, and love that come to us through His Word and the miracle of His Sacraments. The Spirit miraculous works through the water and the Word in Baptism and the miracle of Jesus’ body and blood present and given for you for the forgiveness of your sins in the Lord’s Supper. These are not “little” miracles God has given us, they are great ones! He has given us the free gift of life eternal because Jesus lived and died to pay for all of our sins. He has given us the sure hope of the joys of heaven because He wants us to be with Him always. What a miracle!
We, of course, have not deserved any of this whatsoever, and yet God has chosen not to stop there. Not only has He done the “great” things for us in giving us eternal life through His Son Jesus, He has also taken care of the “little” things by giving us blessing upon blessing in this earthly life of ours. Paul reminds us of this in his beautiful words from Romans 8, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all— how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NIV)
Like the miracle at the wedding of Cana, these “Little” Miracles and “insignificant” blessings in our lives are often very personal. Jesus cared enough for you and me individually to give us things like a loving family, brothers and sisters, a husband or a wife, children (who are, coincidentally, often called “little miracles”), grandparents, and close friends. He has graciously given us a church that is faithful to his Word and caring members who are willing to help or cheer us up—sometimes when we haven’t asked for it, or least expect it! He has given us good health and the use of our bodies. He’s given us jobs to do and the ability to do them so that we can have a roof over our heads, heat for our homes, and food to eat every day. How many of us thank God daily for the roads He has given us to drive on, or the city we are privileged to live in? God provides believer and unbeliever alike with nature’s beauty: sunsets and trees, mountains and oceans. The list is literally endless! Many of these “Little” Miracles are enjoyed by millions of people at the same time, but still often go overlooked.
These “Little” Miracles from God “manifest,” or reveal, Jesus’ love for us, just as His miracle at Cana showed His love and care for the newly married couple. Like the miracle of Cana, these “Little” miracles from God strengthen our faith in Him as our loving God and Savior. His words promise that He loves us; His actions in our lives prove it.
Let’s all pay closer attention to the “Little” Miracles God performs every day in our lives. Let’s praise and thank Him for them as we notice them one by one. And may we never treat as a “Little” Miracle the greatest of all miracles Jesus performed for us: Becoming a “little miracle” Himself; being conceived by the Holy Ghost and being born a “little” baby to the Virgin Mary; living and dying for us to give us the “miracle” of our salvation at the greatest cost: His own blood. May He also lead us to notice and praise Him for the so-called “Little” Miracles He gives us in our everyday lives, and may He use them to confirm and affirm our trust in Him. Amen.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.