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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Second Sunday after Epiphany, 2020. John 2:1-11.
Marriage - and Water Turned into Wine



The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, 2020

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




Hymn #586  Gerhardt - A Pilgrim and a Stranger                  
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
Hymn # 132             O God of God            

God's Word: Marriage and Miracles

Hymn #495     From Greenland's Icy Mountains              
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
Hymn #657         Beautiful Savior          

In Our Prayers
  • Pastor and Mrs. Jim Shrader.
  • Randy Anderson's leg (Andrea's father).
  • Pastor K and Doc Lito Cruz - dealing with diabetes.
  • Those looking for work and a better income.
  • Our media ministries - Alec Satin, Norma Boeckler, Travis and Lauren Cartee, Pastor Jordan Palangyos.
  • Understanding Pilgrim's Progress, Wednesdays, 7 PM..
  • BethanyPhilippine Mission has enough to order materials and start on the permanent roof. Some additional items after are - steel doors, windows, seating. Prayers for Glen Kotten.
A Pilgrim and a Stranger is from Paul Gerhardt, next to Luther, the greatest hymn-writer of all time. Gerhardt was a children's tutor and became a beloved pastor in Berlin. However, he was forced out of the parish because he would not concede anything to the Calvinists. He finally got a small parish. He lost his wife and all his children but one. He wrote Sacred Head Now Wounded and many other great hymns.



KJV Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins [GJ -10 gallons per firkin] apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Norma A. Boeckler


SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY

Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thy grace Thou hast instituted holy matrimony, in which Thou keepest us from unchastity, and other offenses: We beseech Thee to send Thy blessing upon every husband and wife, that they may not provoke each other to anger and strife, but live peaceably together in love and godliness, receive Thy gracious help in all temptations, and rear their children in accordance with Thy will; grant unto us all to walk before Thee, in purity and holiness, to put all our trust in Thee, and lead such lives on earth, that in the world to come we may have everlasting life, through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Background for the Sermon on John 2:1-11

John's Gospel is a doctrinal Gospel - emphasizing the teaching of Jesus, establishing central doctrines with great clarity (Creation, the Father/Son relationship, the work of the Holy Spirit) - and guarding against future errors. 

The first thing notice in the Gospel is Jesus attending with His disciples. In other words, Jesus blessed marriage, which is the only human institution created by God. "Male and female created He them." Many thinkers impugned marriage and blamed women for all evil in the world. This led to monastic life without marriage and the corruption of the ministry through this man-made restriction. Luther emptied the monasteries and convents when he showed that the Bible does not teach the celibate life as the highest in holiness.

God established marriage by His Word, and Jesus is the Word.

When Jesus addressed His mother as "Woman" (as He did at the cross), He was showing the world His lordship over her. The early Medieval era elevated Mary above Jesus and made her the symbol of gentleness and mercy, while Jesus was portrayed as the angry Judge.

The miracle of water turned into wine is the first of all His miracles, very public, witnessed by all the disciples and the wedding guests. It involves the elements because He is the Lord of Creation, whose Word commands the elements, the weather, and water itself. We can find rationalistic but false statements about Jesus healing people, such as feeling sick and then feeling better because of Jesus. The first miracle is the power of God's Word to change water alone into the best wine. 

This answers the question easily answered by children and mixed up by so many adults, even by nominal church leaders and professors - "How can Jesus heal people, raise the dead, perform miracles, rise from the dead and ascend into heaven?" Children answer, "He is God. God can do anything."

That also brings up the foundational teaching in the Fourth Gospel, not absent in any Gospel but especially clear in John - The miracles create faith in the Son and His relationship to the Father, and this faith receives the blessings promised by the Savior, starting with forgiveness. The Holy Spirit witnesses to this and convicts the world of sin "because they believe not on Me." John 16:8f.



God's Word: Marriage and Miracles

KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

Mankind has the ability to take the most obvious and clear statement and simply ignore it or worse - turn it upside-down. This miracle is unique in John's Gospel and is also the first in His public ministry. 

Even today, people show respect by attending events and disrespect by refusing to go. Jesus' attendance at this wedding, with all his disciples, shows that He honored and blessed marriage. Nothing is clearer than God's establishment of marriage, the only human institution He created. Why did the early Christian Church move against it and legislate against marriage for ministers and bishops? 

Pagans taught that women were the source of all evil, that it was best to live without marriage. This thought grew among Christians, even though all pastors were married in the beginning. Peter himself was married, which we know because he had a mother-in-law whom Jesus healed (Mark). Early on, marriage was forbidden to all ministers, and monastic orders grew where men and women lived separately in communes. They came to believe and teach that the unmarried lived a holy life blessed by God far above those lowly souls who were married and did not have the sanctity of the monastery, convent, or religious order.

This miracle by itself should show the blessings of God upon marriage and Jesus' approval of traditional marriage. Leave it to faithless men and women to teach that anything is better than a man marrying a woman.

The very fact of Jesus being at a wedding shows His approval, and Mary's presence shows she was entrusted with organizing the event. That suggests the bride and groom were left without parents who could sponsor the event and therefore had very little with which to start married life.

Jesus and His disciples were a large group by themselves, and the disciples were there to witness this great miracle, which even today is used to express the greatest possible kind of transformation. This set the state for the public ministry of Christ, since so many others witnessed a miracle which was devoid of the trappings of fake wonders, which use suggestion and tricks.

I was interested in magic for a time and learned how magicians use misdirection of the eyes and suggestion to make the ordinary look spectacular. The audience "sees" what they are told they will see, but the wording is deliberately misleading. "Scotch and Soda" uses a heavy coin and the hollowed out shell of a coin. The heavy coin is passed around the room. Everyone is encouraged to touch it, hold, clink it on the table. The hollowed out coin, just large enough to hold the heavy coin, is not displayed. "I am going to turn two coins into one." The magician holds them in the air and claps them together and adds some nonsense about sending the second coin away. The heavy coin slips into the hollow shell and seems to disappear. Everyone is in shock that they witnessed what they were told they would see. I used this to illustrate Linux using Windows, two into one, for a try-out teaching at a university. The future professors, my audience, were impressed. Note - this is the opposite of the miracle recorded in John 2.

3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 

This is the comment suggesting that Mary was in charge of the wedding and also making clear how little the couple had. They did not not have the basics for a wedding. Nevertheless, Mary assumed Jesus could take care of it somehow, and she knew He was unique in this respect. She had faith in Him, so great that she did not even suggest what should be done (as so many who think they manage God and order Him around) but only told Him about the shortage.

4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it

λεγει αυτη ο ιησους τι εμοι και σοι? γυναι ουπω ηκει η ωρα μου

19:26 ιησους ουν ιδων την μητερα και τον μαθητην παρεστωτα ον ηγαπα λεγει τη μητρι αυτου, γυναι ιδου ο υιος σου

27 ειτα λεγει τω μαθητη ιδου η μητηρ σου

Notice that Jesus did not soften His address by saying "Dear Woman" or by adding any other adjective. The same happened at the cross. Though He called her "woman" again, showing He is her Lord, He said to John - "Behold your mother."

So this is not a matter of respect but one of station. The Fourth Gospel anticipated the distortion of the role of Mary, which led to such Marian dogmas as - the Assumption of Mary, the Immaculate Conception of Mary (that she was without sin), and her imaginary role as co-Redeemer, offering Jesus as a priest offers Mass. Robert Preus wrote Justification and Rome to counter these notions in his own seminary and synod - and also clobbered Objective Justification.

Jesus showed love and respect for His mother but also maintained that He was and is her Lord and Savior. The Medieval corruption of Biblical doctrine turned Jesus into Moses and Mary into the person who relieves those suffering in Purgatory (another pagan idea completely alien to the Bible. One priest said to me and his fellow priest, "Purgatory is not de fide, is it?" His senior said, "Yes, Purgatory is de fide." (Catholics are required to believe in Purgatory.)

Jesus objected to Mary's suggestion, but I would not list that as a real objection. He often spoke so that the other person confessed faith in Him or reasons for that faith. Rather than seeing this as Jesus forced into a miracle, it is much more an example of her faith in Him. 

His mother, knowing His divine nature, said, "Whatever He says, do it." She has no solution except to trust in His power and wisdom. So this is an example of her trust in Him, the power and mercy of God.

Someone might think, "A roof on our little chapel is too trivial for God to address with so many disasters around the world." But believing hearts prayed for the roof and the spread of the Gospel. The roof arrived in pieces over the Internet. "Why did You let us panic over the banking crisis?" Answer - so you would remember and not be anxious when the next problem came along.

The Cana Miracle

6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins [GJ -10 gallons per firkin] apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 

Each miracle is different from the others, and that difference teaches us something by itself. The details are easy to overlook but they make such a difference. 

This was accomplished without Jesus touching the materials, only by His Word. He did not fill the pots containing 20 to 30 gallons of water. The servants did. Filling them to the brim allowed for no introduction of matter that would change the contents. The water had to be drawn and poured by others. Water remained water. Jesus and the disciples did not touch anythinig

In magic, everything remains the same, but people are led to believe something has happened. Capes, a big hat, and deep pockets hide animals, similar objects. The "magic wand" distracts.

8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

Just before they had no wine, as Mary told Jesus. Now they are carrying water or something else to the manager of the feast. No one is colluding because they have no idea what is happening.

I was able to do fake mind-reading by cluing just one person in on the gimmick - words starting with a consonant and taps for vowels. The group was agog that the secret word could be transmitted this was. Can you read my mind? Tap. Tell me the answer. CAT!

We can imagine the wedding scene was crowded and people could not see everything going on.

9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good [noble, high quality] wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

This is mildly funny. They were completely out of wine when a sample of the water was carried to the toast-master. He did not know its origin but the servants did. The governor called the groom over and mildly scolded him. The good wine is served first, but you have kept the best wine until the last.

First Miracle of the Word
11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

This miracle is significant because:
  1. It began the public ministry of Jesus.
  2. All the disciples were there.
  3. Mary was present and confessed her faith in Him.
  4. The details argued against a trick or hoax.
  5. Jesus did not touch anything to accomplish this.
  6. The disciples all saw the power of Jesus' Word.
Jesus began His ministry by showing the power of the Word to change ordinary water into extraordinary wine. This began the faith-training of the disciples, training which we all need until we pass into the Celestial City of eternal life.

Marriage and the Miracle

4. Since then marriage has the foundation and consolation, that it is instituted by God and that God loves it, and that Christ himself so honors and comforts it, everybody ought to prize and esteem it, and the heart ought to be glad, that it is surely the state God loves and cheerfully endure every burden in it, even though the burdens be ten times heavier than they are. For this is the reason there is so much care and unpleasantness in marriage to the outward man, because everything that is God’s Word and work, if it is to be blessed at all, must be distasteful, bitter and burdensome to the outward man.

On this account marriage is a state that cultivates and exercises faith in God and love to our neighbor by means of manifold cares, labors, unpleasantnesses, crosses and all kinds of adversities, that are to follow everything that is God’s Word and work. All this the chaste whoremongers, saintly effeminates and Sodomites nicely escape, serving God outside of God’s ordinance by doings of their own.

5. For this is what Christ also indicates by his readiness to supply any want arising in marriage, bestowing wine where it is needed, and making it of water; as though he would say: Must you drink water, that is, suffer affliction outwardly, and is this distasteful? Very well, I will sweeten it for you and change the water into wine, so that your affliction will be your joy and delight.

Marriage is an estate where both the husband and wife become servants, of each other, and the children. There is no doubt that establishing this divinely-honored relationship is one of great responsibility. Though people shun it, society even honors it with the category of common law spouse. After so much time under the same roof, the government considers the couple married. Even the worst government can see that a permanent relationship has been established. The message is - this established your responsibility to each other and to any offspring.

As Luther said so wisely, because he experienced the change from monk to married man, the connection between the miracle and marriage itself is no coincidence. He lived in a time of extreme chaos with constant challenges and no real peace at all. Everything was temporary and did not settle down while he was alive or for years afterwards. 

Luther married to spite the pope and to confess his faith before he died. He did not expect to die peacefully because of the constant threats and turmoil.

Luther and Katie became the examples of marriage and the parsonage, completely different from where they came - the monastery and the convent. They suffered the woes of losing children. Luther also had poor health.

He saw the problems of life transformed miraculously by the Word. When one of his toddlers pooped in his office, he said, "What is it about you that I love you so?" 

Love can bring enormous pain and yet the challenges of life, the pain and difficulties, are changed by the Gospel Word into the best wine.