epiphany3c-2013.mp3

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Amen. The sermon for this morning is based upon the Gospel of the Day from St. John chapter 2, and it is about God’s gift of marriage.

We’re going to play a little game here at the beginning of this sermon to see if you’re paying attention. Everyone close your eyes. Now raise your hands if you have a perfect marriage, where you and your spouse never fight, your children are well behaved, and life clips along smoothly all the time. You can open your eyes now.

I am sorry to tell you that Holy Cross Lutheran Church is full of messed up marriages. Surprised? Me neither. Marriages have been messed up since Adam and Eve. Because of our fallen nature, it frankly comes with the territory. Husbands and wives fight and quarrel with each other. Children are disobedient and rebellious. In one fashion or another, we all demonstrate this sinful nature that lurks within us. Sometimes you can’t see it directly, but all of the problems of our lives really prove this to be true.

That’s the Law talking to you. The Law shows you that you are a sinner, and it does this either directly through His Word, or indirectly by pointing to you to all of the problems and messes of your life. This is not how God wants the world to be. This is not how God wants your life to be.

This is all reflected in that little phrase from our text, they ran out of wine. Now you may be thinking to yourself that this is hardly on the same level of a problem as divorce, or death, or the myriad other problems that families face the world over. I mean, come on, they just ran out of wine. What’s the big deal?
The big deal is that God loves you and wants to show His gifts upon you, yes, even wine. And yet time and time again, our resources as husbands and wives and families come up short. There isn’t enough money to stretch on the bills. I don’t have enough time to spend with my family. And yet you are stuck. If you work less, you can’t provide. If you work more, what’s the point? You can’t win. Sin has us so wrapped up in this world that it very hard to see your way out of the quicksand at times.

They ran out of wine. At a wedding, running out of wine is a problem. A marriage is a gift from God and a thing of beauty in His eyes. For that, God gifts of Himself and His great creation to us. But because of our sin, we run out. Our work and effort can only take us so far, and sooner or later, they fail. Every single time. They fail when it comes to smaller things like not having the resources to buy the right kind of wine for the wedding, all the way up to wrecked marriages and even death. You can’t do it. That’s what God’s Law says to you.

But Jesus came to the marriage. There is incredible comfort in those words, aren’t there? If anyone can save our failed lives, spent resources, and save us from the chaos and wrecks that seem to trail after us, it is Christ Himself. Heaven knows that no one else can help.

Yet that is exactly what He does. Like this unnamed couple in our Gospel reading for today, Jesus enters into your lives. He does not enter into the lives where everything is shiny and happy and pretty and perfect. We all try to put on that front from time to time. God knows better. No, He enters into your life precisely because it is messed up. He comes into your world because you can’t get yourself out of your world.
In the Gospel, Jesus provides for their needs when the least expected it. Who would think that the Almighty God would use something as common as water to bring joy and happiness to a marriage? And yet that is exactly what He does. He takes the common things of this life, the most ordinary and humble, and through them brings about something that is miraculous. Imagine a wedding feast where the wine was created by God Himself! Now that is a good vintage.

As miraculous as that miracle is for them, it doesn’t hold a candle to the miracle that God does for you in His Holy Supper. Here at His wedding banquet, He gives you the finest bread and the richest of wines, for the bread which He gives is His body, and the wine which He gives is His very blood. He gives this to you not finally to make the trials and struggles of this life better. No, He gives this body and blood to you so that you may come and be a part of His eternal banquet. He gives this to you so that you feast not just for this life, but for all eternity.

So what about your marriage? What about all of these problems that you face today, like trials and struggles with money and time, family stress, medical problems, and whatever other crosses you may face. What does God do for them?

For these problems He gives you many things. For of all, He gives you faith so that you can look at these crosses in perspective. All of these trials will come to an end. They are just for a time. So no matter what the problem is, when it is viewed from the perspective of eternity, God gives you the strength to carry on.

But He also gives you something else. In our Gospel today God says to you that marriage, and everything which comes with it, husbands and wives and children, that marriage is blessed by God. Jesus came to the marriage.

And He comes to yours this day and every day. So when you are frustrated with your wife for nagging at you, when you are angry at your husband for being so lazy, and when you children are exasperated with your parents for being so demanding, and when you parents and mad at your children, know this: you are doing God’s work in that place. As a husband or wife, as a father or mother, as a son or daughter, God is at work in your life. For you see, you are God’s instrument, His hands and feet in that house.

There is great comfort in that. A task is easier to handle if you know that someone cares about what you do. Well, I am here to tell you today that God cares. More than that, though, God is actually a part of your life, especially when things are tough. He will not abandon you. Just like Jesus came to that young couple so long ago and turned their sorrow into joy, so He will see you through the crosses and trials of your life so that you may join Him at that great eternal heavenly banquet feast. Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith, unto life everlasting. Amen.