Epiphany 2 C 2022 Sermon “The Hour Has Come”
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The mother of Jesus said to Him: “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and me? My hour has not yet come.”
The story of Christ’s first miracle has always been interesting to me. Yes, all of Christ’s miracles are interesting, but the miracle of turning water into wine is different from all the other miracles recorded for us in the Gospel texts.
Think about it. No one in the text was hungry, or blind, or deaf, or ill. There was no crisis except for the fact that the wedding reception had run out of wine and the host was about to be embarrassed for a lack of hospitality. Apparently just like today, no one likes to run out of wine at a wedding reception.
And so, Christ’s first miracle centered upon turning water into wine for a marriage feast. If my calculations are correct, Jesus provided 150 gallons. That, my friends, is a lot of wine.
And a neutral observer in the text informs us that the new wine was more desirable than what had been provided at the beginning of the reception.
Excess and superior quality. That is what Jesus brings to the reception. And Jesus turned water into wine so everyone would understand that God wants us to live life to the fullest. Later in John’s Gospel, Jesus would state “I have come that you might have life and have it in abundance. I have come that your joy might be complete.” John 10:10
Central to our faith is the fact that we serve a joy-filled Christ who reveals to us a God who is not a source of judgment and damnation, but a God who affirms human life and blesses the gathered community.
You know, throughout the past 20 plus years of ordained ministry, I have emphasized the theme of joy and celebration every time I have preached on this text. But as I reflected upon the text this week, I was struck by a different theme that I would like to share with you this morning.
In our Gospel text, John tells us that Jesus and His disciples were not the only ones at this wedding. His mother was also at the celebration.
An ancient Coptic tradition holds that the bridegroom was Mary’s nephew. If this is true it would mean that Jesus and Mary would share in the same shame the father of the bride and the father of the groom would have experienced when the reception ran out of wine. The family honor would have been at stake.
And so, the conversation Mary had with her Son is one of the most intriguing dialogues we have in all of scripture. With a sense of genuine concern, Mary tells Jesus they have no more wine. To which Jesus replied “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”
But Mary knew something that Jesus did not know. His hour had indeed come. The long wait was over. Jesus had come into the world for the precise purpose of transforming people’s lives and filling them with joy and power.
His huffy comment to his mother may have been His last independent comment as a young man.
And now His ministry was about to begin. And Mary, once again, Mary was the handmaiden of the Lord. In a manner similar to the humble way in which she had given life to Jesus in a stable, Mary now becomes the midwife for the inauguration of her Son’s ministry.
Jesus’ hour had come, and Mary knew it.
You know, as God used Mary to speak to Jesus and tell Him that His hour had come, God uses other people to inform us that our hour has come too. No, we are not called to be the Messiah. But God does call us to be more loving, and more creative, and more caring.
God uses other people to call us into His service and to be the people God has created us to be. God uses other people to call us to step forward and go and make a difference in this world. Yes… God uses other people to inform us that our hour has come, too.
And God uses other people to remind us (even when we are grumpy) that “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Let us pray: Almighty God, your mercy is an unexpected miracle. Help us to believe and obey, that we may be filled with the wine of new life promised in the power of Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.