Epiphany 2

01/17/2016

 
Epiphany 2
John 2: 1-11

Objects:  some glass jars/pitchers; one ordinary jar, one fancy jar
Plastic container inside baptismal font
Welcome to “God’s a gonna trouble the waters,” Part II. 

Last week during the sermon, while I talked about God troubling the waters, Shane mentioned that God troubled the waters when Jesus turned the water into wine.  

So I thought about that; did God REALLY trouble the waters when Jesus turned the water into wine?  If so, HOW?  Yes indeed, God did trouble the waters.

One of the ways God troubled the waters was due to the fact that Jesus brought about something NEW.  CHANGE always troubles the water.   Change?  :God’s a gonna trouble the waters.”

Change apparently was evident through the jars that were used as Jesus turned the water into wine.   John tells us that the jars at the wedding were very important jars, they were jars used for Jewish purification rights

These were not ordinary jars, they were fancy jars.   See the two pitchers on the baptismal font?  One pitcher is ordinary looking; you would probably find most jars like this in a home.   But the other pitcher on the font is pretty fancy looking; you would probably find a fancy pitcher like this in the church.  At church, we would not put water in an ordinary pitcher; we would have something special which would give the water poured, a sense of being special.

So here you have these fancy jars at the wedding and these fancy jars were jars used for religious reasons.  People would go into the temple in Jerusalem and pour water from these purification jars and wash their hands.   They thought that when the washed in a special way, it made them closer to God.  In a way they thought they were washing with “holy water.”  Water in jars at the temple.  Holy water.

Jesus takes the holy water, RESERVED FOR THE TEMPLE and turns it into wine. 

Excuse me?  Jesus turns the HOLY WATER into wine?   Does that seems a little sacreligious? 

God’s a gonna trouble the waters.

Jesus is changing things. 

Jesus uses the jars of purification, as a sign, pointing to a new order of things.  Jesus takes these jars of purification, filled with holy water if you will and replaces them with himself.   Big time change. 

When Jesus does this, he is saying that you don’t have to wash your hands at all the right times and in the temple, in order to be good with God; that was the OLD way of doing things.  Jesus tells them that HE will make you right with God, by suffering and dying on the cross.   We are right with God through Jesus.  That is the NEW way of doing things. 

Jesus believed, his presence and his ministry, was meant to replace these institutions and rituals.  Closeness and holiness in relationship to God, was no longer centered in performing the rituals, or being in the temple at the right time. 

Closeness to God, greater knowledge of God, was centered in JESUS.  Keeping the covenant with God no longer involved washing at the right time or in the right way.  The old covenant was being replaced by Jesus, the new covenant.  Holiness and righteousness was brought about through FAITH in Jesus. 

Jesus is the completion, the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises.  

This is a huge change in the way these people thought of God.   Jesus was the focus of that change.

God’s a gonna trouble the waters.   

Change and renewal was not the only way that God was a gonna trouble the waters. 

God was a gonna trouble the waters by unleashing the power of God through Jesus.   This first miracle was a sign of things to come. 

In the next 3 chapters that follow in the gospel of John, there will be other signs.  These signs are meant to show people that God is embodied in Jesus in the fullest and most remarkable way.  God’s reign is coming among them and they can see it taking place in these signs. 

God’s a gonna trouble the waters. 

The power of God unleashed through Jesus in this miracle and in others that followed, became a little more evident to me in a song that I heard recently.  The song was written and performed by country music legend Johnny Cash and is entitled, “He Turned the Water Into Wine.”  I have a video of that song and I would like you to listen to it.  If you want to listen to it later, you can simply Google the following:   johnny cash he turned the water into wine.

One of the reasons I like that song, is it appears that Johnny Cash is just reading along in his Bible; after Jesus turns the water into wine, other miracles follow.  Jesus had come to inaugurate the kingdom of God, that the ways and will of God would be forever cemented in Israel’s life, that God would be THE ruler overall and that Israel’s faith in God would be vindicated. 

The power of God is unleashed through Jesus.

God’s a gonna trouble the waters. 


God began to trouble the waters in a lot of ways.  Changing water into wine signaled that God was troubling the waters.

Though John the fourth evangelist accepts the reality of Christ’s miracle, it has for him, a further symbolic significance, pointing towards what Jesus was to accomplish on the cross.   There, at the cross, the old order will be replaced by the new.  Forgiveness, eternal life, God’s acceptance, unconditional acceptance of humanity will come about in the most unimaginable way.  Jesus will die to show humanity the total love and dedication that God has for humanity.  There will be no need to justify one’s self before God, there will be no need to try and measure up to human standards.  God saves, God conquors sin and death and gives the gift of eternal life, in the act of sacrifice by Jesus. 

The real and final epiphany, is the cross.  This is what the changing of the water symbolizes.

So what does this mean for us?

The power of Jesus, the power of the resurrection is NEEDED in our lives.   Change and renewal is present in Jesus and is promised in our lives.   This speaks to us as individuals AND as a congregation.

Change, hope, renewal, the power of God through Jesus come in a wide variety of circumstances.   This miracle takes place on the third day!  Resurrection!  Purity through faith in Jesus!   It speaks of HOPE for a myriad of circumstances.  I think about some of these circumstances:

-       Family and personal struggles, from health, to relationships to finances….   one could go on and on. 

-       Considerations of change and renewal in congregational life.  As WE look to the future, we wonder:  “Where are we going?  What is going to happen to us?  What will our church look like?” 

-       The struggle of those in our community and society who are at a disadvantage.

In every one of these instances, the message for us is that the son of God, who has the power to change water into wine, will change our circumstances and renew us.

Christ is with us and we are given the hope that a better day will dawn. 

Our witness to this comes through our own celebration of new wine AND new bread. 

WE don’t change water into wine, but we recognize the new wine as it is presented to us in Holy Communion.   We are given wine, we are given Christ, which moves us, motivates us, gives us a sense of God’s presence and lets us know that the power of the resurrection is alive and active in our midst. 

With the bread and wine, we are given hope and strength for the future. 

New wine for everybody!  The power of God in us through Christ!  Thanks be to God!  



Amen.

 


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