Worship Helps for Epiphany 2

Artwork: The Wedding Feast at Cana
Artist: Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

Worship Theme: In today’s Gospel Jesus performs his first miracle: He turns over 120 gallons of water into wine. Jesus doesn’t touch the water. It’s no trick. It’s a real miracle. He does it because the Father now wants him to go “public” and reveal his glory. As a result, his disciples trust in him as the Son of God.

Old Testament: Exodus 7:14-24 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the water. Wait on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake. 16 Then say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert. But until now you have not listened. 17 This is what the LORD says: By this you will know that I am the LORD: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.'" 19 The LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron, 'Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt-- over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs'-- and they will turn to blood. Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in the wooden buckets and stone jars." 20 Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt. 22 But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh's heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said. 23 Instead, he turned and went into his palace, and did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water of the river.

1. Why did God demand that Pharaoh let his people go? (See 7:16)

2. What else besides the Nile turned to blood?

3. Did the great miracle convince Pharaoh?

Epistle: Ephesians 3:14-24 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

4. Jesus came to visit a wedding in Cana. What does Paul pray for the Christians in Ephesus, by contrast? (See 3:17)

5. Nobody knew how Jesus turned water to wine. Likewise, what does Paul want Christians to know? (See 3:19)

6. How much is God able to do? (See 3:20-21)

Gospel: John 2:1-11 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, "They have no more wine." 4 "Dear woman, why do you involve me?" Jesus replied. "My time has not yet come." 5 His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." 6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet." They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now." 11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

7. What problem arose at the wedding in Cana to which Jesus and his disciples were invited?

8. How did Jesus react when Mary told him that they had run out of wine? Why did he react this way?

9. What did Jesus do to resolve the problem?

1. God demanded that Pharaoh let his people go so they could worship him in the desert (east of Egypt).

2. Besides the Nile, the water in streams, canals, ponds and reservoirs turned to blood. So did water in buckets and jars.

3. No, the miracle did not convince Pharaoh. His heart stayed stubborn.

4. Paul prays that Christ may not just visit, but dwell in the hearts of believers through their trust in Christ.

5. Paul wants Christians to know the love that surpasses knowledge, the immense love Christ has for us. (Note the irony. How do you truly know something that surpasses knowledge?)

6. God is not just able to do what we ask. God is not just able to do more than we ask, God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

7. The wedding had run out of wine. It was customary in Jesus’ day for weddings to be celebrated for several days. It seems clear that the wedding hosts had not adequately prepared.

8. Jesus wondered why Mary involved him, stating, “My time has not yet come.” Jesus seems to be suggesting that it wasn’t yet time for him to publicly reveal himself as the promised Savior through his miracles. As it was, the forthcoming miracle seemed to be performed quietly.

9. Jesus changed water into wine. Although his disciples trusted in him, it seems his miracle went otherwise unnoticed. (Note also the wondrous kindness of Jesus in performing a miracle that improved a celebration, but was not necessary.  What a Savior we have, one who loves to do more than he promises and more than we need.)

Putting your faith into action
Logic might indicate that Jesus’ first miracle should be something more amazing, more noble than this. It shows how concerned God is about every aspect of our lives. Notice also the generosity of our Lord: 120 to 180 gallons—and not the cheap stuff either. It was the best! Don’t overlook the last verse. It shows the purpose of all of Jesus’ miracles. They revealed his glory as true God. He is exactly who he says he is! The miracles did not create faith in the disciples’ hearts. The Holy Spirit did that through the Word. The miracle reinforced what they already had been led to know and believe.

A reading from the Book of Concord for the Second Sunday after Epiphany
[Jesus] did all His miracles by the power of this personal union. He showed His divine majesty, according to His pleasure, when and as He willed. He did this not just after His resurrection and ascension, but also in His state of humiliation. For example:
(a) At the wedding at Cana of Galilee
(b) When He was twelve years old, among the learned
(c) In the garden, when with a word He cast His enemies to the ground
(d) In death, when He died not simply as any other man, but in and with His death conquered sin, death, devil, hell, and eternal damnation
The human nature alone would not have been able to do these miracles if it had not been personally united and had communion with the divine nature.
The human nature, after the resurrection, is exalted above all creatures in heaven and on earth.  This is nothing other than that He entirely laid aside the form of a servant.  He has the full possession and use of the divine majesty according to His received human nature. However, He had this majesty immediately at His conception, even in His mother’s womb.  As the apostle testifies, He laid it aside.  Luther explains, He kept it concealed in the state of His humiliation and did not always use it, but only when He wanted to use it. – Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Articles VIII, The Person of Christ (paragraphs 25-26)

Hymns for this Sunday: 91, 82, 602, 603, 365

Click on the link to listen to "The Star Proclaims the King is Here" by Branches Band. 

1  The star proclaims the King is here; But, Herod, why this senseless fear?
For he who came from heaven’s throne Does not desire an earthly crown.

2  The wiser Magi saw from far And followed on his guiding star,
And, led by light, to Light they pressed And by their gifts their God confessed.

3  Within the Jordan River stood The pure and holy Lamb of God;
The Father’s voice, the Spirit-dove, Confirmed the Savior from above.

4  At Cana—miracle divine—When water reddened into wine,
The faithful saw his glory shown And put their trust in him alone.

5  All glory unto Jesus be And praise for his epiphany,
Whom with the Father we adore And Holy Spirit evermore.

Text: Coelius Sedulius, 5th century, abr.; tr. John M. Neale, 1818–66, alt.


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