Online Worship for the Baptism of the Lord, Sunday January 9, 2022
Sermon for the Baptism of the Lord – The Signs of John’s Gospel #1
Calvary/Marquette ● Soli Deo Gloria
Grace mercy and peace to you from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
1 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. 3 And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” 4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” 6 Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. 9 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” 11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
In the Name of Jesus Christ,
God’s precious gift to us,
Dear Friends in Christ –
It is generally true of gifts...we don’t know what they are until we open them. It was true of the gifts we opened this Christmas. We may have had an idea of what might be in those gifts, but we really didn’t know what they contained. Unless you unwrapped and carefully re-wrapped every gift under the tree, you really didn’t know what was inside the box – until you actually opened it. Sometimes even after the wrapping paper has been removed, we still don’t know what we have received until we take a good look and maybe even read the directions.
This past Thursday was the 6th of January – known to Christians as the Epiphany. Epiphany means ‘manifestation.’ It is during this season of the church year that we take a good look at the gift that God has given us in His Son.
We don’t have to unwrap God’s gift long before we learn that Jesus of Nazareth was more than a man. While Jesus kept his glory as God ‘under-wraps’ in his humiliation, His glory shines through in the miracles that He accomplished.
In our Sunday – Harmony of the Gospels -- Bible Study we have noted quite a few of the miracles of Jesus. We also noticed that Jesus worked these miracles many different times during His public ministry.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to us. After all, the Prophet Isaiah foretold that the Promised Savior would do the miraculous, would do things outside of human capability - supernatural things. The Prophet Isaiah said that the people would see the glory of the LORD. Moreover, He foretold some of the specific miracles the Christ would accomplish beforehand, saying (Isaiah 35:5-6a):
“ Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.”
In the Gospel of John, the Apostle takes note of seven particular miracles, seven signs and their meaning. We will also unwrap each of these miracles.
During the Sundays in Epiphany, we will take a look at each of these seven signs. As we observe them, we should remember that these miracles, these signs are laid before us for a particular purpose. These miracles uncover or reveal to us that Jesus is the Son of God which is essential if we are to understand the value of His Sacrifice during the Lenten Season.
These miracles aren’t the only miracles Jesus worked, not by a longshot. In the final verses of John’s Gospel the Apostle says (John 20:30-31):
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
May God the Holy Spirit grant us grace that we may see the signs and also believe in Him. Amen.
It seems to me in our day and age, sensationalism is so common that we don’t even recognize it.
Athletes aren’t just good or even great, they are quickly compared to athletes in the hall of fame and anointed the ‘GOAT’ or Greatest of All Time.
Internet Clickbait Articles are purposefully false in an effort to get us to click on them. Could that possibly be true? Was Michael Jordan really from another planet?
Finally, certain words just don’t mean anything because they are used so often. One of those words is the word – miracle.
The word ‘miracle’ is used frequently of things that are not in the least bit miraculous. A miracle is a supernatural act, an extraordinary – not a commonplace -- event. A miracle is something outside of nature, something impossible for a human being to accomplish – like walking on water. When one sports team defeats another unexpectedly, it’s not a miracle, because playing sports and defeating other human beings in sport is within the power of man to accomplish.
It is, however, a miracle – to change 150-180 gallons of water directly into wine in an instant.
In the early years of my ministry, I served Resurrection Lutheran in Corpus Christi, Texas. I learned a number of valuable things and a few less important. In Corpus Christi, I was taught how to make wine as a hobby by a lady named Lois Perry.
So, I speak from experience when I say that the usual process of fermenting a juice/water mixture into wine, is one that normally takes 4-6 months minimum. The process by which yeast converts sugar into alcohol is one that cannot be accomplished by a human being in a moment or even a couple of hours – whether it’s a cup or 180 gallons.
But the Apostle John, who was present to see this sign, tells us that Jesus changed water into wine in a moment of time. He didn’t touch the water, there was no sleight of hand.
This beginning of signs, this first miracle shows us that Jesus is the Son of God and the Lord of Nature.
But the fact that Jesus is God shines through from the very first chapter of the Gospel of John. When John first writes of Jesus, he calls Jesus - the Word (John 1:1-4; 14):
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men... 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Son of God existed long before He was implanted in the womb of the Virgin Mary. John says of the Son of God – the Word – that He existed in the very beginning when God created the Heavens and the earth. All things were made through Him. There are many other such passages in Scripture that speak of the Son existing before His incarnation.
For example: The Prophet Micah foretold that the one to be born at Bethlehem had been coming and going from everlasting (5:2):
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
The Apostle John tells us that this Word of God also became flesh and walked among men and they saw His Glory, the Glory of the Only Begotten of the Father.’ But Jesus’ divine glory was hidden during his childhood and young adulthood. After He was anointed at His Baptism, Jesus began to show forth His Glory.
The First Sign shows that Jesus is God, the Creator of the universe and master over Creation. He has the power to change one substance into another. Moreover, Jesus’ miracle was witnessed by servants and by His disciples. We are therefore told:
This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
When Jesus changed water into wine He manifested His glory – that is, His glory as God was unwrapped and witnessed. He uncovered His Divine Power and Glory.
Now there are those who misread the sign. This miracle doesn’t just confirm that Jesus is in favor of marriage or even that it’s ok to drink some wine.
This first sign proves He is the Son of God and the Lord of Creation. It also confirms that He has the power to change things and to come to our rescue. Let us learn that when we have earthly needs, to turn to Him who has power over all things.
The water wasn’t the only thing that changed on that day. The Spirit of God also reveals that the disciples came to believe in Him. The miracle confirmed He was God, but it was His Word that changed their hearts.
It was at Jesus’ Baptism that the voice said from heaven: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” On the Mount of Transfiguration, the voice said: “Listen to Him.” They heard His Word and their hearts were changed:
His disciples believed in Him.
Jesus has the power to change things in the natural world – and we are also part of this created world. Christ also has power to change us, to grant us faith to trust in Him, and strength to serve him.
Jesus can give life by a word -- not just physical life, the ability to live and move – but also spiritual life and the ability to trust in God, to love and serve Him. We were given the former at birth, but spiritual life comes to us through His Word and the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. Apart from God’s working in us, we have no power to believe in God to say nothing of serve Him.
Our natural desire is to live in a way that defies God’s Will. We are by nature dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). All those who have been granted the gift of faith, who trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, are a new creation of God, as it is written (2 Corinthians 5:17):
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation…
When Jesus gives spiritual life He changes our will, and helps us to control our sinful desires. He works in us by the Gospel, so that we are moved both to desire and to do (with the strength He provides) His good pleasure. He who gives life, also gives us strength and direction.
Look to Jesus, hear His Word, and He will work a change in your heart, your mind, your whole way of thinking. He made us, and He has by the word transformed our way of thinking, from our own to His way.
Let’s pay attention to the sign which confirm that Jesus is the Son of God and the Lord over Creation! Let’s not miss any opportunity to listen to His Word, for that Word is the word of the mighty creator and He wants to change your life.
He died for you and rose again to make you His own. Follow the signs, and follow Him and He will continue to work in you to change you and make you new within.