2nd Sunday after Epiphany + John 2:1-11 + January 15, 2017

Order of Holy Communion - Pg. 15
Hymn # 134 Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
Hymn # 129 Hail, Thou Source of Every Blessing
Hymn # 30 Oh, that I Had a Thousand Voices
 

Introit
ALL THE - || earth | shall | wor- | ship | You, *
And sing praises | to | You, | O - | God.
|| They will sing | praise | to | Your | name; *
- | O | — | Most - | High. (Psalm 66:4; 9:2 paraphrase)
|| Make a joyful shout to | God, | all | the | earth! *
Sing out the honor of His name; make | His | praise | glo- - ri- ∙ | ous.
|| Say to God, “How awe- | some | are | Your | works! *
All the earth shall sing | prais- | es | to - | You.”
|| Come and see | the | works | of | God; *
He is awesome in His doing toward | the | sons | of - | men.
|| Bless├Ęd be God, who has not turned | a- | way | my | pray-er, ∙ *
Nor His | mer- | cy | from - | me! (Psalm 66:1–5, 20)
|| All the earth | shall | wor- | ship | You, *
And sing praises | to | You, | O - | God.
|| They will sing | praise | to | Your | name; *
- | O | — | Most - | High. (Psalm 66:4; 9:2 paraphrase)

Collect for the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany
Almighty and Everlasting God, Who dost govern all things in Heaven and Earth, mercifully hear the supplications of Thy people and grant us Thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Readings
Deuteronomy 18:15-19
Romans 12:6-16a
St. John 2:1-11

Sermon on John 2:1-11

Grace and Peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

 
1)       Moses says in Deuteronomy 18:15 that “the Lord your god will raise up for you a prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.” All the prophets that came after Moses were, in a sense, like Moses, each one being from among the brethren of the Israelites. But none of the prophets were truly like Moses. Moses was the Lawgiver who received the Ten Commandments on Sinai’s heights. Moses received and established the Divine Service of the Tabernacle and Levitical priesthood. Moses spoke with God face to face. None of the other Old Testament prophets did any of these things. Their preaching always hearkened back to Moses, back to the commandments, and back to the worship God required. Even those prophets who worked signs and wonders were only like Moses to a small degree. The miracles of Elijah and Elisha, for instance, paled in comparison so the signs and wonders Moses did before Pharaoh in the land of Egypt. Elisha purified a pot of poisonous stew for the sons of the prophets. Moses purified the bitter waters at Marah so that all Israel and their livestock could drink. Elijah withheld rain from all Israel for many days. Moses caused burning hail to fall upon the entire land of Egypt. There was never truly a prophet “like” Moses, who gave the Law, who instituted worship, and who worked such miraculous signs and wonders.

2)       The Prophet prophesied by Moses, the one whom the Lord God would raise up from among the children of Israel, the one who be truly be like Moses, is our Lord Jesus Christ. He reveals Himself to be The Prophet at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. St. John specifies that this was the “beginning of signs.” By these words the Evangelist invites us to compare Jesus’ first sign with the first sign Moses worked at the banks of the Nile River. Standing at the banks of the great river, the source of life for all Egypt, and standing in front of the mighty Pharaoh, Moses speaks the Word of the Lord, saying, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD. Behold, I will strike the waters which are in the river with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood. And the fish that are in the river shall die, the river shall stink, and the Egyptians will loathe to drink the water of the river” (Exodus 7:17-18). Moses commanded his brother Aaron to touch the mighty waters with Moses’ staff, “and all the waters that were in the river turned to blood. The fish that were in the river died, the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink the water of the river. So there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt” (Exodus 7:20-21). The Lord demonstrated His mighty power and established Moses as His chosen servant by this miraculous sign.

3)       This first sign Moses did over all Egypt typifies His entire ministry. Moses’ ministry was one of the Law, that is, Moses was sent to work condemnation upon the Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Moses took what was good and life giving and turned it into putrid undrinkable blood. Where there was life, Moses worked death. This is precisely what the Law of God, given to by God to Moses, would does as well. The Law given to Moses on Sinai shows Israel what God requires of them and what their Lord forbids them to do. In doing this, the Law does much more than simply act as a guide. The Law works condemnation upon all men for there is not a single Israelite who does the works of the Law entirely. The Law condemns all men because there is no man who truly has no other God, for all men place their love and trust too easily and too often in the things of this life. Daily, men make their wealth, their reputation, their desires, or their own selves, into idols. The Law of Moses condemns because no one fulfills it according to the heart. St. Peter, in Acts 15:10 describes the Law of Moses as “a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.” The Law is most certainly good because it is God’s will for our behavior. But when it is laid upon sinners it shows us our sins, for no man can measure up to the perfect standard of righteousness in one’s heart and life. It is as St. Paul writes to the Galatians, “by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Galatians 2:16). What Moses does to the Nile, He does to all mankind. The Law he gives turns water into undrinkable, putrid blood. The Law he gives continually accuses us our sins in thought, word, and deed, striking us dead.

4)        Now compare this great sign and wonder to the beginning of Jesus’ signs and wonders! Moses turned water into blood. Moses brought condemnation and wrath for all who violate the Law. Moses works death. But Jesus is truly like Moses, doing great signs and wonders, but He brings something entirely different, something far superior than what Moses brought. “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” says St. John (John 1:17). Where Moses worked death and brought about undrinkable blood, Jesus works life and brings about wine, the sign of gladness among men! Where Moses brought the Law which condemns all flesh because of its sin, Jesus brings the fulfillment of the Law so that that Law has no authority over the conscience of all who believe the gospel. Consider what Jesus uses to show us this. “Now there were set there six water pots of stone, according to the manner of the purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons a piece.” These were not used to store drinking water. The water contained in these large stone barrel drums was for ritual washings when one became ceremonially unclean. The water housed in this barrels wasn’t to drink, for that would have made that water a source of life. It was water according the Law, so that men and women could cleanse themselves ritually after all sorts of things commanded by Moses. That they are stone also calls to mind that these water pots represent the Mosaic Law, for the commandments themselves were engraved upon tablets of stone. Jesus has the servants fill these up to the brim, because that is what He does throughout His life, suffering and death, to the Law. He fulfills the Law of Moses, every requirement laid upon you, He does fully, to the brim.

5)      It is this water for ritual cleansing according to Moses that Jesus turns into wine. In this Jesus shows us precisely that He is like Moses, except that He is far better to Moses. Jesus does not come to be a new Lawgiver. He does not come to set down ten principles for Christian life. He does not declare ten new commandments for pleasing God and earning God’s favor. He comes to fulfill Moses, to fill all those demands to the brim, so that all who trust in Christ’s work for them, they have precisely what Jesus earns throughout His life. You are not holy, nor will you ever be perfectly holy in this life. You are not sinless and can never be as long as you are in the body. You are not perfect, nor will you come anywhere even close to being perfect in thought, word, and deed. But look into the six stone water pots. They are full. Not only are they full, but they have been transformed into sweet wine, the symbol of joy and gladness, a symbol of prosperity and of peace. Moses brings the Law which brings death. Jesus fulfills the Law and earns life for all men, so that all who trust Christ’s work as their own, all who believe the Gospel that Christ is merciful to them, have everything Jesus earns and acquires, so that they are no longer under the Law.

6)       If you are in Christ by faith, then you possess all that is His. If you possess Christ by faith, His fulfilling of the Law is credited to you. This means that God the Father credits you as having entirely fulfilled the Law. The Law can make no demand upon your conscience, for you possess the righteousness of Christ by faith. Moses can make no claim upon you, for your Lord Jesus Christ has done all things on your behalf. And when you do sin, and you will daily because you are still in the sinful flesh, and when Moses condemns you for what you have done and what you have left undone, you are able to flee to the six stone water pots and there see what Christ does for you. He takes your wrath, your condemnation, your sin against God’s Law, and He removes all of it by His death on the cross. When your conscience terrifies you because of your sins, you are to flee to Christ, your throne of Grace, and seek refuge in Him. And there you will find it. Your sins are forgiven you, be of good cheer. Your faith has saved you, give thanks to Christ! The one to whom you flee is like Moses, powerful and one speaking God’s Word, but He is superior to Moses in every way, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” (John 1:17).

7)       Because your sins are forgiven when you believe the Gospel, because Christ has lifted the yoke and burden of the Law from your necks, rejoice. You are no longer under the Law, but the heart in which faith in Christ dwells will make a beginning at fulfilling the Law in this life. The Ten Commandments become your guide, to show you the good works God desires His baptized children to do. And though you do them imperfectly, your sins are forgiven because of the faith God has implanted in your hearts. The Law will still accuse you. That is its job. When it does, flee to Cana in Galilee. There is a wedding there where Christ provides everything you need, where Christ fulfills the Law in your stead and fills you joy and gladness by forgiving your sins and filling you with the Holy Spirit, so that you begin to walk according to the Law of the Lord through faith in Christ Jesus your Lord. Amen.

May the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding guard you hearts and minds through faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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