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Epiphany 2, 2022 — 16 Jan 22

Epiphany 2, 2022

JESUS MAFA. The Wedding at Cana, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. https://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=48305 [retrieved January 16, 2022]. Original source: http://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr (contact page: https://www.librairie-emmanuel.fr/contact).

RCL Year C, Epiphany 2
Isaiah 62:1-5, Psalm 36:5-10, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, Saint John 2:1-11

Hosts at wedding receptions would be glad to know someone who could change water into wine. Think of the savings. Think of that person’s helpfulness and popularity. But Jesus is doing more than being helpful and increasing his popularity.

One thing that Jesus is doing in performing this miracle is revealing the glory of God. After all, only God changes water into wine, and God does it every day. Even an unbelieving winemaker relies on the laws of nature to produce wine, but with eyes of faith, that unbelieving winemaker would glimpse God behind the laws of nature.

Another thing that Jesus is doing is giving his disciples a reason to believe in him. At the end of the Gospel, we heard, “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”[1]

Some believe that the Gospel of John includes what they call “the book of signs,” a sequence of signs, or wondrous deeds, that identify Jesus as God and show forth the glory of God. Some see an ascending importance in the signs from the first sign, changing water into wine, to the seventh sign, the raising of Lazarus from the dead. There are those who see an eighth and final sign, the glorification of Jesus that includes his suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection.

The disciples believe in Jesus because only God can change water into wine. But, as Jesus earlier says to Nathaniel, they “will see greater things than these.”[2] They will see the entire book of signs, numerous healings, the five thousand fed, Jesus’ walking on the water, Lazarus raised from the dead, before they see Jesus raised from the dead. Much more is on the way.

As signs or wondrous deeds go, changing water into wine is only the beginning, a first step. But only God can do it, just as only God can raise the dead. The disciples aren’t blind, but they will have their eyes opened. Their progress of understanding proceeds and accelerates from little signs to bigger signs. And their progress can instruct us.

If we see Jesus, if we see the glory of God, in little things, we can expect to see Jesus and the glory of God in bigger things. For our relationship with God is not meant by God to be static. It is dynamic and organic. It grows, and it accelerates as we give more, as we ascribe more, to God. Ideally, when all is said and done, when time ends and eternity begins, our identification with God will be complete. We are Christ’s own forever even now. But, like Nathanael, we shall see greater things than these. We shall see not dimly but clearly the full glory of God. That is the arc of our footsteps, and every step can bring us at least a step closer.


[1] Saint John 2:11.

[2] Saint John 1:50.

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