Feast of Epiphany – Sermon 138

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ



Epiphany – after Easter –the second oldest season in the Christian church year –

It started in the Eastern churches – as a feast to mark the Baptism of Christ – and was later linked with Jesus’ first miracle in Cana in Galilee – and His revelation – to the Magi or the Wise Men –

Epiphany means – “the showing forth” – appearing – bringing something to light – making visible what was once unseen or hidden –All these interpretations – appear in our readings this evening –

lets see if they help us decide what we should be doing – to bring Jesus to the eyes and ears of those – who don’t know Him


Point 1     Isaiah’s wake up call

Arise and Shine – says Isaiah – “your light has come” –

over you the glory of the Lord has dawned – Though darkness covers the earth – and dark nights the nations – on you the Lord shines”

Isaiah’s message is to – wake up – get up – and get going – start living as God wants us to live! –

This season of Epiphany is about the coming of a new light – a light given through the presence of Jesus –

The People of Jerusalem – had seen some hard times – wars – unjust rulers – destruction of their city – things looked bleak -–

But Isaiah – says – lets have no more – of this doom and gloom – we have a faithful God – we have a caring God – we have a powerful God –

He is in control – and – He will deliver – His promise of salvation –

We need to – open our eyes – to the big picture – God is gathering His people out of the darkness- towards Himself – and we – His church – need to play our – part –

He wants us to get plugged in to God’s powert source – and shine – so that the light of our faith – is clearly visible for all to see –

Lights are used to brighten the darkest of places –
So we must shine like beacons – to make sure our community is not one of them –

In this passage we also see Isaiah’s prophecy – of the day when the wise men or Magi came seeking the light of the world – when the Gentiles too worshiped God –

In verse 3
“nations will join towards your light and kings to your radiance”

and later in verse 6 –

“… all coming from Sheba laden with gold and frankincense, heralds of the Lord’s praise.”

Jesus the light of God – has broken into the world – in a way that is visible to all people –and He calls those who are spiritually dead to come alive – to be transformed – and to transform others

Which leads us on to our second reading – Jesus changing- water into wine


Point 2      Jesus transforms

In our NT lesson we have the first of the signs – or miracles – chosen by John – to teach us about the nature and purpose of Jesus –

The dictionary definition of a sign is something that conveys information about something else – in this case the something else is Jesus –

The sign itself is not important – only who – it is pointing to – Jesus –

The scene is a local wedding – in a town where Nathanial comes from – it would probably involve almost the whole village – and several people from neighbouring villages – which is why Mary and Jesus and his friends would be invited –

Running out of wine was not just inconvenient – but a social disaster – and an insult to their guests

Weddings would usually last several days – with the ceremony – late in the evening after the feast – and the – groom’s parents are responsible for feeding and caring for all the guests – for the entire time –

Failing in this duty – brings shame on the family – and is a sign of bad luck on the marriage –

At the request of His mother – Jesus sees the need to respond to the situation – but reminds her – that – He is guided by a much higher authority – ‘ My hour has not yet come’ – He says-

Jesus’ ultimate mission is the cross – and His resurrection three days later – and nothing must divert Him from that –

Mary’s initial request is to be answered – but not in her timing – or her way –

She tells the servants to – “do whatever He tells you”

Jesus turns water into wine – and not just any wine – but – according to the Master of Feast – the ‘best’ – which has been kept back till now –

Jesus chooses the purification pots as the vessels for holding the wine – water from these jars is used for external cleansing of the feet and hands – of the guests –

They – represent the ritual of the Old Covenant – which had become meaningless – now that Jesus is here –

This miracle speaks of transformation and change from the Old to the New – from the Old Testament Law to the New Testament ways of love and Grace

Just as the new wine out classed the water –the old ways have lost their life and light – The new way is through Jesus – offering Himself as the only way to forgiveness and joy in life –

Jesus can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary – give it flavour, fragrance and effect – and there will always be more than enough – to meet our needs – 6 jars filled to the brim – yields up to 180 gallons of wine – much more than would ever be consumed at a wedding

There will be times – when the wine runs out in our lives – when things are out of control – and we feel vulnerable and helpless –

Inviting Jesus in – and doing whatever He asks – will change all that – with Jesus alongside there will always be enough love and grace to meet our needs – He cares about our everyday problems – and wants to fill our lives to the brim with His power and His love –

John tells us – that Jesus’ miracle was performed for two reasons – so that the Glory of God was revealed – and so that the disciples would believe-

A reformed Alcoholic who was a Christian – was once asked –whether he really believed the miracles recorded in the Bible –

‘You don’t really believe Jesus actually changed water into wine do you?

‘I sure do’ – he said, ‘In our house Jesus changed Whiskey into Furniture’

John’s message to us – is not that Jesus once turned some pots of water into wine – but that whenever Jesus comes into our lives – there is a transformation – a new quality of life -which is like turning water into wine – and that same miraculous transformation – is also available to us today – if we do whatever Jesus asks –


Someone once said, ‘Some people change their ways – when they see the light – others when they feel the heat’

Lets not wait until things get hot – the light is – with us – now – so on this seventh day of 2007 – lets and make a resolution that will change our lives for ever – lets heed Isaiah’s wake up call – and come and taste the new wine –and drink it feely always –

Prayer to Finish

In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit