The Second Sunday after the Epiphany: Year C

winejarsWeddings and Wine

The theme of this Epiphany season, the manifestation of Jesus’ glory as the culmination of God’s revelation, receives striking evidence in John’s Gospel. Today we witness the beginning of miracles or “signs” – in the story of the wedding at Cana as Jesus turns water into wine when the party supply runs out.  This opportunity becomes an occasion for revelation of the glory of Jesus.

In the Jewish culture of Jesus’ day, a wedding was the occasion for a grand celebration, often lasting up to a week. Hospitality played a major role in eastern societies, and a wedding was often a critical measure of a family’s hospitality. The lack of a sufficient supply of wine for the guests caused more than chagrin; it was a social disgrace. Jesus’ gracious gesture demonstrates “his glory” and is the first of the seven “signs” that John records. Each miracle in the gospel becomes a window through which the seeker can see the truth of Jesus. This sign in particular reveals Jesus’ supremacy over the law, represented by the stone jars used in the Jewish purification rites. The law prescribed cleansing from every variety of defilement (Mark 7:3-4), but was powerless to provide new life, as symbolized by the wine (Genesis 27:28; Numbers 18:12; Deuteronomy 7:13, 33:28; Jeremiah 31:12).

Not only did Jesus’ action demonstrate the failure of the old covenant of the law, it proclaimed the unsurpassable abundance of the new covenant of Jesus (10:10). That much superior wine (120-180 gallons) would provide for weeks and weeks of celebration. Jesus’ message was one of lavish grace (Ephesians 1:7-8).

For reflection:

  • Imagine that you are one of the guests at this wedding in Cana. Describe the atmosphere of the occasion. What is the reaction when the wine runs out and is replenished with even finer wine?
  • Of what is the first miracle a sing for you? 
  • To what event in your life would you like to invite Jesus and his disciples?
  • What miracle do you need Jesus to perform?
  • What is the significance in the story of the role of Mary? of the servants? of the steward? What part have you played in someone else’s miracles? How has it revealed Jesus’ glory and increased someone’s faith?
  • In John 2:11, we read that the glory of Christ was revealed through this miracle. What is meant by the “glory” of Christ? Read today’s passage from 1st Corinthians, and reflect on the spiritual gifts you have been given in order to show forth God’s glory.

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About Sharon Ely Pearson

Wife, mom, grandmother; author, educator, consultant; trying to make a difference one action at a time. Christian formation has been my vocation for 40+ years - and counting!
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1 Response to The Second Sunday after the Epiphany: Year C

  1. The combination of Jn. 2 with 1 Cor. 12 is appropriate since the new wine could be a sign of the Spirit Jesus will give to his disciples. You note the contrast with the Jewish water of purification. Just days before the wedding, at Jesus’ baptism the Spirit descends and remains on him, so John the Baptist says that while he baptizes with water, this one will baptize with the Spirit (1:31-34). Similarly, in Jn. 7:38-39 Jesus portrays the Spirit was living water–which in Jn. 4 is a contrast with the well water of the Samaritan woman. So this Gospel likes to use liquid metaphors for the Spirit; and the Spirit is the primary gift Jesus will give to his disciples after he returns to his former glory with the Father (Jn. 14-16); the new wine is a sign of that future gift.

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