2 Epiphany (1/20)
Psalm 36:5-10 Isaiah 62:1-5 1 Corinthians 12:1-1 John 2:1-11
Jesus and His Mother are at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. Human marriage points to a deeper reality at the heart of the universe. Marriage is a theological metaphor—many prophets, like Isaiah today, call Israel God’s wife—they try to tell us about the mystery of God using the concrete experiences of our shared lives. Genesis says that the man and woman become one flesh—and the deeper reality is the union of the church with Christ (theosis). The ideal of human marriage is God’s union with His people.
John’s Gospel continues this theme in chapter three, when John the Baptist says “I am not the Messiah, He who has the bride is the bridegroom…” Jesus’ bride is revealed in Revelation 21: “I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride for a bridegroom.” The church is that New Jerusalem and we will be gathered into this union with the Messiah.
Isaiah has a second connection to Revelation; when he says that a “new name” will be given and the people of God will be a “crown in His hand.” In Revelation 3:11ff the church in Philadelphia (brotherly love) is told, “I am coming soon; hold fast to what you have so that no one may seize your crown…I will write on you the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem that comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own NEW name.” Our new name is the “children of God” and we share in Jesus’ crown of glory.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is also called the mother of the church. At Cana Jesus tells her, “woman my time has not come.” The next time Jesus speaks to His mother, from the cross, he will say “Woman behold your son.” At His death, Jesus not only saves us from sin but He makes us His family of believers. The only other time we hear of Cana is when the Risen Lord appears to His disciples, and one is called Nathanael of Cana in Galilee. Both Cana and Jesus’ Mother are verbally connected to His death and resurrection. Marriage is a metaphor for this. Ephesians 5 is a declaration that Jesus loves the church and gives His life up for the Church. This is the biblical model for husbands. Our choice, as the church, is to be a faithful wife to Jesus. This is a corporate choice made together. The first challenge is to believe we are loved. The second is to live each day, together, as a faithful wife. He gives us a new name, but we must endure. Courage and steadfastness become more and more important as we live among those who hate our spouse, the Lord Jesus.
The Cana wedding feast—going back to Isaiah and forward to the Cross and the Marriage feast of the lamb—is a revelation of salvation. The wine is a symbol of the heavenly wedding feast, but it is also His blood shed on the cross for us, and it will be the cup which we share at communion. Theosis union—with Him. Let us be aware of what we do here and what it means. Let us open our hearts to receive Him.