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The Second Sunday after Epiphany, January 14, 2024

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The Second Sunday after Epiphany, January 14, 2024

The gospel of John bookends Jesus’ story with signs, here in the second chapter and again at the end of the twentieth chapter. Well, maybe not quite bookends, for there is still the twenty-first chapter. What John does is that he encloses nineteen chapters of his gospel within a pair of signs… a pair of signs which result in a definite outcome: faith. Here in the second chapter after the miracle of water to wine at the wedding feast, John tells us, “And his disciples believed in him” (vs. 11). Toward the conclusion of chapter twenty, John tells us of the resurrected Jesus’ encounter with his disciple Thomas for the first time after the crucifixion. In that encounter, all the doubts held by Thomas as to the identity of his risen Lord were relieved when Jesus addressed him and invited him to touch the reality of his wounded hands, feet, and side. Confronted by these signs of death and resurrection, Thomas confessed belief.

But then, Jesus speaks a curious turn of phrase. Rather than applaud Thomas for his coming to faith and worshipping him, Jesus poses a question and then a beatitude to Thomas. The question asks, “Have you believed because you have seen me?” (Jn. 20:29). The beatitude simply states, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Jn. 20:29).

Evidently, Jesus is not a fan of signs. He emphasizes hearing over seeing. When confronting the religious leaders of his day, Jesus responded to their demand for a sign from him by saying, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Mt. 12:39). Jesus delivers the sign of Jonah in his death and resurrection where he was three days in the tomb as Jonah was three days in the belly of the whale. To us who persist as an evil and adulterous generation, we may covet signs of divine manifestation but what we get is the risen Word of God, Jesus Christ.

Table Talk: Discuss the tension between visible signs and the audible word.
Pray: Father, place your Word, Jesus, in my ears. Amen

John 2:1-11

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, They have no wine. 4 And Jesus said to her, Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come. 5 His mother said to the servants, Do whatever he tells you.

6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to the servants, Fill the jars with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast. So they took it. 9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now. 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.