The Second Sunday of the Epiphany Season

January 14, 2024


A Simple, Yet Miraculous Sign:

Christ’s Turns Water into Wedding Wine


One day in Sunday School, a teacher asked her students:

“What’s your favorite Bible story?”   As you might guess, many of them liked the old classics–David and Goliath, Jonah and the whale, and Jesus walking on water.  But one girl said that her choice was the Wedding at Cana.   Curious, the teacher asked why she chose that story.  The little girl responded, “I like it because I hope that some day Jesus will come and do a miracle at my wedding too.”  

            During the part of the church year called the season of Epiphany (in which we find ourselves today), the Scripture readings for worship often focus on some of the miracles and messages of Jesus by which He “epiphanied” (revealed) Himself as our Savior and God.    Consequently, one of the traditional lessons for this Second Sunday in Epiphany has to do with the wonderful story (which happens to be this morning’s Sermon Text) of Jesus as a Guest at a wedding in Cana, Galilee, and the miraculous signs that He performed there…..the first of many miracles He would perform during His public ministry.  

            Cana of Galilee was a scant seven miles from His home in Nazareth.   Jesus had come to the wedding, along with His mother and a few of His disciples, as a Guest of the wedding couple.  But surely they couldn’t have imagined that before their special Guest left the wedding, He would reveal Himself through a miracle to be the eternal God and Promised Savior.   However, that’s precisely what happened.  And it’s a major part of why we are studying this story today. 

            But, first a bit of background information…….In those days weddings were not conducted in the same way in which we manage a wedding and reception today.  Not that a wedding and reception aren’t important today, but in those times and especially in a small village like Cana, a wedding was a really big deal!   It could easily end up being  one of the biggest…if not THE biggest… social events of the year.    Part of the reason was simply that it was an opportunity to celebrate with the happy couple, but also, it provided something out of the ordinary daily routine to attend and enjoy.  Weddings and their  receptions, in those days, usually lasted for multiple days – at least two – maybe as long as six or seven days.  And throughout this big, long social gathering…. the new bride and groom were expected to provide their guests plenty of good food, along with good wine.  

            Keep in mind also that all of this was happening in the days before TV and internet, satellite, cable and radio….before cell phones, video games, and on-line streaming services.   There weren’t movie theaters, restaurants, Razorback basketball games, or concerts to attend to occupy a person’s time.   They didn’t even have electricity to keep the lights on at night!   The fact is, in those ancient times, life was mostly a dawn to dusk affair….and a pretty boring one at that.  You got up early, worked hard all day long – in most cases for VERY little – ate a little bit, perhaps visited some with your neighbors and family for a while, and then went to bed as it turned  dark.   You would repeat that cycle the next day, and the next, and the next, and…..well, you get the idea.    Life was generally VERY uneventful – at least compared to the lives we lead today.  And so a wedding was something very important to everyone!

            Now, back to the event that was taking place in Cana……A young couple was getting married.   It’s quite likely that the entire town, along with friends and family from farther away, turned out to celebrate with the happy couple.  That helps explain what the Apostle John tells us…. that “Jesus was also invited to the wedding.”

            Initially first things probably went quite well.   Family and friends gathered for the festivities.   The local rabbi performed the wedding, declaring the happy couple “husband and wife.”   After that, food and drink were served.  There was singing, and dancing, and lots of talking and noise.   But at some point during the reception, the caterer (for some reason unknown to us) sought out Jesus’ mother, Mary, and shared some very bad news with her.   The wine supply was about to run out – even as the reception kept going and going and going.   Could she do something, anything to help?   The reception was on the verge of being ruined, and the newly married couple would be publically shamed.   Obviously, someone hadn’t planned well enough.              Would it have been embarrassing?   Definitely.   But – and it’s important that we recognize this point – the world was not going to come to an end, figuratively speaking, if this wedding ran out of wine and if another drop of wine never materialized.     (Sometimes preachers make far too much out of this, turning the absence of wine into a crisis of immense, almost global significance.   It was a problem;   there’s no doubt about that.   But it wasn’t going to be a disaster, let alone a crisis of Biblical proportions – like the Great Flood).  In fact, an important lesson to be drawn from this story HAS to be this:   that God takes care of our little life-needs as well as the large ones…..and running out of wine at a wedding was, honestly, a problem of minor proportions then and today, comparably speaking. 

            Of course, there are REAL crises in life, and you and I have experienced some of them, haven’t we?…..   For example, there are certain matters of national and global significance:    Will inflation continue to increase in the coming months…and what effect will that have on our personal wallets and purses, as well as on the economy?   Will the conflict in the Middle East escalate…..and will our country be drawn into the war there?    Will the Chinese attack Taiwan?    Will there be another 9-11 type terrorist attack in our country, or elsewhere, and if so – how will it happen and when and where?    Then, there are closer-to-home life and death issues that we face like, “Will I die from this illness, Doctor?” or “How will I ever survive without my mate of all these years?”……. or how about these problems:  not being sure you’ll be able to pay your bills and keep a roof over your head in this year just begun?    Then there’s this crisis…..Surprise!   you’ve just learned that your teenager is pregnant – but not married;    or maybe you’ve just found out that your grandson is on drugs – but not those prescribed by your family physician.    Or what if your spouse were to look at you and say, “I don’t love you anymore.   There’s somebody else.   And I’d like a divorce” ?      Now, THOSE are crises!

            But running out of wine?   Well, by comparison, IF it’s a crisis, it’s a pretty small one, isn’t it?   Nevertheless, the story of Jesus’ first recorded miracle demonstrates the depth our Savior’s concern for us and His commitment to us in at least the following two ways.

            First…..Our loving Lord, Who’s always with us, Who’s for us, and Who’s intimately aware of everything that takes place or is going to happen in our lives…..that Lord does care about all those personal, physical and spiritual needs of ours – large and little.   More important,   in His own way He always satisfies all our needs – on many occasions, He satisfies them abundantly so (as we’ll be reminded in today’s Psalm Reading, which recalls how God provided for the children of Israel following their exodus from slavery in Egypt);   and….   

            Second…..Christ is a part of, you might say He’s “a partner” in, every Christian home and life, whether it’s that of the newly-married couple;  or the home where that 50th wedding anniversary, plus, has just been celebrated;  or the home where a never-married, widowed, or divorced Christian lives in relative solitude;  or the “home” that’s little more than a dorm room at college.  Christ is an ever-present and all-powerful Partner in all our lives, caring for all of us, blessing every one of us in so many ways that we can’t begin to count them all.   Each and every day you and I will want to welcome and gratefully recognize Him as our respected, valued, vital Guest, Friend and LORD……much in the same way that the Cana couple did some 20 centuries ago.
            This morning we’ll also be reminded of our Lord’s provision and guidance within the framework of the Christian home and family in today’s Epistle Lesson.    Like His disciples at Cana that day, we’ll also want to bear in mind that Christ’s miracles prove that He is our all-powerful, glorious God and Savior (which Jesus affirmed in today’s Gospel Lesson)…… we can confidently put our faith in Him, for today, tomorrow, and forever (as Peter also declared in his Pentecost sermon – a portion of which we’ll hear as part of this morning’s First Lesson).    Finally, in our Children’s Lesson we’ll also talk about the significance for us and our faith of the “sign of the cross”  as a constant, “visible sermon” that Jesus died and rose to earn our forgiveness and give us eternal salvation.




The portions of God’s Word used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,    The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission Music and lyrics, as needed, are used with permission via #A712831





Pre-Service Prayer

Lord Jesus, though but two or three

In Your dear name assembled be,

You will among them show Your face

And bless them with Your saving grace.

In Your dear name again we meet

And worship humbly at Your feet;

You will Your gracious Word fulfill

And cheer us with Your presence still.

Jesus, from Whom all blessings flow,

Your peace and comfort now bestow;

Abide with us till life is o’er

And keep us Yours forevermore.     Amen.



Pre-service prayer

Pre-worship music                                                                                                                                            


Let Us Praise The Lord


The Introduction and Invitation to Worship


after which, the Pastor will invite the Congregation will rise for


The Invocation


We make our beginning


In the name…. of the Father,

Who gave His Son into death for us

and raised Him in glory on the third day;


And of the Son,

Who laid down His life only to take it up again on the third day;


And of the Holy Spirit

 through Whom Christ was made alive, 

Who has worked saving faith in our hearts,

Who lives in us now through the Word,  

and Who will one day give life to our mortal bodies. 





The Psalm for Today                                                                                              Psalm 105, selected verses



  • Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done.

C:         Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.


P:         Glory in His holy name;  let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

C:         Look to the LORD and His strength;  seek His face always.

P:         Remember the wonders He has done,   His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced.

C:         He is the LORD our God;    His judgments are in all the earth.


P:         He remembers His covenant forever, the word He commanded, for a thousand generations.

C:         He sent Moses His servant,  and Aaron, whom He had chosen.   +   They performed His miraculous signs among them, + His wonders in the land of Ham.


P:         He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold, and from among their tribes no one faltered.

C:         Egypt was glad when they left, because dread of Israel had fallen on them.


P:         He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night.

C:         They asked, and He brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.


P:         He opened the rock, and water gushed out; like a river it flowed in the desert.

C:         For He remembered His holy promise given to His servant Abraham.


P:         He brought out His people with rejoicing, His chosen ones with shouts of joy;

C:         He gave them the lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for-

P:         that they might keep His precepts and observe His laws.

C:         Praise the LORD.


after which the Congregation will be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                     Hymn 195     “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty”


1 Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!   Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee;

Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,   God in three persons, blessed Trinity!


2 Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,   Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,   Who was and is and evermore shall be.


3 Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,   Though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,

Only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,   Perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.


4 Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!   All thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea.

Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty,   God in three persons, blessed Trinity!



After which the Congregation will rise


We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor  We have come together in the presence of God, our Heavenly Father, who created us to love and serve Him as His dear children.    But We have disobeyed Him through our thoughts, words, and actions, and deserve only His wrath and punishment.  Therefore, let us now turn to Him, acknowledging our sinfulness and seeking His forgiveness for all our sins.   In the words of Jeremiah, we confess:


Congregation  Although our sins testify against us, O LORD, do something for the sake of Your name.    For our backsliding is great;   we have sinned against You.


Pastor  In the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, we acknowledge how thoroughly sin fills our lives, even our very being:


Congregation  From within, out of our hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy slander, arrogance, and folly.    All these evils come from inside and make us ‘unclean.’


Pastor  Along with the Apostle John, we recognize:


Congregation  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.


Pastor  And in the words of David, before the Lord we plead:


Congregation  I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.   Against You, You only have I sinned     and done what is evil in Your sight,   so that You are proved right when You speak    and justified when You judge.     Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.


Pastor  Jesus says to His people:   “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven.”   Our Savior’s perfect life and sacrificial death have paid for the guilt and penalty of our sins, and for the sins of the whole world.   Do you believe this?


Congregation  Yes, I believe this.


Pastor  Then be assured that you are a dear child of God and an heir of everlasting life.   And carrying out my office as a called servant of Christ,  and according to His command and authority,   I forgive you all your sins   in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.     May the peace of God rest upon all of you.    Amen.



Our Grateful Response for God’s Forgiveness

To the tune of “Come You Thankful People, Come”  meter:    7777D


Blessed Holy Trinity,   Glorious in Your majesty,

Father, Spirit and the Son –   Savior-God, the Three-in-One –

From sin’s curse You set me free  Heaven’s mine – eternally.

All I am, to You I owe, 

Source from Whom all blessings flow.    Amen.



Our Prayer for This Morning                                                                                                                           


O Gracious, Heavenly Father,   +   through Your Holy Spirit’s working in the Word today,   +   drive out every trace of spiritual darkness from our hearts  +  that we may see Your Son as our one and only Redeemer   +   and that we may confidently and faithfully    +   call on You in prayer as the only true God   +   to deliver us from all our troubles of body and soul.    +  Bless our worship of You this morning   +   that through our meditation on Your Word  +   our faith might grow stronger    +    and our love for Your truth might increase.   +  All this we seek for the sake of Jesus Christ,  our Savior   +   Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,  + as the one, true and only God, +   now and forever.  +    Amen.


After which the Congregation will be seated


Feed Us, Lord


The First Lesson                                                                                                                             Acts 2:22-36


            22 “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus the Nazarene was a Man recommended to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did through Him among you, as you yourselves know. 23 This Man, Who was handed over by God’s set plan and foreknowledge, you killed by having lawless men nail Him to a cross. 24 He is the One God raised up by freeing Him from the agony of death, because death was not able to hold Him in its grip.

            25 “Indeed, David says concerning Him:   I saw the Lord always before me.  Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  26 Therefore my heart was glad,  and my tongue rejoiced.

My flesh also will rest in hope,  27 because You will not abandon My life to the grave,  nor will You let Your Holy One see decay.  28 You have made known to me the paths of life.

You will fill me with joy in Your presence.

            29 “Gentlemen, brothers, I can speak confidently to you about the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Since he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath that He would seat One of his descendant on his throne,  31 he saw what was coming and spoke about the resurrection of Christ, saying that He was neither abandoned to the grave nor did His flesh see decay.

            32 “This Jesus is the One God has raised up. We are all witnesses of that. 33 So, after He was exalted to the right hand of God and after He received the promised Holy Spirit from the Father, He poured out what you are now seeing and hearing.

            34 “For David did not ascend into heaven, and yet he says:   The Lord said to my Lord,  ‘Sit at My right hand,  35 until I make your enemies a footstool under Your feet.’

            36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made this Jesus, Whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”



The Epistle Lesson                                                                                                               Ephesians 5:22-30


            22 Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which He Himself is the Savior. 24 Moreover, as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.

            25 Husbands, love your wives, in the same way as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her 26 to make her holy, by cleansing her with the washing of water in connection with the Word. 27 He did this so that He could present her to Himself as a glorious church, having no stain or wrinkle or any such thing, but so that she would be holy and blameless.

            28 In the same way, husbands have an obligation to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 To be sure, no one has ever hated his own body, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.   31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will be one flesh.”  32 This is a great mystery, but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 In any case, each one of you also is to love his wife as himself, and each wife is to respect her husband.


after which the Congregation will rise, for the reading of


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                        John 14:1-14

            “Do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions.   If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you.    3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with Me, so that you may also be where I am. 4 You know where I am going, and you know the oway.”   

            5 “Lord, we don’t know where You are going,” Thomas replied, “so how can we know the way?”

            6 Jesus said to him, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me. 7 If you know Me, you would also know My Father.    From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”

            8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that is enough for us.”   9 “Have I been with you so long,”

            Jesus answered, “and you still do not know Me, Philip? The one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I am telling you I am not speaking on My own, but the Father Who remains in Me is doing his works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me. Or else believe because of the works themselves.

            12 “Amen, Amen, I tell you: The one who believes in Me will do the works that I am doing. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in My name so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me for anything in my name, I will do it.



The Public Confession of our Christian Faith

according to the words of the Apostles Creed


I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;   Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;   Born of the Virgin Mary;  Suffered under Pontius Pilate;   Was crucified, dead and buried;   He descended into hell;   The third day He rose again from the dead;   He ascended into heaven And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;   From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Ghost;   The Holy Christian Church, the Communion of Saints;  The forgiveness of sins;   The resurrection of the body;    And the life everlasting.  Amen.


After which the Congregation will be seated for



The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                         I Corinthians 1:18


For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.


The Sign of the Cross


Hymn of the Day                                                                    Hymn 82  “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise”


1 Songs of thankfulness and praise,  Jesus, Lord, to you we raise,

Manifested by the star   To the Magi from afar,

Branch of royal David’s stem,   In your birth at Bethlehem.

Anthems be to you addressed,  God in man made manifest.


2 Manifest at Jordan’s stream,   Prophet, Priest, and King supreme,

And at Cana, Wedding Guest,   In your Godhead manifest;

Manifest in pow’r divine,   Changing water into wine.

Anthems be to you addressed,   God in man made manifest.


3 Manifest in making whole    Palsied limbs and fainting soul;

Manifest in valiant fight,    Quelling all the devil’s might;

Manifest in gracious will,   Ever bringing good from ill.

Anthems be to you addressed,   God in man made manifest.


4 Sun and moon shall darkened be;    Stars shall fall, the heav’ns shall flee.

Christ will then like lightning shine;    All will see his glorious sign.

All will then the trumpet hear;   All will see the judge appear.

You by all will be confessed,    God in man made manifest.


5 Grant us grace to see you, Lord,    Mirrored in your holy Word.

May our lives and all we do    Imitate and honor you

That we all like you may be    At your great epiphany

And may praise you, ever blest,   God in man made manifest.


Sermon Text                                                                                                                                    John 2:1-12


            Three days later, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there. 2 Jesus and His disciples were also invited to the wedding.   3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine.”    4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and Me? My time has not come yet.”    5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”

            6 Six stone water jars, which the Jews used for ceremonial cleansing, were standing there, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. 8 Then he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” And they did.   

            9 When the master of the banquet tasted the water that had now become wine, he did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew). The master of the banquet called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have had plenty to drink, then the cheaper wine. You saved the good wine until now!”

            11 This, the beginning of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He revealed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.


Jesus’ Simple, Yet Miraculous Sign

of Water Turned Into Wedding Wine


following which the Congregation WILL REMAIN SEATED for


The Post-Sermon Blessing


May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, Who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.  Amen.



We Bring our Offerings and Prayers to the Lord


Offerings will be received this morning through offering plates passed among those who have gathered here for worship.

   However, for those viewing this service online,  we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:     

1) You can mail a check (no cash) to the church address:   (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) You can also donate on our website:


  • The Offerings are gathered and presented to our Lord


    as the offerings are brought forward the Congregation will rise for


    The Prayers of the Church



    The Lord’s Prayer and Response  


    Congregation  Our Father, Who art in heaven,  Hallowed be Thy name;


    Pastor  Grant Father, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be proclaimed freely among us and throughout the world, and that we may live holy, Godly lives to the glory of Your name.


    C:         Thy Kingdom come;

    P:         Grant, Father, that the proclamation of the Gospel may bear much fruit, so that large numbers of men, women, and children from every nation and tribe may come to know and believe in Your Son, Jesus Christ.


    C:         Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;

    P:         Grant , Father, that we may never forget that it is Your will that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.  Grant that we may remember that we are to carry out Your will by being witnesses of Christ to the world.   Father,  may Your will be done through us!


    C:         Give us this day our daily bread;

    P:         Grant, Father, that we may always remember that every good gift is from above and that the earth and all that is in it are Yours.  May we also trust in Your for our daily bread.  Then we will confidently share our blessings with others and return to You a large, generous portion of the gifts You have entrusted to us.


    C:         And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;

    P:         Forgive us, Father, for all the times we have given offense and kept others from coming to You.  Forgive us for being so indifferent and cold to Christ’s command to preach the Gospel to every nation.  Forgive us for so frequently forgetting that Christ died for us and that we should no longer live for ourselves, as a result, but for Him who died and rose again for us.  Grant that we may also forgive those who sin against us, love our enemies,  pray for those who persecute us, and do good to those who hate us, that we might, by all means possible, lead some to Christ.


    C:         And lead us not into temptation;

    P:         Grant, Father, that Satan, the world, and our own sinful flesh may not tempt us to neglect the supreme task of the Church. Grant that we never squander away our time while the world rushes toward Judgement Day;  that we never waster our financial resources on the pleasures and luxuries of this life, and in so doing deny others the Bread of Life.  Heavenly Father, keep us from these and all other temptations.


    C:         But deliver us from evil;

    P:         Protect us, Father, from all harm and danger, but grant that we will always boldly confess our faith in Jesus no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the result may be.


    C:         For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.



    We Leave With The Lord’s Blessing


    The Benediction  


    The LORD bless you and keep you.

    The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.

    The LORD look with favor upon you, and give you His peace.  Amen.    



    The Closing Hymn                                                                 Hymn 323   “Almighty Father, Bless the Word”


    1 Almighty Father, bless the word   Which through your grace we now have heard.

    Oh, may the precious seed take root,   Spring up, and bear abundant fruit.


    2 We praise you for the means of grace   As homeward now our steps we trace.

    Grant, Lord, that we who worshiped here   May all at last in heav’n appear.


    Post-service prayer, Announcements, Post-service music