This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
Consider this miracle in the light of the service for the Second Sunday in Epiphany.
I. THE COLLECT, which is a prayer for peace. The Collects are supposed to collect the subject of the Gospel and Epistle. But the gospel is a miracle of plenty, a contrasted idea to that of peace. There may be lavish plenty when there is no peace — there may be deep peace when there is little plenty. And yet in the deepest, truest sense of the terms they are one. Their separation is only temporary and accidental. For what is peace? Perfectly satisfied desire. Disquiet is want of satisfaction. But in spiritual and intelligent creatures there must be the satisfaction of the whole nature. If man be body, spirit, and soul, if any one of these be unsatisfied, he cannot be at rest. In vain you satisfy animal appetite and intellectual craving, if the hunger of the spirit be unappeased. And men are not at peace, because of the first great mistake that man made in his first sin when he withdrew the food for his soul. This food is God. Man's sin was the determination to have the feast of body and mind without this spiritual element, and the sin and misery of man ever since has been to sit down to a banquet from which he has banished God. And God forbid that without Him there should ever be peace: because it is the lack of this plenty disquieting his soul that leads him to God. God teaches this truth in —
1. His Word.
2. His providence. Lest man should lose himself in sensual delights God drove him from Eden. Sometimes God shows us how poor the gift is without the Giver; sometimes how blessed the Giver is without the gift, and better by giving Himself with the gift. This is the highest of all states, even heaven itself. This the true peace and plenty our Father meant us to have. It is our sin that has set them in antagonism.
II. Now turn to the Gospel. We see Christ giving back to men the lacking plenty of their feasts. The wine had run low. He renews it in lavish abundance that He may tell as in symbol that for the renovated man the amplest enjoyment of God's gift is consistent with perfect peace. Christ has come to tell us that we need Him and may have Him in all our joys.
III. THE EPISTLE teaches us that there is an Epiphany amongst men as there was once an Epiphany to men. In the Gospel Christ gave Himself and His best gift to us. In the Epistle Christ calls upon us to show Him forth to men by giving ourselves and our gifts to others. That is the very reason He gave Himself to us. "Freely ye have received; freely gird"; fill to the brim the means of helping another's need: your material, intellectual, and spiritual wealth.
Parallel VersesKJV: This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
WEB: This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.