The Glory Has Departed

Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on

New Year's Eve Hymn service - 7 PM Central
NT Greek Lessons - January, 2017

Saved worship files are at the live worship link.

which works as too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Top Five Posts for a Week in 2012

This is a perfect description of Jon-Boy Buchholz
and Humpty Dumpty Kilcrease.

Each phrase in blue can be left-clicked for the actual post.

May 18, 2008, 5 comments


bruce-church ( has left a new comment on your post "Top Five Posts - Last Seven Days":

I think that the tally for each post is of people clicking on that exact post, not just coming to Ichabod's home page and scrolling down.


GJ - I think you are right, Bruce. I watch how the numbers develop.

Another Reader Appreciates The Faith of Jesus: Against the Faithless Lutherans

The Faith of Jesus: Against the Faithless Lutherans
can be found on Amazon as a printed and Kindle e-book.

From a Reader in the West
You have us hooked on learning about our justification before God, and we have learned a lot, both about the extent of the Gospel promise, and the errors that are creeping into the church regarding justification.
I just finished reading, for the 2nd time, The Faith of Jesus. Very informative and insightful book. 

UOJ is refuted, its adherents being unable to make a single coherent argument, though they do seem to have a knack for fallacy. I note that because I believe in giving credit where it is due. 

The Faith of Jesus - Passages - KJV and Greek

Romans 3: 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Philippians 3And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

These verses above explain (since Scripture interprets Scripture) this unusual, mysterious passage below - 

Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

GJ - I noticed while doing the research for the book that the modern translations use faith in Jesus Christ but the Greek text and the KJV have the faith of Jesus Christ.
The UOJ Stormtroopers think their orthodoxy is proved by their constant war against faith, which not only shows what lazy slugs they are, but also how they have no grasp of the Scriptures. Justification by Faith Alone is rooted in the faith of Jesus, so claiming a righteousness without faith, a universal absolution of mankind, is really a righteousness without foundation
Justification by Faith alone is found in -
  1. The Scriptures
  2. Luther
  3. Melanchthon, Chemnitz and The Book of Concord
  4. Gerhard, Calov and the Post-Concord Era of Lutheran Orthdoxy
  5. The Gausewitz Catechism
  6. The Old German LCMS Catechism
  7. The Current CPH KJV Catechism.

Universal Objective Justification - aka Objective Justification - aka General Justification is found in:
  • The former Calvinist Huber, who was repudiated by the Lutherans and sent packing
  • Halle Pietietists
  • Knapp, the doctrinal professor at Halle University
  • Woods, the Calvinist who translated Knapp
  • Rambach, a Pietist from Halle
  • Bishop Martin Stephan, STD
  • CFW Walther
  • Norwegian Pietists
  • Francis Pieper and the other Walther disciples
  • Today's WELS-LCMS-ELS and the laughable Emmaus Conference in 2015
  • ELCA and the previous ALC-LCA-AELC manifestations
  • All modern theologians of various denominations, especially mainline Protestants of the National Council of Churches
The next Emmaus in 2017 will be a hoot - 

The topic for the 2017 Emmaus Conference will be: “The Unsuspecting American Luthers”. The backgrounds, challenges, and impact of several Lutheran theologians in the 20th Century will be explored and discussed.
  • C. F. W. Walther, by the Rev. Dr. VP Daniel Preus
  • A. Hoeneke, by the Rev. Dr. Prof. John Brenner
  • U. V. Koren, by the Rev. Prof. Markos DeGarmeaux

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

And We Were There - In Atlanta

Trump and Martin Luther King, III

I saw that Martin Luther King III Had ‘Very Constructive’ Meeting With Trump

In 1978, I gave two papers at the National Conference for the Spiritual Aspects of Aging, in Atlanta. The main speaker was Martin Luther King Sr. His son had been killed 10 years before. But his grandson, MLK III, came along with him.

Grandfather and grandson were leaving when they came near Mrs. Ichabod and me. We said hello and shook hands with them.

Every so often we would see MLK III on TV. "Remember when we met him in Atlanta?" 

So, that is our personal connection with President Trump. He visited our area during the campaign, but we skipped the chance to be stuck on a country road waiting to get to the airport.

 No you weren't. Go home to MSNBC.

Someone Really Liked Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant.
More on Lutheran Books

 Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant - on Amazon and Kindle.

  • Thank you for this book. It has led me and my wife from wilderness to Lutheranism.  I knew there was an emptiness about Protestantism, but the Roman Catholic church with its non-biblical accretions was a bridge too far.

GJ - I wrote CLP for Lutherans who marry Roman Catholics, since they seem inexorably drawn together, in order to create mutual understanding without the usual polemics. People demanded that I turn the original adult class for couples into a book. This is now the third, revised edition.
  • Is this book available in hard copy?
GJ - No. The current edition is available on Amazon, Kindle, and the free PDF. I appreciate the request. Unfortunately, if I publish the same title in hardback on, where they have that option, it confuses the databases no end. Thus - a republished book from Lulu will no longer be listed on Lulu.
  • Why did you change from NIV to KJV?
I am glad you asked. I was using the NIV software at the time, back in the Dark Ages of computers, DOS, and other horrors. Someone offered me a free KJV program and I switched to the KJV. The KJV is much more precise than the anti-Sacrament NIV. You can read about that in Thy Strong Word, first chapter. TSW is also in the third edition. Some hard-covers are around on the used market. Here is the free PDF.

The New (and the only surviving) NIV is even worse than the old NIV, which is no longer allowed to be used by the publisher. It even disappeared from the publisher's Bible Gateway website. I imagine some people have their old NIVs, if they applied for a Concealed Carry Permit.

If you want a slightly modernized, precise Bible, I suggest the KJV21 or the Third Millennium KJV. 
  • Is there a specific book or books that would help me to study Lutheranism more deeply?  My background is evangelical Protestantism. 
In order, I always recommend - 
  1. The Sermons of Martin Luther.
  2. The Book of Concord.
  3. I can send anyone my books at a very low cost. Someone has donated money to send them free.
I still use the original Lenker 8 volume set
that I purchases long ago.
CPH turned that into 4 volumes and added 3 volumes of Postils,
as shown above. It took me a few tries to obtain that
as a used set for a friend.
 Thy Strong Word has put a damper on Church Growth and UOJ
Enthusiasms, but the synods leaders continue in their errors.

Top Customer Reviews

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on September 10, 2016

 Author's page for Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Monday, January 16, 2017

Relational Buying and Selling - Why the Synods Are Collapsing

The synods have squandered the trust 
built up over previous decades.

In many public and private enterprises, the establishment of trust is an essential part of continuing. The synods have squandered that trust and now follow the downward spiral of many institutions before them.

What do Lutherans teach? In spite of their posturing about being the true Lutheran Church, each sect - from ELCA on down to the micro-minis - regurgitates the latest from Fuller Seminary.

The four main figures at Fuller Seminary cloaked themselves in conservatism while advancing their radical ideas, which included repudiation of the authority and inerrancy of the Word of God.
  1. Robert Schuller turned his liberal Calvinism into pure rationalism with a hybrid formula of lite music and celebrity speakers, gouging the congregation to pay enormous salaries for his family - a recipe loved by all the synods too.
  2. The nearby Fuller Seminary president and board got behind the adulterous plagiarist Karl Barth and the Barth-Kirschbaum dogma of quasi-Christian Marxism.
  3. Donald McGavran, with scant theological training and a PhD in sociology, promoted his statistical approach to Church Growth. He came from the super-leftist Disciples of Christ.
  4. C. Peter Wagner, a zany Pentecostal, smelled the money and ran over to Fuller Seminary to cash in on the CG business as a faculty member.

These changes have taken place without advance notice, because the congregations would have rebelled if they were told the truth about the false doctrine deliberately perpetuated by their own leaders. That is especially true of the overpaid and underworked seminary faculties.

The worse a pastor is - and that includes criminal acts - the more the synod supports him, if he belongs to the apostasy faction. He knows he can do no wrong. Actions that would get him marched out of the building with a cardboard box full of his personal items - that will instead get the synod president involved in saving his career. The worse he is, the more he can expect the synod to send him around as a featured speaker.

I went to the same auto-repair place in Springdale the last seven years, driving the same Lincoln Town Car. Little Ichabod warned me they were no longer so reliable. I bypassed two alternatives and trusted them one more time. They had been so good in preserving the Icha-boat in all its glory. This last time, they did not do their work well and cost me a lot of extra time, but they still charged a hefty fee. That was my last trip to that repair place.

That is an allegory for what is happening in Lutherdom. Now look around - how many congregations are left with the traditional Means of Grace, Christ-centered liturgy? They are scarcer than hen's teeth.

The remnants of the Synodical Conference are united in their boast that Luther taught Justification without Faith - UOJ. Just in time to sell trinkets in the name of the Reformation's 500th Anniversary.

 Writers and editors are normally fired for plagiarism.
CPH pays an enormous salary instead - and sells
Reformation doo-dads.

The Creation Gardening Book Is Getting Its Artistic Treatment

I finished most of my work on Creation Gardening, so I will be completing The Lost Dutchman's Goldmine now.

The last two stages of each book are:

  1. Norma Boeckler inserts her artwork.
  2. Janie Sullivan does the finishing work for Amazon and Kindle.
Some other books, new, old, and very old, are in the plans, but Dutchman will be completed before anything else is started.

I appreciate how people encourage me to complete each title. That really makes a difference.

 The Lost Dutchman's Goldmine:
Luther's Biblical Theology of the Word

WELS Has a Sub-Culture of Side-Businesses in Entertainment.
Not Just the Jeske Koine Band

Came across something you might finding interesting, or at least entertaining, and hopefully both.

You may be aware that there are a few WELS Lutheran (not Synod endorsed or affiliated, of course) minstrel vagabonds that will travel to your congregation to provide cool non-organ music and/or entertainment for your worship (praise?) services or other "church events". They range from the bizarre and eclectic Spark and Echo band ( to faux Jim Croce singer Stephen Bautista, who has traveled for five years in a trailer and a truck with what is presently a family of 11 -- and a cat. ( There are a couple others as well. No hard rockers yet. Free will donations accepted.

We all know the CGM demands more modern, relevant, and entertaining music than those dusty Lutheran hymns. If our music is cooler, they will flock to our services. Yeah -- that's the ticket! (Remember the pathological liar character, played by John Lovitz on the old Saturday Night Live?).

I would like to share two photographs that illustrate the brilliant insights of the CGM. Note the attendance and enthusiasm of the worshipers. Photos were taken at Gethsemane Lutheran, Raleigh, NC. 

At the end of these performances, they all hawk their CDs, T-shirts, etc. with their big, sad eyes.  Another group of vagabonds actually expects some member to put them up while they're in town. They do this for a living! This isn't the WELS Men's Chorus or a visiting prep school. Where is the discernment of my pastors? 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

All Your Synod Leaders Trained Here - Rebuke Letter Against Fuller Theological Seminary | Steve Cha

Rebuke Letter Against Fuller Theological Seminary | Steve Cha:

"My name is Steve Cha, and I was a student who was in the MAT graduate program. I have recently left Fuller Theological Seminary after studying one year with the school. I felt burdened to share with you why I decided to leave Fuller after much contemplation. This will not be easy for me to say, but I feel that I need to do it for the sake of God’s honor and for the future of the school.

Over the course of the year (from Spring 2011-Spring 2012), I have had an uncomfortable and unsatisfying experience at Fuller because of its teaching, which, quite frankly, borders on heresy. I’m not talking about peripheral biblical issues like charismatic spiritual gifts or modes of baptism, but the core, foundational doctrines that all Christians should agree on, as established by the New Testament and illustrated by the 16th Century Reformation.

During my five quarters at Fuller, I have had professors who defied the trustworthiness of Scripture, questioned the literalness and existence of eternal hell/lake of fire, taught a form of theistic evolution over the six-day creation account established in the book of Genesis, hinted that Jesus may not be the only way to heaven, and shaped the gospel message and Jesus’ work on Calvary to make it fit the paradigm of a cultural mandate and social justice type of message instead of the orthodox view of what the gospel and the cross means, which is God’s punishment of sinners with eternal hell, Jesus’ sacrifice and atonement to satisfy God’s justice and wrath, Jesus’ imputed righteousness, salvation by faith in Christ alone, etc.

I have many examples and stories to share, but I’ll start with some of the key ones. It first started when I took the NT Gospels class with Professor Tommy Givens. Professor Givens taught a skewed understanding of the gospel message. In general, he taught an unorthodox view of what Jesus did on the cross, and had an unbiblical view regarding heaven, hell, and the afterlife (which he didn’t really believe in). In addition, the eschatological view Professor Givens taught is not what the Bible teaches regarding the future and Jesus’ Second Coming. Givens interpreted Matthew 24 (the “signs of His coming”) to be merely pointing to the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70 and God’s judgment on the Pharisaic Jews, when the language of the text and its worldwide scope clearly show that it is talking about the final generation before Jesus’ Second Coming to earth. My big issue, however, is not with the professor’s eschatology error.

The real dangerous issue that came about was that Professor Givens defied a central pillar of Christianity by declaring that he did not believe that there was a place of individual eternal torment that unbelievers go to after they die. In essence, he didn’t believe in hell! He believed that people go out of existence when they die (which is exactly what the WatchTower teaches) and that the lake of fire in Revelation 20: 11-15 was symbolic and figurative! Furthermore, Givens made an unproven claim that the place of “outer darkness” that Jesus talked about in the Gospels was really God’s judgment that came upon the Pharisees duringRome’s destruction of theTempleand the Jewish people in A.D. 70 and didn’t apply to us today. This is clearly unbiblical and indicative of poor hermeneutical training, since the Bible shows that the references to outer darkness, place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, and fiery furnace is the reference to eternal hell, not to some temporal earthly judgment of the past, with no real relevance today."

'via Blog this'

The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, 2017. John 2:1-11.
Jesus Turns Water into Wine

 The Marriage at Cana by Paolo Veronese
was commissioned and hung in a dining hall belonging
to Benedictine monks, 1563. No one noticed the irony.

The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, 2017

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Hymn #39                     Praise to the Lord                   
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Hymn # 370             My Hope Is Built             

Water into Wine - The Transforming Word

The Hymn #128                Brightest and Best               
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #309          O Jesus, Blessed Lord             

KJV Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on ourministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Letlove be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.


Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thy grace Thou hast instituted holy matrimony, in which Thou keepest us from unchastity, and other offenses: We beseech Thee to send Thy blessing upon every husband and wife, that they may not provoke each other to anger and strife, but live peaceably together in love and godliness, receive Thy gracious help in all temptations, and rear their children in accordance with Thy will; grant unto us all to walk before Thee, in purity and holiness, to put all our trust in Thee, and lead such lives on earth, that in the world to come we may have everlasting life, through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Transforming Word

KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 

This text has many lessons. Although the language is simple, the lessons are powerful and necessary. The Scriptures anticipate problems and errors far into the future. St. John is especially a doctrinal Gospel, long on teaching because the work assumes our knowledge of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

This was the first miracle which Jesus performed in public, and it was done in such a way that no one could dispute it or claim some trick was used to fool people. When I had a darkroom, I could could mix two, clear liquids together. Both of them looked like water. When mixed, the solution turned purple - like wine - but what a smell. No one would drink that.  Likewise, cleverly disguised dry dye powders would have that effect, but no one would call the mixture wine.

This miracle explains for history why Jesus had such a large and growing following. His divine power was witnessed and experienced in many forms, and He taught with divine authority - not like the Scribes and Pharisees.

I saw an example of Scribes and Pharisee-style teaching the other day. A group was disputing some issue on SpenerQuest. They kept going back and forth about what Robert Preus said or wrote - ignoring the Scriptures. That should remind them of the Talmud, where layer upon layer of explanation was built upon the Word, so scholarship became the ability to remember all the commentary rather than the revelation of the Truth.

Their response would be, "And do you dare to mock us? You did not graduate from our seminary. Begone, evildoer."

The setting is a marriage in Galilee, where the mother of Jesus was present. Jesus and His disciples were invited and came to the wedding, so the miracle was witnessed by the disciples and by those present.

Luther explains the presences of Mary as probably substituting for the parents. We can see that she feels a responsibility for the entire group while a mere guest might only complain about the supply problem.

The Reformer has a small sermon here, just on weddings. We should note that Jesus' presence with His disciples shows His blessing of marriage. The Benedictine monks did not marry, but they paid a large sum plus a barrel of wine for the 18 x 27 foot painting of this miracle, posted at the top. Some monks were so against marriage that they would not attend one.

But marriage is the only state created by the Word of God, and this began with God's blessing with Adam and Eve. The world is so evil and without faith that mankind despises and avoids marriage, or sees it only in material terms. What God means to bless and comfort people and to raise children in the best way - mankind dismisses as a burden.

Note that almost all advice about marriage is  entirely material, self-centered, and devoid of faith. Weddings are often extravaganzas, a fortune spent, or even more embarrassing (I would think) a performance venue for a priest singing a Leonard Cohen pop song, the bride or groom showing off their limited singing skills, or the bridal party dancing down the aisle of the church. Two of my nieces were married at convenient secular places, no Christian faith involved.

When people have no faith in Christ, they only see marriage as something that will benefit their own wants. This blindness prevents them from seeing the difficulties of marriage as anything more than a burden to be set aside. However, from the viewpoint of the Christian Faith, the duties and obligations are an opportunity to serve the spouse or the children and a delight. 

Yale narrowed down the crying of a baby to two things - hunger or pain. They studied the hands of babies as they cried to determine which was which. Mothers take great pleasure in their diagnosis and solution to the problem. But other people say, "I can't stand children crying," showing a definite lack of memory about their own childhood.

3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 

The lack of wine is a real problem, which suggests a lack of money. Weddings are social gatherings, multi-day events in many societies, a family reunion. The presence of friends and relatives, Jesus and the disciples, drew down the supply and provided an embarrassment. Mary's suggestion to Jesus shows her faith in Him, who would have an answer.

4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 

Jesus' response shows us several things at once. John's Gospel shows Jesus responding to His mother twice, calling her "woman" each time, not "mother." This shows that He was her Lord, indicated again at the cross, where he said to John, "Behold your mother" and to Mary "Women, behold your son." This passage and others show Mary was not to be regarded as semi-divine, but a real person with our own failings, yet filled with faith in Him and faithful to the point of witnessing His cruel and horrible death.

The Scriptures teach Christ - not Mary and the officially designated saints - so it is no surprise that Lutherans who denigrate faith also become obsessed with Mary and the official list of saints. In the New Testament, the saints are believers, not members of a pantheon.

Lutheran clergy are sad examples of abandoning the Reformation. They little realize that Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox are not as enchanted with "priests" and "bishops" and all the priestcraft as the quasi-Lutherans are. 

 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it

This is an important turning point in the miracle. Although Jesus seems to be unfriendly and uncaring in His response, Mary's faith only expects the best.

18. Hence the highest thought in this Gospel lesson, and it must ever be kept in mind, is, that we honor God as being good and gracious, even if he acts and speaks otherwise, and all our understanding and feeling be otherwise., For in this way feeling is killed, and the old man perishes, so that nothing but faith in God’s goodness remains, and no feeling. For here you see how his mother retains a free faith and holds it forth as an example to us. She is certain that he will be gracious, although she does not feel it.

She is certain also that she feels otherwise than she believes. Therefore she freely leaves and commends all to his goodness, and fixes for him neither time nor place, neither manner nor measure, neither person nor name. He is to act when it pleases him. If not in the midst of the feast, then at the end of it, or after the feast. My defeat I will swallow, his scorning me, letting me stand in disgrace before all the guests, speaking so unkindly to me, causing us all to blush for shame. He acts tart, but he is sweet I know. Let us proceed in the same way, then we are true Christians.

19. Here note how severely he deals with his own mother, teaching us thereby not only the example of faith mentioned above, but confirming that in things pertaining to God and his service we are to know neither father nor mother, as Moses writes in Deuteronomy 33:9: “He who says of his father and of his mother, I know them not, observes thy Word, Israel.” For although there is no higher authority on earth than that of father and mother, still this ends when God’s Word and work begin. For in divine things neither father nor mother, still less, a bishop or any other person, only God’s Word is to teach and guide. And if father and mother were to order, teach, or even beg you to do anything for God, and in his service that he has not clearly ordered and commanded, you are to reply: Quid mihi et tibi? What have I and you to do with each other? In this same way Christ there refuses absolutely to do God’s work when his own mother wants it.

20. For father and mother are in duty bound, yea, God made them father and mother for this very purpose, not to teach and lead their children to God according to their own notions and devotion, but according to God’s command; as St. Paul declares in Ephesians 6:4: “Ye fathers; provoke not your children to wrath: but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord;” i.e. teach them God’s command and Word, as you were taught, and not notions of your own.

Thus in this Gospel lesson you see the mother of Christ directing the servants away from herself unto Christ, telling them not: Whatsoever I say unto you, do it; but: “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” To this Word alone you must direct everyone, if you would direct aright; so that this word of Mary (whatsoever he saith, do it) is, and ought to be, a daily saying in Christendom, destroying all doctrines of men and everything not really Christ’s Word. And we ought firmly to believe that what is imposed upon us over and above God’s Word is not, as they boast and lie, the commandment of the church. For Mary says: Whatsoever he saith that, that, that do, and that alone; for in it there will be enough to do.

21. Here also you see, how faith does not fail, God does not permit that, but gives more abundantly and gloriously than we ask. For here not merely wine is given, but excellent and good wine, and a great quantity of it. By this he again entices and allures us to believe confidently in him, though he delay. For he is truthful and cannot deny himself; he is good and gracious, that he must of himself confess and in addition prove it, unless we hinder him and refuse him time and place and the means to do so. At last he cannot forsake his work, as little as he can forsake himself — if only we can hold out until his hour comes.

So when our faith is tested, and it often is, everything looks dark and God seems not to care. Those who are impatient with God, lacking faith, see only a lack of power or compassion in God. While we all feel that at times, repeated experiences show us that God was already preparing an answer. Faith defeats our feelings, which are volatile, ever-changing. 

6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it

The details of the miracle show that no trickery was involved, important then and now, because frauds still exist and manufacture miracles for the gullible.  This miracle also  involved many people who participated without knowing what would happen until it did happen. This gave others, who were not there, confirming details that this miracle came from God.

Just as important, this is a miracle of God's Word commanding the impossible to happen. Can Christ be present in both natures in the elements of communion? Doubting that miracle is doubting the Word that changed water into wine, multiplied the loaves, stilled the storm, cured the lepers, brought the universe into being, and made new creations (creatures) out of unbelievers, by Holy Baptism or by adult conversion.

9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 

This is the essence of all God's work. Whatever is needed, God supplies far more, in abundance and quality, beyond any request or even our imagination.

Ephesians 3 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
The chiding of the governor of the feast, aimed at the bridegroom, adds a humorous note to the miracle, because the change in quality was so great that the best wine at the end was against tradition and common sense.

In the same way, the Word of God transforms everything we accomplish and experience. John Bunyan was imprisoned for being independent of the Church of England. God made him the most important Christian writer in the English language.

The papacy pursued the Lutherans during the Reformation, exiled and persecuted the French Protestants later. There were many sporadic persecutions of Protestants, all serving to move them to America or other safe places to establish the Christian Faith anew, just as Roman persecutions spread the Gospel in the Apostolic Age. 

As Luther wrote, the Holy Spirit is so powerful that He can turn the greatest evil into the greatest good, as he did on Good Friday.

 By Norma Boeckler