There are so many potential mishaps to organizing a wedding ceremony and reception.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
A FAMILY WEDDING
As a family, we’ll never forget my brother-in-law’s wedding. It was a sweltering South African afternoon. In the sanctuary area where I was conducting the wedding, there were no fans.
During the ceremony, one of the two bridesmaids, our daughter Debbie, began to sway. I reached out my right hand to stop her from falling. The bride’s brother leapt forward and helped her to the front pew. A few minutes later there was an almighty THUD as one of the groomsmen fainted flat on his back. A few more minutes passed, and I led in a time of prayer. When I opened my eyes, the matron of honour, the bride’s sister, was now sitting alongside Debbie, her head on her knees. There were no further casualties but the bride and groom hung onto one another for dear life throughout the rest of the service. I admit to having a few qualms about how I’d proceed with the ceremony if one of them passed out!
Weddings are meant to be joyful social events, as this one ultimately was, but there are so many things that can go wrong to spoil the happy occasion.
SOME WEDDING MISHAPS I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN:
- The bride arrived 45 minutes late.
- The minister did not pitch up and was found by one of the elders playing tennis.
- The best man missed his flight.
- The guests couldn’t find the church.
- The reception started late because the caterers got lost.
- The professional photographer hadn’t put film in the camera.
Do you have any more to add? Please leave them in the comment section and give us a chuckle.
Our passage describes a wedding reception in Jesus’ day, which was almost a disaster.
Reading: – John 2:1-12 NIV
Jesus and His first five disciples attended a wedding in Cana, a little village about 8 km N-E of Nazareth, modern-day Kafr Kanna.
Weddings in Jesus’ day were week-long festivals. Often the whole town was invited. The Bridegroom’s father gave the wedding reception and the women generally took charge of the food. Jesus’ mother’s involvement with the catering indicates close ties with the bridegroom. Writings found in Egypt dating back to the time of Jesus indicate that Mary may have actually been the bridegroom’s aunt.
Things were going well until a crisis arose – “the wine was gone.” No, it hadn’t been stolen! It had run out.
The liquor suppliers couldn’t be blamed. Imagine trying to cater for such an unknown number of guests over a seven-day period. However, running out of wine could cause harm to the newlywed’s reputation. It was also a poor reflection on the host’s ability to provide for his guests.
None of the servants was sent to the ‘local’ for fresh supplies which might indicate that perhaps the finances had also run dry.
- Can you recall a similar situation that for you or a loved was a source of embarrassment?
We all experience those times when troubles come knocking at our door. Life very rarely follows the course that we have planned.
When Mary grasped what was happening she turned to Jesus. “They have no more wine.”
Her first step is a good one for us to remember. It’s wonderful to know that when those inevitable problems crop up we can take them to Jesus.
But what did she expect Him to do? To date, Jesus had performed no miracles. She may not have been looking for a miracle. Yet she did expect Him to DO SOMETHING!
But Mary needed to learn two lessons:-
a. She needed to begin to see Jesus as more than her son, but as her Saviour.
Jesus’s response seems disrespectful when he addressed her, “Dear woman!” But that was an accepted form of address in those days. He was trying to get her to re-assess their relationship. Although still her son, He had already started out on His ministry as her Messiah.
b. She needed to realize the importance of God’s timing.
Jesus was very sensitive to the Father’s timing, “My time has not yet come.”
Perhaps we need to learn the same lesson today—God has a time and a place for meeting our needs. There are times when we need to be more sensitive to the Lord’s timing.
Still, Mary remained confident. Jesus would “make a plan”. Trusting Him to do something about the crisis, Mary instructed the servants to “Do whatever he tells you.”
When those problems arise, when troubles overwhelm us, the best thing we can do is to be guided by Jesus.
Because it mattered to Mary, to the host, and to the newlyweds, it mattered to Jesus. And so He set about remedying the situation.
Traditionally water jars stood just inside the doorway so that the guests could have their feet washed by the servants as they arrived. In anticipation of a large number of guests, “Nearby stood six stone water jugs.”
Jesus told the servants to “Fill the jars with water.” Six water jars holding between 75 to115 litres of water (Men’s Devotional Bible footnote), filled to the brim. We’re looking at between 450 to 690 litres of water. That’s a lot of water!
They did as instructed and that’s when things got interesting. There’s no record that Jesus prayed over the water, or did anything special. He simply told the obedient servants to take a sample to the master of the banquet for him to taste. It turned out that Jesus had turned all that water into the very best vintage wine. (Bible Study Notes – Dr Richard J. Krejcir).
The master of the banquet was astounded and complimented the bridegroom for his excellent wine. The tendency in those days was to bring out the best wine first, then later, once the guests had enjoyed plenty to drink, the cheaper wine would be brought out. The groom had seemingly reversed the normal procedure.
Why did Jesus do this? Did it really call for a miracle?
Because it mattered to those involved, it mattered to Jesus
David in one of his Psalms wrote,
“The LORD doesn’t hate or despise the helpless in all of their troubles. When I cried out, he listened and did not turn away.” (PSALM 22:24 CEV)
We may not be famous or in a position to influence thousands of lives. Even if you are not the neediest person around, if it matters to you, it matters to Jesus.
JESUS, THE UNSEEN GUEST
This incident teaches important things about Jesus:
1. Jesus is at home in all our experiences of life, if we invite Him in. He attended a wedding, and was perfectly relaxed at the wedding banquet. He fitted into other people’s homes. The home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus was always open to Him. Matthew a former tax collector held a dinner for Jesus. Simon the Pharisee also invited him to his home for a meal.
Jesus participated in dinner parties. This miracle took place in a very humble home in a small village in Galilee.
Jesus wants the very best for our homes. He wants to be part of your everyday life. Are you aware of Him as the unseen guest in your home?
- Are you aware of His presence in every area of your life?
It’s a mistake to think that you can ever leave Jesus out of any area of your life. He knows every thought, word, and deed. But He longs for you to welcome His presence. If it matters to you it matters to Jesus.
JESUS TO THE RESCUE
2. Jesus is the rescuer of every crisis. He performed this first miracle to meet a crisis, a potential source of embarrassment to the groom’s father – the host, as well as to the bridal couple. It mattered to Jesus that the festivities were threatened by a lack of wine.
Notice: Jesus did not make the first move. He did nothing in this crisis situation until invited to take action.
NOTHING BUT THE BEST
3. Jesus gave of His best. Up to 690 litres of the very best wine! Even a highly experienced master of ceremonies remarked upon it.
Turning water into wine was a very practical miracle, but it shows that Jesus is concerned about those practical aspects of our lives. No matter your situation or your problem, if it matters to you it matters to Jesus!
No one may fully understand what you’re going through. But Jesus does! He cares about every experience in your life. (Matthew 10:29-31)
Are you finding life’s problems overwhelming you? Why not accept Jesus’ invitation right now?
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
If you haven’t yet read the Introduction to Encounters with Jesus, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.