On Transforming a Wedding into a Marriage

PRAYER OF CONSECRATION

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body  to you, as a living sacrifice

Jesus, I belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen. 

John 2:1–5 (NIV)

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

CONSIDER THIS

Today we find ourselves in the somewhat remote village of Cana in Galilee. We have been invited to a wedding with Jesus. (See what I just did there?) Who knew at the time it would be the most famous wedding in the history of weddings? And we can’t even remember the names of the bride and groom—because we never knew them in the first place. We are left remembering only Jesus from this occasion. And that’s fitting for the Lord of marriage, isn’t it? 

Think of it this way:

The world began with a wedding in the venue of all venues—the garden of Eden and the wedding of Adam and Eve. 

The world will end with a wedding on the occasion of all occasions—the return of Jesus Christ to receive his bride the Church. 

Is it any wonder the first miracle of Jesus happens at the wedding in Cana of Galilee?

Each of these occasions is an opportunity to behold the miracle of transformation. In Eden the two are for the first time transformed into one. At the wedding of the Lamb at the end of the age, the bride of Christ, the church, will be transformed to be like him—in the twinkling of an eye, according to Scripture. 

He gives us a first glimpse of his transformative power on this day in Cana at a wedding—at the behest of his mother, no less. Whether it was the whisper of his word or the wave of his hand we know not. What we know is he transformed ordinary water into vintage wine. Watch this:

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” (John 2:6–8)

Now, behold the awe on the face of the master of the feast as he tastes this libation:

“Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” (John 2:10)

This is a picture not only of comprehensive transformation but of super-abundance. Did you pick up how much wine we are dealing with here?  Picture the sprawling wine section in your local grocery store. That’s a glimpse of the amount of wine Jesus rolled out at the wedding in Cana. (180 gallons of wine equals 456 bottles of wine). I should also point out this is not the ten-buck-chuck wine. It would be the expensive stuff no one ever really buys. 

This is Jesus. It’s who he is. It’s what he does. That blessing in the waters of his baptism is now being poured to overflowing in the cups of everyone there. That’s what he’s doing for us, and in us, and through us to others. And though we are personally and intimately involved in it all, it is Jesus who is glorified and remembered. 

There was a great billboard campaign a few years back called “Messages from God.” They were black billboards with simple white lettering. My favorite message in the campaign:

“Loved the wedding. Invite me to the marriage.” —God1

That’s how a wedding becomes a Christian marriage. It doesn’t just happen. It takes a kingdom.

We are told, almost in passing, this wedding took place on the third day. It is a divine wink here at the first sign of the glory of the last sign. “And on the third day . . .” you take it from here. 

THE PRAYER

Our Father, we keep praying that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened in order that we may know you better, that I might become truly humble; which is to awaken to the person you imagined when you fashioned my inmost being and that I might rise up into the real life for which you created me. Forgetting what is past, I press on toward this high calling. But for today, let me find myself at this little wedding in Cana, next to the servant staff standing at attention as Jesus’s mother says, “Do whatever he tells you to do.” That’s what I want to do—whatever he tells me to do.  I want to live a consecrated life of simple obedience and extravagant love. Show me the next small thing. Come Holy Spirit, I am ready to move with you. Praying in Jesus’s name, amen.

THE QUESTION

What do you observe about this wedding in Cana? What is being revealed to you? How might we help new couples invite Jesus to the marriage? How might we work with Jesus to solve the wicked problem of divorce—especially among Christians. (see the note below)

THE HYMN

The hymn today is one of the great standards of the church, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” hymn 23 in the Seedbed Hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise

NOTES FOR ADDITIONAL REFLECTION AND STUDY 

1. It is time for an awakening to the deep mystery and miracle of marriage. It is time we develop a whole new approach, getting beyond the obligatory sessions of pre-marital counseling and into a multi-year season of post-wedding training. The Young Marrieds Sunday school class is not going to cut it for the way ahead. We need newlywed couples banded together with each other. We need seasoned mentors. We need a training catechesis for the first year of marriage walking line by line through the wedding service, the declaration of intent, the vows, the rings, the great wedding biblical texts, and so forth. We need rigorous training on bonded attachment, on healing for family of origin wounding, on generational curses, on remedial and advanced empathic communication, on relationship repair, and on we could go. The time for marriage training is not before marriage, it is after—in the first three years. We must infuse marriage with its deep theological mission to become fiery signposts, the burning bushes of the sacrificial love of God in the world. We need to develop a theology of the home as the marriage itself. In other words, the house is not the children’s home—the marriage is. And all of this before the journey of parenting. I’ll stop here. 

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. The thought that crossed my mind as I contemplated this devotional was this: that ordinary water was poured into ordinary containers made of stone and transformed into vintage wine to bless the wedding guests. The supernatural Holy Spirit is poured into us clay vessels and we’re transformed into conduits of God’s grace to be a blessing poured out into the lives of others.

  2. A marriage is designed be a spiritual vineyard where the True Vine grows grapes of glory for the new wine of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of a couple ever committed and surrendered to daily obeying the present, living Jesus together. Godly marriage is a model — a visible prototype — of the invisible relationship between Christ and His totally committed followers. The best (the new wine) lasts and true love endures and flourishes in a marriage when both the husband and the wife continue to cultivate and quench not God’s Spirit.

  3. Those who serve; get to see the transformative power. Whatever the circumstance; when Jesus who is God, who is the Holy Spirit shows up, no matter the vessel or circumstance, while others benefit {a gift}; those who are willing servants will ‘see’ what God is doing. This will be a sign. Obedience brings fruit, this time in liquid form. The sign, is like an RSVP. Come on! Jesus had invited a motley crew to join in his journey. They showed up and served. Only those who served saw the transformation. Yet, to the astonishment of the wedding planner, he witnessed super food; via the fruit of the Spirit. How now might he respond to the challenge, “Loved the wedding. Invite me to the marriage.”

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