“On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:1-5)
I’d like to take you on a bit of a journey to see something totally fascinating in Scripture that I had never seen before until recently when a missionary-friend laboring in Mexico posted some comments on a Facebook status of mine.
This revelation pertains to both the love of God, and the ‘wine’ we’ve been talking about on the blog, and we have already been meditating on and studying how “love is better than wine.” (see Song of Solomon 1:2, 4:10).
If we read from Genesis to Revelation, Scripture begins with a wedding, ends with a wedding, and all throughout the Bible the kingdom of heaven is likened to a wedding. God’s desired relationship and covenant with His people Israel in the Old Testament, and The Church included in the New Testament, is always likened to a marriage covenant.
Old Testament books like Hosea, Ruth, and Song of Solomon really exemplify this. In the New Testament, we read Jesus and Paul talking about the mystery of marriage being about Christ and His Bride, the Church. Many parables point to this as well (check out Matthew 22:1-14 – the wedding feast, and Matthew 25:1-13 the ten virgins). Revelation, the final book shows a multitudinous crowd rejoicing because it’s time for the marriage supper and the Bride has made herself ready, and has grown in maturity through this process of love, devotion, and obedience (see Rev 19:6-8).
I’m convinced that the Song of Solomon is one of the most fascinating, profound, and beautiful books of the entire Scripture canon. This short book of eight chapters is relevant to all Christians, everywhere and in every generation. Whether you read it allegorically or not, it’s a key that helps unlock much of the rest of the Word of God and the ‘mysteries’ contained therein only make sense through the lens of the Love of God.
When Jesus was at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-12) and they ran out of wine, His mother came to Him and addressed the issue. Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” (v. 4) For years, we have been taught and thought that it refers to it not having been Jesus’ time for public ministry. Others have taught this refers to Jesus’ work on the Cross that He is referring to in some kind of abstract of way. Both views and others like it are improbable.
Jesus stated that He only did what He saw his Father doing and whatever the Father does, the Son does (John 5:19). If it was not time for Jesus to have performed a miracle and He did it anyways, He would have been doing something outside the time and will of God. In that very moment Christ would have sinned, but we know this was not so of the sinless lamb of God. Jesus knew no iniquity. Therefore, He could not have been referring to it not being the time for His public ministry.
What did He really mean?
It was the Jewish custom for the groom’s father to have worked out with the family of the bride the details concerning the wedding arrangement, including the date of the actual ceremony. The Bridegroom would go to his father’s house and build a place for himself and his bride to live, usually attached to his father’s house.
Remember, Jesus told His disciples the following, and probably when their understanding hadn’t yet been opened to the fact He was viewing them as His collective Bride, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3)
The Bridegroom would not know when the day was, but sometime after building the house the father would then tell him “go, it’s time.” Jesus also told us regarding His return, “concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matt 24:36 and Mark 13:32)
At that appointed time, the groom and his friends would leave his home and proceed to the home of the bride, where the marriage ceremony was conducted, often at night. Usually a servant was sent first some time ahead of the bridegroom, to ‘pave the way’ and awaken the bride and the virgins. Since the servant would not know which one was the bride, she would sleep in her wedding dress since the wedding ceremony would customarily be at night, and she more than likely would be awakened from sleep for it.
After this the entire wedding party returned to the groom’s home for a celebratory feast. This engagement process could last any number of months, possibly a year or more if the bridegroom was preparing their place in a far distance away to travel to, and return from. As mentioned, many of Jesus’ parables or teachings regarding His return to the earth used wedding and marriage imagery they would be familiar with.
Why does this really matter?
It was also the Bridegroom’s responsibility to prepare enough wine for the reception and celebration of His own wedding. When Jesus was stating that His time had not come and what did that have to do with Him, he was saying: “It is not time for me to prepare the wine of my own wedding yet.” Jesus went ahead and did the miracle because it was the Father’s timing for him at that moment to perform that miracle.
Because Jesus desired to give just one more little glimpse that he is a lovesick Lover looking to prepare and present to Himself a pure and spotless Bride one in whom HE makes pure by washing her with His Word!
Remember Jesus’ disciples for a moment: these guys ran with Jesus, and at one point in Luke’s Gospel after Christ’s resurrection, it says He opened the Scriptures to them and open their eyes to understand, and they “recognized Him”. (Luke 24:31-32) Of course you are going to have a group of single guys, or gals, adults or married folks who in hearing they actually don’t understand unless understanding has been opened to who they are as His beloved. Of course they are going to be dull in hearing and totally misinterpret Scripture if it’s just a law book to them or list of prophecies! We should not be surprised in any way at the reactions the disciples had to some of the things Jesus told them and the crowds prior to this moment in their lives. Hence the reason we need to be washed with the Word, and have our mind renewed (Rom 12:1-2).
This matters because it was and is all a part of The Plan. The Gospel is the ultimate love story. God loved you before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). He didn’t wait to see how you’d turn out before He decided to love you. In the form of a man on the cross, He died to make a way for you to be included in His Bride, while you were yet dead in your sins (Col 2:13). Not only that, He made Himself vulnerable to your rejecting of His gift of eternal life and relationship with Him, before you even entered the earth. “But because of his great love for us God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Eph 2:4-5)
Before you even had a chance to make a commitment to Him or to reject Him, and spend eternity separated from Him, He loved you and desired you. Before you even committed any sin that led to His sacrifice even being necessary. Ultimately, He died before His Bride even knew about it and that that was the plan.
There’s coming a time, a consummation of the ages (see Heb 9:26), where the Wedding Feast will finally take place, and for the joy set before Him who endured the cross, despising its shame (Heb 12:2), Christ who died that you may be able to know Him and spend eternity with him, and He will finally get to.
It’s up to you to decide if you want to be a part of that, since He’s done His part and is waiting…
Check out the next post More Reflections on the Water Turned Into Wine.