Have you ever heard that your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life? I sometimes wonder who placed such enormous pressure on this one day. I think it has more to do with impressing people than predicting the longevity of a marriage or the happiness factor of the couple. Weddings are big business in America. Have you ever wondered what an average wedding costs these days? I thought you might be interested. You can find the most recent results of the Real Wedding Study here.
We try to present our very best on our wedding day. Perfection can be the rule of the day. Couples will sometimes diet and exercise for months just to appear perfect and fit into perfectly fitted dresses and tuxedoes. Photographers flutter nervously trying to capture the perfect moment. They snap photos at a paparazzi-like pace just to capture the magic of the day. The wedding ceremony is steeped in ritual and tradition. There is often a lavish banquet that follows. Then the couple is to live out their hopeful proclamation of the perfect marriage as a result of their perfect wedding day.
John's gospel includes a story about a wedding at Cana. Jesus attended with some of his disciples and his mother. This is one of two occasions we encounter Jesus' mother. The other being at the foot of the cross. A social disaster took place. Something was not perfect. There was no more wine. The family would have to endure the guilt and shame of not meeting the standards of perfection. However, Jesus responded to their need in an unexpected way.
The wedding banquet is a familiar biblical image which represents the ultimate union of heaven and earth. It's a foreshadowing of what is to come for the consummation of God and his people. The water jars used for Jewish purification were filled with new wine. This transformation was a sign that God was about to do something new through the Jewish system. God would bring purification to Israel in a whole new way. The new wine has special significance for those outside Israel, too. Jesus provided an internal cleansing the Jewish purification ritual could never provide. But, the new wine came at a significant cost. Jesus responded to our need in an unexpected way. He incurred the cost of our disaster. But, his provision would cost him his life. His blood is our new wine. We receive an invitation to the ultimate wedding feast because of what Jesus did instead of bearing the judgment of our imperfection ourselves. God invites us to attend the feast! Drink the new wine! Share in the joyful celebration!
Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "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 til now." John 2:9b-10 NIV