Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wedding Thoughts- Part One

On Sunday I had the privilege of witnessing a wedding ceremony during our worship service. (Congratulations Steve and Victoria! May God bless both of you in this covenant!) Our pastor has been preaching a series about Jesus called “One Extraordinary Life”. Our text was John 2, which tells us about a wedding that Jesus attended as a guest. Besides the things I learned from our Pastor, some other things jumped out at me in the text.

The first of these was the phrase, “On the third day.” I've heard those words before. Is there significance here? What else has happened on the third day? When Jesus was telling his disciples about the events that would soon be occurring, he told them that he would be killed and on the third day raised to life (Mt. 16:21). Is there a reason that Jesus first miracle and the beginning of his public ministry also occurs on a third day?

Then I pondered why his first miracle was at a wedding. Was this important? As I thought more, tears formed in my eyes. A wedding? Isn’t Jesus whole ministry really about a wedding? Didn’t Jesus come to find his beloved and bring her to Him? Isn’t a wedding a natural place to start? (I still have questions regarding Jesus’s words in vs. 3, but I think I’ll save that for a little later.)

I wanted to know more about weddings in Jesus’s time, so I did a little digging. (I’m beginning to love digging!) At this time when a man found his beloved, he wrote a marriage covenant. He proposed the Ketubah, or marriage covenant, to his beloved and her father. Included in this proposal was a “bride price”, which was intended to cover the cost of raising his beloved. It also spoke of his love for her. Our Savior paid for us with His own blood. Surely we are precious to Him!

Next, the young man poured a cup of wine. If the beloved accepted the offer, she would drink this cup. The covenant was thought of as a blood covenant. The couple was now betrothed and bound by a covenant that can only be broken by divorce. Jesus has offered us a cup of wine. We find this cup being offered at the Last Supper in Mt. 26:27-28. Jesus said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people.” When Jesus offered this cup he was saying, “Will you marry me?”

At this time the young man gave his beloved gifts and left her. The beloved waited for him to return for her. During this time she prepared herself for that day. The young man was also making preparations. He went to his father’s house and prepared a room in it for his bride. He could only return for his bride when the father approved of his preparations. If someone asked him what day he would be bringing her home, he replied, “Only the father knows.” Are there some tingles in your toes as you read this? Our groom has gone to prepare a place for us. He told us so in John 14:2. Jesus has gone to His Father’s house and is busy preparing a place for us. Can you imagine what He’s up to? And he will return for us. He’ll return when the place is approved by his father. Only the Father knows when that will be, but we can be sure it will happen!

Finally the day came for the groom to bring his bride to his father’s house. The bride and groom went to their room for a honeymoon that lasted seven days. It was at this time that the covenant was consummated. The guests in the house celebrated for those seven days. Talk about a party! At the end of the seven days, the husband and wife would join the guests for a wedding supper. What a time it will be when Jesus returns for His bride!

We'll return back to John 2 and the wedding Jesus was attending in the next post.

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