“On the third day, there was a wedding…”
This is how John begins to tell the story of Jesus of Nazareth turning Cana well-water into fine wine. It was his first recorded miracle.
One of the tragedies of our modern time is how few people bother to read or listen to God’s own word. Many spend time reading and listening to books, blogs, articles, podcasts, and sermons about God’s word, but few engage with it directly and fully themselves. Why is that, I wonder?
One reason is that many of us are tempted to believe that we wake up each day to a funeral.
Clearly from all accounts we see in the media, the world is in a near-constant state of mourning. Corruption and violence have killed our collective hope for true justice and real peace in our lifetime. Too many hearts are hard and too many inclinations are evil. What can reading God’s word do in light of all that? How can it really help me?
John reminds us: “On the third day there was a wedding…”
I need this reminder: Everything in God’s word points to a wedding feast, and not a funeral.
The covenant God who vowed to love his people from the beginning has come to them as a bridegroom comes for his bride. He will never leave her, always love her, fiercely protect her, tenderly provide for her, and always do what’s best for her – in this life and the next.
The wedding at Cana in John 2 describes an event that had potential to cause sincere mourning and pain rather than joy. The day could have ended in deep regret, with the helpless host’s clear lack, loss, and humiliation made painfully obvious to everyone present.
The family of the bride was not able to provide enough wine for their loved ones to fully celebrate a new life together. What a cringe-worthy and unfortunate shame to both her and her parents! But I can identify, can’t you? Like the wedding hosts who are stunned to discover that their wine has run out, I also realize daily that my best plans for joy in this life have fallen woefully short.
I’ve not been able to provide the rich feasting I had hoped for my people. My own lack – my personal inadequacy in so many things – might actually have impoverished those I truly love and hope to help. I thought I had enough good wine to go around. I hoped to have an ample supply of personal goodness to make everyone’s heart light and glad.
But I don’t, it seems, and I’m tempted every day to mourn. And so God’s living word speaks again and again against the temptation to despair: “On the third day there was a wedding…”
Ah yes. God has come into the world, not to preside over a dirge, or a fast, but to begin a kingdom feast! Because of Jesus, I am rescued. As host of the wedding feast he doesn’t ridicule my helpless and anxious state. Instead, astonishingly, Jesus fills up all the obviously empty containers with a fine and fragrant wine, and then presents them as a precious offering to God.
Jesus has come to us, and this is why we read and listen to God’s word. Because everything in the scriptures is about him, not us. He is the wine. He is the host of the feast. He is the bridegroom at the marriage supper of the Lamb. He is the Lamb!
Jesus of Nazareth is the endless supply of real and true life, given freely to those who would humbly offer their empty vessels for him to fill.
Jesus fills us up with his own spirit. Why? So we can be his body in the world. So we can offer a taste of his extravagant goodness to those in our midst. So we can be a generous, joyful, and confident people – knowing that as much as we pour out this life on others, his wine will never run dry.
This is my own body, given for you my beloved church. This is my own blood, poured out for you my precious brothers and sisters. Eat and drink your fill – feast on my bread and wine – for it will never run dry!
“And on the third day, he rose again…”
I have come to you; humbled myself; obeyed my father; conquered suffering and death and the depths of hell; risen again, and filled you with my own spirit, so that you might live in peace and communion with me, and with one another, now and always.
Peace today as you feast on God’s living word. For it was given with great love and expectation for you and yours.
Remember me and abide in me. For I am with you always, even to the ends of the earth.
*image from Kevin Mullins photography, Uptown Gentleman (uk.)
3 responses to It’s All About Him
Thank you, Kim! Thank you for always pointing to Jesus. I’ve been reading your blog for probably 5 years or so, and your words are always an encouragement. I have spent many years not in God’s Word – around it in church, radio, blogs, etc – but not digging in for myself. Recently, when praying and thinking about this, He put on my heart – said almost audibly one night – “Let Me show you what I can do.” And He is FAITHFUL. He is always right there, present. Thank you for sharing “on the third day” – a reminder of the hope that we have EVERY day! Love and prayers to you and yours!
Kassi, this note gives me a great deal of encouragement, thank you for taking a minute to write. And thank you for reading all these years!
I pray that God abundantly blesses your efforts to know him and see him.
I’ve found that almost every time I read God’s word, if I ask the question,” Where do You want me to see Jesus in this passage, psalm, parable, prophetic rant — 🙂 ? that the Holy Spirit is always very amenable to showing him to me! It has made reading the scriptures far more joy than duty.
Much love to you in your continued opens to let God show you what he can do!
Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for this reminder: “Everything in God’s word points to a wedding feast, and not a funeral.” How easily we get tangled up in the cares and burdens of this world and fail to remember that Christ has already taken care of them. May we encourage one another with these words. Thank you for writing, for sharing. Blessings to you!