What do wine and weddings have to do with you and me?
Let us understand that Jesus makes good better.
We will look at weddings, making good better, abundance and the best from Jesus.
Something always goes wrong
Few weddings go off without a hitch. Something always goes wrong. In a recent family wedding the groom got a little ahead of things and started to lift his bride’s veil, much to the enjoyment of the preacher and the audience. The wine preparations for the wedding at Cana went south (John 2:1-11). It’s not clear whether the wine ran out or some was discovered to have already turned to vinegar. Bottom line: there was not enough for a week long celebration. The Bible describes wine as a blessing from God but like many blessings, dangerous if it's abused. In that society hospitality was much more highly expected than today. Jesus saved the wedding from a very embarrassing social catastrophe. As Christians we have the right and the privilege to ask Jesus for a miracle when something goes wrong.
Making good better
One Bible commentary describes the miracle of turning water into wine as not making “bad good, but good better” * (John 2:1-11). So, the institution of marriage is a good thing whereby a man and a woman become one flesh. Yet without Christ, a marriage is like water, good but not better. When we invite Christ as a guest into our marriages, he can turn the good water of human relationships into the better wine of heaven. Jesus provided the best wine at the wedding feast and provides the best wine to bless our marriages. And just as at the wedding feast Jesus does not do so by skimping, but generously. When Jesus blesses a marriage he does so abundantly. God gave us good things in all of life, but if we let him Jesus can make the good better.
* Jamieson, Fawsset and Brown. Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. 1871. Web. January 15, 2013. Grand Rapids: Christian Classics Ethereal Library. <http://www.ccel.org/ccel/jamieson/jfb.pdf>
Theology of abundance
What is a theology of abundance? It is not reckless destruction of the environment because of a belief that natural resources are unlimited. It is a belief in spiritual resources beyond our limited world. It is faith that God will provide abundantly and so we can be generous rather than greedy. We could believe that what we have is all that God will provide and so hoard things and bury them in a napkin rather than work to grow God’s gifts. A theology of abundance is based on faith in the acts of God such as Jesus feeding the 5,000 with only a few fish and loaves. It is a belief that Jesus can turn water into wine (John 2:1-11). It is a belief in the midst of the ordinary that the best wine is yet to come.
A Jewish wedding
What kind of wedding were Jesus and the disciples invited to at Cana (John 2:1-11)? In those days marriages were not a state or even a church affair, but a family one. The parents of the prospective couple were the authorities that approved the marriage and the engagement was as binding as a marriage contract is today. Once agreed to, the groom may have taken a year to build a house or addition onto his parents’ home. Then he came for his bride. With great celebration they entered their new dwelling to consummate the marriage. Only then did the festivities begin. and lasted a week with the whole community celebrating. A large amount of food and wine was needed, that’s why Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine may have supplied perhaps as much as 120-180 US gallons.
The best wine
When Jesus’ turned water into wine (John 2:1-11) it was described as the best wine. What makes the best wine? Let’s ignore the snobbery that goes along with brand names and regions and look at some things that make for real quality. Let’s focus on high quality dessert wines. They take more effort than an ordinary table wine. For an ice wine, the harvest is made at precisely the right moment when the grapes freeze while on the vine and pressed overnight while still frozen. This yields a more concentrated and sweeter wine than than an early harvest wine and is more expensive. Other dessert wines like Sauterne or Trockenbeerenauslese are also late harvest wines squeezed when the grape is almost dry yielding less wine per pound of grapes. That’s why quality dessert wines are sweeter and more expensive.
Just as Jesus' mother Mary asked him to make good better,so too do we have the right and privilege to invite him into our lives and make good better.