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Monday, August 4, 2014

Wedding at Cana – New Wine -- Part 2

   We are now into the time of Jesus' ministry that begins and ends at Cana. (see John 2:1;4:54 ) 
          Jewish weddings were a time of great celebration. The Jewish father would host an extravagant feast for the guests. These wedding feasts would last 7 days. Seven is the number of completion/perfection.
    God often referred to His relationship with Israel as a marriage. Although His people were unfaithful to Him, God remained faithful to them and promised to establish an everlasting covenant with them. (see Jeremiah 31:31; Ezekiel 16:60) The New Covenant in Christ is the fulfillment of this promise of God. All of the Older Testament Covenants were established in Christ because He fulfilled them. They are alive in Christ. (One day, I hope to do a teaching on the Older Testament Covenants and their fulfillment in Christ.) And all of the promises of God in the Older Testament are yea and amen in Him.  (see 2 Corinthians 1:20)
          At this wedding feast in Cana, the host ran out of wine on the third day. This would be humiliating to the father and the bride and groom. Jesus will save the father and the couple from shame and humiliation by providing the finest wine through His transforming power.
           In order to fully understand the message of this wedding at Cana, we must look at Jewish weddings at the time of Jesus.

Jewish Wedding

    There are two parts to a Jewish wedding. The first is the betrothal (kidushin). First, the father and the groom negotiate a purchase price for the son's bride (mohar). The groom enters into a contract with his bride and her family that he will care for her and go to prepare a place for her. Even though they are only engaged, they are considered husband and wife from this day forward. She is set apart for her soon-to-be husband. She must be faithful and devoted to her husband-to-be until He comes to gather her as his bride. Only the father of the groom knows the day and the hour of the wedding!
    The bridegroom gives love gifts to his bride (mattan). The father of the bride gives her a part of her inheritance (shiluhim) to equip her for her new life with her husband. 
    Once the bride and groom are in covenant, the groom leaves her home and returns to his father where he will prepare a place for her. While the bridegroom is doing this, the bride must go through a time of preparation. She will be taught all things necessary for her marital responsibilities. She must also prepare her wedding garment. The bride will be taught, prepared and purified during this time as she awaits with anticipation for the day of her wedding.
          At the appointed time of the father, the bridegroom will come back to get his bride and take her to his home. The bridegroom and his family and friends have a procession to go to get his bride.  They carry torches to light the darkness because the journey is sometimes long. The bride, her family and friends will join the bridegroom's procession as they return to the father's house. Along the way, others who see the procession will join the journey to the father's house led by the bridegroom and his friends. The procession will increase along the way.  It is a time of great joy and celebration. At the exact time and hour of the father of the bridegroom, the wedding ceremony (huppah) and feast will take place.
    The bride and groom will drink from a shared cup of wine at the beginning of the engagement, and at the end of the wedding ceremony. The first cup seals the betrothal between the bride and groom. The second cup of wine at the end of the wedding ceremony seals the marriage.
    After the drinking from the shared cup of wine, the bride and groom are carried off to the wedding chamber alone, and the two become one flesh.
Jesus and His Bride
    It is quite obvious that the Jewish wedding process is a picture of the marriage of Christ and His Bride. Once again, God used the “natural” to speak a “supernatural” truth.
    Our mohar was paid in full by Christ on the cross. This price was negotiated between the Father and the Son long before the world was created. The mohar (purchase price) reflected the value of the bride. The value of Christ's Bride was worth suffering and dying on the cross and giving her all that belonged to Him. This was motivated by pure love both of the Father and of the Son.
    Jesus is the Bridegroom; we are His Bride. Jesus left His earthly home to return to His Heavenly home with the Father to prepare a place for His Bride. 
    Jesus entered into a marriage contract (New Covenant) with His Bride by His blood-- symbolized by wine. All who love and follow Jesus are betrothed to Him awaiting the day of the wedding. Only the Father knows the day and the hour of the wedding.   
    The Bride of Christ is presently between the betrothal and the wedding ceremony and feast. We drink the communion cup sealing our betrothal to Jesus. Jesus is preparing us as a bride adorned for her Husband with His Bread of life (Word) anointed by the Holy Spirit. We remember what Jesus did to redeem us, what He is doing to equip us and purify us, and what He will do in the end when all things are restored to holiness.
    Believers in Christ are to draw from the wine of His grace, love, truth, goodness, kindness, long-suffering, patience, knowledge, peace and comfort and share these with others.
          The Father, Son and Holy Spirit give us love gifts to prepare us and others for our union with our Husband. These are spiritual gifts. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. The gifts of Christ are listed in Ephesians 4:11-13. The source of all gifts are from the Father through His grace. (see Romans 11:29; 12:3-8)
    Those who love and follow Jesus carry His Light as we journey through the darkness on this earth awaiting His coming as the Bridegroom for the Bride. Jesus wants us to bring an increase of believers to our Bridegroom as we journey with Him on earth. Jesus said that the joy of the Lord will be our strength as we continue His work for God's Kingdom. Like the procession of the Jewish bridegroom and bride, the procession should increase along the way by others joining with the Bridegroom and the Bride who will share in our joy. 
    Jesus will come in a cloud of glory and call His Bride to Himself in the air. He will then drink the wedding cup with His Bride, as the Jewish bride and groom drank the wedding cup at the end of their ceremony. Jesus said to His apostles in Matthew 26:29, “I will not drink from this cup from now on until the day when I drink it anew with you in My Father's Kingdom.” The wedding cup sealing our union with Him forever is what Jesus was referring to in this scripture. Then we will unite with Him as One in holy matrimony forever. We will be united Spirit to Spirit. All will be complete, pure and perfect again on the 7th day of our Lord. 
   Jesus gave us a foretaste of this wedding celebration in the Last Supper and communion cup. The communion feast is fully and completely revealed in the marriage supper of the Lamb.  Jesus drank the cup of betrothal with His chosen 12 -- the beginning of His Bride -- at the Last Supper sealing the betrothal between them.  He will drink the second cup of wine at the end of the eternal wedding feast in heaven sealing His marriage to His Bride forever.
   Jesus places great value on marriage and the unity of believers. The most important Person at this wedding feast in Cana was Jesus. Jesus is also to be the most important Person in an earthly marriage. He was invited to this Jewish wedding feast. Likewise, He must be invited into any earthly marriage. Walking with Jesus and the ways of Jesus by both the bridegroom and the bride will keep the marriage forever. Only Jesus can maintain the spiritual bread that feeds us and the spiritual wine that abundantly blesses. Jesus provides us a life that can bless us and others abundantly. Earthly husbands and wives should spend at much time getting to really know Jesus as they do learning about each other. 

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