JESUS: A VERY SPECIAL FRIEND OF YOUNG ADULTS
By: Frank G. Tunstall
“On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding” (John 2:1-2).
The best decision this couple ever made was to invite Jesus to their wedding! The finest decision any couple getting married can make is to invite Jesus to their wedding, and then let Him help build their home!
As Valentine’s Day approaches, it is appropriate to consider this great story again.
These young adults obviously did not comprehend just how prestigious the guest was they welcomed. In addition, they had no way to know their union was about to become the symbol for marriage in the Christian era. The presence of Jesus of Nazareth made it so.
It is possible these young people did not come from wealthy families and were not able to plan a large wedding with hundreds of guests. Their modest means did not hinder Jesus from attending their wedding and bringing his disciples. Today this couple is honored around the world, and Cana of Galilee, in the ancient tribe of Asher, is a village with enduring, worldwide fame.
Longer Without Her!
Mary Francis Meyers died today, a great woman in our church. Her husband Ken died two or three years ago. I’ll never forget being in the Fireside Room when they celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. I said, “Ken, fifty years is a long time.”
He immediately responded, “Not nearly as long as it would have been without her.”
Marriage as God’s Idea
The institution of marriage was birthed by God. He made the family the basic building block of society. The Lord who was present at Cana had also been present and officiated at history’s first wedding in the Garden of Eden.
It is important to study the life of Jesus both for what he said, and for what he did. His presence at this Jewish wedding made its own statement about what the Lord considered important. The Messiah’s presence and first miracle there extended the model of the wedding established in the Garden of Eden to the whole of the Christian era.
Moses interpreted the first wedding in Eden saying, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4–5, 8). This language is very focused: one man for one woman until death parts them. Any other model of a “wedding” cannot carry the blessing of “Christian.”
Not only is God the Father the originator of marriage. He is also its protector.
THINK ABOUT IT: Oh! that every bride and groom today would consciously and prayerfully invite Jesus to their wedding, as well as seek his aid in making their marriage successful.
Jesus, the First Apostle
2:3 “When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine’… 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Running out of wine could illustrate the limited financial means of this young man and his family. The development would have been embarrassing to them and offensive to their guests.
This wedding is an open door to see the apostolic nature of the work of Jesus. Jesus is the first apostle of the gospel era. An apostle is a person who is sent on a mission. As the Son of God, Jesus was commissioned by his Father to take away the sin of the world. At this wedding, His apostolic function was to bless this young couple, and in doing so set the example for what would become the place of the wedding in the church that would be birthed not many months down the road.
Marriage and the family are very important to God. Jesus’ presence at this Jewish wedding guaranteed marriage between a man and a woman would have the highest importance in the New Covenant. Hence, Jesus’ attendance set a cornerstone value for the church He was soon to launch. This wedding modeled that the divine ideal is for children to be birthed and reared by a father and a mother.
John further demonstrated the special significance of weddings by placing this wedding at the start of Jesus’ ministry and blessing these young people with His very first miracle. In doing so, the Lord actually affirmed the institution of marriage and the family before he met with Nicodemus and introduced the New Birth (John 3).
Jesus, the “apostle…of our profession” set the bar high, performing His first miracle not at a sick bed, but at a wedding celebration (Hebrews 3:1). The symbolism resulting from His doing this is that the institution of marriage is foundational in building Godly homes. God-fearing families develop biblically based cultures. As goes the family, so goes a nation.
Everywhere the gospel has gone worldwide, no matter how pagan the culture, the example Jesus set at Cana of Galilee has exalted monogamous marriage as the divine plan: one man for one woman until death parts them.
Doing this also shows the Lord’s genius in action. Marriage as a lifetime covenant requires commitment and truthfulness in the ups and downs of life. In fact, commitment sustains marriages; feelings of love come and go, and must always be secondary to commitment. This faithfulness builds into a culture the fidelity that makes for a strong nation. Any society is anemic that does not have fidelity in marriage between fathers and mothers as its basic building block.
THINK ABOUT IT: This young couple needed help but didn’t know they needed help. Jesus gave them the best wine as a creative gift without their even asking for his help. How often Jesus gives blessings to all of His children without being asked! For just one example, He sends His rain on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).
Jesus’ Care for Young Couples
The Messiah who gave this young couple in a matter of seconds the gift of a lifetime is in a league all by Himself. How much wiser to recognize and admit Jesus is the Son of God and “the one and only.” The word of this awesome Lord is final for all matters of creation as well as for faith and practice. This includes the institution of marriage.
In beautiful fashion, by showing love to this couple, Jesus demonstrated His great love for all young adults. Yes, when Jesus’ story is shared faithfully and creatively, young men and women perceive Jesus is very concerned about them too. Jesus is both able and willing to add blessing to the homes and families newlyweds build.
Jesus graciously honored this couple with what they could not provide themselves, and did it requiring nothing in return. The servants and Jesus’ disciples knew immediately what had happened, although the groom and master of the banquet did not. One can imagine the awe on their faces when they witnessed such creative power. The response of the master of the banquet about saving the best wine until last must have left the groom wondering what he was talking about—until they both learned what had taken place.
No doubt the master of the banquet quickly realized who was the Master of the banquet!
Turning Wine Back Into Water
THINK ABOUT IT: “C. S. Lewis may have become the chief Christian tutor to the twentieth century because he refused the perennial temptation to turn the wine back into water!”
Many people, though, look at the miracles of Jesus and try to offer rational explanations for how they could have happened. Others deny them out of hand, dismissing them as impossible.
Rational thinking falls flat at Cana of Galilee; this was an act of God. Any effort to explain it away or turn the wine back into water, falls flat. It takes years and meticulous, diligent work to develop a vineyard to the point it is ready to produce a harvest of mouth-watering grapes. Then a husbandman works a whole growing season caring for the vineyard and protecting it from the little foxes that can so easily spoil the vines (Song of Solomon 2:15). Without this abundant attention, a vineyard will not grow and ripen into fruit. The grapes must also be picked, crushed and filtered, and then allowed to age for months, even years.
Jesus understood the predicament of these young people before they did, and chose to bless them even though they had not asked for His help. The Messiah attending their wedding spoke a creative Word and it superseded the cycle of seed–time and harvest. In doing so, the Son of God demonstrated he was Lord over time and seasons.
Jesus gave these young people a wedding gift they surely talked about the remainder of their lives!
In seconds pots full of water became jars full of the best aged wine. This miracle wedding gift stands out because it showed God can do in a flash of time what takes years to accomplish in the stages of a vineyard. The miracle also glows in its manifold graciousness: Jesus was willing to do this for the young couple.
Agape Love Revealed at this Wedding
This miraculous story is a beautiful portrait of agape love. Agape is the love of God that acts for your benefit as only God knows your need. Jesus does it freely, whether or not it is earned, or deserved, or asked for, or even wanted – and asks nothing in return.
This miracle demonstrates the love of God.
- It shows Jesus’ special love for a young couple who did not know they had a need.
- The special love of God at this wedding affirms the sanctity of Christian marriage as the basic building block of society. While wedding customs differ from culture to culture, the union of one man and one woman becoming one flesh in a lifetime relationship—monogamous marriage—has become the Christian standard wherever the gospel has gone throughout the world.
- The special love of God demonstrated at Cana highlights the love of God that gave Jesus to the world in an incarnation through the womb of the Virgin Mary. The Son of Man, God’s Son, was on the scene, enjoying their wedding. He gave this young couple a gift of perhaps 150 gallons of wine – more than enough to finish the banquet with plenty left over to sell and use to launch their marriage. It was quite a handsome gift!
- The special love of God shown at Cana looks forward to the New Covenant Jesus was about to launch. In the New Covenant, miracles like the one at Cana of Galilee would be powerful tools as one of the gifts of the Spirit to bring people to faith in Christ.
- In the New Covenant fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman is a symbol, a foreshadowing, of the love relationship of Jesus to His bride, the church. That “marriage” will consummate in the great wedding at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
How many times Jesus has positioned himself right in the middle of our circumstances as our secret admirer!
Many movies have been filmed around a plot in which an actress receives a dozen red roses after her performance. The card is signed, “Secret Admirer.”
The tension of the plot rests on discovering the secret admirer. Finally, he reveals himself. They go out for dinner, fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after.
Our “Secret Admirer” is God’s Son who loves us so lavishly He died on the cross for our salvation.
Yes, young couples are very special objects of God’s love.