Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. – John 2:2
It’s not an accident that the context for Jesus’ first miraculous sign was a wedding. Weddings and marriage are important to the LORD. God invented marriage (Gen. 2:24). Weddings begin marriage and weddings are a big part of society today. Statistics bear this out:
- 2.3 million Couples are married every year in the United States; 6200 weddings per day.
- The average number of guests invited to a wedding is 178
- $72 billion per year is spent on weddings
- The average wedding budget is $20,000
- The average spent on wedding rings is $1,016
- $19 billion is spent per year on wedding registries
- $8 billion per year is spent on honeymoons
- Average honeymoon budget is $3,657
- Most wedding guests spend between $70-$100 on a gift
- 80% of weddings take place in churches or synagogues
- One third of those married each year have been married before
That last statistic leads us to ask about the state of marriage. Weddings and marriage are important to God. He invented this covenant relationship. That 80% of weddings take place in a house of worship is evidence that people still see the connection between God and weddings and marriages. People still value committing themselves to each other in the sight of God. But it should not be a surprise that whatever is important or valued by God will be attacked by the enemy Satan. Statistics bear this out; marriage is under fire:
- While some dispute the numbers it is generally accepted that 50% of marriages end in divorce – God “hates” divorce (Malachi 3:10-17).
- While there are 6200 weddings per day, there are 6,646 divorces per day; 46,523 per week. People are ending their marriages faster than they are starting them.
- The top five reasons for divorce are: poor communication; finances; abuse; no longer attracted to one another; and infidelity
- The more you are divorced, the more you are likely to be divorced: 41% of first marriages end in divorce; 60% of second marriages end in divorce; 73% of third marriages end in divorce
- The most expensive divorce to date is Mel Gibson’s divorce. He paid his ex-wife $425 million in their divorce settlement.
- The most divorces on record by one person is Zsa Zsa Gabor who was married 9 times. Her present marriage has lasted over 27 years.
- Lowest rates of divorce occur among jobs/careers related to: Ministry – approximately 6%; transit police – 5.26%; optometrists – 4.01%; agricultural engineers – 1.78%.
- Highest rates of divorce occur among jobs/careers related to: Dancers or choreographers – 43.05%; bartenders – 38.43%; massage therapists – 38.22%; gaming cage workers – 34.66%; and extruding machine operators – 32.74%
- Children from divorced families are 2 times as likely to drop out of high school
- Children of divorce frequently have lower academic achievement
- 25% of adolescents who experienced divorce become disengaged from families
- Statistics show children of divorce are more likely to have academic, behavioral and psychological problems
- 1/3 of divorces are caused by online affairs
- 54% of men do not believe online affairs are adultery
- 75% of men surveyed think it’s okay to visit adult websites
- 30% of cyber affairs escalate from e-mail to telephone calls to personal contacts
Wedding, marriage and family were created by God and are important to God. Marriage is the glue that holds society together. As marriage and family goes, so goes society. Whether or not your marriage is one of abundant life is greatly impacted by your relationship with God. For instance, those who attend church regularly are 35% less likely to divorce than those who do not or who don’t attend church at all. That means if 50% of marriages end in divorce for the general public, that the number for those who regularly attend church is about 17.5%. That’s a big difference, but still too high I’m sure for God.
We invest a lot of time and money on weddings and marriages. But the divorce rate demonstrates that marriages are faltering at an alarming rate and the cost in terms of family dysfunction, pain and finances is exorbitant. What is the solution? The better rate of healthy marriages among those who regularly attend church points us in the right direction. The more of God we have in our lives the healthier our marriages and families will be. The closer we come to Jesus the better our marriages and families will be. Having Jesus at the center of our marriages and families doesn’t mean we won’t have problems. It does mean we will be more likely to weather the storms of life. I encourage you from the start, invite Jesus to your wedding and keep Him at the center of your marriage and family. That is a strong message that comes through in John 2.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
People weren’t able to afford to regularly plan a few weeks’ personal vacation during the year in Jesus’ day. If they did that, they might not eat or some other pressing need would go undone that would have dire consequences. There were feast days and holy times of worshipping the Lord. But taking a weak off for a family vacation was not practical.
But there was one time in life when allowances were made to afford a week’s break from work – The wedding celebration. A Jewish wedding lasted one week. And while it was a time for the bride and groom to take off from work, it wasn’t like our modern day honeymoon. During this week family and friends would come and stay in the home of the bride and groom. As part of the wedding arrangement the groom would have built a house for his bride. This home was usually attached to his father’s house.
The Jewish wedding celebration was a honeymoon, family reunion, bachelor party, wedding shower and wedding all rolled into seven days of celebration. It was a glorious time in their life. In John 14 it is believed Jesus alludes to this wedding practice when He says, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). These words, when coupled with the reference to the “marriage of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7) present a beautiful illustration of Jesus and the church.
In Jesus’ day marriages were arranged by families. Two people would be betrothed to one another as children. This betrothal was binding. To get out of a betrothal required a divorce. When those betrothed to one another were ready to marry they would enter into the engagement. During this time the groom would go away and prepare the living quarters he and his bride would move into. The bride to be would wait patiently, alertly, not knowing the exact time her groom would finish his building and come to get her. It could be any time of the night or day!
Once he was ready the groom would come and take the bride. They would enter into marriage with a ceremony and a week’s wedding celebration. During this week, with all the family and friends assembled in their home to celebrate, the bride would be kept secluded in a separate room. Her and the groom would spend intimate time together. At the end of the week the groom and bride would emerge from the honeymoon room with their bed sheet as proof of the bride’s virginity and consummation of their marriage. They were then officially married and they would celebrate with a reception and gigantic culminating meal.
In the same way Jesus has gone away to prepare a place for His bride the church. When He is ready He will come unannounced and unexpectedly for His bride. He will rapture her to heaven where for a week of seven years there will be a wedding celebration. At the end of the seven years He and the bride the church will emerge, their marriage complete, and will return to earth for all to see and to reign. Will you be ready for your Groom when He returns for you? “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” (Rev. 19:9).
2 Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.
The world is in the process of redefining marriage. While many have opted for the stance that morality cannot be legislated, others have pursued legislating immorality. Our nation and much of the world has legislated the immorality of same-sex marriage. Polygamy won’t be far behind. Age of consent is being legislated away to allow for and approve what would previously have been pedophilia. Marriage between humans and animals will no doubt one day be acceptable. With all this foolish worldly trending away from God one has to wonder if Jesus is even invited to weddings anymore.
If you are planning a wedding have you made plans to invite Jesus to your wedding? Think about that. You may respond “Of course!” but if you were really mindful of inviting Jesus to your wedding would anything you promote or allow at your wedding be a source of embarrassment in the presence of Jesus? If you really have invited Jesus to your wedding, will you honor your most honorable Guest?
The very first thing to keep in mind and heart when a wedding is being planned is to prayerfully send out invitations to Jesus and His disciples to attend. Every facet and part of a wedding should be planned with Jesus in mind. The ceremony, the reception, the music, the dancing, food and beverages, everything at the wedding should be to the glory of Jesus; to the glory of God. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). Is this how you intend to plan your wedding? Are Jesus and His disciples invited to your wedding? A wedding isn’t really what a wedding is meant to be without the presence of Jesus in attendance.
Another important even more basic foundational point to be seen here is that, the setting for Jesus first miraculous sign was a wedding; Jesus gave approval and made His presence known with a wedding. Weddings are important! Jesus makes His presence known with weddings. A wedding and marriage illustrates an important aspect of Jesus’ personal relationship with His bride the church as well as with individuals who make up that church (e.g. Eph. 5:21-33).
Bible teacher and Pastor Jon Courson points this out well when he comments:
Jesus’ presence at this particular wedding signals His stamp of approval upon all aspects of the institution of marriage—civil, legal, and religious. A wedding ceremony itself has an effect that is not often understood. Couples find a commitment made to each other in a public ceremony harder to break when the going gets tough. Perhaps that is why statistics show that those who live together before marriage have a substantially higher divorce rate than those who don’t. I continue to be amazed at the large number of couples who say, “What does a piece of paper matter? Why can’t we just make a private commitment to God and to each other without all of the legal and religious procedures?” Here in John 2, at the very outset of His public ministry, Jesus honored and elevated the institution of marriage.
Jesus felt and feels weddings are important. He chose a wedding as the setting to introduce His ministry. Weddings should be holy events that we invite Jesus to attend. Marriage is holy and sacred and worth standing up for. Does your wedding and marriage announce the presence of Jesus? Is Jesus invited to your wedding?
Courson, Jon: Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2003, S. 447