Have you ever wondered why Jesus turned the water into wine at a wedding feast as his first miracle? He could have walked on the water, raised the dead or fed 5,000 people, all of which he did later. What does this first miracle tell us about Jesus?

If you go to a wedding as a single person, what do you think about? You probably think about your own wedding. Is it possible that Jesus was thinking about his own wedding?

Wait a minute! Jesus never married. Yes, that’s true, but the Bible says Jesus is going to marry. His wedding feast or party will be the ultimate wedding of all time! The good news is that YOU’RE INVITED!

Before I tell you how you can RSVP or accept his wedding invitation, let’s look at Jesus as Lord of the wine.

When the wine taster of the feast in Cana tasted the wine that Jesus made from water, he said to the bridegroom, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” (John 2:10). He thought the bridegroom had provided the wine. He didn’t know that Jesus had turned the water into wine. Like a lot of people, he didn’t know Jesus is the Lord of the wine!

Have you ever thought of Jesus as the Lord of the wine, Lord of the marriage feast or the life of the party? Few think of Jesus as the Lord of the marriage feast who provides the best wine for his guests.

Jesus will always be the Lamb of God who gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Certainly, his sacrifice on a cruel cross for our sins was no party. He bore the judgment we deserve and rose from the dead to show he had conquered death that he might offer eternal life as a free gift to all who believe in him.

When Jesus returns, he won’t come as a suffering servant. He will return as a triumphant king ready to throw the biggest party in the universe for his bride! You don’t want to miss this party! I’ll tell you who Jesus is going to marry in a moment, but let’s look at Jesus’ response to his mother when she told him there was no more wine at the wedding party.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come,” (John 2:4).

Huh? What could Jesus mean by this response, which sounds illogical and perhaps harsh? What does Jesus’ hour have to do with wine? Let’s find out.

When Jesus spoke of his “hour” at the Cana wedding feast, he spoke of his crucifixion. Immediately before eating the Passover Feast at the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus said, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name,” (John 12:27-28a).

The idea of being separated from his Father as he bore the judgment for our sins was a thought so terrible that Jesus prayed for a way out. But there was no escape. The hour came when Jesus screamed on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

At the Last Supper, Jesus used wine as a symbol for his own blood that he would pour out as a payment for our sins. “Then he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins,’” (Matthew 26:27-28).

“In order to drink the cup of joy with us at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, Jesus had to drink the cup of eternal justice at the cross,” said Tim Keller in his sermon entitled Lord of the Wine. “We can only have Jesus’ joy through his sorrow.”

In the midst of all the joy of the wedding at Cana, Jesus is sipping the coming sorrow of his own death.

Also at the Last Supper, Jesus said of the wine, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom,” (Matthew 26:29).

In the first century, Jewish men proposed to Jewish women by offering a cup of wine with these words, “This cup represents a covenant in blood.” By taking a sip from the cup, a woman accepted the proposal. The couple would not drink of this cup again until their wedding night, according to scholar Dr. Ryan Messmore.

The betrothed or engaged Jewish man would go to his father’s house and build a room for his bride. The couple wouldn’t see each other for about a year. When asked about the date for the wedding, the groom would say, “Only my father knows.”

When the room was ready, the groom with his family and friends would go to his bride’s house to claim her as his wife.

Jesus told his disciples: “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3 NIV).

Jesus is following the Jewish betrothal custom. He could return at any moment to claim his bride for what the Bible calls the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. The question remains, “Who is Jesus going to marry?”

Jesus is going to marry the church. Most people think of a church as a building, but the Bible speaks of a church as the assembly of believers. Jesus’ bride is the universal church that consists of all people from all time who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Ephesus, he said, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” (Ephesians 5:25).

The future habitat for Christians is called the New Jerusalem: “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” (Revelation 21:2).

Jesus is the ultimate lover. He’s the only lover who can fulfill your soul. Jesus gave his life so that you might live eternally and abundantly. The major picture we have of heaven is not people floating on clouds playing harps. Listen to Jesus’ own description of his kingdom, “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 8:11).

A feast is a party! Jesus will return as bridegroom to take his bride as Lord of the feast. Jesus wants you to be there when the party begins.

Maybe part of the reason God created weddings, and even the very institution of marriage, was to create a longing in us for a perfect relationship, absolute love and complete unity. A longing He will fulfill at that Ultimate Wedding. Hope to see you there!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).

Believe in Jesus today to secure your place at his wedding feast! Jesus drank the cup of suffering that you might drink the cup of his joy forevermore!

************

This article is sponsored by Leo and RoeAnn Estevez, owners of VineCrafters: fine, handcrafted wines, naturally made without added sulfites for superior taste. VineCrafters.com

Have you ever wondered why Jesus turned the water into wine at a wedding feast as his first miracle? He could have walked on the water, raised the dead or fed 5,000 people, all of which he did later. What does this first miracle tell us about Jesus?

If you go to a wedding as a single person, what do you think about? You probably think about your own wedding. Is it possible that Jesus was thinking about his own wedding?

Wait a minute! Jesus never married. Yes, that’s true, but the Bible says Jesus is going to marry. His wedding feast or party will be the ultimate wedding of all time! The good news is that YOU’RE INVITED!

Before I tell you how you can RSVP or accept his wedding invitation, let’s look at Jesus as Lord of the marriage feast.

When the wine taster of the feast in Cana tasted the wine that Jesus made from water, he said to the bridegroom, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” (John 2:10). He thought the bridegroom had provided the wine. He didn’t know that Jesus had turned the water into wine. Like a lot of people, he didn’t know Jesus is the Lord of the wine!

Have you ever thought of Jesus as the Lord of the wine, Lord of the marriage feast or the life of the party? Few think of Jesus as the Lord of the marriage feast who provides the best wine for his guests.

Jesus will always be the Lamb of God who gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Certainly, his sacrifice on a cruel cross for our sins was no party. He bore the judgment we deserve and rose from the dead to show he had conquered death that he might offer eternal life as a free gift to all who believe in him.

When Jesus returns, he won’t come as a suffering servant. He will return as a triumphant king ready to throw the biggest party in the universe for his bride! You don’t want to miss this party! I’ll tell you who Jesus is going to marry in a moment, but let’s look at Jesus’ response to his mother when she told him there was no more wine at the wedding party.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come,” (John 2:4).

Huh? What could Jesus mean by this response, which sounds illogical and perhaps harsh? What does Jesus’ hour have to do with wine? Let’s find out.

When Jesus spoke of his “hour” at the Cana wedding feast, he spoke of his crucifixion. Immediately before eating the Passover Feast or the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus said, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name,” (John 12:27-28a).

The idea of being separated from his Father as he bore the judgment for our sins was a thought so terrible that Jesus prayed for a way out. But there was no escape. The hour came when Jesus screamed on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

At the Last Supper, Jesus used wine as a symbol for his own blood that he would pour out as a payment for our sins. “Then he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins,’” (Matthew 26:27-28).

“In order to drink the cup of joy with us at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, Jesus had to drink the cup of eternal justice at the cross,” said Tim Keller in his sermon entitled Lord of the Wine. “We can only have Jesus’ joy through his sorrow.”

In the midst of all the joy of the wedding at Cana, Jesus is sipping the coming sorrow of his own death.

Also at the Last Supper, Jesus said of the wine, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom,” (Matthew 26:29).

In the first century, Jewish men proposed to Jewish women by offering a cup of wine with these words, “This cup represents a covenant in blood.” By taking a sip from the cup, a woman accepted the proposal. The couple would not drink of this cup again until their wedding night, according to scholar Dr. Ryan Messmore.

The betrothed or engaged Jewish man would go to his father’s house and build a room for his bride. The couple wouldn’t see each other for about a year. When asked about the date for the wedding, the groom would say, “Only my father knows.”

When the room was ready, the groom with his family and friends would go to his bride’s house to claim her as his wife.

Jesus told his disciples: “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3, NIV).

Jesus is following the Jewish betrothal custom. He could return at any moment to claim his bride for what the Bible calls the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. The question remains, “Who is Jesus going to marry?”

Jesus is going to marry the church. Most people think of a church as a building, but the Bible speaks of a church as the assembly of believers. Jesus’ bride is the universal church that consists of all people from all time who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Ephesus, he said, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” (Ephesians 5:25).

The future habitat for Christians is called the New Jerusalem: “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” (Revelation 21:2).

Jesus is the ultimate lover. He’s the only lover who can fulfill your soul. Jesus gave his life so that you might live eternally and abundantly. The major picture we have of heaven is not people floating on clouds playing harps. Listen to Jesus’ own description of his kingdom, “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 8:11, NIV).

A feast is a party! Jesus will return as bridegroom to take his bride as Lord of the feast. Jesus wants you to be there when the party begins.

Maybe part of the reason God created weddings, and even the very institution of marriage, was to create a longing in us for a perfect relationship, absolute love and complete unity. A longing He will fulfill at that Ultimate Wedding. Hope to see you there!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).

Believe in Jesus today to secure your place at his wedding feast!

Progress article
July 3, 1992

“What Color is Your Idol?” Asks Christian Sociologist

by Carey Kinsolving

“Racism-Ethnocentrism has made a comeback in new forms,” says a Christian sociologist who recently organized a conference entitled, “What Color is Your Idol?”

“Like all idols, this idol threatens to redivide the world into a new Babel and promises the fool’s gold of racial or ethnic superiority,” said sociologist Tony Carnes, the co-organizer of the three-day mid-April conference in New York that drew 1,500 people.

Many of the 33 Christian sociologists, artists, psychologists and pastors who presented papers at King’s College in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., made a startling argument: some multiculturalism is nothing but a futile attempt to remake God in a human image.

Carnes is disturbed by a trend he sees among Americans who find their identity in their culture and hence use race as a criteria for judging people.

Some black pastors, for example, are being criticized for refusing to preach that “God is black.” The Rev. Ezra Williams serves as pastor of Bethel Gospel Assembly, a 1,000-plus member church in Harlem.

“When color becomes our focus, it takes us away from the universality of the gospel,” says Williams. “We narrow it down to our puny racial and ethnic molds.”

Williams’ church is a prime example of Christians realizing that their unity as new people in Christ supercedes racial barriers. Williams told the conference how his church was started 74 years ago because a woman of German descent, Lillian Kreiger, crossed racial barriers to start a Bible study in the Harlem home of two black women.

The two black women had received Christ as their savior earlier in an all-white mid-town Manhattan church – but had been refused membership. When Kreiger heard of the incident, she offered to travel to Harlem for the study in spite of her fiancé’s disapproval. She eventually lost the fiancé, but Harlem gained a thriving church.

“We meet people at their need, irrespective of race, simply because Lillian Kreiger realized we serve a God who is color blind,” Williams said. “We have to stand on the Word of God and treat all humans as potential brothers in Christ.”

The New York director of Jews for Jesus, Mitch Glasser, said God allows people to maintain their ethnicity but calls Christians to renounce parts of themselves that hate and despise others. Glasser appealed for “unity without uniformity.” He cited Galatians 3:28 from the New Testament, which says that distinctions such as Jew and Gentile, slave or free, and male and female are transcended by oneness in Christ.

But on a practical level, such oneness is far from reality among educators, according to David Ayers, sociologist at Dallas Baptist University. The prevailing thought, he argues, “arbitrarily divides the world into white and non-white. The whites are the oppressors and the non-whites are the oppressed victims. This paradigm is placed on all human history, all culture and on the minute problems with which we deal on a day-to-day level.”

Ayers adds that such racial theories tend to distort historical facts that stand in their way. Ayers recalled an exchange between a student and one of his associates at Dallas Baptist University in which the professor spoke about slavery of blacks among black African tribes. A black student said, “I can’t believe that.”

The professor suggested the student look up the historical references. “I’m not going to look at those references,” the student said. “Whites invented slavery.”

“To teach slavery as only something whites have done to blacks is not scientific,” Ayers said. “As a sociologist, I have to look at slavery wherever it occurs to understand its true dynamic. Otherwise we make white men the source of evil, rather than seeing the source of evil as originating in the condition of man’s heart resulting from the fall.”

Washington Post article
May 9, 1992

Prayer Making A Comeback, Some Say

Clerics Cite Revivals On Campuses, in Cities

by Carey Kinsolving

A prayer movement is under way in America and around the world, and it is sparking a religious revival, said several clerics attending a White House meeting Thursday for the National Day of Prayer.

One of the leaders, the Rev. Lloyd Ogilvie, had just come from a Los Angeles prayer meeting of 700 pastors. Ogilvie, of Hollywood Presbyterian Church, said that the violence in Los Angeles last week sounded an alarm that unresolved tensions must be resolved.

“We have committed to love one another in Christ,” Ogilvie said, discussing the gathering of Los Angeles pastors that he started two years ago with the Rev. Jack Hayford.

That love, Ogilvie said, was never so evident as when pastors from five ethnic communities raised a single Communion cup before the group as a sign of their unity in Jesus Christ.

Such are the stories of reconciliation when people come together to pray, said David Bryant, who started Concerts of Prayer International. Bryant said that the Los Angeles pastors’ meetings and the meeting at the White House are only two indicators of a prayer movement that may signal the rumblings of a worldwide revival.

Bryant, who has been leading prayer rallies for 12 years, said another example was a rally in Cleveland in September that was supported by 100 pastors and attended by 7,000 people from different social and economic backgrounds.

The media, Bryant said, exemplified by a January cover story on prayer by Newsweek, has focused on the prayer life of individuals, but the story of large groups coming together for prayer is largely untold. Bryant said he has seen a dramatic increase in group prayer in the last couple of years.

A Youth Movement
A few months ago nearly 1 million teenagers on 40,000 high school campuses joined to pray for revivals in their schools. Last summer 500,000 Koreans marched through the center of Seoul to pray for spiritual renewal.

Bryant frequently quotes scholar Edwin Orr, who wrote: “Whenever God is ready to do something new with His people, He always sets them to praying.”

On Thursday, more evidence of the prayer movement was visible in the thousands of people who participated here and across the country in the National Day of Prayer activities. In 1952, Congress authorized a National Day of Prayer, but this is the first time a president has invited religious leaders to the White House for a service, Vonette Bright said.

Bright founded the National Prayer Committee that was responsible for helping establish a fixed a date for the National Day of Prayer (the first Thursday in May), which was unanimously passed in 1988.

Previously, the date for the day of prayer depended upon the discretion of the president.

Vice President Dan Quayle hosted the White House meeting for President Bush, who had flown to Los Angeles to inspect the riot damage.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, various government leaders met in Cannon Office Building on Capitol Hill to pray for the government, families and the country.

Senate Chaplain Richard Halverson spoke to a breakfast meeting on Tuesday of 150 employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs at New Hope Baptist Church. The breakfast was organized by employees who meet during non-work hours for prayer.

Wednesday evening, prayer leaders met at Calvary Methodist Church in Arlington for a “solemn assembly,” which is the name often used in the Hebrew scriptures for a gathering in which God’s people repent and seek His will for the nation.