Have you attended many weddings lately – like maybe even in the last fifteen years or so, because there is something different about going to a wedding now than there was fifteen years ago. If you have attended a wedding in the last ten to fifteen years, it is very possible that you received not only a wedding invitation to invite you to that wedding, but months before that you may also have received a notification that you were going to be receiving a wedding invitation in the form of what has come to be called a Save the Date card. In recent years Save the Date notices have become so common and popular that they are now simply part of the general wedding planning directions that wedding planners or wedding planning websites include. I don’t know if they sent out wedding invitations or save the date cards to people at Jesus’ time, but, if they did, I wonder what the conversation would have been like between this unnamed wedding couple who got married in Cana of Galilee, when it came to their discussion about whether they should send a Save the Date card to Jesus. “Will it look like we’re just looking for a big gift, since he’s the one who owns the entire universe? Will people think we’re being arrogant, inviting to our wedding the one who is being called the Christ? Do we really want him to take the time out of his busy schedule of saving the world to become part of our world for these days of our wedding celebration?” We don’t know the connection of Jesus to the wedding couple, nor do we know the reason he decided to attend, but the fact that his mother Mary and all his disciples were there certainly means this is someone that he must have known pretty well as a family member or a close follower. What we do know from what happened at Cana in Galilee is that his saving the date to be at that wedding means we have some very good reasons to invite him to be part of every date and event of our lives, too, whether it is as simple as saying at meal time, “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest,” or as emotional as saying at death’s time, “Come, Lord Jesus, and with your angels take me home.” After all, who was it that these people invited to their wedding? Well, what does the apostle John say in the
last verse that this miracle of changing water into wine should tell us about this Jesus of Nazareth? Verse 11:
“This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.”
“He thus revealed his glory.” This was not just some Jesus from some
Nazareth. This was the one who from eternity had the glory of God because he was God. The one who spends his time with us every single second of every single day of our lives is God. The one who made everything in the world and in this universe which is so vast that no one will ever be able to find the end of it – the one who made me – yes, the one who keeps my blood flowing and my brain functioning and my heart beating with such intricacy that no one will ever be able to fully understand it – the almighty God lives inside me and stands outside me and knows everything about me. But maybe that means I don’t want to invite Jesus to be part of my life every day, right?. He knows everything about me. In fact, he even knows about the very things I do or say or think during which I am specifically saying, even if I am not saying or thinking the words out loud, “Jesus, I don’t want you to be here right now,” or “Jesus, as far as I am concerned, you aren’t here right now,” or “Jesus, go bother someone else right now.”
If anyone should not receive a Save the Date card, it’s you and I who should not receive a Save the Date from Jesus, when he says, “Come to me and I will give you rest.” But this one who has the glory of God as God was at Cana in Galilee at a wedding because he had chosen to become a human being to do the work which the people of Galilee and the entire world could not do because they had all fallen short of the glory of God. That meant he became one of us, so he could do what none of us could do to get to the glory of God when we die or to enjoy the glory of God in our lives while alive. Jesus was a human being who lived with imperfect parents and who put up with often-confused disciples and who went to synagogue often with people who didn’t want him there and who cared about people when they were hungry and who had compassion for a wedding couple whose guests did not have enough wine to last through the rest of their celebration.
(Maybe a quick side comment, which some of you have heard many times, but is probably always a good reminder. The words of the banquet master about people having too much to drink can possibly confuse us at first. However, either the master is talking about what he had observed to be the case at many other weddings he oversaw – that people drank too much – or, as can be the case, the words translated “have had too much to drink” can also simply mean, “have drunk freely.” There is no implication at all that there was sinful behavior going on at this wedding.)
But back to Jesus’ compassion about them not having enough wine. That compassion for that little thing in the whole scheme of life is representative of the compassion Jesus feels for us in every aspect of life. He is the one who knows our fears, the one who says we can dry our tears. He is the one who himself cried when his friend Lazarus died, and whose heart went out to the widow woman of the nearby town of Nain who had lost her son. He is the one who can sympathize with everyone of our weaknesses, because he is the one who went through more reasons for fears and tears and heartbreak than all of us in this room combined together. This is the one who was at the wedding of this very blessed couple: the Almighty God in real human form – the God- Man. What an honor that he accepted their Save the Date, and what an honor that he is always present with us! But this miracle shows something more than just who he is. Because of who he is, it shows why we can rely on him. That last verse said, “He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.” What did they need to put their faith in him for? What did they need to rely on him about? The answer to those questions is the key that opens the door to the wedding banquet of heaven. The key to those answers is found in the words, “This, the first of his miraculous signs…” The word “sign” is used in the Bible to show that someone or something is being pointed to as someone or something that is important for life with God. When these miracles are described as “signs,” it signifies that they were not just something to lead people to say, “Wow! I can’t believe what I just saw.” Rather they were signs that were meant to point people to the one who performed the miracle as one about whom they can say, “I believe in the one I just saw do that. I believe that this is the one sent by God – whom God said he would attest to by miraculous signs. I believe that this is the one sent by God as the God-Man on whom I can depend and rely not just to be with me every day and not just to take care of me every day, but to daily and richly forgive every single thing I have ever done wrong every day –which should be a big, huge sign that Jesus has no reason to be with me every day or to take care of me every day in any way whatsoever. But God so loved the world – and therefore God so loved me – that whosoever believes in him — and all he came to do — shall not perish, but will have eternal life, just as Jesus said in the very next chapter of the Bible in John 3:16. Some people who give advice about Save the Date cards say they should be sent out six to eight months in advance – and nine to twelve months beforehand if it is a destination wedding to a faraway or expensive place. The point of every miracle of Jesus, including this the first of his miraculous signs, is to make sure we know we can totally trust and put our faith in the one who really has sent a Save the Date notification to us. It is the ultimate destination wedding which has been paid for in full in advance with the price of his own blood. But the Save the Date notification of Jesus to the destination of heaven does not say when the wedding banquet will begin. It only says that there will be one, and that we are invited – and that the wedding clothes we need to wear to enter the banquet have already been provided by the one went from Cana to the cross and from the cross to the tomb and from the tomb back to the Father’s side, all so that we don’t have to hide when the Master of Wedding Banquet says, “Come, for all things are now ready,” but so that by believing in what Jesus has done to make us his own, we will thankfully and joyfully put on the wedding clothes of his pure perfection and loving forgiveness and enter the place where no little problem like not having enough wine or no huge problem of worrying that we don’t have God’s love will ever bother us again. Brothers and sisters, hang on to Jesus every day of your lives, and in that way save the date for the one who has saved your soul. Amen.